Tag Archives: controlling

Husband’s Controlling Behavior: A Success Story

Dear Rob,
I just want to confirm that I am in a controlling relationship.

I have been married to my husband for 14 years. Dated him for 6 years before getting married, so we’ve been together for 20 years. We met in high school and he had always been a jealous guy. He was jealous of some of my male friends, not all of them. He would choose which ones he didn’t think I should be friends with anymore since I was with him now, especially my ex-boyfriend. He would expect me to ignore or be mean to my ex-boyfriend if we saw him in public somewhere to prove my loyalty to him. If I would go out with friends, he would ask me all kinds of questions like did I meet or dance with any guys.

I accepted all this because I thought we were young and he was just immature and would change as he grew up. So, we got married, had kids and everything was fine because I was home all the time with kids and working. Didn’t have time for anything else.

As the kids got older, I started having more freedom to be able to go out with friends again. It seemed like his jealousy from high school started again. He would call my cell phone at least 20 times while I was out. Or, call my girlfriend’s husband’s to really find out if I was out with the girls.

He did this all in subtle ways. Let me explain: when he called my cell phone several times, he would make excuses for calling, so it wouldn’t seem he was checking on me. Like he would say he couldn’t find something or tell me a friend called and he was giving me a message or wanted to know if I was safe and he was worried. When he called my friend’s husbands he would talk about other things with them and then gradually bring up something like “so, the girls are at so and so tonight, huh”? This way he would find out if I was really with them. He only called my friend’s husbands when I was out. Otherwise, he wasn’t friends with any of them. He would call me this much even when I was at the grocery store. I felt like I was being stalked. I felt creepy like I was being watched and he said he was just being a worried husband and I should be glad that he cares. If I came home late from work, he would call my whole family to find out where I was and make my family seem like I was irresponsible for not checking in with him. I only went to buy milk on the way home. He even had my 4 year daughter catching on to his behavior. She would wait by the door for me to come home from work and check the digital clock if it was after 5:00 and start crying if I was home past 5. He is very subtle in his ways. What I mean by this is he’s not loud or demanding toward me. It’s the things he would say, like “I’m a caring husband”, or maybe you’re clinically depressed and should see a doctor”, or “this is just the way I am, I worry too much”.

There’s a lot more but this is just some of the examples. We have money issues too which I think is part of his controlling nature. When I told him we need counselling, he would tell me to go alone and that I am the one with the problem because I can’t accept him the way he is. He thought my unhappiness was brought on by something medically wrong with me and even made my mother believe it. They both wanted me to go to a doctor to find out why I was feeling the way I am. She thought I was depressed. When I tell him I want to separate, rather than trying to make things work, he would threaten me and say he would keep the kids and that I shouldn’t try to find someone else because no one will accept me with all my kids.

Well, that was 4 years ago. We are divorced now and I am remarried. I never felt so much relief in my life after leaving him. Even though he never hit me or called me names, it’s the jealousy that made me feel creepy towards him. However, I am still feeling so guilty about the fact that my marriage failed and I let my kids down and my oldest (the one that would wait by the door when she was 4) thinks I left because I cheated on him. His whole family believes that even though I met my new husband after all this. I need to find a way to get over my guilt for getting a divorce. He makes me feel sorry for him for leaving. Is my guilt the result of staying in a controlling relationship for too long? I started to believe what I’ve been told all these years?

Thanks in advance for any encouragement you can give,

Hi Ruth,
Yes, he was controlling you. His subtle ways became more obvious over time to you.
His jealousy and insecurity that you were too good for him led him to a level of jealousy that has it’s only output as control of the person you are with.
Control of where you are, who you are with, who you are allowed to speak with and even be friends with. Control of money, spending and even gift buying.

I am happy that you had the courage to endure and face the reality of your situation and end the abuse you suffered from your teen years until now. You have no reason to feel guilty about the divorce or how he tricked your family into believing the worse of you. That was all part of his control. His abuse. His uncontrolled jealousy.
You didn’t let anyone down, you did the best you could under the most difficult of situations.

I hope that your letter will bring encouragement to many other women out there in similar situations of abuse.
Thanks for writing me!
Best wishes,

Getting Ready For The Next Guy

Dear Rob,
I read your website and was interesting to me to see that a lot of people have asked you advice on relationships and I was impressed with the advice you gave them. I just went through a very difficult time in my life and I want to tell you what happened and hope that you can give me some advice, please.

I use to live in Illinois from 2002-2004. I had lived in Florida my whole life, but then I had moved to live in IL with my brother who was there for work. Well, in 2004 I decided to move back to Florida to finish my Bachelors degree since it was cheaper. When I left in 2004 my guy cousin decided that he was going to move up to IL and live with my brother so he could study for his medical boards there with my brother. So, I was living in Florida studying for my Bachelor’s degree and a year later I decided to go up to IL to visit my brother for his birthday and all my friends were planning on meeting up with us that night for my brother’s birthday.
Well, my cousin who had moved in with my brother was there as well and he had told me that there was this guy (my ex- “N”) he had met when he moved up to IL and he wanted me to meet him, because he was a great guy and he was a lot of fun and he felt that we were a lot of like and would click well together.
So, I got to know this guy that he introduced me to and him and I ended up doing long distance for 14 months. During those months we had been deciding whether I was going to be moving back up to IL so that him and I could be together or if he was going to move to Florida. “N” (my ex) is originally from Florida, he had just moved up to IL when he met my cousin, it was a coincident that I had just left IL to go back to FL and he did the opposite. Well, anyways, I knew that it would be best for me to move to IL since he didn’t have a college degree and had a great job that was paying him really good for having no degree. He was in the IT industry and he enjoyed what he did.

Well, to make this long story shorter:
I ended up moving to IL for him after our long dreadful 14 months of long distance. When I moved up there 3 weeks later he flew me to Colorado with him and proposed to me there in the mountains, it was very romantic. Everything was going good, before I had even moved up to IL.
I’ll be honest we had some problems, things between him and I just weren’t like they use to be the first 7 months of dating. Well, when I moved in with him in IL things slowly got worse. We argued all the time and when we did I always found myself apologizing even if it wasn’t my fault. Just, because I got tired of trying to get him to realize where he was wrong, so I would just say “I’m sorry” so we wouldn’t argue anymore.
He always had this theory that he had told me once before “I’m always right until proven wrong” – Yeah we’re not close minded are we ? Not only did he tell me that, but his mom had already warned me that “he thinks he knows it all” I already knew that he was a stubborn person, because when we would get into arguments he would always try to prove his point and he ALWAYS knew how to twists things up to make it seem like he was not wrong, he was very good at manipulating me. I would get so tired of that, but I still kept holding on to what we have especially since we were planning on getting married.

I always thought that the reason why him and I would argue when were long distance was because we were frustrated that we couldn’t’ be together when we wanted to be.
But, then when we lived together, what was the excuse then? It’s crazy because a week before I was moving to IL, I cried to my roommate that I was afraid things wouldn’t work out. She told me that if they didn’t at least I can always move back home. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t’ have moved and had listened to my own instincts.
Living with him was an up and down roller coaster ride. One day he was a sweet heart the next day he would make me feel like crap, he would put me down, but would act as if it was normal. He told me once that I had to workout because I looked like I was starting to gain weight, meanwhile I weighed 108lbs. not fat at all.
He’s told me that he felt that he cooked better then me, that I didn’t know how to dress with fashion, the way I walked, he asked me “if the university I graduated from was easy?” pretty much trying to tell me I wasn’t smart.
He just turned out to be someone I didn’t know when I moved to IL, he had changed so much, or maybe that was who he really was. Does it sound like maybe he was insecure? And maybe he said and did those things to feel better about himself. We even got into an argument once and he punched the wall.
We were suppose to be getting married 2 weeks ago and I still have a wedding dress I need to sell.
It’s been so hard. I don’t know what I can do to “let it go and move on” can you give me any advice as to why you think this happened, maybe we moved to fast, maybe we just really weren’t compatible, what can I do to move on and not feel that every guy I see now I feel like it would be hard for me to trust them.
How will I know the next person I meet won’t put on a front before I get to really know who he is and then realize that I don’t like the real him?? HELP me please! I feel really alone with this.
Thank you!

Hi Suzy,
I am very sorry that things didn’t work out for you but I am deeply relieved that you didn’t marry this narcissistic, controlling sociopath.

You’re going to have good days, bad days and days of complete joy.
I know, I’ve been there.

I want you to understand that the choices you made in the past were based on the best information that you had at the time (with some romantic ideas thrown in for good measure) and it turned out that the information you had about your fiancé was flawed.
He lied and manipulated you from the beginning.
He wasn’t in love with you as much as he wanted to control you. To own you. To blame you for his own inadequacies and lack of self-esteem in being a man.
And you escaped. You should be proud of yourself.
Many other women find out too late about this type of man. They stick through several years of marriage, eventually coming to the conclusion (or never) that they are being abused. And they are trapped. Beaten and worse.

From this point over I order you to be over him. Sell off and throw out every little thing the two of you purchased together.

Stay single for the next few months. No dating until the fall. This will give you a summer to experience being single again. No rebound romances allowed.

The next guy you meet you will be aware of any efforts he makes to change you. If he cannot accept you as you are, head for the hills!
Any guy that demands change in the woman he is dating, the woman he loves, is not a real man. He’s a little boy in a man’s body, surrounded by insecurity and no self-esteem.
A real man is accepting, changes for the woman in her life and does not demand change in her.
Chivalry is not dead, it’s just on an MTV hiatus. A Rap music video is the worse education in the world for boys and men to learn how to relate to women and yet this is where we are in the 21st century.
Understand that you cannot change a man. Despite your best wishes (emotional and romantic involvement notwithstanding) the package you see is the package you get.

The basic test of challenging a man is the way to first make an effort if he is controlling or not. If he is an acceptable representation of being a real man.

Your test includes (but is not being limited to),
During the first few dates:
Changing plans of a date: suggest a different restaurant, a different movie at the last minute before the date starts. His response will give you insight of his controlling personality.
Ask him what you should wear for a date, when he is with you at your place. Let him choose between three different outfits. His responses will let you know how interested he is in how you are dressed with him.
(Insight: I don’t let my wife dress inappropriately for our dates, but I only allow myself to comment when asked. Her style isn’t always mine but I have learned to let her express herself in the way she dresses and wears her hair. And I take joy in knowing that she dresses to look good ‘for me’ and me alone every time. And I try my best to dress so that she takes pride in me.)

As you start to get involved, past the fourth date, does he pressure you for sex? There should be no sexual involvement until at least after the two month mark. I’d prefer to admit keeping sex until after marriage. Giving of yourself in this way should be saved for the real commitment of life and a future together which marriage represents, but all too often sex is just a using of each other’s bodies that doesn’t mean anything more than the grunting of bedroom partners. Avoid being used in this way always.
Does he talk down to you?
Does he hold intelligent conversations with you?
Does he respect your opinions or does he belittle you?
Do you do the same?

You should be introduced to his family, and him to yours, at about the sixth to eighth date. Location permitting.
And in this day and age if distance is a factor, make the effort. Holiday weekends spent with family (even if you have to stay in a hotel for convenience sake) is when this should happen, before events thrust you, him and the family together.
Are you involved enough in his life that you know his family?
Are you accepted by his family.
Does he put his family before you?
Do you do the same?

Should you decide to move in together you must decide on a contract that spells out not only the financial aspects of paying for your home, food and household expenses but also what will happen should this roommate arrangement not work out. How will things be divided, who keeps what.
Making an intelligent financial arrangement prior to sharing living space is an absolute must and will also foreshadow your future life together.

Should you manage to remain together after two years there should be a frank discussion of marriage. Or should there be a pregnancy marriage plans made immediately.
The both of you must prepare for your future family together, with marriage contract in hand. Or your life needs to start being planned apart, with all legal ramifications being dealt with as adults.
Best wishes,