Do you only spend time with your partner? Does your lover check your phone daily? Are they jealous of your friends? If yes, then you just might have a possessive boyfriend or girlfriend with some serious boundary issues.
During the initial stages of a relationship, we usually feel good when our partner acts protective and possessive about us. We feel a loving sense of belonging. We feel that our partner belongs to us and we belong to them. When this sense of belonging is balanced with independence and individuality, we are able to build a healthy, lasting relationship. However, when this possessiveness is rooted in fear, insecurity and jealousy it can quickly turn into a toxic relationship where you feel controlled, suffocated and even abused.
Possessiveness is not attractive
There’s a big difference between belonging to someone in a relationship and being possessed by your partner. This can be a very tricky notion to grasp for most of us as all possessive relationships begin as the most romantic fairy tale. You feel like you’ve finally found the right person who loves and cares for you deeply. The intensity, passion and the feel-good factor of the relationship consumes you and clouds your judgment. So you ignore and overlook the warning signs and red flags that you might have a possessive boyfriend or girlfriend.
“Possessiveness reflects the fear of losing.” – Abhi
But then slowly the feelings of suffocation and being trapped starts creeping up on you. As you start noticing the possessiveness of your partner, you realize how you’ve been controlled and manipulated in your relationship. And now you feel lost and confused, unable to navigate yourself to a safer place and a healthier relationship.
Why possessiveness can be dangerous
At what point does innocent possessiveness become aggressive abuse? When do you realize that it’s enough? When you fail to notice and resolve possessiveness in your relationship, it can lead to severe feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, unhappiness, depression, lack of self esteem, anger, stress and mental, physical & emotional abuse.
Being with a possessive boyfriend or girlfriend can be a serious cause for concern as it can be damaging not only for your relationship, but also for your emotional and mental well being. When left unchecked, a possessive partner without any self-control to avoid aggression can exhibit dangerous behavior. When they feel threatened or challenged or if they feel afraid of losing you, they can quickly turn violent. This can be especially true for possessive male partners.
“Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.” – Robert A. Heinlein
Studies have found that around 14,000 women are battered and 4 women are killed every day by their intimate partners. A 2002 World Health Organization (WHO) report stated, “intimate partner violence occurs in all countries, irrespective of social, economic, religious or cultural group.”
From 48 different population-based surveys, another study on violence by intimate partners found that around 69% of adult women have said they have been physically abused by an intimate male partner during their relationship.
Although it may seem romantic to have someone love you so much that they refuse to give up on you, in reality, this can be the perfect relationship for a toxic and disastrous relationship. In a relationship, you should not be considered as a prize that your partner needs to win. Being with a possessive partner can put your happiness, mental peace, and overall well-being in jeopardy.
Is your partner possessive?
“Love is not possessiveness; many people think that’s what love is you possess somebody totally. To possess somebody is to destroy all possibility of love.” – Osho
There is a subtle difference between being a protective partner & a possessive lover. Most people are possessive in romantic relationships. This is very normal. And simply because your partner is possessive, it does not mean that they want to control or manipulate you. However, when they prevent you from living your life to your fullest potential, restrict your social life and do not support your efforts to grow & flourish due to their own insecurities and unhealthy perspective on relationships, then it’s time for you to sit up and take notice.
Love and obsession are not the same. When your partner truly loves you, you will feel free and liberated in the relationship, not bound and restricted. What begins with a little bit jealousy can easily turn into over possessiveness and control. And this can lead to emotional and abuse. Possessiveness in a relationship should never be taken lightly.
Signs of a possessive partner
“To be mature is, we’re told, to move beyond possessiveness. Jealousy is for babies. The mature person knows that no one owns anyone.” – Alain De Botton
So how can you tell if your partner is possessive? Where does protectiveness end and possessiveness begin? When does a possessive boyfriend or girlfriend start making the relationship toxic?
Here are certain traits and behaviors of a typical possessive partner that you need to watch out for.
1. They control how you look
Your partner will try to control or at least influence your physical appearance by telling you what kind of clothes you should and shouldn’t wear. They may forbid you from wearing certain types of clothes like tight shirts, short skirts or revealing outfits. They may also ask you to keep your hair a particular length and even tell how they prefer you do your make-up. This certainly goes beyond healthy relationship boundaries as they encroach upon your personal space and affect your self-image.