Last Updated on April 8, 2023 by Angela Vaz
Being in a relationship should be a partnership.
Although this may seem like common sense, how often do we pause to think about this when we fall in love?
There’s a rush of feelings, you feel like they really understand you and you start to cut off from the world and grow closer to your partner because you feel it’s the right thing to do.
It isn’t – it’s unhealthy.
Your partner should never be your whole world.
And when you’re in a relationship, both parties must feel respected and valued.
However, sometimes one partner may feel entitled to control the other, leading to a power imbalance in the relationship.
When someone thinks they own you, they may try to control your behavior and decisions, leading to a loss of personal freedom and autonomy.
Please note that it never happens all at once.
It starts small.
They may just order for you at first, but later they will order you to clean something up without even checking to see if you’re free.
It always starts small.
This kind of behavior can be hard to recognize at first but eventually, it escalates over time.
In this post, we are going to discuss some common signs he thinks he owns you and what you can do about it.
Who am I to be talking about this?
My name is Angela and I was in an abusive relationship for 9 years.
I stayed for a long time because I didn’t have the courage to leave. I wasn’t knowledgeable about all this and accepted my relationship believing that compromising meant I was a good partner.
I left only when I found out my partner was cheating on me.
I stayed single for a long time, did my degree in human relationships and psychology, and eventually started this blog to help other women find love and peace within themselves.
The whole purpose of this blog is to educate people and help them understand if they are in a bad situation.
The first step is always self-awareness.
But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
1. He constantly checks in on you
Yes, this can be confused with “caring.”
But there is a vital difference when a person loves you, they trust you.
They only look out for you when you are in an unfamiliar situation or you’ve told them that you’re worried and scared.
They don’t make decisions for you. They help you make a decision when you ask for their help.
There is a difference between caring and being obsessive and controlling.
If your partner is always calling or texting you, showing up unannounced to see what you are doing, or demanding to know your whereabouts, it may be a sign that they feel entitled to your time and attention.
This kind of behavior can be very controlling and suffocating.
It can leave you feeling like you have no space or privacy.
So, how do you differentiate?
- Judge the tone: Are they asking you how you’re doing and expressing genuine concern, or are they demanding to know your whereabouts and getting angry when you don’t respond immediately? The tone suggests whether they are caring or possessive.
- Control: Does your partner always respect your space and boundaries? For instance, when you tell them you’re busy, do they understand and give you space? Or do they try to control your behavior by getting angry or emotionally blackmailing you and making it all about them?
- Context: Take some time to examine your relationship. Do they exhibit possessive behavior in other areas too?
2. He makes decisions for you
This behavior is very damaging because when your partner constantly makes decisions for you, it will lead to low self-esteem eventually on your end.
You’ll start to feel worthless or you’ll start to feel like you can do nothing right.
You’ll end up depending on your partner completely because you’ll end up believing that he is always right.
This is a sign he thinks he owns you.
It means that your partner is not allowing you to make your own choices and is instead taking control of your life.
This behavior can manifest in different ways.
For example, your partner may make all the decisions about where you go, what you wear, who you spend time with, and what you do with your free time.
They may also make decisions about your career, education, and important aspects of your life.
It can start off as something very simple.
Whenever I spent time with a friend on a phone, my partner would find ways to criticize the friend or make me try and see that the friend is not good for my personal growth.
A fight would start every time I spoke to someone outside his circle.
So eventually, to maintain peace, I started spending more time alone.
They may condemn you if you want to start a business or do something different. They’ll criticize everything you want to do so that you eventually cave in and do what they say.
Please note that this is extreme emotional manipulation.
And it takes time to understand and see what’s really happening.
3. He isolates you from friends and family
Isolation from friends and behavior is a RED and blaring sign he thinks he owns you.
It means he may actively try to limit your social interactions and keep you dependent on him for companionship and support.
This behavior will start subtly and grow steadily.
He may discourage you from spending time with your friends and family. He may try to limit your communication with them by constantly monitoring your calls or eavesdropping, checking your text messages and social media accounts, and constantly asking you what you told them.
Eventually, this leads to you feeling lonely, trapped, and helpless.
He may even make you feel foolish for talking to them. He’ll say things like:
- They don’t understand you as I do, so why bother talking to them?
- They just want to have sex with you. Why do you even engage with people like that?
- Why do you talk to your mother so much? What can be so important that you need to talk to them all the time?
Please understand that this is NOT how a partner should be – this is abusive.
You will eventually start to believe that your partner is the only person that cares about you or understands you which can lead to an unhealthy dependence on them.
It is VERY important for you to have a support system outside of your partner.
Your friends and family provide a valuable source of emotional support, advice and perspective that can help you navigate life’s ups and downs.
It is important for you to have a mix of people in your life – this helps you get clarity on anything – your hobbies, your work, your thinking, and your life.
You have to communicate your concerns and set boundaries with your partner if this is becoming a habit.
You have the right to maintain your relationships with people who matter to you and your partner needs to respect that.
You are mature enough to determine who you talk to.
If your partner refuses to respect your boundaries or becomes aggressive, it may be a sign that this relationship is not healthy for you.
Please seek support from a friend you trust or a professional counselor.
4. He criticizes your appearance
If your partner constantly criticizes your appearance or makes comments about your skin, your clothes, or your weight – it is a sign that they feel entitled to control how you present yourself to the world.
This is a very emotionally damaging behavior and will lead to body image issues.
I was insecure about my acne but my ex made me feel horrible for it.
He would make sick, disgusting faces every time I got a new pimple and would force me to pop the pimple.
He’d even criticize my clothes and point to other women in the neighborhood and ask me to dress more “feminine.”
All of this behavior made me lose the respect and love I had for my partner.
If your partner does any of this, please talk to them.
Tell them how it makes you feel.
And if they refuse to change or stand by their behavior, know that it’s okay to walk away.
You don’t deserve to be treated like you’re less.
You don’t deserve to be treated like you’re not beautiful.
And you don’t need a relationship to prove to the world or yourself that you are beautiful.
As long as you know it, that’s enough.
5. He gets angry if you don’t do what he wants
If your partner becomes angry or aggressive when you don’t do what they want, it’s a huge sign he thinks he owns you.
This is not normal behavior.
It’s scary and I have been through this.
My partner would start hitting things or breaking things.
Eventually, with time, that aggression shifted from inanimate objects to the dogs and me.
Please understand that there is no “talking or fixing things” in this regard.
It will only get worse with time.
If your partner has no respect for things or you, you cannot stay or expect the person to change.
It doesn’t happen.
They do not respect you and you should not be in a relationship with such a person.
Again, please understand that everyone gets angry.
But there is a way to deal with it.
People who get angry usually deal with it by:
- Taking some time off to cool down by walking, doing something like a hobby, talking to someone
- They mediate or journal or talk to a therapist to deal with their anger
- They talk to the person they are angry with to find a solution calmly and rationally
But there is a way of dealing with it.
6. He monitors your online activity
If your partner demands to know your passwords, checks your social media accounts, or tracks your online activity, it may be a huge sign that he feels entitled to control your social media presence.
It also means that they are deeply insecure and have trust issues.
No, the solution isn’t to show them more love so they get over it.
The solution is to talk to them and if they can’t change or won’t admit they have a problem – to leave.
You cannot and should not stay in a relationship where you have to constantly prove yourself as a faithful partner.
If you’ve never cheated on your partner and you’ve never given them a reason to doubt you – then this is wrong.
This is very invasive behavior and should be nipped in the bud.
If he gives you an excuse saying, “I trust you but don’t trust others.” please call bullshit on that.
Yes, there are weird people out there in the world.
But you are an adult and you can take care of yourself. It doesn’t matter who hits on you because you are never going to reciprocate.
That should be enough for him.
7. He expects you to put his needs first
This basically means that he is prioritizing his needs over yours and expects you to do the same.
This behavior can manifest in several ways:
- He will expect you to work for him or do him favors even when you’re busy or you have something to do – he won’t respect your time or boundaries
- He will expect you to always be available and will get angry if you don’t give him your time or don’t pick up his calls.
- He will expect you always cancel your plans with your friends and family and give him time.
- He will also expect you to prioritize his opinions and beliefs over yours and for you to always agree with his decisions.
This is very damaging behavior because you will eventually feel like you aren’t important or the things you do aren’t.
You will slowly start to feel like your feelings don’t matter and this is going to lead to resentment, frustration, sadness, guilt, or depression.
Please, please understand that a healthy relationship means both people care for each other and respect each other.
It involves consideration and care from both ends.
Your partner should value your feelings and opinions and you – his.
You both should be willing to compromise and work together to meet each other’s needs.
First, have a talk with him if you feel like he isn’t prioritizing your needs. Get him to see your situation and listen to his response.
If he is unwilling to respect your boundaries or gets angry, defensive, or aggressive, then know that this relationship is unhealthy and abusive.
Seek support from a counselor and work towards ending this relationship.
8. He uses guilt to manipulate you
This is something emotionally manipulative people do.
It’s a sign of cunningness and it stems from unhealed childhood trauma.
If your partner constantly guilt trips you and manipulates you into doing what he wants, it is a sign that they will forever do this.
Guilt tripping can take many forms but it often involves him making you feel bad for drawing your own boundaries.
- If you say you don’t want to do something, your partner will accuse you of hurting them or making them feel bad.
- He will tell you that you’re hurting him or upsetting him every time you say no.
- He will say you’re not a good friend or a good partner when you try to stand up for yourself.
Guilt-tripping is very damaging because it makes you feel like you are responsible for your partner’s happiness.
This can lead to major anxiety and depression.
Please talk to him.
Express your concerns and set boundaries. Again, if he gets aggressive or angry or starts crying and guilt trips you again, consider ending the relationship.
9. He tries to or actually controls your finances
My partner always goaded me to create a joint account.
Because I had my own blog and business, I earned a lot more than he did.
I always said no because I never trusted him with money and I’d pay all his bills but I never merged our accounts.
It made him furious.
If your partner controls your finances or doesn’t let you make your own financial decisions, this is a HUGE RED FLAG.
He does think he owns you.
This also means he is trying to control your life.
And this is financially abusive.
10. He belittles your opinions
Remember, this is all part of the big plan.
When he constantly criticizes you, your decisions, your friends, your family, and everything you hold dear, he is making you inevitably believe that you are nothing without him.
You start to put him on a pedestal because no one is better than him.
You start to believe that.
This will also lead to feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy.
And you need to set the record straight.
11. He manipulates you into sex
If your partner pressures you into having sex or manipulates you into sexual acts and you aren’t comfortable or you feel like something isn’t right – he is trying to control you and your body.
Again, if you feel scared, intimidated, and repulsed by your partner, it’s not normal.
Please talk to a counselor and find the courage to tell them what’s happening.
If your partner hurts you and you feel scared during sex or are engaging in sexual activity only because your partner is forcing you, then this is abuse.
This eventually leads to long-lasting emotional and psychological effects.
Please consider ending the relationship.
12. He expects you to do all the household chores
If he expects you to do everything like cooking, cleaning laundry, and other tasks to maintain a household, this isn’t right.
This can be a significant burden especially if you have other responsibilities such as work, school, or caring for children and other family members.
Even if you do not enjoy doing the housework, you shouldn’t do it.
You can either share responsibility by talking to him about it and splitting the tasks evenly or hire a service that helps with cleaning.
Try discussing a schedule that works for both of you or delegate certain tasks to each other.
If you’ve tried open and honest communication and your partner is unwilling to listen to sharing household responsibilities, try this:
- Be very specific: Be specific about what you want your partner to do. This will make it easier for him to understand.
- Set clear expectations: Once you’ve agreed on what tasks your partner will be responsible for, set clear expectations around how and when he should do it.
- Consider couples therapy: If your partner still isn’t willing to listen, seek the help of a couples therapist. A therapist will help you both communicate effectively and work through any underlying issues that may be causing conflict.
13. You are afraid that anything will lead to a fight
Please understand that disagreements happen in every single relationship.
In my current relationship, I am with someone who loves me and respects me for who I am.
We do disagree and have conflicts.
But we are never afraid to talk about it or express ourselves.
We love sitting down and talking about our differences.
We then come to a lovely conclusion and move on. There is no yelling, screaming, or hitting.
And if that happens, your relationship is NOT healthy.
If you do things because you are scared he will react a certain way or you are scared that he will get angry, you are in an abusive relationship.
Sorry, I wouldn’t recommend you wait for him to change or wait for things to get better.
Leave. Because you shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of behavior.
You deserve better.
The first step to solving this is to start loving yourself.
You may feel like it’s not important or it’s selfish.
But here’s the thing, unless you love yourself, you cannot love someone else.
Unless you know what you want and actually have your own life sorted out, you cannot love someone else.
Loving yourself will help you NOT settle for less.
It will help you be kind to yourself and walk away from relationships that are no longer serving you.
I didn’t love myself and that is why I chose to stay in an abusive relationship.
I was afraid to leave because I felt that I was giving up too easily.
I was afraid to leave because I felt he would eventually change.
In the 9 years we were together, things only got worse.
Every person I have spoken to who was in an abusive relationship told me the same, “It only got worse.”
Everyone who decided to stay in an abusive relationship, eventually cut off from everyone because the abuse has obviously increased and they no longer can talk to other people or want to talk to other people.
If your partner is abusive, find a way to leave.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to stay. They don’t have YOUR best interest in mind. They either believe your partner will change or they’re worried about what society will say about you when you become single.
Please don’t stay in a relationship where you are treated horribly.
You deserve better.
Your relationship status doesn’t define your worth.
I was single for a while after that relationship. It was the most peaceful and blissful time ever.
I learned to love myself. I learned to cherish relationships with friends and family.
Absolutely nothing changed when I entered a new relationship. I still have my friends and family and my life was only enriched after entering a new loving relationship.
My current partner loves and respects me and we both support and nurture each other.
We share responsibilities and encourage each other to pursue our dreams.
Here are a few more posts that may help you:
- 17 signs enough is enough: When is it time to end the relationship?
- Never depend on a man for money: My biggest mistake
- 13 undeniable signs your needs aren’t being met + what to do
- My boyfriend likes a different body type – what do I do?
- 17 undeniable signs that your partner is using you financially
- How to give yourself grace when you feel low
- How I found peace after leaving a toxic relationship
- 7 types of toxic communication that are hurting your relationship
- Why and how I stopped overexplaining myself in arguments