Too many people discredit the effects of emotional abuse. People in relationships often ignore signs of things going awry when their partner uses manipulation to control them, not physical force.
Our society teaches us that romantic relationships should be intense and all-consuming. Movies and media such as Fifty Shades of Grey makes women, young and old, believe they deserve someone who will revolve their lives around them (and will have steamy sex with them). If a partner acts obsessively, we’re told it’s because they really care about their partner.
Not every issue involving controlling behavior is on the same level. Because of that, people wrongly believe their partner is not doing anything wrong because they have heard more unpleasant stories from their friends.
Living in this decade has definitely presented new challenges for relationships due to social media. People can communicate on multiple apps on a daily basis: Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and GroupMe are just a few. People may use each one for a different purpose and have different circles of friends saved for easy access.
A controlling partner could ask for their phone to see who they are talking to or even log onto their accounts from another phone or computer. Doing that should be considered an invasion of privacy no matter how close the partners are. They should trust their partner not to act suspiciously on social media without constantly monitoring them.
A good partner also will not make their partner check in with them incessantly when they are apart. Whether they are worried about what their partner’s are doing or cannot stand a minute not texting them, they need to understand that their partner’s life should not revolve around them. Their partner might have to visit their sister, work late or want to relax.
Extreme jealousy and paranoia can even get to the point of restricting their partner from contacting people they do not approve of. It could be someone that they believe is coming onto their partner or whose personality they do not think their partner should be around.
Either way, it is their partner’s life and the partner should decide their own friends. If the first scenario’s the case with a partner, one of two things happen. Their partner could have known that person has feelings for them the entire time and could be entertaining them (or just feel it does not affect their friendship), or they really are oblivious and love their partner (so if the other person makes a move, you would probably reject it).
Other controlling signs might indicate that your partner does not like their partner as a person, only who they are trying to make them into. When they spend time together, they need to make sure they are mostly doing things that both of them enjoy. If one person wants their partner to get into their interests and does not reciprocate through their actions, they should find someone who likes them for them.
Someone should not go along with their partner if they try to change their personality either. A partner might think their partner needs some constructive criticism, but it is not right if they get on them about every little thing and are never satisfied with who they are already. Their desire for their partner to change can also come out through unnecessary teasing, which hurts their partner's feelings. Sometimes, you two might agree that one person has a harmful behavior but it’s best to change for yourself and never someone else.
A partner could also use guilt in order to get what they want from you. This sign can show in small ways such as asking you to pay because they did last time (not really bad unless you do not have the spare cash and they know that) to bringing up a comment you made months ago to justify something now. For one, a person’s opinion can change and this form of shaming shouldn’t be accepted anyway. A similar tactic involves restricting affection or caring unless their partner does what they want. It can make them feel isolated, so they comply.
Sometimes, the very first step is admitting the relationship is not perfect. Most of these signs of controlling behavior build over time and people cannot recognize the issue until a point in time when they feel stuck. First, they should talk to their partner about their concerns, but if the partner is not willing to back off the relationship should end.
Meghan Morris is a sophomore studying journalism with a focus in news and information at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What're your thoughts on this? Let Meghan know by tweeting her @marvelllousmeg.