Whenever you meet someone new and start dating, it can be exciting and a make you a little nervous at the same time. You know you like the person but, perhaps you’ve noticed there are times when the person shows some controlling behaviors toward you. Stop wondering Sis, and avoid falling into the trap of becoming accustomed to someone who’s increasingly dominant. Oh, and I do not own the rights to this photo. :)
Trust me, I dated someone who exhibited behaviors that were overprotective that I excused as love and him being sweet. Fast forward to saying “I do” and what was sweet immediately turned sour and I had to formulate an exit plan for my safety. I write this blog from a very personal place to help you identify these behaviors early and use these methods to protect yourself from a partner’s controlling behaviors early on in a dating relationship should it happen to you.
1). Be open, honest, and clear about your own feelings from day one. Do not participate in activities you prefer not to just to please them. Be honest about what you like and don’t like, even if you aren’t directly asked because your feelings and preferences are equally as important as theirs.
2). Set clear boundaries from the beginning. For example, if the person just pops over to your house without calling, it’s appropriate to state, “I’m not comfortable with you coming to my house unannounced. Let’s agree to make plans in advance so we both know what’s going on and can schedule dates accordingly.”
If you’re uncomfortable with the way your new friend behaved in public, remind yourself you’re entitled to your feelings. Here’s another example: When you met with some of your work friends together, he openly insisted that you not sit beside a male co-worker whom you’ve been friends with for years. He was so insistent that, just to get him to stop his comments, you quickly switched seats.
When something like this takes place, the question is “Wouldn’t you rather discuss your feelings about his behavior right away so he understands how you feel and can adjust his actions in the future?” Yes, but if that’s not possible at the moment, think through the situation when you’re alone later and decide what you want to do about the public behavior. Do you want to talk to them about it? Or is their misbehavior a deal-breaker for you?
3). Identify Deal Breakers. If you’re nervous about upsetting them this is a huge "Red Flag" and I’ll simply say “Abort!” But your exit strategy with this type of individual requires you to be strategic by addressing challenging issues swiftly and tactfully. This way, there’s no question in your new friend’s mind about what you do and do not feel comfortable with.
If they do get angry with your honest expression, that will be your cue to say, “I’m sorry you’re upset but this issue is important to me.” Under no circumstances should you push away feelings of fear that are well-grounded. If they cannot accept your feelings about the situation, let me just say, it is not wise to ponder whether to go any further in the relationship.
If someone is even mildly or verbally threatening toward you when you date them, take careful, safe steps to separate yourself from the person.
Remember, neither person should possess all the power in the relationship. You’re both entitled to your feelings. However, if either of you seem to “rule” the relationship, it’s time to re-consider how you relate to each other. Healthy relationships will always exhibit a healthy balance of power.
Many times, your openness and capacity to genuinely express your wants and feelings will quell the other person’s efforts to take complete control. Trust yourself to address any challenging situations right away to have a healthy, caring, and enjoyable relationship. And remember, you don't have to dive right into a relationship. Vetting your potential mates and taking time to regroup between dates is absolutely necessary. You spent way too much time working on you just to accept any old love. You deserve a complete love and until you find the love you deserve always remember to DateYourselfGirl!