I Was In A Controlling Relationship And Didn’t Even Know It

I Was In A Controlling Relationship And Didn't Even Know It

Last month I ended things with a guy who I had been seeing for a few months, on and off. I say on and off because that’s exactly what it was. We would be on one week, off the next. Constantly. It was really quite ridiculous and childish, looking back, and I am not quite sure why I kept wanting him back after he would constantly block me on social media and his phone, refusing to even talk to me. This was usually after some perceived wrong that he accused me of that was rarely ever based in fact. Let me explain…

I Was In A Controlling Relationship And Didn't Even Know It

I Was In A Controlling Relationship And Didn’t Even Know It

As you all know, I had been using online dating, but have since closed down or hidden my profiles. Mainly because of this guy and also because of the catfish that I told you about a few days ago. Though online dating can be a useful tool in meeting people, I have met far more people that I would not want in my life to find it useful for me right now.

I was very attracted to “this guy” and he could be quite charismatic. He knew all the right things to say to keep me hanging on. Basically, he dangled carrots in front of me to make me feel like he cared about me and then snapped them back as soon as I reached for one, acting like I had totally misinterpreted the situation. He always left me feeling confused, not knowing where I stood with him and unsure of what I could say or do that wouldn’t make him mad.

1. He Questioned Me Constantly – I can honestly say, I have never dated anyone who questioned me about my guy friends as much as this guy did. For example, I have been friends with this guy, Chuck, for like 13 years. We meet occasionally for coffee and chit chat. That’s it. So, I met Chuck a couple times when I was dating “this guy” and I got the 3rd degree each time. “Why are you driving over an hour to meet a guy for coffee?” and “No one drives that far just for coffee.” Ummm, you’re right, I didn’t drive that far just for coffee. I drove that far for conversation with an old friend. And, I told “this guy” what I was doing. He didn’t just find out somewhere. I also told him that he was welcome to join us sometime if he liked which he said no to. I don’t hide what I do because I have nothing to hide. For some reason, he just couldn’t get that.

He also questioned me constantly about other guy friends. I posted pictures of myself and a guy friend on Facebook one time and he started calling and texting, accusing me of all kinds of things. Then he blocked me before I could even respond. And the thing is, “this guy” and I were not even dating and he had no idea who my friend was. He could have been my cousin for all “this guy” knew. And he will never know because he has only allowed me to speak a a few words since then.

He even questioned me repeatedly about my roommate who is a female {I am not bisexual}. On the 3rd time that he asked me if my roommate and I had something going on I told him, “Just like the other 2 times you asked me, no, we have never been involved and, again, I am not into women.” I have no idea why someone would be so distrusting towards a person who did not give them a reason to be, but I can say that the questioning got really freaking old. Real fast.

And the constant questioning and suspicion made me feel guilty. I got to where I constantly picked apart my actions trying to figure out why I deserved this interrogation. I got terrified to tell him about anything I was going to do for fear of how it would be perceived. I can honestly say, no man has ever made me feel this way before in my life.

I Was In A Controlling Relationship And Didn't Even Know It

2. He Constantly Canceled Dates – I admit, I did reschedule one date with him. I got a last minute invite to a movie screening so I asked him if he would like to go. He couldn’t but I told him that I needed to go anyway and he fussed at me about how I rescheduled and told me to “Have fun with your +1.” What the heck? The +1 was going to be him, he couldn’t go, so I took Johnetta. This is my job. So, this meant that we ended up meeting about 3pm that day instead of 10am, so I didn’t cancel. I found it ironic that he got so upset considering he straight canceled probably at least 50% of our scheduled dates. Maybe more. He did it last minute most of the time. Generally he would cancel for his 17 year old kid needing rides he had forgotten about, emergency room visits, “me” and “self care” time, blocking me, etc. and one time he just straight didn’t even show up. I heard from him about 7 hours later and he said he had tried to text, assumed I was mad since I didn’t answer, so he didn’t call. Then he got mad at me when I told him that he should have called. Okay… I wasn’t allowed to be disappointed or hurt. If I questioned him about these situations, they always ended up with me being at fault because he had “too much on his plate” or he was a “hot mess” or whatever other reason he had for how it wasn’t his fault that he canceled on me with no or very little notice.

So, I found myself apologizing for far more than I was actually guilty of.

3. He Controlled Our Conversations – We talked on the phone when and if he wanted to. I couldn’t just call him. If I did call him, he typically either wouldn’t answer at all or he would text me back and tell me that he was busy. One time he even told me that, “We can’t all sit around and talk on the phone all day like you can.” What the heck? That is definitely not what I do. He also would start serious conversations or pick fights with me via text {which I repeatedly asked him not to do}. I would rather discuss things like this on the phone or in person. He would say what he wanted to say, then tell me to stop talking because he was at work or needed “me time” or whatever. Basically, he got his in and then I wasn’t allowed to speak. If I continued to speak after he decided the conversation was over, he would generally ignore me, let me know how selfish I was or block me completely.

4. He Wouldn’t Meet Me To Get His Stuff – He left a blanket at my house that he got for a gift from one of his kids. After we split, and when we were still on speaking terms, he told me repeatedly how much that blanket meant to him. So, it was important to me to get it back to him. I have offered to meet him repeatedly to return it and I even offered to mail it after things got really bad between us. He wouldn’t have it unless it was on his terms – which meant coming to my house – something I am no longer comfortable with. Yesterday, he brought the items he had of mine to my house and dropped them beside my mailbox. I never saw him, but he messaged me to let me know what he had done just 5 minutes earlier. I tried to get him to come back to my house or meet me somewhere so that I could return the blanket and he just wouldn’t have it. He drove from over an hour away to do that. Why not get the blanket? I just don’t understand that. But that’s the way he wanted it, so that’s what happened.

The longer I was with him, the more I started acting like him, too, with the blocking and fighting on texts, stupidity like that that I haven’t typically done with other people that I have dated {except Catfish. I blocked that joker real fast}. He told me once that he hated all of his exes because they all broke his heart {I am now on this list of people that he can no longer tolerate the presence of}. Here is the way I see it, none of us are blamefree in a relationship and, even though I have tried to treat my exes as best I could, I know I have had many faults in relationships. And so did they. We are human and none of us are perfect. I can tell you that I definitely don’t hate all my exes. Most I still care for and have remained friends with. I will never understand how you can just throw away people that you once cared deeply for like that.

He wouldn’t let me say what I needed to say in our relationship. I finally got to today. And I feel so much better.

In many respects, “this guy” is, in fact, a really nice guy. There were many times when he was very kind to me and so much fun to be around. I am not sure what happened to him to make him see the world the way he does today, but I really hope that one day that he finds happiness.

Learn more about what to look for to see if you are with a controlling partner here.

Have You Ever Dated Someone Who Controlled The Relationship?

If you have been in a controlling relationship, I would love to hear about it. Please share your experiences in the comments below. And feel free to offer your opinions on mine and what I could have done differently, too, if you like.

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. Yikes. Good for you for having the courage to write about this but yea – those are definitely red flags. He’s emotionally and mentally abusive too. The passive aggressive mind games and ignoring you. NO WAY. I dated a guy that did ALL OF THOSE THINGS. I gave it two months. Then was done. He is the only ex of mine that I have nothing good to say about and don’t keep in touch with. Despite the few times he acted nice I know it was all a mind game so I don’t feel it was genuine.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Gosh, I am sorry that happened to you. And I am glad that you got out. Sadly, some people you just can’t keep in touch with. I am sure this will be the case with me and “this guy” too. I have no more interest in talking to or hearing from him.

  2. Good God! I’m so glad you got out of that before you were in too deep. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re in a relationship that’s more than just tumultuous. But then again, why would you even want to be in that?!

  3. Oh wow, that is scary. Just imagine if he had been able to hide his true self from you until you were deep, deep into a relationship! The thought of people out there like that is terrifying to me.

  4. This guy sounds a lot like my ex-fiance. I discovered that his jealousy of my male friends was from his guilt of being unfaithful to me. You’re better off without that clown.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      You’re definitely not the first person to mention to me about the correlation of people being that jealous and cheating. I never accused him of anything because I don’t believe in accusing people of things unless you are pretty sure you can prove it, but it was definitely always in the back of my mind. I am sorry that things with your ex-fiance went badly and I am so thankful now that I was only with this guy a short while.

  5. I’m so glad you got out of that mess! I’m also glad you soon realized that this was getting nowhere. Sounds like to me HE needs to grow up.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I agree! I felt like I was in a high school relationship. Or maybe even middle school. Ugh…

  6. I totally hear you. I had a friend in a controlling relationship and we totally didn’t want to overstep our boundaries. She got out of it on her own terms and she is very happy now.

  7. It sounds like you made the right decision. I commend you for writing about it so maybe it will help someone else!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Thank you. It was so hard for me to see it while I was in it, even with a degree in Psychology. So I do hope that my experience helps someone else.

  8. I’m sorry this guy treated you so bad! I haven’t dated in a while but I had a few bad dates through a couple of different online dating services and haven’t tried it again. Ugh.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I am sorry to hear about your bad dates, too. I think each experience is a chance to learn something new about ourselves – so I am going to take from this what I can and just move on. 🙂

  9. I’m sorry to hear about this. I know how this goes through. I was in a relationship like this once too, and it was not easy at all. Even my sisters have been through it.

  10. Oh my gosh! I am so glad you had the courage to write this. I am sure that it will help others that find themselves in this situation.

  11. Dawn I am so glad that you were able to get out of the relationship. I have been where you are and it was awful looking back on things. I also felt guilty for talking to a guy friend or even missing a phone call because I was in the bathroom or something. It was silly but it all boiled down to his own insecurities.

  12. So glad that you saw the light in the situation. I’ve been in relationship where I felt similar ways. It is not healthy. Hopefully one day he’ll see what he has been doing .

  13. I’ve never dated anyone controlling. However I have been in an unhealthy relationship. From day to day I couldn’t predict what would happen. I was young and although I stayed much longer than I should I got out. I’m glad you got out as well.

  14. I know someone who was in a situation like this. Turns out he had all sorts of girlfriends on the side the whole time he was insanely jealous of her. You definitely don’t need undeserved anyone who is controlling no matter what the situation is. More people should talk about this to help others break away.

  15. Wow! Thanks for sharing your story. The worst thing about these types of relationships is that they are so deeply ingrained that you dont even see that they re controlling oftentimes until it is either too late or someone close to you tells you. Sharing your story hopefully will help others know the signs.

  16. Rafe Telsch says:

    The more I read this, the more I think he was controlling because you were a side-girl. Especially only talking when he wanted to or cancelling without notice – these are things cheating guys would do because they need to control when you can and can’t infiltrate their real lives. Not saying he wasn’t controlling, but I feel like there was something more significant going on as well.