When Exactly Does a Relationship Become Controlling?

When Exactly Does a Relationship Become Controlling?

Tinsley Mortimer couldn't call Scott Kluth during a game of truth or dare with the ladies. But why?

By Marianne Garvey

A simple (drunken) game of truth or dare turned ugly for Tinsley Mortimer on the latest episode of The Real Housewives of New York City.

Tins had a full-on meltdown, which was really sad to watch, about the state of affairs between her and on-again off-again boyfriend Scott Kluth. First problem, he lives in Chicago. And during the dinner party at Bethenny Frankel's SoHo loft, she reveals he isn't really into the fact that she's so public, and claimed he'd be extremely pissed off if on a dare from the ladies she prank called him. Bethenny opens Tinsley's eyes to the fact that his behavior sounds controlling, and tells her that if she was her very best friend, she'd do everything in her power to get her out of the relationship.

Usually, experts say the line between caring and controlling can get blurred. People don't often see for themselves when the line was crossed, and much like Bethenny, friends and family need to intervene. We asked a few experts how to recognize when you or a loved one is caught in a controlling relationship.

"If something feels uncomfortable or over the top, it is important to pause and really give it some thought. If something doesn’t sit right, it is necessary to bring that to your partner’s attention," Carrie D. Gottlieb, Ph.D told Personal Space. "If they won’t budge or can’t see why you are uncomfortable, that feels like a red flag to me."

Relationship expert Fran Greene, author of Dating Again With Courage and Confidence, says the line starts to become fuzzy when your partner starts questioning your every move. "Say you tell your partner that you went out to dinner with friends last night and she or he says, 'Tell me the truth.' You laugh it off and tell him or her who you went out with, where you went, and what time you came home. A few days later it's something else. A date who mistrusts your every move and accuses you of lying is someone you can never trust."

A few more signs:

"You walk on eggshells when you are with him or her," Greene said. "Do you find yourself always worrying about what you say and what you do because you are afraid that they won't like you, or get angry, or challenge you or put you down? Are you trying to please him, not rock the boat, and doing anything and everything to not make waves? Walking on eggshells will not prevent him or her from getting upset."

Are you the recipient of nonstop disparaging commentary about yourself?

"There is no place in a healthy relationship for relentless negative feedback. It is especially cruel for your partner to criticize something that you can't change," she explained.

"Having a perpetual knot in your stomach, a continuous lump in your throat, and your heart pounding every time you hear from him or her can only lead to an ulcer, high blood pressure and chronic stress. Constant anxiety is not the way you should feel in a healthy relationship," Greene said.

And when there is very little room for your own voice to be heard or your needs met, even with something as small as picking a movie or a restaurant, that is a huge red flag. "If compromise does not exist in your relationship it is time for you to give him or her their walking papers," Greene said.

Have they become your social media police? "Your partner dictates who you can follow, what you can post, who you like, what photos you post etc."

A controlling partner will isolate you from your friends, family, and colleagues. "They want you to be under their scrutiny at all times."

"If you are in a constant state of worry, anxiety, and disappointment, it is time to end the relationship before it destroys you. A harmful relationship chips away at your self-esteem," Greene said. "The longer you stay, the more difficult it is to end it. It takes courage and self-confidence to get out of a dead-end relationship."

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