How to Deal with a Controlling Partner


Are you in a relationship with someone who is overly controlling?

If so, then it can be difficult to manage and maintain the relationship.

It's important to remember that a controlling partner won't change unless they want to, but there are things you can do to help them understand their behavior and why it's not healthy or acceptable.

In this article, we will discuss some tips and strategies for how to deal with a controlling partner.

We will cover topics such as communication skills, setting boundaries, self-care practices, and more. By understanding how your partner behaves and taking steps towards improving your own behaviors and actions, you can start building healthier relationships together.   

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Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Katie (Kate) Castillo, MS, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Acknowledge the Issue 

Identify the ways in which your partner is controlling and confront the behavior.

Acknowledging the issue of a controlling partner is an essential first step in understanding and learning how to effectively manage the situation.

When dealing with a controlling partner, it can be difficult to identify their behavior as it may appear subtle or normalized in your everyday interactions.

It's important to be aware of the signs of controlling behavior within your relationship, such as making decisions without consulting you, monitoring whom you talk to, or punishing you with neglect if something doesn't go their way.

Once these patterns are identified, it's important to confront them head-on so that further conversations about boundaries and expectations can begin.

By recognizing and addressing the problem early on, you can take proactive steps toward restoring balance in your relationship.  

Set Boundaries

There are some ideas you might want to consider when establishing boundaries with your partner.

Setting boundaries is a key part of any healthy relationship. It's about understanding the limits to which you are comfortable and communicating these expectations clearly to your partner.

When it comes to setting boundaries, consider what areas you want them respected in, such as communication style, decision-making processes, and social activities.

Consider how you will respond if your partner crosses a boundary you've established. Being firm with your expectations is important so that they know their behavior isn't acceptable.

Some ideas for boundaries can be:

  • Make sure to clearly communicate your expectations for how you want interactions and decisions within the relationship to be handled.
  • Establish boundaries around who is allowed to make decisions, when those decisions should be discussed and communicated with one another, and what information needs to remain private between the two of you.
  • Decide what topics are open for discussion in the relationship, such as finances or parenting discussions, and set clear parameters so that both partners feel respected and heard.
  • Come up with a plan of action on how to handle disagreements or arguments without resorting to controlling behaviors or tactics.
  • Discuss any changes in behavior as soon as possible so that misunderstandings can be avoided before they become further issues within the relationship.

Seek Professional Help 

If you feel like the behavior has become excessive or extreme, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support on how to best handle the situation.

  • A professional therapist can provide guidance and support on how to best handle the situation.
  • They can help partners identify and confront controlling behaviors so that further conversations about boundaries and expectations can begin.
  • Through counseling sessions, they can help couples learn communication skills to better understand one another and resolve issues in a healthy way.
  • They can also offer strategies for setting boundaries within the relationship while fostering respect between both parties.
  • Therapists are also equipped with tools to help couples reach compromise when there is conflict, such as roleplaying exercises or discussions of different scenarios.
  • Therapists work with individuals and couples to develop self-care practices for managing stress in relationships caused by a controlling partner.

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Express Yourself Openly

Be open and honest with your partner about how their control makes you feel, as well as any potential solutions that could make you both more comfortable in your relationships together.

You may want to say things like, "I need you to respect my decisions and allow me to make them without feeling like I'm being controlled."

Find ways to express yourself that are direct, respectful, and clear. This can help ensure your partner understands your needs and expectations in the relationship. 

Reaffirm Your Self Worth

Remind yourself of your own personal worth and strengths so that you don't get lost in feeling controlled by someone else's opinion or actions.

Reaffirming your self-worth is a critical step when learning how to deal with a controlling partner.

It is easy to become overwhelmed and consumed by the power dynamics in your relationship and lose sight of who you are, what you stand for, and the value you bring to the table.

Reminding yourself of these things can help keep you grounded and remind you that no one has the right to control or dictate your decisions.

  • Take time to focus on yourself and remind yourself of what you're worth.
  • Make a list of things that make you unique and special.
  • Find activities that make you feel empowered and secure.
  • Seek guidance from trusted friends, family members or professionals.
  • Practice self-care and take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Accept compliments with grace and gratitude.
  • Focus on positive thoughts about yourself.

By embracing and investing in yourself, you can find strength during difficult times in your relationship.


Learning how to deal with a controlling partner takes time and patience.

It is important to remember that you have the right to make your own decisions about your life, and no one should ever try to take that away from you.

Be willing to talk openly and honestly with your partner about the issue in order to find solutions that work for both of you.

And, ultimately, make sure that you are taking care of yourself and your needs first.

By doing this, you can establish better communication, understanding and respect in the relationship while avoiding any further power struggles or control issues.

With practice, patience and open dialogue, both partners can learn how to deal more effectively

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July 24th, 2024

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