He Isn't Adorably Protective, He's Actually Obsessively Controlling

by Gigi Engle

“Awww! BAE is so cute. He just asked me what I’ve eaten today.”

SQUEEE or vomit? Chivalrous or creepy? Protective or obsessive?

I think we can all agree that guys are naturally protective. It’s sweet, really. It’s just natural.

They want to take care of you, right? Women nurture; men hunt and fight.

As David Wexler, PhD and author of “When Good Men Behave Badly,” told Cosmo that men have evolved to protect their clan — their family.

Hence, many men wouldn't hesitate to jump between you and a bullet.

We ladies love when our men are being “adorably protective.” We love when they consistently make sure we’re happy.

It warms our hearts when they do cute little things for us and constantly tell us how much we mean to them.

But sometimes this behavior isn't so sweet and cute. And if it rings true for your guy, he could have ulterior motives.

There is a difference between caring for someone's well-being and making a person feel helpless. There is a difference between checking in on you and checking UP on you.

There is a difference between wanting you to be your best self and controlling your every life choice and decision.

Did your boo punch that guy in the bar because the creepy new dude was disrespecting you? Or did he punch that guy in the bar because your boyfriend — and not you — felt threatened?

You want to be with a guy who brightens your shine, not one who dims it.

You want to be with a man who encourages your dreams, not one who tries to tell you what your dreams should be.

You deserve a guy who makes you happy, not one who makes you complacent.

Stop making excuses for him if he’s being a dick. Decode his behavior.

Guess what, ma? He’s not being adorably protective. He’s being obsessively controlling.

He’s not texting you to see how you are; he’s texting you to see where you are.

If he’s constantly up your butt about your location, homeboy has got something going on… and it isn’t good. Don’t misconstrue his constant messages as a sign that he’s ultra-committed to you.

"Keeping tabs" is just an excuse to track your every move. Your boyfriend doesn't want you in places where he can't see you.

If he’s asking you to share you location on a regular basis, he’s a stage-5 clinger. He doesn’t call you all the time because he cares; he calls you all the time because he doesn’t trust you.

Expert tip: Delete any GPS trackers off your phone. 'Cause you know he is looking at that sh*t.

He's not telling you to take off your makeup because you look good without it. He just doesn't want other people hitting on you.

I am immediately suspicious if a guy tells me to stop wearing makeup. I know it's not because he wants me to feel like a natural beauty. He just wants to make sure other guys won't notice me.

A guy also might try to overfeed you in order to divert other men's attention. As my sister always says, “Your partner is always going to try to make you fat so you can never leave him.”

He wants to make you feel like he’s the only one who will validate you. If you’re getting that validation from someone else, you don’t need him.

He’s not keeping you from your friends to spend more time with you; he’s doing it to isolate you.

One of the surefire signs of a controlling BF: He keeps you away from your social circle.

He gains power over you by increasing your dependence on him. Don’t misconstrue his neediness for unyielding devotion.

He’ll keep you from your girlfriends until he becomes the only support in your life. A good boyfriend encourages you to see your friends; he doesn’t seclude you from them.

He’s not innocently wondering who’s commenting on your Instagram; he’s stalking your every move on Instagram. #NoFilter

If a guy “casually” asks you about an arbitrarily comment from another guy on your Instagram photo... Oh, girl, you better run.

Your boyfriend is trying to figure out this man's place in your life. Your guy is obviously very insecure. And that's not cute; it's sad and weird.

He doesn’t put his arm around you to be affectionate; he puts his arm around you because he thinks he owns you.

Have you ever been with a guy who feels the need to touch you constantly? It's like he believes it's necessary to keep a (literal) hand on you every second.

He seems to be under the impression that if he lets you fly free for a moment, you'll float away — into the arms of another strapping young gentleman.

Your guy wants the world to know he is YOUR boyfriend and that you BELONG to him. He's not being cuddly because you're so irresistible. He doesn't want you to forget your place.

He didn’t like your guy friend’s comment because it was funny; he liked it to be passive-aggressive.

We all passive-aggressively “like” things. He did this to send you a message. He doesn't want to admit he's pissed, but he wants you to know that he saw the comment and is not happy about it.

Don’t give him the satisfaction of talking about it. He wants you to bring it up. (Oh, the tangled web — Web — we weave.) Love is so exhausting.

He isn’t ordering your food to be a gentleman; he’s trying to show you he’s in control of what you do.

Once, on a date, the guy I was with ordered for me. I was impressed. What a gentleman!

And then I thought about it for a second.

Why wouldn't he ask me what wanted to eat? What if I wanted a steak — and not a Caesar salad that this assh*le presumed I would enjoy?

This is a big "no." A guy is not ordering for you because you are a dainty, delicate female who needs care. He’s doing it because he is domineering in all the wrong ways.

He’s not teaching you new things; he’s trying to make you feel stupid.

It’s very important to be with someone who challenges you.

Arguing is good for the mind, and having a partner who intellectually stimulates you is vital to a healthy relationship. A love that learns is the greatest kind of love.

But learning from each other is different from preaching without any intent to listen.

If your boyfriend belittles you for your beliefs, he isn’t engaging in a healthy discussion. He’s just trying to tear you down.

He should engage you. He shouldn't make you feel dumb. He should make you want to delve into discussions. You shouldn't fear talking because he always lashes out at you.

He’s not just finishing your sentences; he’s talking for you.

Speaking over someone is a huge insult. It makes me cringe. I’ve called out boyfriends and friends for not LISTENING.

If he doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, his heart is not in the right place.

Sure, finishing each other’s sentences is grotesquely adorable. But when he’s the one who does all the talking, it’s just grotesque.

If his voice represents his AND yours, yours will inevitably get lost. He shouldn't speak over you, and he definitely shouldn't "allow" you to speak. Only you have the right to decide what you say.

He’s not teasing you; he’s stripping you of your confidence.

Is your boyfriend constantly putting you down instead of building you up? When he consciously trivializes everything you do, he's no good for you. You can't disguise vicious insults as "teasing."

Sure, we're all critical. But if he's not changing after you point out his behavior, you're in the danger zone.

Teasing is dangerous, and people use it to justify being mean. Your boyfriend might try to make you feel crazy for feeling offended, a tactic called "gaslighting."

If you spend time with your boyfriend and walk away feeling upset and bad about yourself, there is definitely something wrong in paradise.