Control is an aspect of relationships that has victimized me a few times. It's this false sense of power you may unwillingly — or willingly — give another person in the name of love, balance or stability.
It's bullshit, to be honest, but we must call a spade a spade.
In my experience, it was not being confident enough to stand up for myself. It was dating an older man who made me think he knew what was best for me. It was dating someone who was so self-conscious, we fought over his inability to control me.
It's a hard truth to admit, but being in my late 20s now, I can identify when I have a partner who is trying to control me. Here are a five things you should never allow your SO to control in your relationship:
1. What you wear
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the more confident and powerful a person becomes, the more self-conscious partner in the relationship will try to dim the other's light.
What you wear is just one aspect of control.
Your personal style is your own, and whether you want to wear turtlenecks or bare it all in a sheer jumpsuit, your body is yours to own.
I think input from a partner can be helpful in terms of choosing the right outfit for an occasion, but you should never be told "I don't want you wearing that," or "If you wear that, XYZ..."
Just think of it like this: Would Beyonce let Jay Z tell her not to wear curve-hugging, booty-baring jumpsuits? I think not.
2. What you post on social media
I treat social media with the same respect I do my phone: It's mine, it's private and I will do with it what I please.
Your partner should never regulate what you're posting, why you post it or shame you for it — whether it's 10,000 selfies, inspirational quotes, fitgrams or a celebrity-filled collage. It's yours.
There should be discussion if your relationship is or is not social media-worthy (what you post about each other/share) but that's about it.
Exchanging passwords is also a NO.
While you give many things in a relationship, your not obligated to forfeit social media accounts.
I like to use Chrissy Teigen as my social media muse. She tells it like it is, and I'm sure John Legend raises his eyebrows from time to time, but he wouldn't dare tell her not to post something.
3. How many friends of the opposite sex you have
Lord, this has always given me a headache because I have a lot of guy friends.
This says nothing about me, my character or the type of woman I am — it just means I have friends who are guys.
If you have all guy/girl friends, great. No harm, no foul. I'm pretty sure your partner knows this before jumping into a relationship.
Being in a relationship doesn't make the outside world disappear — at least a healthy relationship doesn't.
Anyone who will ask you to choose or give you ultimatums because he or she isn't comfortable with your company should probably hit the road.
4. If your career doesn't align with his or hers
This one is hard, but I stand by it.
There are many components to building your future, and I'm a firm believer until you have a ring on your finger or whatever you believe is "the next step," your partner is a factor, but not the judge/jury on your decision — whether it's taking a promotion or changing careers altogether.
It should never be "It's me or x."
A good partner will support your growth and cheer your successes, not make your growth about him or her.
I'm not advocating for choosing money over love. I'm not ruthless here. I'm just saying there are ways to make it work, and you shouldn't be boxed in by control.