It is a common misconception that possessive relationships are romantic when in reality they are far from it. Possessiveness in a relationship can cause a great deal of tension and can negatively impact the relationship.
It is understandable that the thought of someone wanting to stay with you, even without expecting anything in return, may seem endearing. But being possessive and controlling in a relationship can be both manipulative and destructive.
Possessive relationships are often inequitable and arise from a fear of losing your partner. Possessiveness can be caused by insecurity, anxiety, or a fear of not being good enough.
A possessive partner can make their partner feel suffocated and it can lead to arguments and resentment. If you’re feeling possessive in a relationship, it’s important to take steps to address the issue.
By understanding the underlying causes of possessiveness in a relationship and why it is an issue, you can work towards a healthier, happier relationship.
Knowing how to recognize and manage possessiveness in a relationship will also help you and your partner build a stronger, more secure relationship.
What is possessiveness in a relationship?
Possessiveness in a relationship refers to an unhealthy level of control and a desire to own your partner. Should you be in a new relationship and your partner is exhibiting possessive behavior this could also be a warning sign of a partner with mental health issues or abusive tendencies
Possessiveness in a relationship can be expressed in many ways, including jealousy, controlling behavior, and insecurity.
Jealousy is linked to excessive feelings of insecurity which cause a desire to be overly protective and possessive. Insecurity unleashes the green-eyed monster and you may react and behave in ways that surprise you and your partner.
Controlling behavior is a desire to micromanage the other person and check up on how they spend their free time.
Insecurity is the need to control the other person to make yourself feel better. The insecurity and the need to hold on to someone leads to trust issues followed by surveillance behaviors which are very destructive for any relationship.
When it comes to relationships, you want to create a feeling of being “ours” and “we” rather than “it’s all about me and you are here for me”.
A healthy relationship is about two people coming together to form “us”. You want to feel like you are a part of the relationship, not that you are the relationship.
Causes of possessiveness
There can be a variety of causes of possessiveness in a relationship, such as a fear of abandonment, a need for control, low self-esteem, and feeling inadequate.
The first step in dealing with possessiveness in a relationship is identifying the cause. Once you understand your underlying feelings of possessiveness, you can then begin to find ways to overcome them.
Fear of abandonment:
If you feel possessive because you are afraid your partner will leave you, then you may be in a relationship where you don’t feel good enough.
This is a sign that you are with the wrong person. But bear in mind that you shouldn’t judge your current relationship based on the experiences of a previous relationship. See your current relationship as a fresh start and don’t bring negative emotions from the past into your current life. Let the past go.
Abusive relationships result in you feeling inadequate and fearing abandonment because your partner is usually always criticizing you and threatening to leave. In this instance, you will have a fear of abandonment as you are being manipulated into feeling inadequate.
Need for control
If you feel the need to control your partner, it indicates that you feel insecure. Why do you feel insecure?
By contemplating the following questions, you will dig deep, reaching a better understanding of your need to control. You will then be able to address the situation more effectively.
- Are you feeling threatened by your partner and if so why?
- Why do you feel the need to control your partner?
- Are you misjudging your partner based on previous relationships?
- Are you being manipulated into feeling insecure?
If you feel the need to constantly micromanage your partner, it is also a sign that you don’t trust them. Do you have reasons for this?
Controlling behavior is not a great way to build close relationships.
If you feel like you need to be overly possessive in a relationship it may be because you don’t feel good enough for your partner. This will be a clear indication that it’s time to work on your self-esteem.
The important thing to understand is that your partner has chosen to be with you because of who you are. You are enough just the way you are.
People who have previously been in abusive relationships often suffer from low self-esteem. Learn to let go of this deep fear of being inadequate as it belongs in the past.
Try to journal or use positive affirmations to build up your self-esteem. Find acceptance in who you are. Building your self-esteem will help you to reduce the need to be possessive.
If you feel like your partner is better than you and you feel a need to control them, it may be due to a fear of being left behind or losing them. Be careful with this one, as it can be a sign of a controlling or abusive relationship. Your romantic partner may be manipulating you into believing that they are better than you and that you are lucky to have them in your life.
Don’t allow your inner critic to get the better of you. Your inner critic will feed you negative thoughts of inadequacy that will sabotage the relationship and realize your worst fears.
Being too reliant or too dependent on your partner will result in you feeling vulnerable. As a result, you will become possessive. If you are feeling possessive in the relationship, it is always best to develop some form of inherent independence whether it be financial, a group of friends, or family so that your partner is not the center of your world. With an inherent social support structure set in place, you should feel less dependent on your partner and hopefully less possessive.
Lack of Loyalty and Trust
Do you have feelings of possessiveness due to a lack of loyalty and trust? If so, do you have a reason?
It is very difficult to build any committed relationship without the foundations of loyalty and trust. The lack of loyalty and trust are red flags of an abusive relationship.
The best way to move forward from here is to determine where the feelings of disloyalty and the lack of trust originate and ensure that they are not from your past relationship.
A sign of an unhealthy level of jealousy is when you feel the need to control or check up on the other person. Instead of trusting that your partner loves and respects you, you are constantly suspicious. This suspicion may lead to you checking your partner’s social media accounts and text messages which will impact the relationship negatively. Your partner needs to feel that they have their own personal space.
If you are in a relationship and are feeling jealous, controlling, and insecure, you may be feeling vulnerable. This vulnerability will result in you being possessive of your partner which will ultimately damage the relationship. Try to have an honest conversation with your partner and express your vulnerability.
Understanding and identifying underlying causes of Possessiveness in a relationship
In order to address possessiveness, you must first understand why you are feeling this way. The following questions can help you better understand the causes of your possessiveness in the relationship.
- What is making you feel insecure in this relationship?
- What are you looking for in the relationship that you are not receiving?
- What is causing you to feel inadequate?
- What do you need from your partner that you are not getting?
- What does your partner need from you that you are not giving?
Once you understand why you feel possessive, you can put in the work towards a healthier, happier relationship.
How to address your feelings of possessiveness
Recognize and acknowledge the signs of possessiveness: Don’t ignore how you feel. If you are feeling the need to control or are feeling jealous, acknowledge it and talk to your partner about it.
When dealing with possessiveness in a relationship, you should focus on building trust, improving communication, and strengthening your self-esteem.
Trust is key to overcoming possessiveness.
You must first learn to trust yourself before you can trust your partner. It’s one of the keys to overcoming possessiveness in a relationship. Trust your partner and focus on building that trust with them. Don’t let your feelings of insecurity get in the way.
When you are feeling threatened or possessive, communication becomes difficult. You must learn to open up and share your feelings with your partner. It’s important to talk about your feelings and recognize when you are feeling insecure and what you need to do to overcome those feelings.
Talk about what’s making you feel this way and find a solution together.
If your partner guilt trips you into believing that you are crazy, is dismissive of your feelings or they are not interested in the open dialog you may be in an abusive relationship.
Improve your self-esteem
If you don’t feel good enough, you will be prone to feeling jealous and possessive in a relationship. You must learn to love yourself and feel that you are worthy of the relationship that you are currently in.
Invest in yourself
One of the best ways to deal with a feeling of possessiveness is to spend some time alone investing in yourself. Take care of yourself by doing the things that make you happy and boost your self-esteem. Spend time with family members and develop your own support system. Invest time in your career and develop your skill set so that you don’t feel so reliant on your partner.
Feelings of anxiety
You may be feeling anxious about being hurt in a relationship and have the desire to be possessive of your partner as a way of protecting yourself. The root of the problem usually exists in past traumas and past experiences. These feelings of anxiety belong to the past. Don’t allow them to damage your current relationship.
Dealing with possessiveness in a healthy way
Identify the signs
It’s important to recognize when you are being overly possessive. It’s not about your partner loving you or being part of the relationship, it’s about them feeling suffocated. For a happy relationship to exist and grow, learn to let go of the past and focus on the healthy aspects of your current relationship.
Take responsibility for your feelings
If you feel like you need to check up on your partner or are feeling jealous, take a look at yourself and see what’s making you feel this way. Deal with the deep roots of the problem, so that you can overcome the feelings of possessiveness.
Focus on giving your partner what they need
Don’t dwell on what you want or need. Focus on giving your partner what they need and making them feel loved. A good healthy relationship is based on reciprocal values of mutual trust and love.
Learning to trust and communicate more
If you struggle with possessiveness in a relationship, you may have a hard time trusting your partner and communicating your feelings. The following tips will help you communicate better and build trust.
Focus on your feelings
If you feel possessive, don’t ignore it. Understand why you are feeling possessive, where those feelings are coming from and how can you address those feelings to avoid reacting with possessiveness.
Take responsibility for your feelings
Acknowledge and accept that you are feeling possessive. If you hold on to possessiveness and allow it to fester your possessiveness will become worse and your partner will feel claustrophobic and this will be detrimental to the relationship.
Let go of the past
It’s normal to worry about the future and have fears about your relationship. It’s not normal if you are constantly worried about something happening in your relationship based on something that happened to you in the past that you have been unable to let go of.
Possessiveness in an abusive relationship
Emotional abuse in a relationship is designed by your manipulative partner to wear you down, break down your self-esteem and confidence and make you feel insecure and jealous.
These intentional mind games are played so that your abusive partner is able to control you more easily. Emotional abuse will result in you being possessive. Please bear this in mind and ensure that your relationship has a healthy foundation and is not abusive.
Seeking help from a professional
While you can try to manage possessiveness on your own, it can be a difficult and draining process. If you find that you are struggling to manage your possessiveness, consider seeking help from a professional.
A therapist can help you deal with the underlying causes of your possessiveness and help you work towards a healthier relationship.
Accepting that you are being possessive is the first step towards making a change for the better.