dear sharideth: letter #9

this particular question comes from someone i know well.  and by well, i mean has spent Thanksgiving in my house and slept on my floor.  so if it sounds like i know stuff you don’t and am taking liberties, i do and i am.

Dear Sharideth

Am I being controlled or just think I am?

Every heard of the 7 year itch?  Well I have the 7 month itch.  Or 4 month…I don’t do well in relationships and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because I’m feeling trapped, controlled, forced to do things.  Now this is funny because I’m a control freak, so I’m doing most of the planning etc., but when I think of it, I think I am sometimes.

Like having to ask permission to go see a friend on my off day.  But I don’t need permission to do what I want.  I am a “free spirt” and have a hard time with irrational authority.  If there’s a good reason for me not to do something, I won’t, otherwise…why can’t I just do errands without checking in?  I already told you I’m shopping for food and have doc appointments, so why do you need to know my every move?

Is he checking in or watching my every move?  I guess its a boundary/freedom issue; hence why when I feel like I’m being herded like cows to the slaughter house, I get that wild look in my eyes and want to bolt.

I’m torn between these things.  To me its a fine line?  Am I over reacting?

Sincerely,

Sharideth’s Friend You Don’t Know But She Does

dear SFYDKBSD,

are you a control freak?  yes.  do you have a tendency to overreact, especially if things don’t go as you think they should?  can i get a y to the e a h?  or shall we just make that a straight up “oh hell yeah”?  all of the above?  nailed it?  oh and honey child, you don’t just have a problem with irrational authority.  anybody who tries to tell you what to do is going to get a big ol’ dose of talktothehanditis.

okay, i’ll stop.  that said, i am concerned about his need to know where you are and what you’re doing all the time.  that is controlling behavior.  having to ask permission to go hang with a friend is not normal.  nor is it healthy.  same with having to list out your errands.

what is healthy is allowing him first dibs on your time off OR making sure you give him the courtesy of advanced notice if you’re going to hang with friends.  this will help him feel more secure and possibly curb some of the controlling behavior.  controlling behavior doesn’t necessarily mean a controlling person.  it can mean an insecure person.

and i know you, doll face.  if you feel pinched, you’re going to not just balk, but kick the crap out of the imaginary fences you think someone is trying to lock you into.  you fight first, listen later.

so here’s my suggestion…

for now, calm down.  give him the benefit of the doubt.  try giving him fair warning about how you’re going to spend your time and ask him if he had something in mind already.  do not throw down and go all “i don’t have to ask permission” on him.  you don’t have to ask permission, but you do have to respect the relationship you’ve committed to.

if he continues the controlling behavior once you’ve given him no reason to be insecure and stopped being combative, then it’s time to get concerned.

although mild, this behavior can be indicative of an abuser and i don’t want to make light of that.  however, knowing your “free spirit” as i do, the odds of that compared to him being insecure and you overreacting are pretty small.

chill out.  communicate.  let him have his say and try to work on a compromise.

all my love,

sharideth

okay my brilliant readers, what did i miss?  what would you say to my friend?

now don’t you wish you knew me in person so i could gnaw on you like rawhide?

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14 comments on “dear sharideth: letter #9

  1. Jenn says:

    Okay, so my gut reaction is RUN. I know Sharideth has a normal person’s reaction to the situation and as such it is probably the sanest course of action, however, as someone who has escaped (I do not use that word lightly in this context) a controlling fiance (now ex) my opinion differs.

    I do not think that there is a ever a reason that justifies someone checking up on you at all times. My ex-fiance felt that I was going to cheat because quite frankly he had issues. I later came to realize in his heart he believed all women who liked him were sl*ts, all destined to cheat and break his heart. I didn’t know that in the beginning so I didn’t mind that he always wanted to know where I was, it was nice to have someone care to know. But then it started to veer insidiously into the realm of I need to talk to you every waking minute whether you’re at work, with other people or whatever. I would feel like I could never do anything without checking in. Then I could never defend my decisions and it went on and on and on.

    I would say SFYDKBSD, that if you seriously think the guy is amazing on every other front then sit him down with another (sane) couple – like Sharideth and her spouse (e.g. people who do not have a bizarre co-dependent relationship) and talk about how you feel and find out why he feels he must know your actions. Maybe it is an issue of insecurity that has nothing to do with you (which is a big red flag) or maybe there is just simply a communication issue that you two can work to resolve. If that doesn’t work then cut it off. Just don’t keep waiting and hoping it will get better – it won’t and you don’t want to get to where I have to had to go – the changing numbers, blocking him and threatening a restraining order.

  2. Riggs says:

    great topic. also, what if your person has a huge problem with you spending time with good friends of the opposite sex? i have a few genuinely good friends who are female, but i wasn’t “allowed” to be with them one on one. is that okay? i don’t think so. your thoughts?

    • that is something the two of you need to have a serious but open conversation about. you need to hear why she’s not okay with it and she needs to know she can trust you. you also need to ask yourself if your girl friends are more important to you than your girlfriend and why that might be.

      no right or wrong answer, just be honest with her and yourself.

    • Lynne says:

      My ex expressed concern to me a couple times about the fact that a good majority of the friends he met were men. He thought it was weird. He said he felt like he had to show a lot of PDA in front of them to “claim me.” He generally didn’t like PDA either. I can’t really help that in my field, over half of my work/artist colleagues/friends are male. And I think it’s ridiculous that if one finds a kindred spirit to share laughs and life with that it should matter whether they are the opposite sex or not.

  3. Chris says:

    And not just gnaw on us like rawhide, but in PUBLIC! 🙂

    I’d add that it’s best to get this sorted out now, before marriage, rather than after, when she may have promised to “love, honour, and OBEY”, depending on which set of vows they take.

    And I’d say that friends are still important after you’ve found your honey. It’s best if the new honey gets to enjoy the friends too, but there’s only so much time in the day.

    How can I put it? You want your relationship to be so great that there is never a time you do not want your honey around. You want your mutual confidence in each other to always be so high that you just know that you know that your honey has your back. And you want both of these things to be true, no matter where either of you happen to be at any point in time, whether together or apart.

    The default state should be restful confidence that you love each other, always expecting and assuming the best from each other.

    Just my $0.02.

  4. G Fresh says:

    Awww…you’ve never gnawed on ME like rawhide. Does that mean we’re not really friends? SMH

    😉

  5. I have been in an obssessive, controlling relationship like Jen describes. It sucks like nothing else and, rightly or wrongly, I’ve always handled other relationships with that in mind.

    When I first started seeing the guy who is now my husband I told him that my view of relationships is that if you don’t trust the person you’re with, then what’s the point of being with them? As I have always worked in predominantly male jobs the vast majority of my friends are men, and I found that saying this right from the start neatly opened the door to me still being able to spend time with them without any issues. I don’t see as much of them as I used to (and would like, to if I’m honest) but I do still get out biking and canoeing with them fairly regularly.

    My husband works weeks and I frequently have to work weekends with time off during the week so when we do have time off together I make a point of spending that time with him, sometimes exclusively, sometimes with other, mutual, friends involved too. But the fact that I am happy and willing to devote that time to him takes a lot of pressure off when I go out with other friends when he is at work.

    That’s my way of handling it, and it seems to work pretty well for us so far. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

  6. This seems pretty straightforward… she is a control freak (self-described) then she has to expect the same behavior from her partner and deal with it like an adult.

    If he puts up with her control freak behaviors, then he’s a chump.

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