While the idea that your partner is yours and you are his can be charming and even sweet, when taken to extreme levels, it can be an extension of one partner not trusting the other. “The message of frequent jealous behavior is ‘I don’t trust you—and I don’t want you to talk to anyone I don’t approve of,'” explains Friedemann Schaub MD, PhD, author of The Fear and Anxiety Solution. In other words, the key sign of a possessiveness beyond the norm is isolating you from those you love—those who could possibly convince or talk you out of being with your partner. If you’re the one feeling jealous, here’s how to turn it around.
Boundaries are an important attribute of a healthy relationship—they not only keep us sane when we’re living in close quarters with a significant other, but they provide an outlet for each person in the relationship to maintain his or her individuality. “Boundaries are natural and necessary demarcations of a person’s comfort zone,” Dr. Schaub says. “When your spouse ignores your boundaries—i.e. barging into your home office while you’re answering emails or opening the door to the bathroom without knocking—it indicates that your needs and preferences are not as important as his, which again undermines your self-worth.” On the flip side, here are signs that you’re in a healthy relationship.
Control can infiltrate itself into every facet of your relationship—financially, physically, emotionally, and mentally. While each area of control may look different, the constant assertion of control is a sign that your partner doesn’t respect your ability to handle anything. “Financial control may look like a partner restricting access to your money or credit cards, attempting to control what you spend your money on, or preventing a partner from getting or keeping a job,” explains Kathryn Moore, PhD, psychologist at Providence Saint John’s Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California. “Physical control could be a partner limiting your access to a car, telling you where you can and can’t go or checking the GPS on your phone or your car to see where you have been.” You’ll want to avoid these other habits that destroy trust in a relationship.