The idea of controlling love in relationships is one that you often hear of but which is seldom explained. The first thing you need to be aware of is that controlling love in relationships is a bad thing – this is not a how-to and it should always be avoided. It’s possible that you are controlling the love in your relationship now, or that your partner is, and in either case it’s important to break this pattern as soon as you can.
What Does it Mean to Control the Love?
While love is an abstract concept, it is still something that can be bartered with, with-held and traded. If someone feels that their love is on the line, then they will be willing to go to great lengths and to make serious changes in order to secure it and avoid losing it. This is where love becomes controlling and where one partner has control of the love – when they are taking the love and using it to make sure that they get what they want. If you have ever refused to kiss someone, or refused to say ‘I love you’ back because they failed to take out the bins or looked at another woman/man, then this is an example of your trying to control the love to get your own way. You are using the love as a form of punishment by taking it away, and by doing this you are changing the dynamic of your relationship and you are actually cheapening that love.
Now most of us would admit to being guilty of doing this on occasion, and it’s understandable that you might not feel like being ultra romantic with your partner if they’ve recently made a pass at your best friend. However it’s when this becomes a petty behaviour, and when you start doing it consciously and often, that the relationship becomes unhealthy.
This then results in the other partner walking on eggshells, and doing anything to try and win their partner’s love and affection and to secure it. This might lead to them going to unreasonable lengths to make their partner happy such as wearing whatever they are ‘told’ to wear. Likewise they might go to bed at a set bed time, might not watch television for enjoyment, and might avoid having any friends of the opposite sex. This is emotional blackmail and manipulation and it makes that partner feel as though they have to abide by the rules if they want to win their other half’s affection. Of course this is a very sad state of affairs – the reason being that love should be independent of particular behaviour – it should indeed be unconditional. Eventually this will crush that person’s self esteem and self worth and it will of course drastically limit their freedom.
How to Even the Balance
So if the love is being controlled in your relationship how do you redress the balance? Well if it’s you who is the controlling party in this relationship then you need to relinquish your control. Apologise for your behaviour and make sure that your partner knows that you love them unconditionally no matter what they do. Don’t turn down their advances as a form of punishment, rather make sure to differentiate between the act and the person. You of course don’t need to do them any sexual favours if they’ve just done something hurtful or destructive, however this doesn’t mean you can’t still remind them you love them and hug. Tell them you’re angry at what they did, but you still love them.
If it is you who is the victim of the controlling relationship however, then this can be more difficult. The first thing to recognise is that the chances are that if you are allowing this to go on, that you have low self esteem and that this is what makes you question their love for you and what makes you feel too afraid to leave. The first thing to do is to build your esteem back up, and a good way to achieve this is by seeing a psychologist who can teach your techniques such as mindfulness and positive affirmations to build your esteem back up.
Your next option is to just get out of the relationship – and to be confident that there is someone out there who will love you unconditionally. However if you want to give your relationship a second chance then there are steps you can take too. The most important thing to do is to be assertive and to get angry rather than sad when you find yourself getting the cold shoulder. Tell them that you are fed up with their controlling nature and if they try to withhold their affections then simple reprimand them and leave the room before continuing doing what you are doing. Chances are that some of their behaviour comes from low self esteem too and if you do this they will often tend to try and re-approach you after time and apologise. It just takes the self esteem and assertiveness to do this.