Obsessive and Controlling Behaviour?

It’s easy to become overbearing and exert unhealthy control in a relationship. But if we’re not careful, we can soon end up obsessive and distrusting, and fall from grace in our partner’s eyes.

Perhaps this is why you find yourself single (or soon will if you don’t change.)

Obsessive behaviour often starts around the short to mid-term stages of dating. At the point you find yourself most in-love and head-over-heals.

A common sign you’re at this stage is when you spend as much time together as possible.

It is at this point the thought of losing him or her terrifies you so deeply you lose sense of proportion. And dignity, too.

This massively weakens your position.

Losing Your Perspective

A couple are lying on the ground. Their heads are turned to face each other. Her hand is touching his head.

When you worry your lover will leave you, fear takes the driving seat. Your focus will then narrow and fixate on your partner. You lose perspective and develop an obsessive character.

You may not realise it, but he or she became your whole world. And in your obsession, you traded all sense of perspective. You became a different version of yourself. And your lover could not love this version.

If I were a betting man, I’d wager you developed unhealthy notions about your partner. You likely saw things that were not there. As though your rational mind took a holiday.

For example, you might be out together and you don’t like how other guys or girls are looking at your lover. You hate that they will see what you do. Or you think they are “undressing them with their eyes,” flirting… and wait, is your partner encouraging it?

Maybe, maybe not.

The point is, you are not coming from a stable place to judge because of the narrow view you’ve adopted.

As a result of your obsessive and controlling behaviour, your lover felt suffocated.

Desperate for breathing space, he or she sought distance with you. Yet in your state, this only made you more clingy. So you further suffocate them. Soon, a breaking point is reached, and they can’t take it anymore and break up with you.

Does that sound familiar? While the specifics will be unique for you, the outline is accurate for many.

When the person you love becomes your “one and all” to an unhealthy degree? The damage potential for yourself is greater. If he or she was “all your world?” To be abandoned by them, or no longer intimate with them… or the thought they might be intimate with another?


It’s hard to go through this under normal conditions, all rejection hurts. But from an emotionally unbalanced, obsessive or controlling state? You feel a greater, exaggerated loss.

The Two Paths at Breakup

The following applies if you have broken up. If you haven’t, use it to learn a useful lesson. It could be crucial.

Let me talk about the two paths that follow a breakup.

When your ex felt crowded by you, the smartest thing to have done at the breakup point is give the space they desired.

That would be path one.

By extension, the worst thing you could have done would be to increase your intensity and crowd him or her.

Path two.

Path one removes stress from the situation. Creating space and opportunity for a willing return. Path two adds stress, causes more damage, and pushes them away with more resolve to stay away.

Those are the two paths.

It’s cruel, but out of the two, which do you think is the more popular? Yes, it’s the 2nd. And odds are you also chose the 2nd path. Calling and texting your ex multiple times each day. Adding pressure to the situation rather than taking it away.

The thing is, you’re only acting and behaving in the manner you feel most natural. You are not forcing yourself. You’re driven to do it by volatile emotions. It’s miserable but you are suffering great pain, and the breakup has sent your life into a spin.

Bottom line: It’s not reasonable to expect you to act any different without a sharp prod in the right direction.

How to Get Your Ex Back After Being Controlling?

Irrespective of what you’ve done, there’s still a chance you both will reunite. And what that chance will be depends on what you do next.

Will you prepare by soaking up knowledge and actioning what you learn?

Those who do, increase their chance of success. And not just in getting back together but in staying together too.

Your Next Step: Do the Opposite!

The first place to start is with the unhealthy obsessiveness you have with your ex.

Naturally, it would help if you ceased all possessive behaviours. Including contacting him or her. Hence, you give them the space they need.

Space includes a break from sending emails, text messages, and social media interactions.

Keep in mind: If controlling and obsessive behaviour broke you up? You will need the opposite qualities to get them back.

This step requires willpower to see it through, and some of you will refuse to do it. I won’t say “ignore this at your peril,” though I might think it (wink.)

Now Become Obsessed with Life Outside Your Ex

After you have given your ex space, the next step is to turn down the “my ex is everything,” dial. And then turn up the, “me and the rest of the world,” dial.

You do this by “sitting on your butt” and using your head to see reason.

You must widen your focus so you no longer hold a narrow-view of your ex.

Before, when narrowing your view to him or her, you excluded your friends and family from your life. And possibly your work and hobbies, too.

Now is your opportunity to reverse this unfortunate side-effect.

Become obsessed with looking after yourself, your friends, family, and your work.

Besides, at this fragile time in your life you want to have friends and family around you.

From Possessive to Devoted

Weaning yourself off your ex is no easy task. It is a tendency after the breakup to hold a better-than-reality version of your ex in your mind.

Are you glossing over many of their not-so-ideal aspects?

Do you have obsessive thoughts about your ex?

If yes, this doesn’t help your cause. As such, some find it helpful to identify all the bad points of their ex, and write a list they can later refer to.

Having a little reminder of how “normal” your ex is can help address this common phenomenon.

You must regain control of your emotions if you are to succeed. Whether that’s in winning your ex back, and keeping them… or deciding you’re better off as you are, and moving on.

While many couples reunite? Those who do not resolve the original problem(s) are likely to become single again. And fast. Make sure this is not you.

When you contact your ex again, swap the weak force of possession with the strong power of devotion.

Be a devoted man or woman with a healthy respect for boundaries, and your ex will feel calmer in your presence. From there, your ex may begin to see the idea of a second chance is not nearly as scary as it once was.

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About the author: I’m a relationship coach with a focus on breakup recovery. I’ve been doing this for 13 years, helping thousands of people worldwide. I created the Breakup Dojo, a popular resource with over 1,000 members. I’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. I also publish the “Ex-Communication” newsletter, providing over 10,000 subscribers worldwide with actionable advice.