10 Signs That You’re Married to a Controlling Husband

By:
Michael Tierney
Updated
June 4, 2022

Marriage is never the most manageable commitment in the world. It is meant to be an equal partnership involving trust, respect, and compromise. Unfortunately, not everyone can see it that way and believes they have the right to exert authority over their spouse.

These uninformed views on marriage are generally held by those who lack respect for their spouse. In the worst-case scenarios, these people become extremely dangerous to their spouses and will attempt to micromanage everything they do. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to take a step back, examine your marriage, and ask if you are married to a controlling husband.

It is not always the simplest thing to figure out, as there will always be a blind spot for those we love.

Solution However, there are some clear-cut signs of what a controlling husband is like and what behaviors they exhibit in these situations. Keeping an eye out for these red flags will make it easier to determine if your husband is controlling or not.

The sooner you understand these red flags, the sooner you can take action to emancipate yourself from him. This article will cover some of the most important signs of a controlling husband that you will want to keep an eye out for.

#1: He Imposes Isolation

Perhaps one of the most common and alarming traits of a controlling husband is that he will attempt to isolate you.

The more people you have in your support chain, the harder it is for a controlling husband to maintain his hold over you. Therefore, he might attempt to cut you off from friends and family to minimize the number of people able to point out his behavior and affect his control. The methods employed to do this can vary but generally involve trying to turn you against them.

Imposing Isolation

He might claim that your friend and family are unsupportive of him and will try to force you to pick sides. Making it seem like cutting them off was your decision. Alternatively, he might try to convince you that your loved ones do not have your best interests at heart and turn you against them. He will relocate you to be as physically far away from them as possible in more extreme cases. If he is distancing you from loved ones and becoming hostile to your family, he might be trying to manipulate your social life to suit his needs.

#2: He Disrespects Privacy

Another surefire sign of a controlling husband will be a distinct disregard for your privacy.

No matter your relationship with anybody, you are entitled to your privacy - this is where the concept of trust becomes critical to a successful marriage. However, a controlling husband will be less inclined to allow you the privacy you deserve to have and will want to have full knowledge of your conversations with others.

Disrespecting Privacy

Your husband will want unrestricted access to your phone, e-mail, and other communication profiles. This way, he will be able to read through any correspondence and ensure there is no risk to his control over you - this is also a sign of disregard for your boundaries. A controlling husband will only focus on his own needs rather than yours.

He will almost certainly become defensive when confronted with this behavior and try to turn things on you. He will espouse an “if you are upset, it’s because you have something to hide” mentality. This tactic is highly manipulative and one of the most distinctive aspects of a controlling husband. This type of behavior should be a priority red flag if you want to avoid being trapped in an unhealthy marriage.

#3: He’s Constantly Insecure

Another significant sign of a controlling husband is likely based on the quality that drove them to such behavior.

A controlling spouse is probably highly insecure in the relationship and will express this through jealousy. This jealousy will lead to excessive levels of paranoia on your husband’s part, and he might try to compete with other men in your life regardless of the lack of romantic entanglement between you and them. Again, this jealousy likely stems from your spouse’s insecurity, which will cause him to lash out and try and sabotage your relationships with male peers.

Constantly Insecure

A red flag behavior is when he dissects every detail of your interaction with other men. If your husband shows unfounded jealousy and paranoia regarding your relationships with other men, his controlling tendencies might worsen. It is crucial to identify and neutralize this behavior as soon as possible.

#4: His Love is Conditional

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of being married to a controlling husband is his ability to offer affection.

Often, a controlling spouse will express love and appreciation when things are going well. However, once a disagreement arises, and you are no longer operating within the bounds of his expectations, he might retract his “love.” This technique is subversive to a good marriage and will pressure you to be the “perfect wife” by adhering to his expectations and requirements.

Conditional Love

A controlling husband will want things to be perfect, even when that is far beyond the realm of possibility. The terrifying part of this is that he will stand by these expectations even when you are struggling mentally and emotionally. When an issue arises for you, he will likely only be present after it is resolved and view it as an “interruption” rather than something he should be supporting you through as you would for him.

#5: He Has a Combative Personality

In a relationship, occasional fighting with your spouse is healthy and allows for issues to be made known so you can resolve them. However, the difference between a healthy fight and an overreaction is not so easily distinguished by people with controlling personalities.

If you are married to a controlling husband, he is liable to pick a fight at every opportunity over the smallest of infractions.

Combative Personality

This behavior is inexcusable and one of the staples of a controlling spouse that could drive a wedge in the relationship. Doing even the slightest thing wrong in your husband’s eyes could explode into a huge argument.

Even the most minor thing like how you organize your side of the bathroom sink could devolve into a huge issue - this is one of the most obvious red flags since your husband cannot pick his battles correctly. These small battles can be exhausting both mentally and emotionally and signify that you need to confront your spouse as soon as possible.

#6: He Can’t Handle Criticism

No one is perfect. Our flaws are just as significant to our personalities as our strengths, and our flaws are part of how we can improve ourselves. Some people, however, are unable to accept the idea that they have done anything wrong and will fight such allegations with tooth and nail.

A controlling husband is unlikely to be any better about taking accountability for their actions.

Cant Handle Criticism

He will shift the blame and try to make you feel like the unreasonable one in the relationship. They will view all criticism as an insult and try to turn the argument back on you by making it about your flaws.

Before long, you might find yourself walking on eggshells to avoid bruising your husband’s ego. Doing so would lead to a significant conflict and another evisceration of any flaws he perceives about you without addressing his own - this can turn your marriage into an unhealthy battlefield for all involved.

#7: He Uses Sexual Coercion

One of the more horrendous characteristics of a controlling husband is sexual coercion - this is a form of sexual abuse in which your spouse attempts to guilt or pressure you into sexual activity. While most men are well aware that sex is meant to be consensual and not expected, a few have more antiquated beliefs.

Sexual Coersion

These beliefs lead controlling husbands to try and pressure you into sex under the foolish notion that marriage obligates you to meet their desires when they expect it.

We want to make it very clear that sexual coercion is not justifiable. It is deplorable when a controlling husband attempts to use it to their advantage. It should be taken as a sign that your husband does not have your best interests at heart and that you should consider getting away from him.

#8: He Controls Your Wardrobe

Clothing yourself is something we learn to do early on in our lives - the way we dress is a way of expressing ourselves that cannot be taken from us. However, when we try to impress someone, we might adjust our style to become more attractive as prospective partners.

When with a controlling spouse, you might find that your control over your wardrobe starts to slip away as your husband tries to exert authority over the clothes you wear.

Control Your Wardrobe

He does this because he might find a particular aesthetic more appropriate for a wife - however, this should never be his decision. Sometimes this is due to his insecurity and worries that you'll appear attractive to other men, and other times this is simply about controlling your life.

A controlling husband will attempt to dispose of any clothing he disapproves of, but he might also control your hairstyle and makeup. This level of micromanagement is the pinnacle of manipulative behavior on a spouse’s part. If your husband attempts to govern your appearance on this unhealthy level, it is a red flag of a marriage doomed to fail.

#9: He Tells Chronic Lies

A controlling husband will use any tool to try and get his way and keep you submissive. More often than not, deception will be one of their preferred tools.

A controlling husband will attempt to lie and deceive you to get what he wants. Alternatively, he does not have faith you can handle the truth.

Chronic Lies

This behavior makes it impossible for you to make an informed decision about important matters and takes your ability to trust away. Another major problem with the lack of honesty is that, when confronted, your husband will become defensive and once again try to turn things on you.

As with most controlling behavior, your husband will try to deflect the blame. He will likely attempt to take power away from your accusations even if it is ultimately founded. He will attempt to make you come off as the controlling one.

#10: He Exerts Emotional Control

A controlling husband will want to control all significant aspects of your personality to suit his needs. Since being in a bad mood will seldom fit his designs, he will attempt to force you into particular emotional states and belittle you for feeling otherwise. If you are sad or angry, he will try to tell you to be happy and grateful for what he has to offer you and the state of your life.

Emotional Control

This type of emotional manipulation makes it impossible for you to express the concerns or issues you have since he will view them as annoying.

Trying to get you to be happy when convenient for him and set aside your emotions when it is inconvenient is the epitome of manipulative behavior.

Learn the Law

Realizing that you have married a controlling man will never be the most comfortable pill to swallow. After all, when you marry someone, it is because you are hoping to establish a partnership founded on mutual love and respect. Unfortunately, some people are too conservative to commit to such an equal partnership.

Learn The Law

We are not saying you should jump headfirst into divorce, of course. Even when you realize that your husband is highly controlling, finding the courage to address the issue can be challenging. There might be a chance that it will be possible to repair your relationship and correct your husband’s ways with conversation and mediation. However, if that is not possible, you should decide what will allow you to be happy.

If your husband is trying to control the way you look, how you act, and who you interact with, he is likely a highly controlling person - this is far from conducive to a loving relationship. You might need to take measures to escape the toxic relationship. Fortunately, information is easier to come across now than it has ever been before. Still, if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or ask about the next steps.

Written By:
Michael Tierney
Michael is a legal writer and graduate of WSU. Prior to becoming a legal writer, he had 6 years of experience as a legal assistant and office manager for a family law attorney. He's written about numerous legal subjects from helping spouses who are stuck in toxic situations to the intricacies of custody battles. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and building custom keyboards.

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