By Dawn Marie
Too much attention is not always a good thing.
He picks you up, presents you with roses, opens your door, takes you to an elegant restaurant, and endlessly compliments you throughout the night. He repeatedly tells you, his voice laced with incredulous wonder, that he can’t believe you agreed to go out with him since you’re so far out of his league. He treats you like a princess and it’s flattering.
It’s a refreshing change to feel so appreciated, especially if you’ve dated a few self-absorbed, insensitive jerks in the past. You begin to think that maybe he’s “the one.” But then things head south. His sweet attentiveness turns to overwhelming obsession.
It no longer feels like he treasures and cherishes you; it feels like overbearing possessiveness. Suddenly, it seems to take all your energy to assure (and reassure and reassure again) your man that you love him. It’s sucking the life out of you.
1. He has no outside friends or interests.
He never mentions any friends and doesn’t hang out with anyone but you. Outside of work, he has no interests or hobbies. He doesn’t go to the gym, play any sports, take any classes, volunteer or go to church. When he isn’t with you, he’s sitting at home thinking about you. Or maybe he did have friends and hobbies at one time, but he gave them all up in order to spend every minute with you.
2. He thinks you still have feelings for your ex.
He’s convinced you aren’t over your ex, even if you’ve been divorced/broken up for years and the only feelings you have for him are disappointment, pity, loathing, disgust, and a smidgen of residual hatred. His insecurity is so overwhelming that he can’t see reason and will convince himself that you couldn’t possibly love him, so the only “logical” conclusion is that you’re still in love with your ex.
3. He tells you he loves you right away.
Very early in the relationship, he professes his undying love for you. Part of you feels like Rudolph when Clarice tells him he’s cute. You could fly through the air while shouting, “He loves me! He loves me! He loves me!” But the sane part of you feels like, He loves me? Wait, what? This is our second date. That’s crazy-talk.
It takes time to get to know someone enough to love them and if your new boyfriend is telling you he loves you right off the bat, it should sound warning bells, especially if he pressures you into saying it back to him.
4. He tells you that you’re his everything.
You’re his world, the center of his universe, his reason for living. At first it may seem flattering to be valued so highly, but being the center of one’s world, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That’s too much pressure to live up to. And what happens when you hit a bump in the road in your relationship? When things aren’t going smoothly, his world falls apart. He falls apart because you are his world.
5. He needs constant validation.
He frequently asks you questions like, “Do you love me?” He fishes for compliments. Then when you assure him that you do find him attractive, he doesn’t believe you. Everyone likes to hear that they’re loved, pretty, talented, attractive, intelligent and desired, but his needs go beyond those of the rest of us. He generally suffers from low self-esteem, which incidentally is the driving force behind many of his insecure behaviors.
6. He’s jealous of your friends.
He’s jealous of the time you spend with your friends. He doesn’t like you to meet coworkers after work for happy hour, he doesn’t like you going shopping with girlfriends, and heaven forbid you have any platonic relationships with men. He frequently calls and texts to check up on you when you’re out without him.
At first, his possessiveness may make you feel special and wanted. But after some time, that possessiveness will become exasperating when you feel you can’t do anything with your friends without upsetting him.
7. He threatens to breakup with you.
He plays this sort of game wherein he threatens to leave or break up with you. He says things like, “I don’t feel wanted” or, “I don’t think you really love me.” He doesn’t really want to end the relationship; he’s hoping you’ll beg him to stay. If you do, it validates his fragile ego. If you don’t, he’ll take it all back and do whatever he can so he doesn’t lose you.
He’s just testing your devotion to him and demanding that validation he so craves. Eventually, you’ll either be stuck in this unhealthy relationship or you’ll tire of this little game and gladly let him leave the next time he threatens it.
8. He talks about his exes and how they cheated on him.
According to him, his exes never really loved him. He insists that in every past relationship, he was the innocent victim. No one loved him. They used him and cheated on him. This may be true and the reason why he’s so insecure, or it may be in his head because of his insecurity.
If you’re a sympathetic person who feels the need to protect and champion the underdog, his tales of woe will tug at your heartstrings. You may decide that you’ll never be the one to leave or hurt him. But take the stories of his exes as a warning if you don’t want to feel guilted into staying in a bad relationship.
9. He stalks you on Facebook and other social media.
He’s always aware the very second you post a status update on Facebook, a tweet, or an Instagram post. He follows you and always knows what you’re up to. He may even get upset if he reads what you’re up to on Facebook when you didn’t tell him personally before posting it for everyone to read. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, there’s just something a little creepy about being stalked.
10. He checks your phone.
He looks over your shoulder when you receive a text. He may nonchalantly ask who you’re texting or he might outright demand to see your phone. He oftentimes feels like you’re hiding something from him if you’re on your computer or phone, even if you’re just checking your work email or texting a girlfriend a recipe for lasagna.
11. He smothers you with attention and gifts.
At first, you’re swept off your feet by his sweet thoughtfulness. But after a while you start to question his lavish gifts and attention. Is he motivated to give you gifts out of pure love, or out of a desire to buy your affection and ensure you won’t leave him?
12. He thinks you’re being unfaithful.
He can’t quite shake his suspicions that you’re cheating on him. He may accuse you of flirting with the waiter, having an affair with a coworker, or just looking around for someone better. It isn’t necessarily that he doesn’t trust you; it’s more about him feeling like he’s not good enough for you so it’s just a matter of time until you find someone better.
13. He gets upset if you can’t be with him every day.
Within minutes of leaving after your date, he’ll text you that he misses you. At first, his attention is so sweet. Who doesn’t want to feel so desired? It doesn’t take long to start feeling overwhelmed with his obsessive attention.
He wants to see you every day and gets upset if you have other responsibilities that take you away from him. He has a way of making you feel guilty if you need to work, run errands, or meet a friend and can’t go out with him.
14. His moods depend on you.
It’s normal and it’s a good thing to be sensitive to the moods of your partner, but with an insecure man, his mood will be totally dependent on you. If you’re happy and loving toward him, he will be in a good mood.
If you’re frazzled, trying to juggle a thousand things, and don’t have time to constantly assure him that you’re in love with him, he’ll be sad and depressed. His co-dependent behavior puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on you to always make sure you’re in a good mood so he doesn’t get down.
15. He’s overly sensitive to criticism.
No one likes to be criticized, but insecure people take even the kindest, most constructive criticism really badly. They have low self-esteem and cannot bear to have their suspicions about themselves validated when someone points out a flaw.
If you open up and tell your partner that he’s smothering you and you need a little time alone, he’s likely to turn it around on you. Instead of listening to your concerns, reflecting on his behavior and promising to back off a little to give you space, he’s more likely to turn it around.
Originally appeared on yourtango.com