Ask Eve: My Boyfriend Is Acting Possessively And I Don’t Know What To Do

Hi Eve,

I’ve been with my current boyfriend now for about 8 months, we met on Tinder and things (for the most part) have been going great. In the early few months of being together things were pretty bad, I suffer from depression and he from bipolar, so needless to say, when arguments did happen, they happened big.

I love to guy to bits and things have been better for a number of months but there are certain things we used to clash over in a big way that I can’t help but run over and over in my head frequently. The first was my phone, I used to be a relatively popular but there were a lot of arguments about the amount I was on my phone around him which I completely understood and rightly so.

I made an effort to stop looking at my phone so much when we were together. But then it transpired it wasn’t just me looking at my phone but the amount my phone would go off around him. He didn’t like that I had so many people to talk to when he was a relative introvert with few friends. So now when I’m around his my phone is always on silent and in another room to where we are. The phone incident also lead him to believe I was cheating on him.

When I was at university I did cheat on my boyfriend but having left university a while ago I realise how stupid I was and have no desire to do anything of the likes again. Anyway, as a result of the arguing about him suspecting me of cheating, my friendship circle has depleted a lot after having to cut many guys out of my life because of it. After meeting and hating some of my friends, I’m now hesitant to hang out with him so I just have no social life outside of him anymore.

Thirdly, sex. This is an argument we’ve had a few times. He is of the opinion that you can’t have a relationship without sex. Don’t get me wrong, I love having sex with him but as guys are, his sex drive tends to be a lot higher than mine so there are occasions when I just don’t feel like doing it which leads to arguing. I’ve told him so but now I’m in a situation where I have to psych myself up to have sex with him, when I go to stay at his I know I have to have sex at least once to stop the arguments.

And finally, the reason for this message. He asked me to live with him a while back and at the time I said yes. Since then the various listed arguments and my personal situation changing, I’m more hesitant to do so. I’ve lived where I am for just under two years and I adore this area, I feel settled and happy but he hates the area so moving in with him would mean moving closer to his family home (he still lives with his mum and dad), but that would mean moving away from all my friends and an area I’ve come to love.

I don’t feel ready to properly move in with him, nor am I in any financial or mental position for it to be an easy ride. He’s said on a few occasions that if we don’t end up living together at the time originally planned he’d end it, even when I’ve tried explaining I need more time and I do want to eventually. I don’t know what to do. Despite the listed arguments, things are amazing at the moment and I am really happy with him but I just don’t know how to make him realise that he’s pressuring me into something that I really shouldn’t be.

Please help!

Confused reader.


Dear confused reader, 

Thank you for writing to me! Your situation is really interesting and I understand how you must feel very torn right now. There are multiple issues that you bring up, which is a shame because you’ve only been together for a short time and should really still be in the initial happy stages of getting to know one another. 

Firstly, the phone business is pretty normal in relationships – problems like phubbing can cause a strain on the relationship. However, by what you’re saying it sounds like he doesn’t like you having friends or talking to other people – or even maintaining a social life. This is a problem for two reasons: 

1) He shouldn’t be demanding or controlling what you do or who you speak to, he shouldn’t also jump to conclusions unless given evidence to do so. This unhealthy possessive behaviour stems from jealousy. Because he doesn’t have many friends, he thinks you shouldn’t either.

2) It’s a massive mistake to lose friends and social life in any relationship. It’s healthy to have other things to do, and give each other breathing space so you can miss each other and appreciate when you are together. 

The second issue is his insecurity – it very much sounds like he doesn’t trust you, even though you’ve given him no reason not to in this relationship. It’s understandable that he’d worry, especially if he’s aware that you’ve previously done it, but by acting so possessively it’s actually making you deeply unhappy. You’ll end up losing both your freedom and yourself. 

Thirdly, the sex business.  No one should ever feel compelled to have sex. In or out of a relationship. The fact that his reaction is to get angry when you don’t feel like doing it is really concerning. You should never feel forced to perform any sexual act if you don’t want to – regardless of the different sex drives. You may think it’s normal, but relationships work both ways, he can’t just have you when he wants you. You’re in charge of your body – not him. 

Of course, you’ve mentioned that you both suffer from mental illnesses, so I don’t want to glaze over this aspect. It may be an underlying reason behind his actions, however it sounds much more fundamental. He wants to live with you so he has complete control of your life. this doesn’t sound like a healthy thing to do and you’ll be even more isolated. you’re settled and he should understand and appreciate that.

I think you’ve answered your own question, and by listing all the things you’re concerned about, you’ve had that cathartic process of getting it all out.

You have said yourself you’re not ready financially or mentally for this, and frankly – it’s only been 8 months. If you don’t feel comfortable and you haven’t been together for that long, don’t do it just to please him. 

The fact that he’s actually pressured you by saying if you don’t end up living together at the time originally planned, he’d end it, shows that he doesn’t respect your emotional needs. My advice going forward is to make sure he’s aware that he can’t get away with acting the way he is. 

You need to properly explain how it’s making you feel, and that it’s making you incredibly uncomfortable. I’d advise to sit down and calmly speak about it, if it gets heated, take a break. But you need to rationally explain the way this situation is making you feel, that you do want to stay with him and hope that he loves you, but that you do require time and if he can’t deal with that then perhaps it is better if it ended. 

You need to lay down the law and set the precedent that you won’t accept this behaviour, otherwise he will continue to bully you into making decision you’re not ready for. 

Don’t forget, a relationship is a two-way street, it’s about compromise and forgiveness. About real communication and making it work because you love each other, not because of convenience or obsessive need. 

It sounds like you need to stand your ground and give it some more time to figure out what’s best for you. Follow your instincts – no one is going to judge you for whatever you choose, just make sure it’s what makes you happy. 

Good luck and let me know how it goes, 

Do you have a burning question or relationship troubles you’d like help with? Is your head spinning with worry, or you’re struggling with what to do, when it comes to dating, relationships- or even lifestyle and mental health?

Head over to the Ask Eve: Letters To Never Settle section now!


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