About to Get Married, Fiancé too Controlling?

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Reader’s Question

After 3 months of long-distance dating, my fiancé asked me to marry him. He’s a wonderful man and I was in love with him, so I said yes. But very soon after we became engaged, he started becoming increasingly paranoid and controlling. He first got very upset that two former boyfriends were “friends” with me on Facebook. He said that because these friends made comments on my page even though they knew we were together, I allowed them to “disrespect” him and to be “all up in [his] face” on my Facebook page.

None of my friends’ comments were disrespectful in any way. And the only reason he even knew they were ex-boyfriends is because he asked me about almost every person on my Facebook friends list. He has asked me to un-friend anyone who was a past boyfriend. So I did that the day we got engaged. I have had only had 4 boyfriends in my life, and he knows this (after asking). But after 4 months of being engaged, and as we prepare to close on a house in his state, he still brings up the Facebook issue. Lately he’s been asking for the details of how intimate I was with each ex, and when I told him it was none of his business, he said that since we are engaged, it is his business. He pressured me to tell him details, and when I did, he got even more angry with me. He said it makes him mad to know that some other guy has been more intimate with his fiancée than he has. I have never asked him for details of his sexual past. And he was even engaged before. I told him I don’ t need nor want that information in my mind and that I don’t think it’s healthy to be so concerned about it.

I read the article about Identifying Losers in Relationships by Dr. Joseph Carver, and my fiancé shows many of those traits. Many. I vented to my aunt who then confronted him and told him how concerned she is that he’s controlling. But he says I simply shouldn’t tell anyone else things about him that concern me.

Although we’re buying a house together, I repeatedly told him that I will also be getting a small apartment because I do not want to shack up. When I reminded him of this, he acted like he’d never heard me mention this before and insisted that I live in our home even before we get married. And, when he found out I had a job interview lined up in his city, he mapped the place out and drove to the company where I’ll be working. He said it was so he would know where his fiancée would be everyday.

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Cause for concern?

Psychologist’s Reply

It would be really inappropriate render a firm opinion about your situation from such a distance and without more information. However, there are some behaviors you point to that are significant red flags for some possible problematic character traits in your fiancé.

Dr. Carver’s article addresses the phenomenon of individuals who are so lacking in genuine self-regard that they seem to derive a sense of power and security only by subjugating others. I have posted several articles on this site highlighting the traits of individuals whose characters are flawed or underdeveloped as well as the thinking patterns and tactics such folks employ to manipulate and control others and to resist taking responsibility for their own erroneous behavior. One of the thinking patterns common to “controlling” personality types is “possessive thinking” whereby a person sees others primarily as possessions or objects which they “own” and therefore are entitled to treat in a manner they see fit. You might find it helpful to review not only Dr. Carver’s articles, but also the series of articles on character disturbance, thinking errors, and manipulation tactics.

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