When you first start dating someone, their true colors rarely show within the first few dates. Most everyone puts on a little bit of an "act" to try and win over the other person. Once you get past the "new" phase in a relationship, you will start to get to know the good qualities, the bad qualities, and the ugly qualities. If you are lucky, the bad and ugly aren't terrible and you can deal with them. For the others, it is not so simple. Men who are controlling often hide it in the early stages of the relationship and some even hide it all the way through until marriage. There are some warnings signs to signal a possible controlling relationship, but most often you won't notice until you are living it. It is important to discuss how things will be handled before marriage in regards to things such as money, children, and other things of that nature. These are some of the warning signs you should be aware of.
You Have No Say Over Expenses
This is where the control usually begins. Even if you aren't working (for whatever reason) or if you are making less than your partner, you should still be entitled to have your say on what needs to paid, spent, and done regarding the relationship. Money equals power for a lot of people and this is where things start heading downhill. If your partner insists on a joint banking account, make sure you have a debit card as well. If he/she insists on having separate accounts, make sure you have enough money in your account before giving him/her anything. The ones who are the "controller" use this tactic as a way of keeping you around. If you have no money, how can you leave?
You Are Talked Down To
Breaking a person's self esteem is never something that is okay to do. The "controllers" will try and belittle you and make it so you are almost broken inside. This is another tactic to make sure you won't be going anywhere. You will start to question your beauty and your self worth. This is not only a control issue, but an emotional abuse issue. If you start noticing you are being chastised you need to speak up for yourself. If it becomes habitual, it is time to find a new relationship or marriage. This is probably the warning sign you yourself have the most control over.
You Become Isolated
Isolation is a scary thing. Sometimes when you get married or start a new relationship, friends seem to come around less and less. At some point in your life, all (or the majority) of your friends will be married an attached. It is important to at least make contact with your friends weekly, even if only by email. Allowing yourself to only have socialization while your partner is around or only with your partner can be a control tactic as well.
Keep in mind that when you are in a controlling relationship, you may not always see these warning signs. If you feel that you are stuck in a situation or feel alone, reaching out to someone is always the best way to go. Remember you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.