When a relationship moves to being all about control

zakia asks: We’ve been in a relationship two years, but in the last two months everything has changed. Before he used to show his feeling to me; he used to show how much important am in his life, and that attraction. But now he seems busy at work. We chat all day, but he just wants to know what am up to, what am doing, that’s all. He doesn’t let me go anywhere, or he’ll get angry. He doesn’t like me to talk to male friends or persons. That attraction is gone. That magical love is gone. I don’t know what to do.

Hi zakia –



I really have two responses to you, because I think there are two really different issues in your question.


First, your relationship is losing its spark. This is very normal after a couple has been together for a while, and two years feels about right. This is the time when couples need to find ways to re-ignite that excitement. Plan some fun new activities, go on a date to somewhere you’ve never been before, even pretend to be different people – just have fun! And create a bit of interest by not spending so much time halfway together – like being on the phone with each other all day. Let yourselves miss each other during the day – maybe only sending the occasional affectionate text – and then have a lot more to say to each other when you meet face-to-face.


Think about what we dogs are like. If we spend all day with our humans, we just sleep next to them, happy to have them there but not excited at all. But if our people leave us home for a day, and then come home, we go nuts! Jumping, screaming, yowling, and licking them like crazy! So I’d suggest you try to bring a bit of that back into the relationship.


But then there’s the other part of my answer. When you talk about him not wanting you to go anywhere, or to talk to any men or boys. I don’t like that at all. You’re not a dog – it’s not cool to lock you into an apartment or a gated yard! You need to have some freedom – time to hang out with your girlfriends or go to a movie, and (while I know different cultures have different rules on how much men and women can be together) there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to talk to another man.


And here’s the crazy part – treating you that way is accomplishing exactly what he doesn’t want to do. He wants you all to himself, but doing this is making you not want to be with him, and not feel romantically towards him. So it’s not only mean to you, it’s really self-defeating for him!


So my suggestion is that you talk with him, and explain that you need more space to make the relationship fun again. That you’ve earned the right to his trust, and yes, that you would not consider doing anything with another man more than talking.


But that you guys need to shift the dynamic a bit, or the relationship won’t last.


There’s an old saying, “If you love something, set it free.” The idea is that if it really belongs to you, it will come back. But I’d make it even stronger for the two of you: “If you love something, stop suffocating it.” As much as Handsome loves to hug me, he knows to leave me alone most of the time, so that I’ll want to run up and jump on him.


Things can be a lot better. I hope he’s willing to let them get there.


All my best,





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