Being controlling often stems from a simple desire to feel secure and happy with how things are going. Unfortunately, trying to take too much control ends up having the opposite effect, especially when it comes to relationships. To let go of control in a relationship, start by learning to live in the moment instead of worrying about the outcome of a situation. When it comes to conflicts, try to have more faith in your partner and allow things to unfold rather than controlling every aspect of a situation.
Living in the Present
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Take a few deep breaths when you feel anxious about losing control. Focusing on breathing is one of the best ways to bring yourself fully into the present moment. When negative situations arise with your partner, try taking a slow, deep breath in as you count to 5. Exhale as you count to 5 once more. Focus only on your breath as you take it in and push it out of your lungs.
Consider learning meditation, which focuses on mindfulness, breathing, and centering.
Step away for a moment before you react. When you feel like you’re losing control of a situation with your partner, a natural reaction is anger — from there, things tend to escalate. Before reacting angrily, step into another room. Give yourself a few minutes away from your partner to think about why you’re reacting so negatively.
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Use positive self-talk to calm down. Remind yourself, “I have control over my body, my reactions, and my perception.” When negative emotions are triggered by a situation with your partner, you may even find it helpful to repeat to yourself, “I do not have control over that, and that’s okay.
Accept that you cannot control the outcome of every situation. Micromanaging a situation might make you feel like you’re in control, but in reality, you aren’t. No matter how much you obsess over details, the outcome of a situation may still be out of your hands. Remind yourself that no matter what the outcome is, you’re going to be okay.
No one is omnipotent or all-powerful. The future is unknown, and no amount of planning can change that.
When you feel yourself getting anxious about an unknown outcome, take a few slow, deep breaths. Stay focused on your breathing and remind yourself that you can’t control everything — no one can.
See a therapist if you’re having trouble letting go on your own. Struggling with letting go can be difficult, especially if it affects your well-being and your relationship. If you’ve tried letting go on your own and haven’t had much success, consider talking to a therapist. They might help you understand yourself and your behaviors in a more positive way.
Trusting Your Partner
Let go of the need to be right by considering your partner’s viewpoint. You may find that many arguments with your partner revolve around who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s normal for a controlling person to feel like they are always right in every situation. Allow for the possibility that your partner is right about something. Have faith in them.
Instead of focusing on being right, focus on listening to your partner and understanding them better.
For example, instead of demanding that you drive to a destination because you know the route and your partner doesn’t, let your partner drive and take the route they had in mind to get there.
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Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. It’s easy to assume the worst, especially when you feel like you’ve lost control of a situation. Try to manage your expectations and refrain from judging a situation until you know all the facts.
For example, if your partner went out with friends and they haven’t texted you back in hours, remind yourself that that doesn’t mean your partner is doing something behind your back.
In the meantime, instead of worrying and doubting, get involved in one of your hobbies or make some phone calls to catch up with friends.
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Let go of jealousy by figuring out the source of jealous feelings. Jealousy can result from lots of things, yet what’s important is how you respond to it. Often, jealousy results from your own insecurities and not from a partner’s actions. If there’s no reason to doubt your partner, be willing to let your jealousy go. It’s not worth holding on to negative feelings or being suspicious if your partner is honest and upfront.
Ask yourself if you feel jealous because your partner is acting suspiciously or because you’ve been hurt in the past and don’t want to be hurt again.
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Forgive your partner and move forward together. If something happened in your relationship that you’re struggling to let go of, be willing to move forward with trust and hope. Talk to your partner about moving forward and stay away from discussing the past if it doesn’t help your relationship. Live each day as it comes.
For example, if you want to forgive your partner for cheating, be willing to believe them when they say it won’t happen again and that you can trust them. If you constantly doubt them or think they are lying, this will not help you let go.
See a couples’ counselor if you need help dealing with trust issues. If you and your partner can’t find a good dynamic or you’re really struggling to trust them, consider seeing a counselor. A counselor can help you navigate how to communicate and understand your partner better. If you or your partner have struggled to let a past experience in the relationship go, therapy can help move you through this process.
Seek a therapist who specializes in working with couples.
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Let go of your ideal relationship. There is no perfect person or perfect partner. Both you and your partner have flaws and must live with those imperfections. If you look at other couples and think they are perfect, remember that they have flaws, too. Be willing to love and accept your partner as they are.
Stay calm when plans change. Even when you plan every detail of something, outside forces can cause those carefully laid plans to change in an instant. When this happens, try to avoid assuming that all of your plans are ruined. Stay calm and focus on ways to navigate change to achieve your original goal.
For example, if you and your partner are planning to go hiking, but then your partner’s parents show up for a surprise visit, stay calm. You can reschedule your hike for the next weekend, or even invite your partner’s parents along!
Be willing to compromise. Most controlling people want to do things their way all the time, which belittles their partner’s needs. Try to find solutions that legitimize the needs of both parties. Listen to what your partner wants, explain what you want, and then try to find a way to meet in the middle
For instance, if you want to see a foreign film and your partner wants to watch a big-budget action movie, find a different movie that you are both interested in seeing and go with that.
You can also enjoy activities that your partner doesn’t like with your friends. For example, you could see the foreign film with your friend so that your partner doesn’t feel pressured to go.
Don’t compromise your values. Your personal values are the core of who you are. It’s true that compromise is important for every relationship, but there are some things you don’t have to be flexible about. If going along with what your partner wants means sacrificing beliefs that are fundamental to who you are, don’t feel that you have to compromise in that situation.
For example, if your partner thinks it’s fine to date or sleep with other people when they’re traveling out of town but you want a monogamous relationship, you shouldn’t have to compromise on that.