Unconditional love involves being able to release & let go. The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy was on TV this past weekend. I shamelessly admit that I made myself cozy on my couch with a mug of peppermint tea, a comfy blanket, & my cutie pug, Pogi & enjoyed every minute. I succumbed to the hype & read all three books back in the day. My sister & I did the Fifty Shades of Grey tag on my YouTube channel. I even watched the movies with my friends for Galentine’s Day three years in a row.
The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy gets a lot of criticism that I won’t go into right now, but you’re more than welcome to judge for yourself. There are some spoilers ahead, so if you want to stop before proceeding, now is a good time to do so. With that said & with Christian Grey in mind, let’s discuss that needing to control your partner is not love.
My Controlling Ex
In my most unfulfilling relationship, my partner was controlling & obsessed with me. It may seem like a dream come true to have a partner who wants to protect you at all costs & wait on you hand & foot, but I absolutely hated it. Before we were official, he stalked my social media channels for any indication of ways to win my heart. He also asked my friends how to win me over. I posted a picture of purple boxing gloves on my Facebook one day, saying if someone could find where to buy them for me, I’d love them forever. About two weeks later, I received pink boxing gloves, a letter professing his feelings & hopes that even though they were the wrong color, I’d still like them.
If you think this was a romantic gesture, please consider it from my point of view. I was looking for a link or a specific sporting goods store (Big 5, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.) that carries boxing gloves, so that I could buy exactly what I wanted for myself. Instead, someone, whom I do not know well, haven’t seen in person in months, & was not officially dating, went out of his way to ask my best friend for my home address behind my back. He bought & sent me a present that I did not ask for. It wasn’t even what I wanted, both overstepping my boundaries & intruding on my privacy. While this is a red flag in my mind, my friends claimed he was a good guy & had good intentions.
Manipulation & Obsession
Once we were in a relationship, his need to control my every move & his obsession with me only got worse. When riding in a car with him, he would stare at me constantly, asking me if I was ok. He ran stoplights & stop signs. My passenger side door was hit in a car accident. He was more concerned about the look on my face & why I wasn’t talking, instead of driving us safely to our destination. If you’re curious, I’m introverted, & I will not deny that I have a resting bitch face. But when I’m quiet, it’s not a huge cause for concern. It’s quite the opposite actually because to me silence can be golden.
At a movie theatre, he would ask if I was ok in the middle of the movie. I would have to whisper in the dark theatre to reassure him that I was fine. If we were at home & the movie was interesting, I’d express more emotion & discuss what I enjoyed about it in-depth. But no one should have to creepily smile in the darkness of a movie theatre & reassure their boyfriend that they’re having “such a good time”.
When it came to food, he bragged about how much weight he lost going Paleo full-time. At that time, I was at a very healthy BMI. I went to the gym for an hour each day for 5 days a week, & I danced with a Hip-Hop Dance Company. I also ate salads from Trader Joe’s for lunch, & I ate home-cooked meals for dinner almost every single day.
But to him, I wasn’t doing enough. He needed & wanted me to go Paleo full-time too, so I tried it for about a month. While I did lose weight, it took a huge toll on my mind & a physical toll on my body. There were times I’d get light-headed & almost faint when taking a shower after a workout. I still remember how scared I was as my vision went fuzzy. Sitting in the shower out of fear of slipping & hurting myself. I felt so weak & overwhelmingly sad all the time.
I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again… I LOVE FOOD! Being deprived of carbs, dairy, & dessert for that entire month was torture. To me, being skinny will never bring me the same happiness that a bacon cheeseburger with garlic truffle fries, a molten chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, or a plate of loaded carne asada nachos can.
Whenever I tried to express my unhappiness to him, he shot me down. He tried to make me feel guilty about wanting to go back to my usual 80% healthy & 20% unhealthy diet. My boyfriend made me feel ashamed of my love of food. He told me that I’d never achieve my fitness goals with the way that I wanted to eat. He guilt-tripped me into doing what he wanted. Even though he claimed to “love” me, it didn’t matter that eating Paleo was making me depressed & physically sick.
Needless to say, I’m so happy to be out of that relationship. These are only a few of many other uncomfortable situations that he forced me into during our 10 months together. Again, controlling your partner is not love. Love is wanting to keep your significant other happy & healthy. Forcing someone to do something that they do not want to do is not conducive to a healthy relationship. Do not put up with someone who oversteps your boundaries, disrespects you, or treats you like their property.
While other women fawn over Christian Grey, after rewatching the movies, I simply cannot. *SPOILER ALERT* Never fall in love with a partner who wants to control what you eat & drink, stalks you, looks up your bank account information or gives you unnecessarily extravagant presents to “buy” your love. While I am open to a dominant man in the bedroom, a healthy relationship allows both individuals to live their lives independently. Believe in your partner’s ability to make the right choices for themself. When you make love, it’s consensual, & you fully trust your partner with your body. When you’re apart, your partner can enjoy themselves, be happy, & be safe, without needing to hover over their every move.
My past relationships teach me a lot about who I am & where my mind was at certain times in my life. At 23 years old, I was too young & naive to know any better. I suffered because I was scared of being alone. Please learn from my mistakes, & don’t let the allure of a man like “Christian Grey” cloud your judgment. Anastasia Steele was also young, naive, & taken advantage of in my opinion. While she stood up for herself & did a lot of good for Christian in the end, fiction, whether in books or movies, is not real life. Please choose to love yourself & love your partner without the need to control or obsess over them.
True unconditional love allows you to love someone for who they are & the choices they make for themselves without smothering or suffocating them. Holding on to someone too tightly just makes them want to run away as fast as they can. All you can do is ensure that they know that no matter what each of you does separately. You’ll always be in their corner to support them. Because even if you don’t need them every second of every day, being apart doesn’t mean that they’ll forget to love you. When someone truly has your heart, you know that they’re not going anywhere.