I have been with my partner for about a year now, we are not married. In the past 8 months I have felt that my partner does not respect when I say no to certain things. We are both in university, I live off-campus and my partner lives on campus.

I have a history of mental illness and suicide attempts, that is a norm for me. I do have other friends who are concerned about me but they do not go to such EXTREMES unlike my partner. I enjoy being alone at times because having someone around sometimes sends me off the rails. I often tell my partner I would like to go home tonight. They refuse to acknowledge that. I firmly say I prefer being alone tonight as I need to do so much work. Instead of listening to me, they follow me home. While I am still working, they are watching a movie or doing something else and then demand that we go to sleep now. They also tell me what position I should sleep in and I often wake up in the middle on the night angry. It is not a peaceful sleep.

Once I missed the last bus at 12 am and have no problem walking home. They are afraid of the dark and I was walking fast. They kept screaming and crying that I stop walking so fast and since it was winter, they slipped and fell, I felt sorry for them and held their hand and walked them back to my place. Another time I was home and I heard someone knocking on my door, I got a message from my partner to let them in. I was filled with rage, they sat outside in the dark knocking ferociously and yelling that I open the door. My landlady lives above me and she was pretty angry. I had no choice but to let my partner in.

Also, they sometimes plead that I stay over because they can't sleep at night alone. Last semester they had a single room on campus and couldn't sleep. I used to stay over a lot to help them out. This semester they have a roommate but still say they can't sleep at night. I don't like staying on campus, that's why I moved off campus. When they finally decide to stay alone, they keep calling me at night and say I video call them until they fall asleep.

They have also checked my phone and stole my parent's numbers and my friend's numbers. They threaten to contact my parents whenever I do something against their wishes. They have also checked my emails and read a recent rejection letter I received. They inquired if I thought it was their fault and I knew I had not told them. I was really angry and felt so betrayed.

I once blocked them online from all my social media etc, because I was starting to get annoyed. They ordered my friends to come to my house and check on me. Thank God my friends refused and told them they were out of line. My partner refused to listen.

They keep saying this is out of love and for my safety but, it's just making me feel more and more resentful. I don't want to break up with them because I don't want to feel lonely by being single.

How can I tell my partner that I need some space and that my privacy and demands should be respected?

  • 1
    Did you ever get seriously angry with your partner? What was their reaction? Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 16:59
  • @LinuxBlanket yes I have raised my voice at times and expressing my concern. They reply by saying that I don't love them enough and usually start tearing up.
    – user12433
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 17:05
  • How old are you?
    – apaul
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 17:38
  • @apaul Both of us are 21.
    – user12433
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 18:13

3 Answers 3


Run. Run as fast as you can.

This is a toxic, abusive relationship. Your partner, in addition to being controlling(stealing numbers, not respecting boundaries), may also have issues of their own. And while these issues might mean they have a harder time looking after your own needs (like needing a break from people, etc), that's no excuse for what they did.

Calmly explain your feelings and needs to them, and if they keep being defensive, angry and/or unwilling to change, break up. Truthfully, their acts are bordering on abusive, and if the experiences of others are anything to go by, then your partner's controlling and abusive behavior will only escalate the longer the relationship lasts. I only mentioned talking to them, just in case this person is stupid enough to emotionally abuse you without knowing they are (but that is probably not the case).

A breakup might seem dramatic, but please do consider your history of mental illness and suicide attempts. I feel like your partner's disregard for your mental well-being and their need to control and be in the know about every personal thing might only bring you back to mental illness. Please, for your own mental health, seriously consider breaking up with them.

Yes, being single might feel lonely, but I am confident that you can find someone who respects your basic boundaries. Don't stay in a toxic relationship; it does more harm than good.


There can be issues on both sides here. Your partner could be worried about your history of mental illness and suicide attempts, but the ultimate thing here is that your partner needs to respect your wishes and your privacy when you need it.

All relationships, personal and professional, need boundaries. Where they are not being respected, they need to be reinforced. Have you discussed the issues with your partner? If you feel the problem lies with your partner being concerned for your welfare, lay the line down firmly and tell them that although you may understand their concerns, there are times where you need space and privacy. If they cannot respect that then maybe the time will have come for you both to go your separate ways.

Tell them that. Make sure they understand this. This way the ball is in your partner's court. Maybe you could suggest couple's therapy.

If your partner continues to do the same thing, they have decided that your wishes are not important.


How can I tell my partner that I need some space and that my privacy and demands should be respected?

Before anyone can answer this, I think it is important we first determine if you should tell your partner that. To me, it sounds like a lot of your reactions may be directly linked to your mental health, and you could be projecting your anger on to whoever is near/not being compliant. This happens to be your partner. Unfortunately, we are not qualified to tell you if the extreme precautions are needed, if you are justified in feeling angry and whether you should tell your partner to stop, there can be many interpretations of you and your partners behaviour, and what is the best thing to do in the case of serious mental illness may not be be the best thing to do IPS-wise in a typical relationship. Essentially, the first step I think is you really need to see a specialist/therapist. Tell them what your partner is doing, ask if your partners actions are necessary and find out exactly what are the most supportive things they could be doing in these times of crisis. If the therapist advises against pushing for more space then that trumps any answers you get on here. However, if they can tell you some other helpful things that your partner should be doing instead, then this will equip you for the IPS part of my answer.

Tell them with direct reference to instructions from your therapist that what they are doing is not helping, and then give them a list of supportive things they should be doing instead

This sets a very solid ground to establish your boundaries on. Whether or not its true, they say that they are trying to help you and with this answer, you are being supportive, giving them the benefit of the doubt and showing them the correct way to be giving this support. When your friends told her that she was out of line, they were just expressing their opinions and not listening to their opinions is a very reasonable response for someone who might think you are in danger and is convinced what they are doing is best. Because of this I suggest going into this conversation with an in depth understanding of exactly what is advised and why that helps to allow you to address any questions she has there an then. I would even go as far to show her articles, or something written from your therapist (perhaps the list of suggested activities). However you do it, the point is to prepare so that you can present it to your partner with confidence, and succeed in convincing her that this way, is the best way to help. Fortunately, you should not struggle too much as the mere fact that the information came from your therapist should be more than enough for the vast majority of people to accept and establish some new boundaries.


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