If You Do These 10 Things In Your Relationships, You Might Be Emotionally Manipulative

No one’s perfect and we all say and do things that aren’t textbook “healthy relationship” behavior, but if you’re doing these things to your partner, you might actually be emotionally manipulating her whether you’re trying to or not.

  1. Threatening self-harm. Telling your partner that “life won’t be worth living” without her or straight-up saying that you’ll jump in front of a train if she leaves you isn’t romantic — it’s abusive. Taking advantage of someone’s compassion by making them feel like they’re responsible for whether you live or die is a terrible thing to do.  Beg on your knees for her to stay if you think it’ll convince her, but don’t make her feel trapped by making her think your physical well-being is on the line.
  2. Bringing up your partner’s mistakes to deflect from your own. Everyone screws up in relationships sometimes and it can be hard to admit when you were wrong. But when you are wrong, you need to own up to it and focus on your mistake rather than bringing up errors your partner has made before. Your partner shouldn’t have to feel the need to apologize when you’re the one who messed up.
  3. Withholding sex or physical affection. It can be hard to summon up the urge to have sex or cuddle with someone who’s upset you, even when you love them. But there’s a difference between not being affectionate because you don’t want to be and not being affectionate because you want revenge on your partner. Withholding crucial aspects of a relationship for the sake of getting back at your partner is only going to damage the trust between you two in the long run.
  4. Calling your partner “crazy” or “irrational.” Just because you don’t understand why your partner sees things a certain way doesn’t mean her point isn’t valid. Saying things that call your partner’s mental health into question doesn’t make your own argument more legitimate — it just proves that you need to be manipulative to get your way.
  5. Suggesting that your partner’s friends or family are on your side. Even if your partner’s loved ones do agree with you, it’s up to them to speak up and say it themselves. The “all against one” stance might make your argument sound more valid — after all, it’s not just you who believes this stuff, right? — but it also makes your partner feel alone and isolated.
  6. Giving the silent treatment. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time apart to cool down after a fight, but straight-up ignoring your partner is toxic behavior. Whether you’re refusing to reply to her texts, hanging up on her, or pretending like you don’t hear her when she’s speaking to your face, this behavior serves to make her feel desperate and alone. There are far more mature ways to communicate that you just need a few hours to collect your thoughts.
  7. Denying something your partner heard or saw. This practice, commonly referred to as “gaslighting,” can make your partner feel like she’s going crazy. If that’s your goal and you’re not genuinely forgetting what you said or did, stop. Our own eyes and ears are two of the things we can truly trust. If your partner saw you message something inappropriate to a coworker on Snapchat, fessing up will do a lot less damage in the long run than trying to deny it.
  8. Downplaying your partner’s achievements. Are you worried that your partner’s weight loss will make other guys start checking her out more? Does her promotion at work make you feel worse about your own financial success? Tough luck — that’s your problem to deal with, and trying to bring her down by saying that she  “doesn’t look any different” after dropping a few pounds or that her job is “easy” is an unhealthy way to try to make yourself feel better.
  9. Blaming your actions on your partner’s behavior. Admitting that you’re frustrated because your partner hasn’t been in the mood for sex is fair. Claiming that the lack of sex is what caused you to get another girl’s number at the bar is not fair. Two wrongs never make a relationship right, and claiming that your partner’s actions caused yours is nothing but an excuse for your own bad behavior.
  10. Comparing your partner to other people. Feeling like your partner is out of your league is no reason to try to make her feel like you have a wandering eye. Telling her stories about the things your ex was “so great” at or commenting about how hot the waitress is can make your partner feel insecure. If that’s your goal, you shouldn’t be in a relationship in the first place.