If your partner uses these 10 phrases, they’re trying to manipulate you

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No one wants to believe they can be easily manipulated.

Surely, if you were to date a manipulator, you would recognize the red flags.  

In reality, though, it happens more often than you’d think.  

Manipulators are skilled at what they do, and their tactics aren’t obvious, especially if you haven’t been together for long.

That’s why it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with common statements they might employ to mess with your mind.   

If your partner uses these 10 phrases, they’re trying to manipulate you.

Don’t let them get their way.

1) I know we just met, but I already love you.

I don’t believe in love at first sight. Lust, sure. Love? Not so much.

I vividly remember how a friend of a friend once excitedly told me about how she met her new boyfriend.

They were waiting at a traffic light in separate cars, and they looked over at each other.

Then, poof! She just knew they were meant to be.   

It sounded like a meet cute out of a romantic comedy, and she was already head over heels.

Me, I was skeptical.

Call me a cynic, but if things look too good to be true, they probably are.

And if a new boo showers you with affection and gifts out of the bat, it’s less likely love and more likely love bombing.

While love bombing might seem flattering on the surface, the ultimate goal of the tactic is to create a sense of emotional dependency and attachment in the target person, you.

The honeymoon period should be sweet, not saccharine.

2) If you truly loved me, you would do that.

This phrase is a classic example of guilt-tripping.

It implies that your partner isn’t respecting your boundaries. 

They’re pressuring you into doing something you’re uncomfortable with by exploiting your emotions.

Just because you care for them doesn’t mean you should do everything they want.

It’s normal to set limits, whether we’re talking about things you don’t like to do in bed or in life.

3) You never seem to have time for me anymore.

This statement also falls under the guilt-tripping umbrella, though it’s less manipulative than the previous one and more of a passive-aggressive variety.

Your partner could be open about feeling neglected, but they’re using sarcasm to suggest that they don’t matter to you, which triggers guilt.  

Look, it’s perfectly fine to occasionally have other priorities.

Not spending all your free time with your significant other doesn’t mean they’re less important to you.

You’re a well-rounded person, and you likely care about your career, friends, and hobbies.

Don’t lose yourself in a new relationship to the point where you forget who you are.

4) That didn’t happen.

Picture this: You bring up a past incident when your partner hurt you.

Instead of taking accountability for their actions and apologizing, they deny it ever happened.

Or, they suggest it didn’t happen quite as you remember it. It wasn’t that bad, and you’re overreacting.

That’s gaslighting.

Your partner is trying to make you question your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

If they do this consistently and for long enough, you may even begin to question your sanity.

This will only make you rely on them more.

5) It’s brave of you to go after that promotion, especially since you don’t really have a chance to get it.

Manipulators love to target your insecurities to exert influence over you.

At first, they sit back and observe. As you get closer to them, you share moments of self-doubt, anxiety, or vulnerability.

Rather than comforting you during these moments and encouraging you to improve, manipulators use them to chip away at your self-esteem.

They make you doubt your abilities and feel dependent on their approval.

The statement above disguises itself as a compliment but suggests it’s not worth going after your goals because you won’t reach them anyway.

Even worse, this exploitation can extend over all areas of your life:

  • I don’t know why you bother trying to make friends, people don’t seem to like you.
  • You’re lucky I’m patient enough to put up with your flaws.
  • Are you really going to eat that?
  • You’re cute when you try to talk about topics you have no idea about.
  • No one else could handle your issues like I do.

Your partner should make you feel good about yourself and be your biggest cheerleader.

End of story.

6) Maybe I could love you if you were more [insert adjective here].

Patient? Attractive? Smart? Slim?

Love shouldn’t be conditional.

Whoever tells you otherwise doesn’t have your best interest at heart.

7) Your friends are a bad influence.

Manipulators often use isolation as a tactic to gain control over you.

They start by telling you that your family or friends are a terrible influence and can go as far as to move you away from your environment.

All in an effort to cut you off from the people who care for you – and who would be able to spot their controlling ways in a timely manner.

Between these extremes, they might discourage you from spending time with your loved ones, criticize them, or claim that they interfere with your relationship.

Their end goal?

They want you fully dependent on them and unable to seek support elsewhere.

Granted, sometimes your friends are a bad influence, and a partner pointing this out may just be looking out for you.

However, if they insist you stay away from everyone you’re close with, it should ring alarm bells.

8) You’re making me act this way.

By using this statement, your partner is trying to deflect responsibility for what they do and place the blame entirely on you.

The phrase is meant to make you feel guilty and to manipulate you into adjusting your behavior to appease them:

  • They lost their temper, but only because you couldn’t be bothered to be ready on time.
  • They punched the wall, but only because they saw that social media post of you and a co-worker and went nuts with jealousy.
  • They drank too much at the function, but only because you were flirting with other people.

You get the idea.

You’re not responsible for their bad behavior, and you can’t have a sustainable relationship if one of you is never accountable for how they act.

9) Complete silence.

Withholding affection is another form of manipulation, even as it doesn’t involve a whole lot of words.

It relies on silence.

In this case, your partner might give you the silent treatment if you upset them.

They flat-out refuse to see you or answer your messages until you correct your behavior or give in to their demands.

They might also refuse to provide support if you’re going through a difficult time or engage in any form of physical intimacy.

Withholding affection is frequently used as a form of punishment or a means to make you feel insecure about the relationship and more eager to please.

Either way, it’s meant to control, and it’s a big no-no.

10) I won’t survive losing you.

This phrase might seem romantic on the surface. It’s anything but.

If your partner suggests that a separation might lead them to harm themselves, they’re putting a huge burden on you.

All to prevent you from leaving them or doing anything that might jeopardize the relationship.

You’re left with a sense of guilt or obligation, not to mention the fear that you might actually push them to their breaking point.

Even if your partner is struggling emotionally, using such a statement to influence your decisions is selfish and manipulative.

If you want to break up and are genuinely concerned about your partner’s reaction, reach out to some of their friends and family members who can provide support during this time.

Approach the separation with respect and empathy, but remember to put your own well-being first.

Bottom line

Does your partner use any of the phrases above to influence you?

If it only happened once or twice, open up about how their behavior made you feel and set boundaries to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

But if these statements are staples in your significant other’s vocabulary, assess how you feel around them.

Being with a manipulator usually makes you stressed, confused, and isolated.

Don’t minimize your emotions or tell yourself they’re not a big deal.

Trust your intuition.

It can tell you whether your relationship is doing you more harm than good.

Related: If someone uses these 10 phrases, they’re hiding their true feelings

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