14 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation

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When your boyfriend does something thoughtful and sweet, you might think, “Aww, he really loves me so much.” But are you sure you’re not mistaking love for manipulation? Here are 14 subtle signs that reveal your awesome boyfriend is really a jerk in disguise:

1. HE LIKES TO “CHECK IN” INCESSANTLY.

He just missed you so much when you were out with your friends that he simply had to send you three texts in a row, each one more frantic/demanding than the last. Sweet, hey? Not really. It’s more likely that he’s really checking up on you, not checking in, if he does this all the time.

2. HE USES THE, “… BUT I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” EXCUSE OFTEN.

Does it seem like every time your boyfriend does something that pisses you off, like showing extreme jealousy, he quickly tells you that his bad behavior is only because he loves you so much? It could be a way for him to distract you from his BS and get back into your good books. But don’t ignore the behavior — that’s a true reflection of what he thinks.

3. HE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT YOU.

He tells you that you mean so much to him, he would die without you. Um, this isn’t romantic, it’s creepy AF. For some emotional abusers, this could end up with them threatening suicide as a way to control you when you don’t do what they want you to do.

4. HE SAYS YOU’RE HIS WHOLE WORLD.

Again, not really romantic. No one should have the pressure of being someone’s everything. If he’s saying this, he’s really hinting at how he wants to be isolated with you, instead of integrated in the world in a healthy way. Don’t be surprised if he starts pulling you away from your loved ones so he can have you all to himself — and control you.

5. HE SPOILS YOU WITH GIFTS YOU DON’T NEED.

It might be sweet, but not if he puts you down for the things you have. If he’s replacing your furniture, clothing or any other items with ones he prefers for you, he’s not giving you a surprise gift — he’s trying to turn you into something you’re not.

6. HE “WORRIES” ABOUT YOU.

That’s why he called and texted you 30 times when you were out. If you don’t reply to him right away, he gets mad, or “worried” as he calls it. See how it’s a way for him to seem loving and guilt you into being more attentive to his ridiculous whims and “needs” when he’s the furthest thing from a loving boyfriend?

7. HE WANTS TO START A FAMILY.

This is obviously a normal, lovely thing to want, but watch how it’s done. If his goal is to have a family so that you can quit working and stay at home with the baby, in a home far away from where your loved ones are, it could be part of his plan to isolate you and take control of your life: he’ll be controlling your whereabouts, your finances and everything else soon enough.

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