Bae would never hurt you on purpose, would they? Of course not! That might be why they’re hurting you on the sly, maybe without either of you knowing, to the point where you think it’s normal. Sounds weird, right? Who would ever do that? Even if bae never does anything that seems obviously manipulative, they might say things that seem innocent but actually are manipulative. On paper, acting that way sounds like a huge deal breaker, and it should be. But when it happens to you, you’re more likely to be blind to it. No one likes being tricked or used for disingenuous reasons, especially by someone they truly care about. So, how do you learn to recognize that behavior?
First, it’s important to understand this: your significant other might have innocent intentions when they say these things, but over time, the true meanings of these phrases stack up to a ton of unfair guilting and emotional manipulation. Maybe they genuinely aren’t trying to hurt you on purpose, or hey, maybe they really are evil. Either way, you have to know what to look out for here. Here are a few things bae might have said to you that seem okay, but are actually manipulative:
''I'm Just Being Honest'' (After An Insult)Translation: "Well, you can't really be mad at me, I'm just being honest. You being mad at me for telling the truth is pretty petty, so get over it." Excuse me, no. When you're saying something hurtful or nasty about someone or something, it doesn't magically get better because someone is "just being honest." It's like they're telling you that any outrage you have is blown out of proportion no matter what because they're just telling the truth, and you can't get mad at that, right? What are you expecting them to do, LIE? No, just not be a manipulative jerk, thanks.Source: iStock
"I Can't Survive Without You. Seriously."Translation: "You cannot leave me. I need you to feel guilty at even the thought of it."It might sound dramatic, but stuff like this happens a lot - a significant other threatens to hurt themselves or even commit suicide during a fight or if you're thinking of ending things. This isn't always intentional manipulation - bae might seriously struggle with depression and can't help this feeling - but it is still manipulation. It's not romantic, it's co-dependency.Source: iStock
''I'm Just Worried Other Guys Will Get The Wrong Idea."Translation: "I don't want other people to know you're as hot as I think you are because I don't want to lose you."When it comes to what you're wearing or how you're behaving, guys especially tend to act like you're their property. Just hanging out and being friendly with another dude could get misconstrued as flirting, causing bae to overreact. When you ask what's wrong, he gives you this excuse, which is actually manipulative. This is called concern trolling. It's where bae expresses concern or anxiety that you might be getting into some kind of trouble or danger before they even have cause to believe it. Walk around in school with a low cut top? They don't want other guys to think you're single and available based on... what? Their hunch? A gender specific bias? Their own flawed controlling behavior? Screw that.Source: iStock
Any Time They Put Another Girl Down To Compliment YouTranslation: "You're so much better than this girl who has absolutely nothing to do with you."Did bae ask you to be in competition with this other person? It's like they want you to be okay with this weird comparison. It's a Regina George-style trap. If he says that you don't dress slutty like THAT GIRL and you say thank you, you must then agree that she both dresses like a slut (whatever that means) and you are somehow better than her for it. Even if bae means well, this is still manipulative even if they're comparing you to someone outside your relationship because they're manipulating you against other people, who you might actually like or don't want to be compared against.Source: iStock
''You Can't Be Mad At Me, I Love You''Translation: "Because love means forgiveness and if you really love me you'll be able to understand my awful behavior via telepathy or something, I don't know. I'm not used to being responsible for my emotions or actions!"Assuming that your forgiveness comes at the nature of your relationship and that they don't actually have to make change or apologize is manipulative. Yes, you do love this person, and they shouldn't use that against you to emotionally manipulate you being okay with them not fixing what just happened.Source: iStock
''I Never Said That''Translation: "She'll believe I have selective memory, or a 'bad memory' and this is human error, not me being a gas-lighting flake."Spoilers: if you think bae said something, they deny they did, but your gut says otherwise, trust your gut. They never called you a bitch and they never promised they'd hang out with you on Saturday? Okay cool, because you have these text messages and a memory bank of them saying exactly otherwise. They'll try to get out of a sticky situation by denial, and in the process, probably gas light you, which is super manipulative and totally unfair.Source: iStock
''You're Mine''Translation: "I'm about to be unfairly possessive, please find this endearing."Your friends might all aww in unison when he says this in texts or on your Facebook wall, but we all know when it's cute and when it's being unfairly possessive and to be honest, a little weird. This can turn from adorable to toxic in two seconds. It's a full on statement of alleged ownership, so if bae stops at that and they just mean you're only into each other? Okay. If they mean that you can't interact with other guys or they'll fly off the handle, Christian Grey style? Manipulative. Also, maybe dump this person.Source: iStock
''You're Giving Me Blue Balls''Translation: "I'm inventing a fake medical condition I hear is real based on a sensation I'm feeling in order to trick you into getting me off for - you know - my health."Oh my god, no. In case no one has told you, blue balls aren't real. The person with a penis you're fooling around with is just mad you won't get them off and is guilting you into more sexual favors. This is gross. I'm sure they're uncomfortable, but that's no excuse to be manipulative, especially when it comes to sex. Gross.Source: iStock
Has bae ever said these things to you? Were you cool with it? Or were you a little bit upset? Let us know what happened in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.