How to Avoid Falling Victim to Manipulations in Your Relationship

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder-Personal Mastery

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Manipulation in a relationship can cause a rough plot in your love story. In this article, we have mentioned key points to avoid and tackle manipulation. 

Manipulation in Relationship: What Is It & How to Avoid It

Though couples want to be supportive, authentic, and understanding, many a time, they use intrinsically manipulative and complex behaviors to get their work done. They intentionally or unintentionally use certain tactics that they believe are better than directly asking or demanding something.

Their intentions might not be wrong, but they feel that using strategic tactics in certain situations can help them. They unintentionally manipulate their partners and sometimes stop them from having what’s best for them.

Definition of Manipulation

Merriam-Webster defines manipulation as “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”

Cambridge Dictionary defines manipulation as “controlling someone or something to your own advantage, often unfairly or dishonestly.”

Collins Dictionary says, “If you say that someone manipulates people, you disapprove of them because they skilfully force or persuade people to do what they want.”

People believe that manipulation mostly happens outside relationships. However, couples do not even recognize that their partners are manipulating them. Even if they know that fact, they deny admitting it.

You might be mistaken if you think that you don’t manipulate your partner or vice versa. Even the most loving and caring partners “unintentionally” use different tactics to make their partners do things their way.

Manipulators know your weak points, and they use them against you.

Sounds harsh, right?

You can’t think of your partner like this. However, in certain situations, their intent is just to stop you from doing something.

In a marriage, manipulation starts subtly. Therefore, it can sometimes become difficult to overcome or stop it completely.

For couples, it is essential to check that it does not become a part of their routine life. Now for that, they need to understand what exactly happens. How does manipulation hollow the relationship slowly?

Manipulation in couples: Briefly explained!

You badly want your partner to go for a long drive with you.

How would you approach it?

An honest approach would be, “Hey! I really want to enjoy some time with you. Let’s go for a long drive this evening.”

A direct approach would be, “I want you to go for a long drive with me. I do not want to hear a no.”

Most won’t use such an authoritative tone for apparent reasons.

The indirect emotional manipulative approach would be, “Do you have any work for the evening? I was planning for a long drive.”

Your intentions are not bad. But you just feel that being direct or honest won’t get the work done. So, you try another way that you think can help you win.

Manipulation tactics that go unnoticed

Unintentional manipulations can affect you and your partner negatively. It would be best to analyze your relationship, your behavior, the way you communicate, and especially the tone.

Look for these signs and check if manipulation is threatening your relationship or not.

Constant judgment

Indirect judgments for most of the efforts you make is a clear sign that your partner does not want you to behave in a certain way. They might make you feel you are doing something wrong. Also, they majorly focus on the negative aspects instead of the positive ones.


Cruel mockery and humour is another indirect way to make partners feel insecure. Sometimes couples make fun of their partners and state it as “light humour”. However, it is the perfect way to ruin a relationship.


Does your partner make you feel guilty for what you do? If yes, then it is a clear sign that you are being manipulated. Guilt makes people emotionally and mentally weak.


Disapproval and disagreements are important for a relationship until they are not happening daily. Constant disapprovals mean that your partner tries to control you and be authoritative.


It is another tactic of manipulation and making your partner work in a certain way. When you compare your partners with others, you discourage them. Sometimes, it can even make them feel unwanted.

What are the consequences of manipulation

You constantly feel the need to defend yourself

When your partner thinks that you are doing something wrong, you continuously feel the need to defend yourself and put forward your opinion.

“Please let me explain!” becomes a common phrase for you.

You feel insecure and unloved

Insecurity hits you hard, and you feel the lack of love and affection. You start to find your drawbacks and weaknesses. Your love for your partner makes you overthink.

You doubt yourself

A serious sense of self-doubt restricts you from thinking about your betterment. You start forgetting your self-worth and feel depressed.

You apologize frequently

Even when you believe you did not do anything wrong, you feel a need for you to apologize. Eventually, the trust and credibility in a relationship decrease.

Overall discontentment in the relationship

Negative feelings like hurt, resentment, anger, dissatisfaction, and frustration become a constant in your life. You find your mental health imbalanced and your connection with your partner diminishes. How to avoid manipulation in the relationship

How can you avoid manipulations in your relationship

As an individual, you must be aware of your limits in a relationship. You must know how far you are capable of going and continuing the relationship.

Even after making compromises and understanding many situations, if you feel that you are not loved enough, you lose your self-esteem, something is constantly going wrong in your relationship.

Many people put their best efforts into holding their relationship even when they are filled up to the brim. Despite knowing that they are unhappy, they do not leave their partners behind.


….because their dimensions and limits are different.

Their love for their partners stops them from taking a step for themselves.

They fear loneliness.

Take time to make decisions

If you tend to say yes immediately to any request, give yourself some time to decide.  Many people are madly in love with their partners. So much so that their partner’s wishes become orders for them.

If you feel like you are being dominated in your relationship, learn to take control of the situation. Calmly assess whether or not you want to do it and does it help your relationship in the longer run.

The love and affection for the partners always stop us. However, thinking critically for the sake of a healthy relationship sometimes becomes necessary.

Keep your position

When people fail to manipulate their partners, they try to make them feel guilty.

Don’t forget that most of the time, all of this happens unintentionally.

They feel angry, frustrated, play the victim, or even cry. In such situations, it is necessary to keep your position and firmly put your thoughts. The best way is to recognize that it is a part of the manipulation.

If you feel responsible for your partner’s discomfort, you are certainly being manipulated. Remind yourself and say, “This is manipulation, but I am not going to give in because it is my right.”

However, you should try not to be stubborn and calmly put your thoughts.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

It is said that communication is the key to a good relationship. Therefore, it is necessary to talk about your feelings and thoughts and clearly make your partner understand when you feel wrong.

Conflicts happen in every relationship. Even couples go through a storming phase where they find it difficult to understand each other, and conflicts take a front seat.

However, the more you communicate and express your honest thoughts and opinions, the more you will help your relationship nurture. Being calm, composed, and honest with your partner open ups the doors for communication. Keeping things inside you won’t help you at all.

It will affect your mental health. You will overthink, feel guilty, and frustrated, which are not at all good signs for you and your relationship.

To overcome such situations, practice mindfulness, meditate daily and bring your mind to peace.

Learn to say “No.”

It seems difficult to say no to your partner. But you must understand its importance. It is just a matter of practice, and also, it is your right. You keep your priorities aside when you decide to do something that you do not want to. It indeed harms your mental as well as physical health.

Mutual respect is necessary for any kind of relationship. The more you respect your partner, the more you strengthen your relationship. However, it should always be two-sided. Saying no is essential when you feel manipulated, insecure, disrespected, and when it comes to your dignity.

Hold them accountable

It is necessary to hold your partner accountable if you feel that they are manipulating you. When you quarrel with your partner, you may face passive aggression.

“You win! You are always right!” If you hear this, focus on the tone. If the tone is inappropriate, the chances are high that your partner is passive-aggressive.

You can try the following tactics.

  • Ask what they really want.
  • Respond humorously.
  • Being direct and honest can help you for sure.


Manipulation in a relationship continues to grow in the backdrop of love. It is necessary to call it out and face it firmly. It acts like a termite that kills the relationship from within. Therefore, communicating about it or seeking help from an expert can work.


It all begins with you.

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