You find the perfect man – confident, keen, funny, charming, cute, caring, genuine and trustworthy. Almost instantly you feel that chemistry with him on every possible level. You feel such an affinity with him. You’re convinced he’s the one. You can’t believe your luck. How has he not been snapped up already?!? The only nightmare is how you never met him sooner.
But as time progresses, the dynamics of the relationship change – this shift can be so subtle and gradual that you don’t even notice. It’s only when you view things retrospectively that a pretty disturbing pattern emerges. Was this seemingly perfect man just a persona who’s been manipulating you right from the off?!?
Does this sound familiar?
It’s so easy to fall for a guy we don’t really know; we get so wrapped up in the promise of a potential fairytale ending but what happens when this guy turns from Dream Man into Nightmare Manipulator and you don’t even see what’s right in front of your eyes? Love can be so blind.
1. He tells you he loves you, wants to live together or start a family way too early in the relationship
A couple of months is not enough time to be talking about this – it’s a fairytale, not reality! You interpret it as a committed man who’ll provide everything you’ve hoped for. By you agreeing with this fairytale he knows you’re already hooked and will use it as a means to get his own way whenever he wants, like a reward – plus it would make it almost impossible for you to leave him in the future if you have responsibilities together.
2. You’ve deleted a significant number of friends / photos / periods of your timeline from your Facebook page
He may have directly asked, made subtle comments, or you just feel you should in order to make him happy (deleting the odd friend or photo is fine, but a massive cull is a big sign!) – incidentally he’s unlikely to do the same, with little recognition of your existence on his page at all! He’s jealous of the life you had before he met you and wants to isolate you from it – you’d have no incentive to leave him if your life would be empty without him. Don’t compromise who you are!
3. You make him the centre of your world, frequently putting him before your own needs
This ties into the above point – when you get to know him, he doesn’t really have that much going on his life aside from family and work (weirdly, he may appear to have hundreds of Facebook friends, but in reality his social activities rely heavily on family connections rather than friends). He needs you to fill a void, you love being needed by him – you’re a lovely girl who would do anything to make her friends, family, and obviously her man happy – you’re unlikely to leave him because you feel wanted and valued, it boosts your confidence. Don’t let him take advantage of your kind heart.
4. He uses baby-talk and infantile behaviour
He is like a petulant child and uses the approach which always worked well as a toddler to get his own way and the attention he needs. He uses innocence and charm to create empathy and guilt – of course you’ll give anything to make him happy. It’s most evident if you’ve inadvertently “upset” him with something seemingly insignificant.
5. He uses endearing mannerisms to win you over
For example biting his lip in a seductive manner, or a cheeky / shifty little sideways glance, anything really! It’s cute and endearing, and inspires your trust in him. Plus this cheeky side is probably one of the reasons you fell for him in the first place! As these mannerisms inspire your trust and adoration, he can use the same positive connotations they evoke when he is lying to you or has done something he knows is wrong – therefore he can get away with anything. Very clever!
6. He’s insecure, possessive and jealous
Every girl wants her guy to behave like this to some extent as it shows that he cares, but this issue will keep recurring and require constant reassurance – you’ve never displayed even a hint of infidelity or interest in another man but he tries to control and guilt trip you into not doing things where there could be opportunity to pull, e.g. going out with your friends without him. He’ll try to erode your self-worth so that you actually begin to feel that you can’t do any better – an actual nightmare.
7. He masks the truth using reverse psychology and sympathy
He may even go to the extent of telling you that you’re too good for him / would be better off without him / could find someone better. Sounds like an odd approach doesn’t it! Basically he truly believes what he is saying (because it is true – take the hint, he’s a nightmare!) however he’s prompting you to disagree with him to boost his ego. Also, if things go wrong in the future, you’ve only got yourself to blame – after all, he did forewarn you he wasn’t good enough didn’t he?
Keep an eye out for other things too, think logically about your interactions (particularly ones which left you feeling confused), and put aside how “cute” his controlling nature may seem. Put the fairytale man you first met out of your head and look at what’s really there, your worst nightmare.
You ignore the fact he’s controlling you
You love him and would do anything for him, and what’s the harm if you’re getting what you want? You continue the relationship only to discover further down the road that he’s becoming increasingly more manipulative, and you’re becoming further from the person you used to be – does this sound like a happy life? The sad part is, he may actually dump you unexpectedly when it’s no longer fun or challenging to control you.
You confront him about his questionable behaviours
He’ll either dump you outright / cause a massive argument because you’ve figured him out; or he’ll promise to change – you’ll see the perfect man you first fell in love with for a short time, before reverting back to his manipulative ways again – he enjoys the challenge of winning back control.
You realise you need to dump him
It dawns on you that there’s more to life than the crap he’s giving you – dumping him and never looking back is the best approach from my experience but it’s your choice! Don’t be surprised if he tries to suck you back in though, just so he can do the dumping– things have to be on his terms.
If you can’t decide…
- Give yourself time and space away from him to get some perspective – a long weekend break with the girls provides a great excuse. It will also serve to remind you of how much fun you had before you met him, plus his reaction to you saying you’re going on holiday could be a telling sign.
- Your boyfriend obviously has great qualities, which is why you fell for him, but try and look objectively at his bad points too – what advice would you give a friend if she described the exact same situation you’re in? Exactly.
You don’t deserve to be treated like this – he may have reasons from his past which explain his manipulative ways, but nothing, absolutely nothing, excuses the way he has treated you. You can do better and you know it (and he knows it too). Even Danny O got the boot from TOWIE for just a risky voicemail… you deserve a dream, not a nightmare XOXO