5 Red Flags Your Partner is Manipulating You

In romantic relationships, we all desire longevity and mutual respect. Unfortunately, some partners may attempt to manipulate us for their own gain, often disguising their actions as acts of goodwill.

To help you recognize these red flags, we consulted therapists who shared valuable insights. Here are five signs that your partner may be manipulating you.

Shaming Tactics:

While playful teasing can be harmless, continuous shaming for various behaviors is a concerning sign.

According to relationship expert Jennifer Kelman, LCSW, persistent shaming can lead you to question yourself and lose trust in your own judgment.

Manipulative partners may push you to change in ways that align with their expectations, which can be harmful to your well-being.

Constant Comparison:

Another red flag is constant comparison. Manipulative partners often compare you to others, including their ex-partners, in an attempt to make you feel inadequate or to pressure you into meeting their desires.

Such comparisons create unnecessary pressure and can erode your self-esteem.

Controlling Behavior:

Wanting to be involved in your partner’s life is natural, but there’s a fine line between healthy involvement and controlling behavior.

When your partner constantly demands detailed information about your whereabouts, who you’re with, and dictates your actions, it indicates manipulation.

Lisa Lawless, PhD, explains that this behavior aims to assert power and maintain dominance, limiting your freedom and independence.

Blaming Others:

A manipulative partner may consistently shift blame onto others rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

Instead of admitting their mistakes, they may justify their behavior and even attempt to convince you that their actions are correct.

This refusal to accept accountability and tendency to blame others can be emotionally draining and lead to doubts about your own judgment.

Involving Third Parties:

Manipulative partners may resort to triangulation by involving others in arguments to gain support for their viewpoint.

They might seek validation from friends, family, couples therapists, or independent third parties, hoping to prove that their perspective is right.

This tactic undermines healthy communication and seeks to undermine your position within the relationship.


Recognizing signs of manipulation in a relationship is crucial for your emotional well-being and personal growth.

Being aware of shaming, constant comparison, controlling behavior, blaming others, and involving third parties can help you identify manipulative dynamics and take steps to address them.

Remember, healthy relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, and open communication.

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