Are you in love with your girlfriend, but you’ve grown weary of her constant manipulative behavior? Maybe you’ve been together for a while and don’t know how to address the issue. How can you discuss the behavior, help the manipulator to make changes, and keep the flames of passion alive?
Almost everyone has dealt with a manipulative friend, family member, or love interest at some point. They may pretend that they care about your needs. However, they’ll use mind games, guilt, and even threats to get you to do their bidding.
Everyone’s guilty of sweet-talking their partner into doing something for them. Maybe it’s asking them to do a chore you dread or to buy you something you’ve always wanted. That’s not “using” your lover if they go the extra mile for you.
However, some people need to be the center of attention, and the relationship becomes one-sided. They may constantly whine about their problems, what they need, and what you should do for them. They may use all sorts of emotional and psychological digs to make you do what they want.
In such a toxic relationship, you may be a pawn for your partner, and it’s a horrible position for you. Soon, it seems like you’re more of a concierge than a lover, and you feel used, neglected, and bitterness creeps into your relationship.
NOTE: We acknowledge that boyfriends, too, can be master manipulators. However, we covered them separately due to the differences in male behaviors.
Eleven Ways to Cope with a Manipulative Girlfriend
If you’re in a relationship with a woman who is always taking and never giving, trying to ignore their behavior won’t work. Here are ways to confront her, insist on changes, or cut your losses and walk.
1. Be Honest and Direct With the Manipulator
Manipulators work best by being vague and causing confusion. If your girlfriend is trying to take advantage of your kindness, don’t get caught in her web. Be direct and ask her what she wants without beating around the bush.
Mind games are a waste of time, giving her more leverage against you. If she continues to be vague and ingenuine, she’s playing you. Sometimes, the most potent message you can send after their ploy is to say nothing.
2. Set Clear Boundaries With a Manipulative Girlfriend
When you have agreed to clear limitations, your partner will know when she’s pushing too hard. According to a document published by the University of Kentucky, having boundaries helps to keep both partners physically and mentally healthy. If not, it’s like opening your door for whoever wants to enter.
It’s essential to establish your boundaries early in the relationship. Have a deep and candid discussion about what you’ll tolerate and expect from her. If your girlfriend becomes manipulative, remind her of your boundaries and be firm about them.
3. Learn How to Say No to Manipulative People
One of the most powerful words in the English language is “no.” Yet, people often hesitate to use it because they want to please others, especially their partners. Manipulative relationships often involve taking advantage of the one who’s the people pleaser.
Saying “no” instantly empowers you and lets others and your partner know you’re not a welcome mat. When you politely but firmly decline unreasonable requests, it gets easier to say “no.” You needn’t feel guilty for letting your girlfriend know how you feel and want to be treated.
Let’s say your girlfriend likes to attend late-night parties, and you must get up early each morning for work. Even though you explained your feelings, she uses guilt and tears to make you go with her. It’s okay to decline, as it’s easier for you to socialize on the weekends.
4. Try to Stay Calm Around a Manipulator
How can you not take your partner’s tactics personally? She may try to manipulate you with sarcasm or crocodile tears. It may become a heated argument if you allow yourself to be caught up in the emotion.
Instead, try to be calm so you can think clearly and handle the situation best. Their ploy might be to aggravate you to the point of giving in to their demands. Walk away, allow time to cool off, and make rational decisions in the heat of the moment.
Try to recognize the strategies she uses as emotional triggers. She may resort to insults or throw some of your past mistakes in your face. Point out these triggers, and don’t fall into this obvious trap.
5. Be Your Advocate
When someone truly loves you, they have your best interests at heart. However, manipulative people often use their partners for their good. That’s why it’s crucial to stick up for yourself.
Don’t be embarrassed or intimidated to say how you feel. Being confident in yourself will demand the respect you deserve. A genuine lover won’t try to push you past your limits. If your girlfriend does, be your advocate and say something.
Instead of being argumentative, try addressing the action and not the person. For example: “When you tell me that I don’t love you unless I do what you want, it makes me sad and frustrated.” It’s often best to discuss these problems when you’re not already in an argument.
6. Be Aware of How a Manipulator Treats Others
Toxic people take advantage not only of their partners but everyone else in their circle. Please pay close attention to how she interacts with friends, family, coworkers, and the public. Is she courteous to clerks and others who work in public, or is she demanding and condescending?
How does she talk about others? Does she sweetly smile face-to-face with others and then talk bad about them behind their backs? Does she value privacy, or is she constantly divulging things told to her in confidence? Be assured that if she’s talking about everyone else, she’s talking about you too.
7. Explain the Behaviors to Her
Sometimes, your girlfriend might not even be aware of their manipulative behavior. Calmly explaining how their words and behaviors make you feel can be a revelation. She can see what she’s doing and try not to repeat it in the future.
Just be sure not to be confrontational or judgmental of their character. Even the best people can be manipulative occasionally. If she gets defensive, try to stay calm and bring out the issue so it can be resolved.
8. Identify the Guilt Trips of a Manipulative Girlfriend
Toxic people are often travel agents when it comes to guilt trips. When your “no” isn’t firm, they figure a little guilt will go a long way. They prey on your sensitivity to get their way.
For example, say you and your girlfriend have discussed moving in together. You’ve agreed on a monthly budget and know how much rent you can afford. You tour an apartment you love, but it’s way over budget, so you must pass on the place.
After discussing the budget issue, she gets upset and tries to manipulate your emotions. She may say, “If you loved me, you would,” or “You don’t even care about my happiness.” She knows how to push all the right buttons to get you to cave to her demands.
However, it would help if you never allowed someone to push you into a situation that’s not right for you. Identify the guilt trip, and don’t fall for it.
9. The Problem is Theirs, Not Yours
Dealing with a toxic relationship can weigh heavily on you physically, mentally, and spiritually. You may begin to think that you’re the problem and just overreacting. Unfortunately, that may be what she wants you to consider.
An article published by the American Sociological Review discusses the critical elements of gaslighting. It’s psychological abuse that a toxic person uses to make someone intimate feel like they are to blame and are out of control. They try to blame you or minimize your feelings and may even do it in front of others.
She may say that you can’t even take a joke if you get defensive. However, you have a right to assert your boundaries. It will only worsen the situation if you make excuses for your girlfriend’s manipulative behavior.
10. Re-evaluate Your Relationship With the Manipulator
It’s not easy to give up on a relationship, especially one that’s lasted for a while. However, there comes a time when you must decide between a toxic partner and your well-being. You owe it to yourself to do an honest reevaluation of your relationship.
Be genuine and ask yourself some difficult questions. Does your girlfriend love you, or does she only love what you do for her? Can she make fair compromises, or has your relationship always been one-sided?
After thorough soul searching, ask her the same questions. Can she answer truthfully, or does she get defensive and start the blame game? Are you genuinely happy, or are you just going through the motions?
11. Maybe It’s Time to Walk Away
How did you answer those tough questions? Maybe you’ve talked to your girlfriend about these issues, and she tried to change them for a while. What if the change was short-lived, and she’s back to her toxic, manipulative behavior?
You needn’t spend the rest of your life being pushed into situations that you don’t like. If there are no changes, it’s time for you to walk away with your dignity intact. You deserve to be in a relationship with someone who’s not taking advantage of you and gives you respect.
Final Thoughts on Coping with a Manipulative Girlfriend
A loving, healthy relationship is a two-way street and often calls for compromise. No room exists for a manipulator. If your girlfriend has manipulative behaviors, don’t be afraid to bring it out into the open. If she genuinely loves you, she will apologize and do their best to stop and make the relationship better.