Is Your Boyfriend Emotionally Manipulative? 14 Warning Signs to Watch For

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Are you feeling off in your relationship? Do you constantly doubt yourself and your emotions?

These may be signs that your boyfriend is emotionally manipulative. In this article, we define emotional manipulation and discuss the signs to look out for.

What is an Emotionally Manipulative Boyfriend?

An emotionally manipulative boyfriend is someone who uses tactics to control and influence your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

They may use guilt-tripping, gaslighting, and blame-shifting to make you feel responsible for their negative emotions. They may also play the victim to gain sympathy or control the dynamic of the relationship.

Signs of an Emotionally Manipulative Boyfriend

1. Feeling that something is off in the relationship

Do you feel like there’s something wrong in the relationship, but you can’t quite put your finger on it?

This may be a sign of emotional manipulation. Trust your instincts and take note of any unusual behaviors from your partner.

2. Doubting yourself and your thoughts/feelings

Your partner may make you feel like you’re overreacting or being irrational.

They may use gaslighting to invalidate your emotions or make you doubt your perception of reality.

3. Wanting only what he wants in the relationship

An emotionally manipulative boyfriend may want the relationship to be one-sided, with only his needs being met. He may refuse to compromise or take your needs and wants into consideration.

4. Being responsible for his negative emotions

Does your partner blame you for his negative emotions, like anger or sadness?

This is a sign of emotional manipulation. Remember, it’s not your responsibility to manage anyone else’s emotions but your own.

5. Using the line “if you really loved me…”

This is a classic guilt-tripping tactic used by emotionally manipulative partners.

They may use this line to make you feel like you’re not doing enough for them or that your love is conditional.

6. Playing the victim

An emotionally manipulative boyfriend may play the victim to gain your sympathy and control the dynamic of the relationship. They may use this tactic to avoid taking responsibility for their actions or to make you feel like you owe them something.

7. Everything in the relationship is on his terms

If your partner is controlling the relationship to the point where everything is on their terms, you may be dealing with emotional manipulation.

This can be exhausting and can lead to you feeling like you’re playing a game you can’t win.

8. Feeling like you’re overreacting

Your partner may use tactics to make you feel like you’re overreacting to their behavior. They may use gaslighting, invalidation, or make you feel like your emotions are not valid.

9. Giving you the silent treatment

The silent treatment is a form of emotional manipulation where your partner uses their silence as a way to control you and punish you for something they feel you did wrong.

10. Using ultimatums to control you

An emotionally manipulative partner may use ultimatums to control you.

They may give you an option that feels impossible to choose, like “you can either stay home with me tonight or never see me again.”

11. Making you feel sorry for speaking up

This is another guilt-tripping tactic used by emotionally manipulative partners.

They may make you feel bad for speaking up and expressing your needs and wants.

12. Acting like a martyr

An emotionally manipulative partner may act like a martyr to gain your sympathy or make you feel guilty for anything that goes wrong in the relationship. They may make it seem like they’re doing you a favor by being with you.

13. Calling you names even if it’s a joke

Respect is a fundamental aspect of any healthy relationship.

If your partner is calling you names, even if it’s supposed to be a joke, it’s not okay. Emotionally manipulative partners may use disrespect as a way to control you and make you feel inferior.

14. You’re losing yourself in the relationship

One of the most significant signs of emotional manipulation is when you feel like you’re losing yourself in the relationship.

You may feel like you’re losing touch with your individuality and autonomy.


In conclusion, emotional manipulation is a form of control and can be damaging to your mental health and overall well-being. If you recognize any of these signs in your relationship, it’s important to address them and seek help if needed.

Remember, you deserve a healthy, supportive, and respectful relationship. In a relationship, emotional manipulation can be a destructive force that slowly erodes your self-esteem, independence, and overall mental health.

This article has highlighted the signs of an emotionally manipulative boyfriend, including making you responsible for their negative emotions, using guilt to influence your choices, playing the victim, and controlling the relationship on their terms. Being aware of these warning signs can help you identify when your partner is being manipulative and take action to protect yourself.

Remember, a healthy and respectful relationship is built on open communication, trust, and mutual respect.

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