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How To Recognize And Handle Manipulation In Marriage

I come across many situations in marriage counseling sessions where there are manipulative behavior from one or both partners. This behavior or dynamic is very harmful to partners as it makes one of them angry.

What is manipulative behavior in the context of relationships?

In my mind, manipulative behavior is getting someone to do something for you without being direct about what you want or need. It makes the recipient of this tactic angry because he or she ends up doing something they don’t want to do.

Examples of manipulative behavior seen in relationships and marriages:

In romantic relationships or a marriage, when one of the partners “forgets” to do a task or a chore, it results in the other one having to do it and it leads to resentment. It is better to discuss directly and honestly what you want and do not want to do and come up with a solution that works for both people.

Another form of manipulation is over promising to your partner to do things you do not intend to do. It leads to disappointment and anger.

Another way couples use manipulation is withholding what the other wants, like sex, affection, favors, in order to get something first. Again, this is poisonous to a relationship.

Ask directly for what you want and need. Discuss it with your spouse or partner and avoid the problems that come from indirect communication. You may seek the help of a marriage counselor to help open the flow of communication between you and your spouse. You will learn how to share and frame your feelings which will help rekindle the romance in your relationship.