12 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation

  • 8 mins read

Love is a wonderful thing. The feeling of being loved can be so amazing that you feel like you could do anything. But what if that love is actually a manipulation? It’s true: there are people out there who will use their sweet and loving natures to manipulate you and get what they want. So how do you know if someone’s genuine or not? Here are some red flags:

1. They get jealous when you hang out with other people.

Being possessive is a sign of insecurity, not love. If your partner always wants to know your whereabouts, you may be tricked to believe that this is romantic and that they care about you, but they’re probably insecure and have trust issues. If they can’t trust you to go out with your friends without feeling like they need to watch over you, it’s not a good sign.

2. They’re always texting you.

12 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation

They’re always texting you. And it’s not just a few texts, either. It’s like they can’t stop themselves from letting you know how much they miss you, and they just have to keep letting you know that they’re thinking about you all the time. Even though this might look romantic, they just want to control the relationship and they want to make sure that they keep the upper hand in the relationship.

3. They’re constantly trying to get you alone

It sounds romantic when they tell you that they want to spend all the time alone with you always, right? Well, it’s not. If a person is always trying to get you alone, it’s not because they love you—it’s because they want to control you. When someone is in an emotionally abusive relationship, they will try to isolate their partner and cut them off from other people, so that they can have total control over their life. This is not love. Don’t fall for it.

Read Also: Toxic Relationships: How to Spot Them and Get Out

4. They expect you to be available 24/7.

It’s not just that they want your attention, they want it all the time. When you don’t respond immediately to a text or phone call, they get upset and accuse you of ignoring them. If you have plans for the weekend, it’s not enough for them to know what time you’ll be home; they need to know exactly where you are so they can picture exactly what part of the day you’re spending with other people.

Being there for someone at all times is not healthy, nor is it a sign that you’re in love. If your partner expects you to be available 24/7, that’s not love — it’s control.

You may like: 7 Ways to Improve Intimacy in a Relationship

5. They are always showering you with gifts.

Sometimes, love can be found in the most unexpected places.

But if you’re being showered with gifts by your partner—especially if the gifts are extravagant and expensive—you may want to take a step back and ask yourself: “Is this love or manipulation?”

While it’s true that some people are just natural gift-givers, there’s also a difference between giving someone something as a token of affection and using it as a way to control them or make them feel indebted to you.

If they’re always showering you with gifts, it may not be because they love you. It might be that they want to control you.

The more gifts someone gives you, the more power they have over you. If someone is always buying things for you—and especially if that person isn’t emotionally invested in your relationship—then their love for you is not real. It’s just a manipulative tool used to control your behavior.

6. They always blame their shortcomings on their love for you.

If they are doing something that is hurting you, they may try to justify it by saying that they are just trying to love you more. This can be a way of manipulating your emotions and making you feel bad for holding them accountable for their actions.

A good example is when they get too jealous or when they make certain demands that you are not comfortable with. They will quickly add that they are doing it because they love you. Don’t fall for this. It’s a red flag

7. They want to settle down fast.

12 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation

They might want to move in together, get married, or get engaged after a few months of dating. This is not because they’re crazy about you—it’s because they’re insecure about the relationship, and want to take control of it as soon as possible. If you don’t feel ready for all of that, don’t be afraid to say so!

In fact, don’t fall for it! While it’s true that most people do eventually want their lives settled down, there’s no reason to rush into things with someone new. If someone is pushing you into those kinds of decisions, they’re probably trying to use your desire for stability and commitment against you—and that’s not love!

Read Also: The Best Way to Go From Dating to Marriage

8. They make decisions on your behalf

They tell you what they think you should think and feel instead of letting you experience things for yourself so that they can have control over how you react to them. To them, it’s always “for your own good”. They don’t mind telling you how to respond to your boss at work, how to dress for that occasion, how to talk, how to do basically anything; all for your own good as they claim. But it is not about you, it’s about them being able to control you. Don’t fall for it. Stand firm and take charge of your life.

9. They constantly tell you that you are the best.

This one is tricky because it’s true. You are the best! But that’s not actually a compliment—it’s a manipulation tactic. This person is trying to make you think that they like you so much that they don’t even want to imagine someone else in your position (which would be impossible anyway). But what they’re really doing is telling you how great they think you are, so that when they ask for something later on, you’ll feel like an angel for doing it for them.

The truth is that if someone really wanted to spend time with you and appreciate your talents and personality, they wouldn’t need to tell you how great everything about you is—they’d just do it.

10. They flatter you always.

12 Little Things That Look Like Love But Are Actually Manipulation

Flattery is a powerful weapon. It can make you feel like you’re on top of the world and no one else has ever made you feel so special.

If you’re with someone who always flatters you, they’re trying to get something from you. It could be money, love, attention—anything that benefits them.

They might even compliment your appearance or intelligence, and the best part is that this isn’t even fake! They actually think highly of you—it’s just that they’re using it as a tool in an attempt to get what they want from you.

11. They make you feel like you’re the only one who understands them.

It’s natural to want to feel like someone understands you. But when a person makes you feel like you’re the only one who understands them, it’s possible that they’re just trying to make you feel special, and they will use that to their advantage. It’s a great way to get people on their side, but it’s also a way they can keep you under their thumb without you even realizing it.

When your partner makes you feel like you’re the only one who understands them, they’re trying to isolate you from your friends and family—the people who would help you see through their lies.

12. They become super sweet after a fight.

Conflict is inevitable in all relationships, but if your partner becomes super attentive and loving after a big blowout, it might not be because they’re in love with you—it might be that they are trying to make you feel guilty for the fights. They want to paint themselves to look like the caring, loving, and understanding partner and you will be left feeling sorry for what happened. Don’t fall for it.


This isn’t to say that every person with these traits is a manipulator. Not at all. A person can have several of these traits and not be an expert manipulator. But there’s a strong correlation between these characteristics, and if a LOT of them apply to your partner, it should raise red flags for you—and it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.

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