10 Signs He’s Not Sensitive, He’s A Manipulator

He’s not lacking when it comes to emotional depth and he seems incredibly evolved and in touch with his feelings. That’s great if it’s legit, but before you call your boyfriend sensitive, make sure he’s not actually manipulating you. Here are signs the latter is what’s happening.

  1. He makes you feel guilty. You find yourself feeling guilty around this guy for every little thing. That’s not your imagination — something’s making you feel that way and it’s probably your boyfriend. An example is when you do something nice for him and he hardly reacts, making you think he’s not moved but feels what you’ve done isn’t enough. It’s a horrible feeling.
  2. He’s a compromise con. When he compromises in the relationship, it doesn’t feel like he’s doing it for the good of the relationship. He’ll somehow make you feel like he’s doing you a favor, such as by saying, “I really wanted to go out with the boys, but as long as you’re happy then I’m fine with it.” Um, okay.
  3. He cries on command. The second you approach him about something that upset you, he throws on the waterworks. He might say that he’s sensitive when really he just wants you to stop confronting him so that he can get out of the sticky situation. This is probably what he’s trying to do if he always seems to become emotional when you need to have an important talk.
  4. He’s throwing his baggage on you. He might have his emotional scars and baggage, and having a heart-to-heart chat about them is cool, but it’s not good if he’s using them against you. For example, when he says, “I’ve been cheated on and I worry it will happen again, which is why I don’t want you to text your male friends.” He’s cleverly trying to control you and making it seem like he’s just looking out for himself. He’s not. He’s making his issues yours.
  5. He behaves like the world’s out to get him. Dealing with someone who’s got a soft heart is one thing, but it’s a totally different issue if they’re acting like the world just wants to destroy their heart at every turn. Oh, the drama. That’s when you can’t help but wonder if your BF is actually just playing the victim card to get sympathy. He might say, “I’m such a good guy and I always get screwed over!” Um, yeah.
  6. He’s a walking sob story. When he wants something, he quickly gives you a sob story. You might notice a pattern that every time he tells you about some horrible that happened or what someone did to him, he ends up asking you for something. It might be money, it might be time, or maybe it’s something else entirely.
  7. He needs you at certain (and convenient) times. When you’re getting ready to go to a friend’s birthday, your partner calls to say that he’s having a panic attack and needs you so you drop everything. Ditto for when you’re cramming for an exam and he phones to vent about the fight he had with his best friend. Wow. He doesn’t need you, he’s manipulating you and trying to take you away from other things in your life.
  8. He doesn’t look convincing. A guy who’s pretending to be sensitive and kind will probably be a people-pleaser. This can be manipulative in itself because it’s like he’s trying to make you see how great he is. But after he says that he’d love to meet your folks or he loves the cool gift you got him, he turns away and there it is. You can see a look in his eye like he’s actually not all that keen but he’s just trying to make you think he is. Here’s how to further test where he’s at: when you ask him about that look, does he lose his cool or become emotional? Yup, the guy’s manipulative.
  9. He tries to show he “cares.” He’ll give you unsolicited advice regarding your choices and he frames it in such a way that he tries to make you believe that he’s only saying those things because he cares. Meanwhile, he’s actually just trying to put you off the whole idea. For example, when you decide to start your own business, he’ll ask you questions to make you wonder if you’re making a mistake and then he’ll say, “I just love you so much, I don’t want you to get hurt/lose money.” Sneaky.
  10. He’s emotional quicksand. Have you ever noticed how you always feel depressed or angry when your BF is feeling down or pissed off? If it feels like he’s always pulling you into his moods, it could be a sign that he’s trying to drag you down into the darkness with him. This is a way to make you feel responsible for what he’s feeling and could also become tied into guilt at a later stage. So dodgy!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.