Dating A Manipulator Can Mess With Your Head Long After You’ve Broken Up

Manipulative men are hard to spot and even harder to resist when they decide to pursue you. Take it from me; I was in a relationship with one for years before I realized exactly what he was —  a manipulator. I’ve managed to move on from the experience but it took a lot of time and patience. Here are 10 ways that dating a manipulator will mess with your head long after you’ve broken up:

  1. You’ll wonder how you didn’t see the signs. Most of the time, manipulative men hide their deceptive behavior behind their smile, charisma, good looks or all of the above. When you first discover that you were in a relationship with a manipulator, you’ll likely question how it managed to slip by you, especially if you were involved with him for any meaningful length of time. Even years down the road, you’ll continue to wonder why it took you so long to figure out who he was.
  2. You’ll blame yourself. “I was so naive.”  “How could I let him do that to me?” “I should have known better.”  Sound familiar? Being in a relationship with someone means you trust them enough to let your guard down. The former relationship you shared with a manipulator is no different, yet we so often blame ourselves for not seeing the signs early on. In all honesty, it’s perfectly reasonable that you didn’t see them — and a testament to how skilled he was in being manipulative.
  3. You may not want to date for a while. If the last guy you were with was a lying scammer, not wanting to date for a while is perfectly normal. It may even benefit you in the long run since you’ll be able to reflect on what happened, learn from the experience and hopefully avoid running into similar guys in the future.
  4. You’ll be skeptical of potential romance. When you ARE ready to date again, everyone’s going to get the side-eye from you. The more charming the guy, the leerier you’ll be to pursue anything. Things will eventually get easier, but the recovery time from being with a manipulator takes a while. Early on, it’s best not to think too much about where the date will go — just try to have as much fun as you can while staying alert in the process.
  5. You’ll probably carry it into future relationships. Some women can drop the negative experience they had and start fresh in their new relationship. Others will have a hard time letting things go. If so, you may find yourself acting defensively towards new partners for things the manipulator did to you in the past — almost like a delayed reaction. It’s unfair to your current partner, but if you trust him enough, explaining what happened is the first step to having a healthy view of love and trust again.
  6. You’ll get angry thinking about it. You’re a smart, insightful woman perfectly capable of fending for herself. So how in the hell did you let some smooth talking loser get over on you? It’ll drive you crazy and make you furious, but it shouldn’t. You know the reason why; you either liked him or loved him a lot. Deep admiration or strong love may force you to overlook even the biggest of red flags. So instead of being angry, try to appreciate the knowledge you gained from the situation.
  7. Your self-confidence will take a hit. Manipulators use various tactics in relationships to control their partner. An oft-used method is “negging,” or insulting a woman only to follow up with a compliment. While misguided guys also use it to attract women, it’s far more effective — and damaging — coming from a manipulative man. The constant mixed signals might do a number on your confidence, even after you’ve broken up. It’s important to surround yourself with friends and family to tell you what you know deep down: you’re awesome.
  8. You’ll struggle with trusting new partners. The new guy you’re dating seems sweet and caring. You get along so well that things are getting serious, faster than you thought. But for some reason, you don’t feel comfortable making things exclusive just yet. Why? You don’t trust him. You know it’s unlikely that he’s manipulative, but it’s hard to open up and confide in him. It won’t feel right initially, but sharing what you went through with your new partner will open the door to building trust between you.
  9. You’ll wonder if he’s doing it to other women. He sweet-talked you, wine and dined you and eventually forced your guard down enough to date him. His bold nature was intoxicating and an aphrodisiac. But in the end, he affected you so negatively that you’re still dealing with the fallout. So who’s to say he’s not doing it to some other woman… or women?
  10. You might consider going back — but don’t. When some women finally realize that they’ve been manipulated long enough, they leave, and there’s no turning back. Sadly, some women are involved with a manipulator for so long that they want to go back. Don’t. If you’re struggling with cutting the manipulator out of your life, talk to friends or family you trust, or to a mental health professional. You owe yourself happiness, and leaving him is the first step to getting there.