One of the really difficult things about living in the modern world with social media and HBO is that we're constantly faced with examples of how not to operate within relationships. The modern world needs drama in entertainment in order to keep us interested. Therefore, we become conditioned to not only accept this drama but enjoy it – we even seek it out. That's unacceptable.
Cheating is not normal. Double standards are not normal. People treating you like garbage and manipulating you is NOT NORMAL. We have to learn to be better and demand better. Letting people walk all over you and make mistakes and hurt you without demanding change will ensure that you remain unhappy.
They likely know exactly what they're doing and how they're hurting you if they bother to apologise, and that's exactly what the problem is. It's just empty words – they never mean what they say if they don't change their behaviour.
Here are four ways that your partner is manipulating you in your relationship…
1 – They're constantly using reverse psychology or mental tricks to try and get their way
It should probably go without saying but if they have to train you or condition you to respond to their every beck and call, it's not a healthy dynamic. You aren't a dog, after all. But this reinforces problematic 'master-servant' dynamics where you lose all control. As soon as they think they know your tells or ways that your will can be overturned, they will manipulate it. It's not like knowing people's boundaries and pressure points and then respecting that information, no. They will use it to their advantage – to get the Boy's Night, to stop you from seeing your friends, to trick you into thinking that when they hit you it will only happen once.
They're clever and they will turn it around on you for you to bear the guilt. 'You know me, you know I would never do it, you have to help me'. The use of 'you' constantly shifts the blame to you when it's clearly not your fault or anything you should put up with. If their apology is a way of making you feel bad without accepting any responsibility or suggesting that they will change – you have to get out of there fast. That is not healthy. That is gas-lighting.
2 – They constantly lie to you but expect your total transparency
If your partner constantly expects you to live by these double standards, you're in trouble. That's his way of saying that your life or your time is not as valuable or important as his. That his friends can stay over, but he is not willing to spend time with yours. He will manipulate you into letting him go out with his female friends – he will tell you you're being paranoid or neurotic – but when it's his turn to be insecure, it's just his 'male jealousy' and he will accuse you of 'asking for it' or trying to attract the opposite sex.
3 – He insults you, apologises, and then does it again
This just shows once more that he knows exactly what he's doing and how the consequences of his actions are construed but he is unwilling to recognise that it's bad and should stop. He will try to say what he thinks you want to hear, rather than anything he has any intention of acting on. He will say he's sorry and that he won't do it again, but you know that's a lie. It's also a slippery slope. Once you start acclimatising to emotional abuse, it is so difficult to relearn the habits you pick up.
4 – You aren't allowed to succeed if they aren't successful
They are charismatic. They will convince you that you aren't interesting or valid or functional without them. They will insist that you have to get their approval on every little decision and establish a precedent of their authority which undermines and demeans your independence. You will soon start to struggle to make a decision for your own good and in your own interests without separating it from his. He will call you selfish or ignorant or stupid and render you incapable of functioning without him. He will stop your success because he feels insecure. He will blame his lack of success on you.
Don't listen to his apologies. They're empty and it's just emotional manipulation.