If you’ve ever said “Wow, my son’s girlfriend is manipulative”, then this post is for you! Find out why it’s happening & what to do about it!
Here’s an email I received from one of my coaching clients: “I never thought my son would end up with a manipulative girlfriend. He’s my youngest, and I always assumed that my job as a parent was to protect him from girls like this. But then he started dating one of them. She was so sweet at first, but now she won’t let him go anywhere or do anything without her permission – and it’s driving me crazy! What should I do?”
So today I thought I’d share tips on how to deal with this super tricky situation.
What is manipulation within a romantic relationship?
Manipulation within a romantic relationship is when one partner uses deceptive and underhanded tactics to influence the other. They might do this to gain more power, control or even money.
It can go beyond just controlling a person’s actions and extend into their thoughts as well – so they try to influence what you believe too. Manipulative people don’t always have bad intentions. Sometimes they’re trying to protect themselves from being hurt by other people again in the future – but they are still being unfair.
It’s also very common for people who have been abused or mistreated in the past to resort to manipulation as a way of coping with their traumas. They might even believe that this is what love really looks like – but it isn’t! It won’t take long before you start feeling exhausted and worn down by this type of behavior.
You might find yourself constantly walking on eggshells to avoid making them mad, trying not to tell the truth in case they twist it around against you, or apologizing for things that aren’t even your fault… Doesn’t sound so fun does it?
What are the signs of your child being manipulated?
He always says yes to her, even when it’s something he doesn’t want to do. If you try asking about it he’ll find excuses and defensiveness.
He spends all of his free time with her, and never makes any plans with others. This might even get to the point where he cancels previously set-up plans just because she wants to be with him. He will almost always go along with whatever suggestion she has for an activity – no matter how weird or out of character it is for him.
He’s stopped seeing his friends, and says negative things about them whenever you mention their names. And she makes sure that she limits how much time he spends with other people (especially if they’re female). He might even tell you that his other friends are “just not as fun” and she’s better than them.
He doesn’t share things with her, or keeps secrets from her because he thinks it will upset her if they get out. It might be hard to see at first – but if he’s always trying to protect her feelings, that means that she has power over him.
He keeps apologizing for things that aren’t his fault or aren’t even something he should be sorry about! It can become a habit if he’s apologizing to her constantly.
He often says things like “I don’t know what my girlfriend would think about this…” And He might have gotten in the habit of letting her decide what he can and cannot do because she’s threatened by his opinions.
He has no idea how to say no, even when it would be better for him to just leave the situation altogether! If he’s being constantly criticized and gaslighted, he will have a hard time sticking up for himself.
Why is your son allowing his girlfriend to manipulate him?
Whether your son is being manipulated by his girlfriend because he’s been conditioned to believe that she loves him more than you, or if it’s part of a larger issue – the situation can still get worse. It might be hard for you to see what’s going on at first, especially since they’re both young… But no matter how old they are, this is unacceptable behavior.
A lot of guys try to keep their girlfriends happy by agreeing with everything they say and doing whatever they ask – no matter how much it hurts them in the long run! It’s probably not something that he wants to do, but he’s afraid that if he doesn’t – she might leave him.
He probably feels like no matter what, you’re going to take her side and see the worst in him… And this is a toxic mindset for sure! You can help your son by making it clear that just because his girlfriend says something bad about him, it doesn’t make it true.
What you can do about your son’s manipulative girlfriend
Here’s the thing… your son needs to make his own mistakes and learn his own lessons within relationships.
You should avoid:
- badmouthing his girlfriend
- complaining about how he sends his time
- making your son feel bad about himself
- giving him unsolicited advice
- gossiping about his girlfriend or giving her negative labels
Here’s what you should focus on:
- solidifying your relationship with your son
- encouraging him to do what makes him happy
- offering unconditional support and love
- accepting his mistakes and helping him learn from them
- practice active listening when he’s ready to talk
The Bottom Line
If your son’s girlfriend is manipulative, he might be coerced into making the wrong choices for himself. And it might be hard not to intervene. But you have to let him make his own mistakes. You do not want to become a controlling parent (or you could risk future estrangement). Instead, focus on strengthening your bond and connection with your son so he feels comfortable asking you for help while navigating the complexity of romantic relationships.
What You Should Do Next…
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