I won’t pretend I’m not guilty of some of the following actions but here are some tips/thoughts I have about manipulating people’s emotions in a relationship.
Note: the more I think about these items on the list the more I wonder if my perspective has been warped by a series of relationships that either lacked emotional security or were unsafe. Something for me to ponder.
– Say things you don’t mean (example: I really like you).
– Discuss and/or agree to future plans (example: Let’s go to ____ next month. Ok that sounds awesome! I should be free. We can make a weekend of it and I will meet your best friend in the whole entire world).
– Say “I love you” if you are going to take it back.
– Joke about having your baby, being your wife or living with you.
– Kiss their forehead (if you have ever been kissed on the forehead, you know the feelings this can provoke).
– Buy super considerate “gift” (example an ice pack for my neck when I spend the night).
– Offer to cook dinner (I’ve “dated” someone occasionally for over a year – he’s never cooked for me. Clear boundaries.)
– Stand under a giant umbrella wrapped around a person like your life depended on it and whisper all the things you want to do together (I swear that one was a cliché moment – and then he broke out into Singing in the Rain. Not. Kidding.)
– Initiate constant contact – first thing in the morning to last thing at night.
– Record little messages for me about how much you miss me and can’t wait to be together.
– Be honest. If you just want sex or casual dating or dating other people, you have to say it, out loud, so I can decide if that’s what I want too.
– Make a plan when we agree to go out – it doesn’t have to be weeks in advance, or days of your time – just make the space you are ready to give me.
– Be realistic about what you need from me.
– Be honest about what you can give me.