How to Identify a Con Artist in a Relationship
Anyone can fall victim to a manipulator. It doesn’t matter if you’re a starry-eyed romantic or a stoic realist, con artists know how to find and exploit your vulnerabilities for their own personal gain. Their deception isn’t always blatant, and in the rosy context of a relationship, it’s easy to ignore the thorns.
To ensure you’re safe from deceit and duplicity, we’ll detail some indicators to look for in your partner and the effects of an unhealthy relationship. In understanding the subtle nuances of manipulative behavior, you’ll learn how to identify a con artist and protect yourself from their schemes.
Common Indicators of a Con Artist
A manipulator reveals themselves through the way they communicate. They understand the importance of trust, and they’ll modify their behavior, speech patterns and body language to win your confidence and get what they want from you. When talking with your significant other, check for the following indicators:
- Ultimatums: If your partner is constantly pressuring you with ultimatums, they’re robbing you of your agency. You’ll feel like you have no other choice but to accept their invitations because if you don’t, you’ll miss a precious opportunity to spend time with them you won’t get again.
- Repetition: People enjoy hearing their names, and con artists are well aware of this. They’ll employ redundancy to create a sense of familiarity with their target, establishing a bond they can later benefit from. If you notice this quirk in your partner, be cautious moving forward.
- Mimicry: Mirroring body language is often subconscious and unintentional, acting as a sign you’re interested in your partner or your partner is interested in you. But con artists understand the effect it has on empathy and will use mimicry to break down defenses and enter your physical space.
If any of these traits sound familiar, you should research other signs of an emotional manipulator to see if you find any similarities.
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Effects of a Manipulative Relationship
Another way to tell if you’re in a manipulative relationship is by observing yourself and analyzing the effect your partner has on your mental health. In a relationship, you’re meant to feel happy and uplifted, supported and carefree. If you don’t, you might want to make an adjustment to your current situation. You shouldn’t linger.
When you’ve built a person up in your mind, it’s sometimes difficult to see them for who they truly are. But clinging to an idealized version of your partner leaves you vulnerable to deception, susceptible to their schemes and plans — risks you can avoid if you’re honest with yourself.
Do you feel like your relationship is one-sided? Like you’re always giving more than what you get? When you find you’re putting in more effort than your partner, going out of your way to satisfy them with gifts and thoughtful gestures they don’t reciprocate, it leads to exhaustion and frustration.
Do you feel like your self-esteem depends on your partner’s validation? Like their praise determines your value? If so, you’ll likely change your behavior to earn their approval, creating a dissonance between how you act when they’re in the room and how you act when you’re alone.
Manipulators cause confusion, sadness, desperation, fear and anger in their victims, and these negative emotions build and build to unsustainable levels. You should exit an unhealthy relationship before they do to preserve your safety, security and happiness. Whether you set aside time for serious self-reflection or learn to read your partner’s true intentions, take precautions moving forward.
Victims Are Never at Fault
Con artists care nothing for their partner, manipulating them for money, sex and social standing. They capitalize on insecurities and weaknesses to satisfy their appetites, using another person like a resource until they’re depleted. While some might blame the victim, in truth, they’re never at fault.
When you enter a new relationship, it’s all too easy to allow your optimism to cloud your better judgment. It happens to even the most grounded and sensible people among us.
But through reviewing some of the indicators detailed above and the effects of a manipulative relationship on your mental health, you’ll learn how to identify a con artist and their tricks.
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Also published on Medium.