Manipulation Techniques Used In Modern Relationships

In this era of technological advancements, human relationships are becoming more complicated than they were in the decades past. Straight-forward interactions are now replaced by gimmicks and games, and we are often caught in a whirlwind of uncertainty. Finding a companion is no more about searching for love but rather a form of hunting to conquer the unattainable. To wade through the storm and to better understand your relationship, it is important to be aware of and accept certain manipulation techniques that are commonly used these days.


This is a form of manipulation where a person knowingly misleads the victim and makes them doubt/question their perception of reality. A continuous form of this emotional abuse can have the following adverse effects on the victim:

  • become unsure of their thought process
  • starts questioning their judgements
  • develops a feeling of inadequacy
  • develops a constant need to apologise
  • lose their sense of decision-making
  • may even ultimately lead to insanity

If you are feeling that your thoughts and perceptions are constantly being rubbished or questioned by a particular person, then you might be a victim of Gaslighting. In such scenarios, it would be helpful to either save pieces of evidence to prove your point else get a third party’s point of view on the situation.

In the Mollywood movie Chathikkatha Chanthu, this manipulation technique is being used by Navya Nair’s relatives to mislead her and to make her believe that she is the one who killed her mother and grandmother. Also in the Bollywood movie Girl On The Train, Parineeti Chopra’s husband uses this technique to make her question her sanity. 

Manipulation Techniques Used In Modern Relationships

Also Read: Malayalam Films Featuring Love Triangles


In the fairytale, Hansel and Gratel, the children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to help them return home from the forest. Similarly when a person leaves you non-committal drops of interest – like an occasional phone call, messages without any serious conversation topic or a once-in-a-blue-moon date plan, then what they are trying to do is to keep your interest in them intact without seriously committing to you. 

If you are in such a situation, point it out to the manipulator and find their reason for doing so. In case, they continue with such behaviour, then pack your bags and move on because they have nothing to offer you from a long-term point of view.

The movie Darling Darling has a classic example of this manipulation technique. Dileep has a long list of girlfriends and he even maintains a notepad of who to contact on which day. While he remains non-committed to them, he ensures that all of them remain interested in him.

Manipulation Techniques Used In Modern Relationships

Also Read: The Toxicity Encountered During The Arranged Marriage Search Period


If you are an IT employee, you would be very familiar with the term “Bench”. You are placed on something called a ‘Bench’ till your manager finds a suitable project for you. This is exactly how this term works in relationships too, you are like a backup option for the person. They neither want to commit to you nor leave you, and all the while they will continue to search for other better options. 

In the world of online dating, since there is no shortage in the supply of people, benching is a common technique used by many before they finally settle for one. For the person who got benched, this might be a very confusing and disturbing time. 

Also Read: Things Some Men Feel Insecure About While In A Relationship

Catch and Release

Remember Prithviraj’s character from Swapnakoodu? He goes overboard to make a girl fall for him but once she develops feelings for him, he loses interest in her. This is exactly what ‘catch and release’ is. A relationship is more like a game of ego for them. Once the other person is smitten by them, they lose interest and dump them. This is extremely disrespectful behaviour and can even leave the victim feeling worthless. 

Manipulation Techniques Used In Modern Relationships

If you feel you are a victim of this manipulation technique, a background check on your partner’s dating history might help alleviate your concerns. 


Have you ever been in a toxic relationship and found the courage to get out of it? But does your ex still creep into your inbox with a message reminding you of a good old memory or maybe a supposedly heartfelt apology? If you are encountering this situation, this could be a case of hoovering – an ex trying to pull you back into a toxic relationship. This manipulation technique is being portrayed in Premam movie by Celin’s ex-fiancé to get her back. 

Be aware of such tactics and do not let yourself be emotionally blackmailed into falling into the trap again. Stick to your decision and cut all ties with such a person. 

Also Read: Why Do Some Women Fall For Toxic Relationships?


In this manipulation technique, a person misrepresents certain facts about them such as height, weight, complexion, lifestyle, etc. Assume that in a matrimonial app, a person’s photo spots thick hair but currently, the person is on the verge to book an appointment with Gulf Gate for hair replant, then this is a scenario of Kitten-fishing. He is trying to attract people’s attention by posting a photo that is captured years ago. One other example could be a person telling they work in the IT industry but in reality, is a watchman in Infosys. People indulging in this form of manipulation, twist the truth and present it in a more sophisticated manner. 

Love Bombing

In the initial days of a relationship, if your partner overpowers you with lots of affection, attention and flattery, then be careful as this might be a case of love bombing. They will try to get you so attached to them that you tend to ignore their red flags and even get you to isolate yourself from other people in your life. Once they secure control over you, the relationship would take a detour and become abusive, suffocating and manipulative. In the Bollywood movie Queen, Rajkummar Rao stalks Kangana and displays elaborate forms of affection to make her fall for him, this is a form of love bombing. 

Manipulation Techniques Used In Modern Relationships

The rush and excitement of being in a new relationship can be addictive but learn to take things slow and analyse the flaws in your partner with an open mind.


This is a form of chameleon technique, where a person pretends to like the same things as their partner. This form of behaviour could be knowingly or unknowingly exhibited by people in a relationship. The main reasons for doing so are to form a deeper mental connection with their partner especially during the nascent stage of the relationship or because they lack an identity of their own. 

In the Bollywood movie I Hate Luv Storys, Sonam Kapoor, in order to prove her compatibility with her fiancé, believes that all their likes and interests such as favourite colour, drinking habits, etc. are similar. But towards the end, she realises that all along she was unknowingly pretending to do so and this leads to the end of their relationship.

Also Read: Long-Distance Relationship Movies For The Heartbroken

It is quite natural for people to want a relationship based on mutual interests but pretensions might not be beneficial for a long-term relationship as humans cannot mask their true nature forever. 

Humans are imperfect but that does not justify the use of manipulations. That said, the above-mentioned manipulation techniques are to be taken as a way of caution but they should not scare you away from relationships. Do keep an eye out for these red flags though.

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