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How to Control a Relationship: Tactic #1 - The Guilt Trip

Updated on October 8, 2012

An Observation by Cupid Valentino

These days romantic relationships appear to be very unstable for a lot of people. Everyone seems to be looking for an excuse to break up and then hook up with someone else. In other cases, people might just be looking for a little bit of extra attention from their significant other. Cupid has always been interested in the origins of arguments in relationships. One of the most common tactics of the female in her attempt to dump her present boyfriend or either have him doing some serious kissing up is the “guilt trip.” It should be stated from the beginning that few people who practice this technique will ever admit to it.

Let it also be said that Cupid is not a counselor in his observations. He just takes notice and states his opinion. Pay attention to the mechanics of the guilt trip in the following scenario:


It begins with a simple activity…let’s say that the boyfriend is going out to do something that he finds joy in doing. This also happens to be an activity that they both know the girlfriend hates, and he normally would not have asked her to come along due to this fact. But because she is a good girlfriend and wants nothing more than to spend time with him, she insists on coming along. This often proves to be the man’s first mistake because he was supposed to be sensitive to the fact that she was trying to enhance the bond between them and make the decision this one time to do something that the two of them could enjoy equally. Any other option would be viewed as a selfish act on his part. The woman, however, will never tell him this. He’s just supposed to know it. For some unknown reason, the man chooses to go through with his original plan for the evening and adds his girlfriend to the equation.

Now, she’s irritated at this point because he didn’t have the good sense to pick up on the vague hint, but she will never admit to her discontent.


The most common indicator of the forthcoming guilt trip will come in the form of the woman putting on a false smile and participating with just enough of a hint of displeasure for the man to comment on it and ask, “Are you okay?” or “What’s wrong?” To this she will respond with, “Oh, I’m fine” or “Nothing” (respectively). It’s obvious to the both of them that something is wrong, but the plan is to make the situation seem bigger than what it is. And naturally, the guy’s going to fall into it.

What he doesn’t realize is that she is gradually beginning the process of placing herself into the role of the victim.

First of all, she doesn’t want to be there, yet he insists on staying (which makes the man seem like an insensitive jerk). Second, it must always be understood that the underlying reason for her coming along is that she wants to be an active participant in what the man does for the sake of making him happy. This consideration places her in a position of being the caring girlfriend who wants nothing more than to maintain a healthy relationship. Do you see how this works so far?

Everyone knows that there is nothing worse than a liar, and this charade gets old pretty quickly. So what happens? The man eventually gets to the point where he insists on her telling him what’s wrong. To this she will usually again reply, “Nothing.”

Now at this point, the guy is annoyed and will do one of three things:

1. He will continue to press the issue until she admits to something being wrong, or

2. He will get fed up and leave with her in a befuddled rage, or

3. He will become silent (affectionately referred to as "being distant") while ignoring the situation and continuing with the activity for a little while longer.

It is important to notice that no matter which option he chooses at this point, he’s doomed because he has assumed the role of the “bully” through his aggression (either blatant or silent).

Now, the woman, sensing the tension, will attempt to reconcile things by addressing what she feels is a negative change in his mood. Her attempt to pacify the situation will more than likely spark a release of the man’s frustration, which he will most likely try to mask in the form of concern for her. But somehow (Cupid has yet to figure out how this works exactly), the woman manages to capitalize on the moment and relates these feelings to what she has been sensing as a growing trend of separation between the two of them. The man of course, being oblivious to this, further proves her point by his lack of attention to the development of this distance in the relationship.


For the sake of time, Cupid will sum up the rest of the scenario by saying that the inevitable argument occurs, and the man is left either without a girlfriend or the apparent threat of not having a girlfriend. In both scenarios the woman wins because she will either get a new boyfriend who will shower her with the ceremonial over-affectionate nature of the blossoming relationship or a groveling boyfriend who is so determined to get back in her good graces that he will do practically anything she wants.*

Cupid told you it was brilliant.

(*Note: It is true that this same tactic may be attempted by the man, but he will more than likely fu(dge) it up somehow.)


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