Brandon Woelfel

5 Ways Bare Minimum Men Will Manipulate You Into Staying

It’s so easy to give the advice of dumping a bare minimum man. After all, he’s barely present for the relationship–it doesn’t feel good to be the only one putting in effort. But when it’s you going through this shitty relationship, it’s a lot easier said than done to finally end things. It doesn’t help that he’s using all sorts of tricks to manipulate you into staying. Here’s how you decipher these relationship habits so you’re more empowered to get away.

He promises he’ll do better, and you believe him.

Any time you bring up that he’s putting in only the bare minimum, he’s suddenly full of promises. He’ll pick up the slack. He’ll show you he cares. He’ll make the effort. And of course, you’re filled with hope, so you believe him. But how many times is too many, and when will you stop trusting his word?

He does better…but only briefly.

You complain about how little effort he’s putting in, and he’s suddenly doing all the things you’d hoped for. He’s showing you how much he cares. And then, once you’ve gotten comfortable and happy again, he’s right back where he was. It’s his little way of constantly keeping you engaged. Because he “tried.”

He uses weaponized incompetence to keep you doing all the work.

When you call him out on how little he does, he manipulates you into doing it for him. For instance, if you say you’re sick of cooking all the meals, he’ll just say, “But baby, you’re such a good cook. You know I’m a disaster in the kitchen.” He’ll turn a skill that any adult should have already mastered–or know how to look it up and learn–and makes you think you’re the only one who can do it.

He runs to his mommy whenever you’re upset with his bare minimum behavior.

Rather than handling conflict like a true partner, he has his family fight his battles for him. He’ll go to his mom to complain about how his big bad girlfriend won’t do his laundry for him, and suddenly you’re hearing from the woman as she texts you about how it’s “your job.” Anyone that can’t handle a conflict themselves is not worth the energy it takes to fight.

He tells you this is “normal.”

You complain about how he never plans dates or he never texts back right away or how he expects you to do everything, and he has a built-in excuse. He’s just a guy, and this is how all guys act in relationships, according to him. That’s his way to manipulate you into staying so that you don’t find out that he’s full of shit and there are plenty of men out there who are willing to do the work.