Q&A – Manipulative boyfriend

Often we will get emails at NewSpring asking for advice about troubled relationships. Here is one we got a while back that adresses several issues we hear about from dating couples.

Q: I have a problem that I need some advice about. I grew up in a Christian home but only recently accepted Christ into my heart and began to make a personal relationship with Him.

I have a problem that has been bothering me for a while and is truly hindering my relationship with Christ. I have been dating a guy for a while now. I had always known I was going to wait to have sex for marriage and when I fell in love with him I was able to keep that goal, but then, after we had dated for a while, he broke up with me for another girl.

But then, even though we had broken up, he still called me everyday, and asked me to come over. When I came over he would become more and more sexual. It seemed to me that every time I gave in a little more, he wanted me/ loved me again. Eventually, I lost the one thing I had vowed to keep. I was very naive to think that doing this would get him back, but it worked.

We got back together and he apologized for the time he left me, and we truly cared a lot about each other. By then I had accepted Christ into my life. I did/do everything I thought Christians should do. I don’t drink, I’m typically not selfish, I care about others, I go to Church. He did/does these things too. On the outside our relationship looks great. Our futures look bright and he talks of marriage all the time. But there is something haunting me and you could probably guess that it is that we have sex. I keep it a secret. I am ashamed of it. I can’t stop it.

He isn’t ashamed of it though. He thinks that since we are in love that is all that matters. We get in fights because I want to stop having sex because it says in the Bible that sex should wait for marriage, he says that because we love each other and because we have already had sex that we are married in God’s eyes.

It would be easy to say just break up. But here is the two things I have been struggling with. 1) I’ve tried to break up with him before, and he tried to commit suicide. 2) We are best friends. In fact, my whole world is wrapped up in him.

He won’t seek counsel; he won’t take advice from anyone. In fact if he knew I was writing this he would be really mad. He cuts himself when I do something he doesn’t want me to do. He throws things, and breaks things when he is angry.

Basically, if I leave him, he will hurt himself. On top of it all, I really do want it to work out. Without this one side of him, he is my best friend, and I really love everything except this part of him. I want him to see the light, that what he thinks brings us closer is actually tearing us apart.


This has gotten so serious that the only solution I can think of is transferring schools. We need help, I need advice. I need prayers. Please respond.

A: Thanks for your email. We are praying for you and your relationship. I know it took a lot of courage to write that email and ask for help. First of all I would say to you that the relationship that you are in is not healthy. You obviously love your boyfriend and are committed to him but the issues that you talked about in your email need to be dealt with before you pursue marriage any further.

It is obvious that you feel conviction from God about having sex outside of marriage. That is the Holy Spirit telling you that there is something in your life that is not what He wants for you. My first advice to you would be to listen to the Holy Spirit and end the sexual relationship that you are involved in right now.

Scripture tells us that love is patient and if your boyfriend is pressuring you to have sex before marriage, then he is not loving you in a patient way and does not have the type of love for you that is necessary for a husband to have for his wife. Stop having sex with him and you will see if he accepts you and loves you for who you are or if he is just using you to meet his own selfish desires.

The next thing you need to understand is that you are not married to him. I know that he said if you had sex that you are married in the eyes of God. That is not true. A sexual act does not make you married. God calls sex outside of marriage fornication and no where in scripture does it say that fornication begins a marriage covenant. Your boyfriend is using this as an excuse to justify his sin and to manipulate you. God has designed sex to be between one man and one woman in the bonds of marriage. Anything outside of this design God calls sin.

I feel like your boyfriend is controlling you with fear and is manipulating you by the talk of suicide and by cutting himself. I am not saying that he is not serious. If he is truly suicidal, he needs to go to the hospital immediately for evaluation and help (If he is cutting, and expressing suicidal thoughts, he really needs to seek the guidance of a professional Christian Counselor). If he is doing these things to manipulate and control you, you have to ask yourself if he really loves you.

I know that your boyfriend may appear to be godly on the outside, but by his actions, he is showing you that he is not living a godly lifestyle or making godly choices. This is a character issue. And until he repents and allows God to change the things in him that need to change, He will continue in the same sinful patterns that he has demonstrated. He is not living his life as God’s word directs, and he is not ready to lead in a marriage relationship. The best thing you can do for him is to remove yourself from the equation and do not continue to participate in sin with him. Remove yourself from this relationship, and encourage him to get the help he needs. You deserve to be treated better than this. God wants to give you His best, and this is not it. That’s not to say he might not be your husband one day, but he is not ready now, and until God heals him and changes him, you should not continue the relationship.


You also said that you don’t want to break up with him because your whole world is consumed with him. This is not what God wants either. God wants you to be consumed with Him. If this relationship has become the main focus of your life, it will not satisfy you. God is the only thing that can satisfy your soul. I know it can be scary to separate yourself from someone you are so attached to. But you have to trust that God is going to take care of you and provide for everything you need. Don’t let the fear of being alone; keep you from doing what the Holy Spirit is leading you to do. If this is not the relationship God wants for you, or it is not His perfect timing, In His time, when it is right, He will bring someone to you that is more than you can ask for or imagine.

This is not a healthy relationship, and you need to remove yourself from the influence of this person who is seeking to control and manipulate you by fear and leading you to live in sin.

I will be praying for you. I feel strongly that you and your boyfriend separately need to seek out godly counsel about the issues you discussed. I would love to meet with him if he would be willing to talk about what is going on. We also have ladies here on the care staff that would be happy to talk and pray with you. Let me know if I can answer any more questions for you or help you in any way.

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