“If you don’t do what I tell you to do, I’ll tell your parents we had sex.”
“If you break up with me, I’ll post those pics everywhere…”
If your partner makes threats like this, they’re putting you in a really tough spot. This type of threat is called blackmail, and you might feel like you have no option but to do what your partner says. Blackmailing is a form of emotional abuse and, like all abuse, is about power and control. A person who uses this tactic wants to make you afraid of some consequence in order to get you to do what they want.
In order for a relationship to be healthy, partners must trust that when they set boundaries and are intimate with each other, both people will uphold those boundaries and neither will attempt to hurt the other partner. Making threats like this is a violation of that trust. Threats are not a sign of love or care, but of manipulation and control. You never deserve to be threatened, no matter what, and you are never responsible for your partner’s choice to be abusive. Unfortunately that doesn’t make dealing with threats like this any easier. So what can you do if your partner is blackmailing you and trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do?