Woman who was 'spider-webbed' in her relationship ended up cheating to escape
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A woman who was ‘spider-webbed’ in her relationship ended up cheating to escape and later made a shocking discovery about her boyfriend.
The trend, despite its name, has nothing to do with Halloween or actual arachnids, it refers to how people become trapped in relationships that ultimately leave the other person feeling distraught.
It involves people spinning a toxic web around the person they’re in a relationship with.
In addition to love bombing and gaslighting, spider-webbing also shares characteristics with breadcrumbing - a type of manipulation when one person sends out flirty cues without any real intention for commitment.
And one woman named Emily* bravely came forward to share her own experience with spider-webbing to raise awareness for anyone else who may be experiencing it.
Emily had been in a relationship with her ex-boyfriend for three years and she began to notice the telltale signs of spider-webbing about a year-and-a-half into their relationship.
“Things were great at the beginning and we were super close, but over time, something felt off,” she said.
Warning signs when it comes to spider-webbing can be hard to spot, meaning that people often tend to miss them.
The first red flag to be aware of is love bombing, which typically involves extreme displays of attention and affection, such as gifts.
You should also keep your eye on signs of gaslighting, which is when your partner goes to great lengths to sow seeds of self-doubt and confusion in your mind as a form of manipulation.
Emma didn’t know the term spider-webbing at the time she started noticing her boyfriend’s strange behaviour.
"At first, he was all about showering me with affection, always texting, calling, and making plans together,” she recalls. “But it felt too much, too soon. It's like he wanted to be the centre of my world.
"Whenever we'd argue, he'd turn things around, making me feel like I was overreacting and that I couldn’t function without him.
“I noticed something odd too - every time he messed up, he'd try to smooth things over with affection. It was like he'd call me a name and then try to hug and kiss me, hoping I'd forget what just happened.
"He'd blame his actions on how much he cared for me, making it seem like I was at fault. It felt like he was dodging responsibility, and I started feeling manipulated."
Emily ended up cheating on her boyfriend and when she confessed it ‘triggered a terrible confrontation’ after she confessed.
“He gave me a hard time for being unfaithful,” she shares. “It was weird; he seemed upset, but also sort of calm. I think he wanted to use it against me, so he'd always have the upper hand."
The couple split up even though it almost didn’t end up that way.
“He almost manipulated me into staying after I cheated. I felt so guilty, wondering if I was somewhat complicit in it all.
“Shortly after I confessed though, I found out that [he] had been cheating on me too, pretty much since the start of our relationship. Looking back now, it’s wild how I didn’t notice any of these red flags.
"When I finally cut things off, I felt this huge relief. I was finally able to put myself first and break free from that tangled web."
Jessica Leoni, Sex & Relationships Expert at Illicitencounters.com, says that spider-webbing is a ‘deeply manipulative behaviour that often stems from insecurity, fear of rejection, past traumas, and a lack of empathy’.
She adds: “Cuffing season can make us more vulnerable to manipulation because the desire for companionship can lead us to overlook warning signs or compromise our boundaries. Manipulative people can exploit this vulnerability for their own gain.
”Emily’s decision to cheat was a last resort to escape this toxic dynamic.
"It reflects the desperation and emotional turmoil she experienced within the relationship. It's a sobering reminder of how manipulation can drive individuals to make choices they might never have anticipated.”
*names have been changed