5 Toxic Signs Your Partner Is 'Monkey Branching' You

If you suspect your partner of being a 'monkey brancher', there are a few signs to look for.

Elizabeth Shaw explains the signs your partner is monkey branching. Instagram via @coachelizabethshaw

How can you tell if your partner is loyal and committed? Elizabeth Shaw is a relationship expert who focuses on the psychology of narcissism and emotional manipulation.

She recently took to Instagram to shed light on a toxic behavioral pattern called "monkey branching." Defined by its lack of commitment and misuse of trust in relationships, monkey branching is often characteristic among individuals with narcissistic tendencies.


RELATED: Husband Explains The 'Frustrating' Question Men Should Stop Asking Their Wives & What They Can Do Instead


What is monkey branching?

According to Shaw, monkey branching is "a behavioural pattern commonly exhibited by individuals with narcissistic tendencies, wherein they quickly transition from one relationship to another without any sense of loyalty or emotional investment." 

She clarified that the term derives from how monkeys will quickly move from one branch to another, which "encapsulates the superficiality and lack of commitment that characterizes narcissistic relationships."

If you worry that your significant other falls under that category, Shaw gave some eye-opening guidance

Here are 5 toxic signs your partner is 'monkey branching' you.

1. They instigate an affair.

According to Shaw, one of the key indicators of monkey branching is instigating an affair. By doing so, they can effortlessly pivot to another relationship devoid of emotional attachment.


For some, this may come as the most obvious sign. But it's important to keep in mind that a partner who is "monkey branching" is often manipulative and may try to convince you that the affair was not their fault.

Shaw's next sign may come hand in hand with instigating an affair.

2. They have connections with exes.

Continued contact with multiple past partners can also suggest potential monkey branching activities. It's a red flag that suggests divided attention rather than genuine investment into the current relationship.

Typically narcissistic, they constantly seek validation and attention from multiple sources, even if it means being disloyal.


RELATED: Man Tells His Estranged Wife That She Can Have The House & Everything In It — Then Demolishes It While She's At Work

3. They look to gain validation and attention from multiple sources of supply.

Unfortunately, this may go hand in hand with the previous tip. Like wanting to keep connecting with exes, they seek a "constant stream of admiration, validation, and attention from others." What are they looking to gain out of it?

"They seek to establish and maintain a harem of potential partners as a means of bolstering their fragile egos and self-worth," Shaw wrote. "Monkey branching allows them to seamlessly transition from one relationship to another, often without remorse or concern for the emotional well-being of the individuals involved."

4. They want to cause intrigue and excitement.  

Often, they are driven by excitement to make decisions, regardless of what consequences may come next. This behavioral trait stems from their underlying desire for novelty. They often get bored when the initial appeal of the relationship has faded and look for something new to regain that feeling.


"They crave the initial stages of a relationship, where they can feel desired and admired. However, once the excitement wanes, they become restless and seek new partners who can rekindle those euphoric feelings," Shaw said.

5. They're boosting their ego.

Finally, a significant part of a monkey brancher's personality is their predilection toward narcissism. So, it's no surprise that an obvious sign is when they go out of their way to boost their own ego, often at your expense!

"Ultimately, the narcissist's monkey branching behaviour reveals their innate self-centeredness and lack of empathy," Shaw wrote. "Their relentless pursuit of self-gratification and a constant stream of external validation often leads to a trail of broken hearts and emotional turmoil."


These signs aren't the end-all when identifying if your partner is a "monkey brancher." However, noticing these red flags can certainly help and should never be dismissed.

RELATED: Woman Says 'Withholding Gratitude' From Your Husband For Helping Around The House Is A 'Recipe For Disaster'

Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.