- Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your relationship is parasitic while you’re still in it.
- INSIDER spoke with a relationship expert to find out what signs may mean you’re in a parasitic relationship.
- If your partner always needs something from you, tries to enmesh you in their life and expects you to make their life better, you may be in a toxic relationship.
It can be hard to realise you’re in a parasitic relationship when you’re in the midst of it, but there are signs to look out for when figuring out whether your relationship is more of a job than an actual relationship.
From needing to take care of your significant other constantly to dropping things in your life to be with them, sometimes a relationship just isn’t what you thought it would be.
INSIDER spoke to best-selling author and relationship expert Susan Winter about some of the signs that may mean your relationship is parasitic.
Your day is made up of taking care of their needs and wants
If all you’re doing is taking care of your significant other, you may be in a toxic relationship. Winter shared, “Whether they’re lazy or petulant, your life is not a peace until they get their needs met. You’ve unconsciously fallen into the habit of responding to their whims – not because you want to but because you’re afraid of the consequences if you don’t.”
“If they don’t get what they want they become angry, moody, and petulant. Therefore, managing their emotions is the only thing that guarantees your peace,” she added.
You’re constantly putting out fires they created
Whether it’s something small or more public, your partner always makes you clean up their messes.
Winter said, “Your partner seems incapable of handling life on his or her own. So much so that they create ongoing problems for everyone when they do take action. The impact of your partner’s poor decision-making affects you and your family. You find yourself running to the rescue because someone capable has to intercede.”
“This continual action casts you in the ‘rescuer role.’ Once you’re the rescuer, it’s almost impossible to have needs of your own. Your job is set in stone,” she added.
Your energy is constantly drained by them
If your relationship feels more like work than anything else, it’s time to admit that it’s parasitic.
“Being in this relationship is exhausting. No matter what you do, it never seems like enough.
Worse yet, all of the energy you put into your partner doesn’t fix the underlying issues. You sadly discover ‘your helping doesn’t help,'” Winter explained.
They always need something from you
Whether it’s something tangible or your love and affection, Winter explained, “Your partner needs more love and attention than any human could possibly provide. Their insistence on being with you at all times is suffocating. The more you give, the more they need to take. Despite your reassurances of love, they continue to grasp every possible moment of contact.”
They try to enmesh you in their lives
You may be in a parasitic relationship if your partner is forcing you to drop activities or be in constant contact with them anytime you’re apart. “They have got to constantly see you, talk to you, see you, monitor you, ask ‘Where are you,’ ‘Do you love me,’ ‘What’s going on,’ ‘Stay with me,’ ‘Don’t go on the business trip,’ [whatever],” Winter said.
“They are so empty that there’s no amount of love or attention that you could give them,” she added.
They expect you to make their life better
One of the main signs of a parasitic relationship is if it’s on you to make your partner’s life better.
Winter said they always ask, “‘Can you do it for me?’ ‘Can you get the luggage for me because I don’t know what kind is best,’ ‘Can you pay off my credit card this time,'” whatever it may be.
Further, you might feel an obligation to help knowing if you don’t, they will act up.
“If you can’t do it, they will punish you. You’ll be punished by moodiness, pulling away, anger, coldness, a fight, [or an] ‘If you’d love me, you’d [do this],'” she added.
Taking care of their life becomes a condition that shows your love for them
Winter said, “You may be told not to go out with your friends, to the gym, or on a business trip. Anyone and anything that separates you from them must be eliminated. Though you’ve given your partner ample time, love, and attention, it’s never enough.”
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