Being used is never a good feeling, but unfortunately, it can happen in sneaky ways.
If it’s all about them and never about you, that’s a good way to tell that they might be using your relationship for their own benefit. Though having an honest conversation with them might sometimes help sort out the issues, if you get the impression that there’s something one-sided about your relationship, ignoring it is only going to make things tougher on you in the long-run.
We rounded up some signs that someone is actually using you.
The conversation is always about them.
When all of your conversations with someone revolve around them, they’re likely getting more out of the relationship than you are, which makes it one-sided. Maybe they need someone to talk to and you’re able to fulfil that role, maybe they prefer to be the center of attention all the time and with you, they’re able to.
“If you feel like you are being used, you should assess the situation and check yourself to see if you are in the most healthy relationship you can be in,” Katie Leikam, LCSW, LISW-CP, BC-TMH, a licensed clinical social worker, told INSIDER. “Is this relationship giving you joy? Do the benefits of this relationship outweigh being used? Do you realise you are better than being used? If you can understand you are being used, then it’s time to change your situation.”
They always let you pick up the check.
Though you might not be comfortable letting them pay for everything all the time, you shouldn’t be paying for everything either. And if they’re always OK with letting you pick up the check, that could be another sign that they’re really only using you.
“Discussions about money can be uncomfortable, but they’re essential to a happy relationship, as finances are a primary source of conflict between intimate partners,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Astroglide’s resident sexologist, told INSIDER. “This is because money is tied to personal values including those related to family, culture, upbringing and status. I suggest you talk about money generally first and then address specific behaviours, as once you have a better understanding of their personal values related to money, it might help you to see their behaviour in a different light.”
No one should be insisting on the other paying all the time.
You always have to come to their rescue.
Though one of the nice things about relationships with family, friends, and, yes, partners, is that you have someone on your side. But if you’re always having to bail them out, that’s a pretty good sign that they could be using you.
“You shouldn’t spend money bailing your significant other out of their problems in a relationship,” Leikam said. “You should feel like you are cared for and that your significant other has concern for you always.”
They never say thank you.
“Whether you drive them to work, make a lunch, clean up after dinner, help with the kids, attend to their parents, consider their friends or do their laundry, you likely expect your efforts to be met with appreciation,” O’Reilly said. “If your partner doesn’t express gratitude (in some way – and preferably in a way that appeals to you), it’s possible that they feel entitled to your services.'”
“This is likely to develop into a more challenging issue in the long run, so it’s important to talk about your expectations and needs from the onset. It’s better to have a tough conversation now than to remain silent and allow your frustration to grow into contempt or resentment.”
You shouldn’t always feel obligated to be the one doing everything, particularly if they’re not pitching in as well – or at least saying thank you every now and again.
They’re always asking for favours.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask for the occasional favour, but if someone is constantly asking you for favours and isn’t willing to help out anytime you need their help, that’s another potential sign that they’re using you.
“If someone isn’t enjoying your company and simply being together, and they always have a purpose for wanting to see you, once they get that job they want at your company or start dating your cute friend, then they will very often be done with you and your relationship,” Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told INSIDER.
You start to resent them.
If you’re always the one catering to them, you might notice that you start to feel a bit resentful, which, is only natural, but can be an additional indicator that they’re actually using you. In an interview with Bustle, Dr. Kim Chronister, PsyD, said that resentment can come along with one-sided relationships. If the two are you are equally invested, no one person should feel too resentful of the other.
Your emotional needs are never considered, let alone met.
In a relationship that’s balanced and healthy (and in which both people actually like the other), both people’s emotional needs are not only considered, but attempted to be met. If your needs aren’t ever met, that’s another sign that the person might be in it for themselves.
“If you feel like you are the one doing all of the giving in the relationship and you find you aren’t getting your emotional needs met, they could be using you,” Leikam said. “If it’s a self-esteem issue and you feel like you deserve to be used, please seek professional help and try to start therapy to learn to build your self-worth back.”
They never make you feel appreciated.
If you rarely or never really feel appreciated in your relationship with this other person, they might not actually like you. You should at least occasionally feel appreciated in each relationship you’re in.
“Tell your partner that you want to feel appreciated,” O’Reilly said. “If they respond by trying to make you feel needy, call them out. We all desire recognition and gratitude – they’re universal needs, so tell them that if they expect the efforts, you expect the thanks.”
Your family or friends have concerns about the relationship.
If your family or friends are worried that your relationship is one-sided, that too might be a sign that they’re actually using you. In an interview with Cosmopolitan UK, relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein said that you often may not want to acknowledge that there are signs there telling you that your partner is using you, but that it can sometimes be easier for others to recognise these things.
If you start to feel as though someone might be using you, doing your best to acknowledge that and thinking about what you may want to do can be a good idea. “You can try to talk to them openly and honestly about how you’re feeling, and actively listen to what they have to say,” McBain said. “But, if your intuition is telling you that something isn’t quite right with your relationship, don’t just ignore it!”
In some cases, too many signs that someone might simply be using you may mean that it’s time for the relationship to come to an end.
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