“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
All of us want to feel and believe that the person we’re in a relationship with is with us because they love who we are. It feels awful when someone starts to take advantage of the love we have for them or when they are in the relationship because of ulterior motives.
Here are three things to look out for that may let you know he’s taking advantage of you:
1. Asking for favors/help
Sure, we all need help from time to time and a big benefit of being in a relationship is that we have someone we can lean on during hard times. However, asking for favors should be few and far between or feel 50/50 between the two of you.
If he’s constantly asking you for rides, money, or to help him out with things he needs to get done, it’s possible that he’s with you for those perks rather than just because he enjoys spending time with you. The priority in a relationship should be enjoying each other’s company.
2. Focusing too much on sex
Sex is a healthy part of a romantic relationship but it shouldn’t be what the relationship is based on. There are (unfortunately) men out there who want to be in a relationship just because it means they have someone around to have sex with on a regular basis.
If he becomes overly frustrated when you’re not in the mood or if sex feels like the only quality time you have with him, he may be in this relationship with you for the physical attraction more than the romantic connection.
3. Wanting to look good
The term “trophy wife” exists for a reason. Sometimes relationships exist because they help one (or both) people feel better about themselves. A man may feel good when he walks into the room with an attractive woman on his arm or when he has someone to bring with him to events so he doesn’t have to go alone.
There’s a big difference between someone who is proud to be with you because of who you are and someone who puts on a front when they’re around other people and uses you as part of that image.
If he’s a different person behind closed doors or only wants to spend time with you when other people are going to be present, it could be because he just wants to look good to other people.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
If you answer ‘no’ to the following questions, he’s probably just using you:
Does he bring you around his friends, coworkers, or family members?
- If so, how does he treat you? If he really does like you, he’d make sure to engage with you while around important people in his life, as well as attempt to incorporate you in the conversation so you can get to know these people.
Does he talk to you about the future?
- I’m not talking about marriage and kids. I mean places he wants to travel, where he wants to go in his education or career, how he imagines retirement.
- In addition, does he want to know what you want for the future?
Does he talk to you throughout the day and week?
- It can say a lot if he’s taking time out of work or school to text or call you.
- If he’s only reaching out in the evening or weekend, this may indicate he’s just using you.
- However, this all depends on his schedule, so keep that in mind when reflecting on this question.
Does he make efforts to do things you want to do?
- It’s one thing if he takes you on dates to do fun activities, but are these only his idea or is he wanting to do things that are more so your interest? By doing activities that you truly enjoy, he’s showing you that he cares about your passions.
Is he curious about you?
- He doesn’t need to be writing your biography, but does he show interest in understanding who you are, as well as your life experiences, passions, values, and other meaningful parts of you?
Sarah Vendegna, MS, LPC – www.vendegnacounseling.com
How do you know if a guy really likes you or is just using you?
Pay attention to what he does more than what he says.
When a guy really likes you, he will want to see you. Period. He will not play waiting games or try to play hard to get. You will not have to guess whether he really likes you or not, you will absolutely know it and feel it in your gut.
When someone really likes you not only do they want to see you, but they also want to talk to you in between.
This does not mean the occasional random text that is hard to decipher. This means actual conversation. He will want to connect with you, and will care about how you are doing and what is going on with you.
He will make plans in advance, treat you with respect, be thoughtful of your needs and wishes, and do little things to try to make you happy. It will not be all about him. There will be room for both of you in the relationship, and you will not be left agonizing or wondering whether he really cares.
When someone is just using you, they are more likely to do what is convenient for them, and not go very far out of their way for you.
You may also see a difference in how he treats you in front of other people versus in private. If he treats you better in front of other people, then he may just be trying to show off or to make himself look good.
If he only contacts you late at night to get together to have sex, he could be using you for his physical needs. If a guy really likes you, he will want to see you at other times and do a wide range of activities, not just sleeping together.
In order to find out for sure, keep yourself intact, set your own boundaries, and things will become clearer.
Time will tell, and you will know based on how he responds whether he really cares or not. Trust your heart, trust your gut, and always take good care of yourself.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
I honestly think that most women have a sinking feeling in their stomachs when they are being used. I also think that a lot of women ignore that feeling because they really need to believe that this guy could be the one, or they just don’t want to be alone.
More to the point, when the man is sucking up all of the energy in the relationship, is consistently more interested in his needs than yours, is stingy with his affection or is unwilling to engage in activities that don’t lead to sex, you are in a relationship with a self-centered man.
You are being used.
When women stop focusing on a man’s agenda and turn that focus onto their own level of relationship satisfaction, they seldom get used. It really doesn’t matter what you call it; if your needs are being ignored it’s a bad relationship, period.
Your best defense against being used is to know yourself and to be very clear as to what you want from a relationship.
The more you clarify what you are looking for, the more likely you are to get it. At the very least you will be far less likely to tell yourself that you have it when you don’t.
It’s never worth it to be in a bad relationship, and one in which you feel used will eventually take a big toll on your self-esteem. Learn to like yourself; learn to known yourself and learn to be able to be alone.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
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