For those of you who watch The Bachelor, you’re likely familiar with the phrase, “I’m here for the right reasons.” This is the saying that’s used whenever a contestant is defending their reasons for being on the show (to find love) and to counter any attack that they’re there for anything else (Instagram followers, fame, self-promotion, etc.)
This makes for great TV, but doesn’t make for the best plot twist in the story of your life.
I know this because I’ve been there. I once went out with a guy who would get upset whenever I invited girlfriends with me to a work event (like launches, openings, charity events and the like) instead of him. Yet, when I invited him to things that mattered to me, like a family dinner or a friends birthday he couldn’t care less and wouldn’t even attend.
When not up for sex or, if I denied his advances, this same guy would stonewall me as if I was doing something wrong. I actually reached out to a few friends to see if I was. This same guy also seemed frivolous with my money, but tighter with his. Did that also mean I was being used? I had to ask the experts.
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, host of the @SexWithDrJess Podcast, says to be aware when a partner spends your money differently (more freely) than they’d spend their own. “It might be something small that they repeat time and time again (e.g. they order tap water when they’re paying, but order bottled water when you’re footing the bill) or it might be more obvious (e.g. they ask you to pay for purchases), but if they don’t treat your money with the same respect with which they treat their own, you likely want to speak up and address the issue,” says O’Reilly.
But being used can extend to many things, not just money. I spoke to Dr. Jessica Griffin, a relationship expert on Married At First Sight, about signs your partner is using you, because, sure, it might be in your head, but it’s probably not.
You feel anxious about the relationship, all the time:
You constantly question whether they are into you. You feel exhausted. When someone is truly using you for their own personal gain, the used individual feels emotionally drained and often questions their own mental health.
They never ask you, “How are you, how are you feeling?”
When someone does not consider your feelings, your experiences, or your perspective, there’s a good chance they lack empathy for you. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and experiences of others and relate to those feelings and experiences. Empathy is a key ingredient to building a healthy, trusting relationship.
Your friends and family have concerns they are using you:
The people closest to you will all have their opinions; however, if they express a concern that you are being taken advantage of, you probably are. Even though it’s hard to hear those critiques from those closest to us, the people who love you the most will have your back and will help pick up the pieces when you finally realize what they have been trying to tell you.
Charles J Orlando, author of “Don’t Date A Dick” and the expert on Seven Year Switch tells me that a clear sign you’re being used is if your feelings don’t matter to your partner. “Compassion and empathy are two necessary components in a successful relationship. But if they aren’t acting with regard to how you feel—not only about the relationship but also about your life, your work, your friends or things that matter to you—they aren’t just selfish… they aren’t really invested,” says Orlando.
“Someone who is worthy of your love will build you up, support you, and be genuinely willing to give you their time. Someone who is using you will leverage doubt, scarcity, and avoid any real time of intimacy or emotional connection,” says Orlando.
Keep these items in mind, and if you feel like you’re being used, consider whether or not this is the right relationship for you.