Relationship Advice: Surefire Signs You’re Being Used by Your Partner

Relationships tend to be give and take — and depending on what each partner is going through, sometimes there may be more take than give. But if you’re beginning to feel as if your relationship is completely one-sided, there’s a chance your partner is using you.

But sometimes it’s not so obvious. People are good at making excuses, and when you’re smitten with someone, your judgment becomes clouded. Here are a few surefire signs that your partner is taking advantage of you.

You’re afraid to say no

Female couple relax in bed with a laptop.

You’re not being cute by granting their every wish. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

No one wants to let their other half down. But if you’re worried about what might happen if you tell your partner no, that’s a big red flag. You should never be scared of being dumped for doing something you’re not comfortable with or able to do.

“Users send messages that denying their request would spell doom for you — and this is how they manipulate you,” says Julie Melillo, a life coach based in New York City.

You live around their schedule

A man wraps his arms around a woman at the park.

Your life revolves around theirs. |

If you only see the person you’re dating on their terms, in addition to being unfair, it’s a bad sign. If they only want to hang out when it’s convenient for them or always make excuses when you make plans, there’s definitely a problem. Remember, relationships should always be give and take, even if that means driving out of your way or seeing a movie or a show for your partner’s sake.

Your partner runs hot and cold

woman apologizing during an argument

Hot and cold behavior is a bad sign. |

If things are hot and spicy one minute and then ice cold the next, your partner could be playing games with you. If you never know quite where you stand when it comes to a long-term commitment, your significant other could be buying time or just having fun until someone else enters the picture.

Susan Winter, relationship expert, provides some insight to The Huffington Post as to why some partners run hot and cold. She writes:

Games are an ego default when being “real” feels too scary. Authenticity takes tremendous courage. Being open and honest is a gift that’s born of inner confidence and self-worth. Here’s where the tables turn in your favor. Once you recognize this pattern, you’ve already gained your freedom from the automatic response instigated by your partner’s game.

You need up apologizing all the time

Crying and apoligizing is never fun | Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Every couple has disagreements they have to work through. Sometimes insults get thrown and partners end up saying things they don’t mean. There’s usually some sort of apology and resolution, but exactly who says sorry and why matters. According to Everyday Feminism, manipulative partners have a way of making you feel like you have to apologize all the time, even when you’re the one who got hurt. Continuing to marginalize your feelings is a dangerous path you definitely don’t want to take.

There is a lack of interest in learning more about you

Two men sit on a staircase with a wooden railing.

They don’t really ask about your day. |

At the beginning of any relationship, things can get hot and heavy … but it’s important to get to know each other outside of the bedroom. If your partner lacks interest in your personal life, that’s not good.

“If his eyes glaze over every time you start talking about your love of knitting, if he always turns the subject back to how great he is at Call of Duty, or if it just never really feels like you have his full attention, then chances are, he’s not interested in moving forward,” says dating expert Mark Stefanishyn. That can be a tough truth to hear, but the person you’re dating should want to learn things about you.

They’re only nice when it’s convenient

A man and woman snuggle in a white bed.

Take note of when they’re nice to you. |

Have you noticed sweet behavior is always followed by a request? Beware of any people, romantic partners or not, who are only thoughtful when they want to borrow something or ask you for a favor. Oftentimes, once they get what they want, they’ll give you the cold shoulder.

Your friends and family are concerned

A woman talks to a man as she holds his leg.

Your family and friends might notice things you don’t. |

Sometimes the people we love notice things before we do. And more often than not, those closest to you will be more perceptive because they don’t have your romantic blinders on. You might be too into the person you’re dating to notice the flaws, but listen to your friends if they warn you — they’re probably speaking up for a good reason.

Your needs aren’t being met, and your partner doesn’t care

A couple takes a selfie at the beach with a phone.

A relationship is all about balance. |

No matter how long you’ve been dating, your relationship should be a two-way street. If you’re always the one making the effort, that’s a red flag — and if talking to your partner about it doesn’t help the situation, they simply may not care enough to change. This will only lead to resentment, and you deserve better.

So what should you do?

A man and woman having a discussion on a couch.

You can talk through your problems, either alone or with a therapist. |

If it really feels like you’re being used, the obvious solution is to end the relationship. Always trust your gut instincts. But even if you feel like the relationship might be worth saving, at least have a heart-to-heart with your partner and explain your deal breakers. Also, practice some self-care — when you’re taking good care of yourself, you’ll be in a better place to demand the respect you deserve.

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