One of the most significant signs you are being used by your romantic partner is if they always seem to be lying about something.
If you feel like your partner is dishonest about something, trust your gut instinct. Lying about their past, whereabouts, and intentions are clear warning signs that you are being exploited in a romantic relationship.how they treat you
One partner makes all the decisions and does not consult their spouse
One spouse makes significantly more money than the other/controls how the money is spent
Not only is a power imbalance in your relationship one of the most prominent signs you are being used, but it can also affect you psychologically.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that those possessing low relationship power experienced greater feelings of aggression, particularly when trying to communicate.
Being exploited in a romantic relationship means that you are made to feel helpless to some degree, and what makes you feel more vulnerable than a power imbalance?
And like the master manipulator they are, your spouse probably knows exactly how to build you up before pulling the rug out from under you.
6. They use guilt as a weapon
Guilt is a powerful weapon when it comes to being exploited in relationships. It is also one of the big signs that you are being used.
Your spouse may use guilt to control or manipulate you. It may even seem sweet at first; “Aw, babe, do you have to go? Stay here and cuddle with me instead!”
Or, the manipulation may be more pointed; “I can’t believe you’re going out when I canceled my plans last week for you. I’m always sacrificing for you, and I never get anything in return.” How is that fair?
To understand emotional manipulation tactics, watch this video:
7. You’re being kept from loved ones
Want to know how to tell if someone is taking advantage of you? Just look at the way they treat your closest loved ones.
Do they value your alone time with friends and family, or do they make subtle (or not-so-subtle) hints that you should stay home and hang out with them instead?
It may seem sweet at first – after all, your partner wanting your attention all the time is kind of flattering! However, such isolation tactics are typical signs you are being used.
If your partner has slowly been severing the emotional or physical ties between you and your friends or family, pay attention.
One study published in the Violence Vict found that younger women often experience higher isolation rates from a partner. This is because isolation tends to make you reliant on your partner.
Isolation makes it seem like your spouse is the only person that cares about you and may even make you feel like you have no one who would support you if you tried to leave your relationship.
8. They zero-in on your insecurities
What does it mean to exploit someone? It means narrowing down someone’s biggest insecurities and using them to your advantage.
A loving partner helps you work through your insecurities and boosts your self-confidence. In contrast, a spouse in an exploitative relationship will use any weakness against you to get what they want.
9. You’re always the one paying for things
One of the most obvious signs you are being used by your partner is if they always seem to be out of money.
Do you pay for everything?
Does your partner blatantly ask you for money, which they never pay back?
Do they automatically assume you’ll be the one shelling out cash for dinner, rent, or vacations?
If your partner cares more about your money than your mind, take it as a warning sign that you are being exploited in a romantic relationship.
10. They gaslight you
Want to know how to tell if someone is taking advantage of you?
Look back on your history with your partner and pinpoint when you felt confused, manipulated, or made to feel like you were the wrong person even though you knew deep down that you hadn’t done anything wrong.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in an exploitative relationship. By gaslighting, the abuser tries to make their victim believe they are crazy through a series of manipulative tactics.
They play so many mind games that the victim eventually questions their sanity or otherwise just assumes that it must be their fault when something is going wrong.
Gaslighting is unhealthy, creates a power imbalance, and is also emotionally damaging.
What does it mean to exploit someone? Consider the answer before you go to your partner with your concerns. You may even want to make a list of your spouse’s most concerning behavior before speaking with them.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.