As the old saying goes, love is blind. No woman wants to believe that her boyfriend is taking advantage of her kindness and love, but such behavior is an unfortunate reality -- and should not be overlooked. Although there is no single way to tell if your boyfriend is taking advantage of you, your intuition, as well as his behavior, may offer clues that you need to reexamine your relationship.
Assess whether the relationship is all about him. A solid relationship should include a healthy give and take, explains Anne Ream, a licensed professional counselor writing for GoodTherapy.org. Even if one partner has more money or resources than another, you and your boyfriend should both take turns giving and receiving. A lack of fairness and equality is a sign that your relationship may be unhealthy, according to the University of Washington's Hall Health Center. If you give more than you receive, you may simply be a generous person. But in a relationship, it could also be that your boyfriend is taking advantage of you.
Does he appreciate you? If your boyfriend does not show that he appreciates your actions, this may be a sign that he is using you. For example, if he expects you to bring him groceries but does not say thank you or make an offer to do the same for you, he may be taking advantage of your kindness. Likewise, if he does not explicitly thank you for your generosity or show other signs of gratitude -- hugs, kisses or physical signs of warmth after you do kind things for him -- then he may be taking advantage of the situation. Ultimately, a boyfriend who is not using you will give some indicator that he appreciates all that you do for him.
Pay attention to his actions. Your boyfriend may be taking advantage of you if he is only around when he needs something, such borrowing your car or your money, asking for a ride or even physical intimacy. It is unreasonable to expect your boyfriend to be around all the time. But in healthy relationships, both partners are genuinely interested in each other. Boyfriends should call to see how you are doing—not just when they need or want something.
Don't ignore your instincts, advises Robin Zarel, a licensed clinical social worker writing for Psychology Today. If your gut feeling tells you that your boyfriend is taking advantage of you, you may be right. Relationships should feel comfortable for both parties and should be more about happiness than suspicion. If his behavior makes you feel used or brushed aside, there is a good chance that either he is taking advantage of you or something else is not working in the relationship.
- Good Therapy: Relationships and the Importance of Reciprocity
- University of Washington Hall Health Center: Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
- Campbell University: Characteristics of a Healthy, Functional Romantic Relationship
- WebMD: A Little Gratitude Keeps Relationships Strong
- Psychology Today: Mind Over Matter
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