8 Signs You’re Being Used, Not Loved

It is never a good feeling when someone you pour your heart and care deeply into, uses you. It could be that you constantly give and give without receiving anything in return. The first time they look for you, you listen enthusiastically to their problems, but when the time comes for you to ask for help, they don’t show any interest in your problems.  

It is important to note that the signals can vary between friendships, romantic relationships and relationships with your family members, although some can be applied generally to all relationships. 

With that said, let’s delve into some signs you’re being used, not loved: 

  1. They show signs of disinterest. 

Have you ever felt that your partner, friend, or family member isn’t fully listening when you speak? Perhaps there are times that you feel “unseen” and “uncared for” by a loved one. Maybe it takes forever to receive a reply to your text. Maybe your partner no longer turns to you for support when they go through good or bad times. Isaiah McKimmie, a couples therapist said that another sign of disinterest is when your partner suddenly stops caring about the simple things that are part of each other’s lives and days. 

  1. They have weirdly high expectations. 

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

(William Shakespeare) 

Let’s think of some examples in your own life where your loved ones express their resentment because you did not live up to their high expectations. Due to this unrealistic expectation, they have a very distorted understanding of other people and the things they have to offer.  They put you too high on the pedestal that you feel troublesome to meet their expectations. 

  1. They cross your boundaries. 

Have your loved ones crossed your boundary over and over again, despite it having been clearly delineated? Maybe they kept pushing you to change your “no” into a “yes” to meet their needs. Possibly they made inappropriate comments that upset you. When you have been clear about your boundaries and the other person continues to breach them, consider whether or not you want to remain in a relationship with them. It is challenging and intimidating to confront someone when they have crossed your boundary. However, if you fail to speak up about something that makes you uncomfortable, you cannot expect change to happen.  

  1. The relationship feels one-sided and imbalanced. 

“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.” 

(Henry Boyle) 

All relationships have their own dynamics, and partners may encounter personal difficulties that impact their ability to contribute equally to the relationship – and that’s okay. 

When one partner consistently contributes more to the relationship, conflict often ensues. Relationships are essential to you, so you prioritise communication, spend quality time together, and help out when needed. It may start to seem as if they don’t care about you at all if they do not put in an equal amount of effort. They might be affectionate but disinterested in discussing future plans, such as marriage or planning the next vacation. 

  1. They are entitled 

Do you notice that your partner always thinks the world owes them in exchange for nothing? Privileges, recognition, and rewards are things they believe they deserve without earning them. People with a high sense of entitlement think they should get what they want, not what others would consider justifiable reasons. These individuals believe they deserve your love without trying to return it.

  1. The relationship never grows. 

“Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of the seasons.” 

(Khalil Gibran)

It is a sign of a happy relationship when you feel that you are growing as a person through the relationship. Together, with mutual support and understanding, you’ll be able to grow as an individual. However, when you feel that you incorporate more negative perceptions into yourself and their bad habits rub off on you during the relationship, you are not growing in the relationship. 

  1. They get defensive. 

When you bring your frustrations or problems to your partner, do they become defensive, or are they willing to listen? Instead of being willing to work things through, they refuse to discuss and listen to your concerns. They deny your feelings, suggest something wrong with you, or abuse you verbally. According to a licensed clinical psychologist, Seth Meyers, Psy.D, when someone gets quickly and highly defensive, it sends a clear signal that “You are wrong, I don’t want to take accountability, back off.”

  1. They act differently behind closed doors.  

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone likeable to others but a completely different person at home? Despite showering you with praise and admiration in public, your partner is condescending and overly critical of you at home. The aim is to enhance their self-esteem and public image. Having empathy and compassion in a relationship can lead you to believe deep down that they are good people. They want you to think this because of their selfish motives.  

Final thoughts 

“To know when to go away and when to come closer is the key to any lasting relationship.” – Domenico Cieri Estrada

When you feel used, you should acknowledge that and think about what you want to do. Consider talking to them honestly about your feelings and actively listening to what they say. It’s always best to listen to your intuition to determine whether you should continue the relationship. 


Borresen, K. (2021, October 12). 7 signs your partner is losing interest, according to Therapists. HuffPost. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/signs-partner-losing-interest_n_5c3001a4e4b073352832da4c

Boyes, A. (2012, June 18). 10 ways relationships help individuals grow – psychology today. Psychology Today. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201206/10-ways-relationships-help-individuals-grow

Bouciquot, M. (2017, May 15). Expectations and your relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/expectations-and-your-relationship#1

Litner, J. (2021, October 14). One-sided relationship: 14 signs and tips for balance. Healthline. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/relationships/one-sided-relationship#signs

Porter, R. (2021, July 12). The psychology behind sense of entitlement. BetterHelp. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/personality-disorders/the-psychology-behind-sense-of-entitlement/

Tartakovsky, M. (2016, January 6). When people cross your boundaries. Psych Central. Retrieved January 13, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/when-people-cross-your-boundaries#6 

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