A healthy, satisfying relationship is one where two people happily give and take from each other in a way that increases their desire to give and take more from each other. So the term “getting used” can be misleading in some ways because in a healthy relationship, two people should be offering service to other and be benefitted by the other person.
Thus, people can often get used and not even notice it at first because the unhealthy will often be mixed in with some things that resemble a healthy relationship.
Therefore, here are 5 signs you should look out for to make sure you are not getting used by someone.
1. When Someone Requires the Relationship Reward Without the Relationship Cost
In our relationship with Jesus, we are given grace, which by definition is “a gift we don’t deserve” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can’t earn it through works. In that sense it is “free.” However, there is a cost to true Christianity. To have a relationship with God, you must start with simply accepting his free grace; but to receive his grace and follow him, you must give up your old life to receive his new life (Ephesians 2:10). In that way, Christianity cost you your whole life (Matthew 10:39).
So even in our relationship with God, there is always a cost if you want to experience the rewards of a relationship with him. Many people complain that God has not blessed them, but they also have not been following him (Proverbs 19:3). They want the rewards without the cost.
This is what happens when someone is trying to use you. They will want sex without the cost of the covenant bond of marriage. They will want your loyalty without also giving you their loyalty. They will want boyfriend or girlfriend privileges without a dating commitment. They will want marriage privileges without the marriage commitment.
For a relationship to be healthy, there has to be parity between the reward and the cost needed to properly receive that reward.
2. When Someone Is Compartmentalizing You from the Rest of Their Life
There are some healthy habits associated with compartmentalizing. For example, when you have stresses at work, it can be helpful to compartmentalize those when you go home. Or if you have stresses at home, it can be helpful to compartmentalize those when you are at work. If you let all of your life bleed together at all times, chaos will ensue and you will never get anything done.
But there’s a danger in over compartmentalizing, especially when it comes to relationships. A good principle is that the more emotionally connected you are becoming to someone, the more they should be allowed into other parts of your life.
A husband and wife are a team (1 Peter 3:7). If someone is not willing to make steps toward that teammate mentality by introducing you to other important people in their life or letting you into other categories in their life, it’s a sign they don’t have any intentions of having a serious relationship with you and are simply using you for the time being.
3. When You Get a Different Feeling from Them When Other People Are Around
If you are suddenly just this man’s “friend” when other women are around when before he was acting like you were something more, or if you are simply just “some guy” when other guys are around when before this woman was treating you like someone special to her – this means you are getting used by this person.
Consistency is a great sign that someone is authentic (Proverbs 17:17, Romans 12:9). When they shapeshift based upon the other people that are around, be very careful because they are showing signs of being disingenuous
4. When Excuses Abound
Proverbs 22:13, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’”
Things happen now and then in real life that make it impossible for someone to follow through on what they said they would do. However, if this is a pattern in someone’s life, they are the common denominator for why they can’t do what they say.
5. When You Get Blamed for Things that Have Nothing to Do with You
When we think about getting used, usually we think about someone taking the good from us and only giving us bad in return. Some people, however, will try to use you by blaming you for the bad in their life and taking credit for the good in your life. They will put you down to lift themself up. They will blame you for their bad day, their bad attitude, and their empty heart.
Proverbs 19:3, “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” In the same way, if someone is making bad choices and then blaming you for their folly, they are using you.
When someone has good intentions for you and you have good intentions for them, you both will be following Philippians 2:4-5, which states, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . .”
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