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Am I Being Used?

February 14, 2021

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Whether someone is sincerely interested in you or just a user is a question that I was recently asked. Here is my answer.

Honesty and transparency in relationships is sometimes difficult to determine, especially in the getting-to-know-you phase of your connection.

It is true that some people with less-than-honest intentions may not reveal their true colours for many months after meeting you.  That’s because such individuals are accomplished at “seeming”. What I mean is that they know how to play the role of the Catch of the Century in order to mask a hidden agenda. Of course I’m talking about people who are deliberate and strategic in taking advantage of other people.

While I can’t tell you if your romantic interest is the real deal or not, there are some things you might do or at least reflect upon that may help you to figure out if this person is interested in you for all the right reasons.  Here are some suggestions:

Take it slowly with this person. Don’t over-commit too early in the piece, e.g. make promises, move in together, share finances. Take time to get to know them before you let them completely into your world. If they are super pushy in terms of wanting you to enter a committed relationship and all that goes with it, then exercise caution. It’s okay to protect yourself.

  Measure their words against their actions. Some people are good selling their wonderfulness, but they demonstrate little or no follow through. Putting it another way, do they both “talk the talk and walk the walk”? Do they fulfill their commitments to you and to others? Or do they make a excuses for any lapses and missteps?

  Consider their romantic or relationship history. If they’ve had a lot of short-term relationships, or their relationship history is not clear or doesn’t make sense, then this may be a sign that there is something they’re hiding.

  Ask yourself: Is he or she a loner? Have they introduced you to other people in their life, their family or close friends? Or are they secretive or reluctant to introduce you to anyone that knows them well? Do they make excuses as to why they can’t or won’t introduce you to those close to them? Sometimes loners have things to hide.

  Trust your instincts. What things about them just don’t gel or make sense? Obviously, there is something triggering your mistrust or you wouldn’t be wondering about their intentions. So, if something doesn’t feel right, then delve into it. Start by engaging them in a conversation that includes some questions about their family, friends, work history etc. Make this a friendly interchange of information about your important others and your histories.  Then see how their responses land for you.

  If still in doubt, ask a trusted person for their perspective e.g. a family member, close friend or professional helper. Often two heads are better than one in figuring out what’s what.

Of course, whether you engage the above suggestions or not, you can always choose to move on – especially if what this person is offering isn’t enough for you or you continue to be in doubt about their sincerity and honesty.

And remember, in life, there are always some riddles that can’t be solved.