5 Signs The Person You’re Dating Is Using You

In an ideal world, a relationship has a lot of give and take. But relationships are rarely ideal – and being used in a relationship is way more common than you’d like it to be. So be honest with yourself about what’s really going on in your relationship. No matter how difficult it is to a admit. Here’s what you need to look out for.

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You’re making excuses for being treated badly

Are you always explaining to your friends that your partner is just tired or stressed – saying that’s why they’re being rude to you or not making the effort? That’s a huge sign. “The basic yardstick for telling whether you are being used or not is to take a good look at how you are being treated,” and “…if you find that they are disrespectful, don’t treat you well, and you don’t feel good with the person then chances are you might be being used.”

Chances are, if this is happening, you won’t want to admit it. You’ll either make excuses for their bad behavior or pretend it isn’t happening at all. In this instance, you really need to take a look at why you’re trying to bail this person out all the time.

You’re making excuses for being treated badly (via Thought Catalog)

They make you feel small

And actually, feeling good with the person is also a sign that you are not being used. The person you’re with should build you up, make you feel happy and like life is better than it is without them. “If this is a person who is nice to you, treats you well, and seems to enjoy your company then it’s likely you are not being used”. But if you’re constantly feeling small, underwhelmed, let down – you know, that knot-in-your-stomach feeling – you need to take a look at the relationship. Something is really off and there’s a good chance you’re being used.

Your needs aren’t being met

You show up with soup and medicine when they don’t feel well, but they’re nowhere to be found when you’re under the weather? Pay attention if you’re the one always making the effort. Whether you’ve been dating for five days or five years, it should still be a two-way street. “You can generally use your own feelings and comfort level as a good yardstick”. If you find your needs aren’t being met or you’re becoming resentful, something’s up.

Your friends and family are worried

Your friends and family are worried about you (via Fearless Love)

“The reason it sometimes gets confusing is if people don’t want to see the signs and end up in a bit of denial”. When you’re being used, you may not want to see something that’s right in front of your face, but your friends and family won’t have the same problem. So if they’re worried about you, you really should pay attention. They normally have a more objective view of the situation and they have your best interests at heart.

You’re not OK with how the relationship is defined

Having mutual respect means that you’re both OK with the dynamic between you. It doesn’t matter what the relationship looks like — something that’s casual and just about sex can still have a lot of respect. “They might not want any sort of serious relationship, but they like you and you might generally feel good in this situation”. But you both have to be on the same page. If you’re not comfortable with the relationship and they know you want more than they do, they’re using you. And it’s not OK.

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5 Bad Habits That Are Slowly Ruining Your Relationship

There are deal-breakers—watching an episode when you said you’d wait – and then there are the innocuous-seeming, niggling little things that worm their way into the hairline cracks of a relationship until the whole thing combusts. Here, Wendy Strgar, relationship expert and author of Sex That Works, outlines five bad habits to avoid if you don’t want to end up alone, face-first in a pint of dulce de leche, and/or the single parent of a half-crispy cactus garden.

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Over-Relying on Digital Devices (Mom Was Right)

Strgar says phones and other iScreens are the “number-one culprit” for driving us apart. “Our attention is the most generous thing we can offer someone we love,” she says. “Which explains why feeling heard by someone is akin to feeling loved by them. Being perpetually distracted by the incoming feeds on our devices sends the message that you are not that important, even if you are sitting across the table from me.”

Over-relying on digital divices (via Báo mới)

Not Knowing How to Talk to Each Other (Are You Sure You’re Not My Mom?)

But all the same, texts and Snaps and Insta Stories can’t replace genuine, grade-A talk. “Emotional connections do not fit neatly into these abbreviated communication devices and so are often misunderstood, creating hurtful feelings and conflicts that could have been avoided had real conversations occurred,” Strgar says. “Many couples have lost the conversational skills that help us get closer. The most intimate connections in our life are fed by the vulnerable moments of true self-disclosure. Expressing our feelings face-to-face is how we grow together.” SOUNDS SCARY BUT OKAY.

Always Looking for Something New/Better

Strgar calls this one the “one foot out the door syndrome,” in which we fixate on what’s wrong with our partners instead of where the relationship is working. “The really sad thing about keeping one foot out of the door is that you never really know what the relationship could be—it is a fundamentally different experience when two people are deeply engaged in making something work together.”

Bad Habits That Are Slowly Ruining Your Relationship (via The Luxury Spot)

Always Looking at the Supposedly Better Relationships on Social Media

Stop it. (But it’s so hard.) “Images of other couples’ happy moments are not a realistic portrait of their life together, but it is easy to think that everyone else is really in love—more so than you are.” As with appearances and possessions and undisclosed fit tea sponsored posts, comparison is toxic.

Losing the Spark (LOL but Also Aww)

“Treat your sex life the way you do other important aspects of hygiene in your life,” Strgar says, probably not talking about hair-washing. “Taking responsibility for your own sexual needs and being willing to learn together about how to meet each other’s is one of the most powerful mechanisms we have to strengthen our relationships.” Ayyyyy.

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10 Sex Things Only Married Guys Understand

If sex didn’t go as planned, it’s no big deal. You can always try again later. You know where your partner lives.

>>6 Signs You’re in a Bad Relationship

Some days, you’ll bang like a well-oiled machine

Maybe almost literally, if you’re into massage oil and lube. By now, you’ve probably got plenty of practice under your belt (and if not, you’ll get there). There’s plenty of time for sexual experimentation in a marriage, but you’ll likely reach a point where you’re wordlessly and effortlessly changing positions and matching rhythms. It’s like erotic ice dancing. Alright, ice dancing is already plenty erotic. It’s like more erotic ice dancing.

But it doesn’t all have to be great

When you first started hooking up, there was pressure for the sex to be virtually perfect. You felt like you always had to smell good and be ready to go whenever. No bad breath or body odor. No “laundry day” underwear. But once you’ve tricked someone else into spending the rest of their life with you, it doesn’t always have to be the best sex ever. It’s not that married couples give up on sex. It’s not like you say “I do” and stop wearing clean underwear and applying deodorant. It’s not like you stop caring about orgasming. But you’re (hopefully) going to have lots of sex. If it didn’t go as planned, it’s no big deal. You can always try again later. You know where your partner lives.

Sex Things Only Married Guys Understand

You’re both going to see some shit

Invariably, you’re going to have sex go sideways in a visible way. Maybe it’ll be hemorrhoids or the arrival of some awful food-poisoning mid-coitus. Things will happen. But it’s not a big deal, really, because with marriage comes the love and support that helps you find each other sexy even when you yourself don’t feel your sexiest.

You feel confident about shaking things up

Married couples aren’t afraid to try something new. There’s nothing intimidating about messing around with a vibrating penis ring or even a sex swing because hey, you promised to love me in sickness and in health, and if I get injured falling off a sex swing, JOKE’S ON YOU!! Every couple has their own comfort zone but the support of marriage can help you venture a little outside of it while still feeling safe.

You know how to get each other off in minutes or even seconds (when necessary)

You know how to get each other off in minutes or even seconds (when necessary)

You know your respective bodies so well that if you’re short on time, you can just go nuts on each other and walk away with a satisfying orgasm.

There are no mind games

Sure, as a married couple you still love to seduce each other, but it’s also nice to sometimes just roll over and ask, “Wanna have sex?” and have that line actually work.

Sex becomes less of an endgame and more of a benefit

Many guys have the genetic predisposition to go to near-idiotic lengths for the prospect of sex, and at the beginning of the relationship, it was all about sex. You’d drive over to her place at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday if it meant sex. But by the time you’re married, sex is just one of the many benefits of your relationship and not the pinnacle of it.

But lots of sex is still great

Sex Things Only Married Guys Understand

That doesn’t mean your sex life has to slow down (although that isn’t uncommon). Married couples aren’t really the sexless butt of jokes they’re made out to be. You can still have sex all the time.

At this point, you have learned the behaviors that are most likely to piss your wife off

You’re married. If she didn’t love your not-so-subtle suggestions to try a threesome before, she is sure as hell is not going to tolerate them now.

Morning sex is where it’s at

Married couples, like most couples, are busy. They probably have careers. They have plans with other married couples. They might have kids. Regardless of your preferences previously, morning sex becomes ideal. Pre-shower sex before you’re tired from all your daily obligations is the best, morning breath be damned.

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6 Must-Read Tips for First-Time Sex

The first time you have sex with someone — or sex at all — is a deeply individual experience. “Sex” means different things and comes with different emotions from person to person (and from hookup to hookup, TBH). That said, there are a handful of insights that can make your first time having vaginal sex comfier, more communicative, and more pleasurable, which are pretty universally great things for sex to be. Here are six first-time pointers, with advice from sex therapist Vanessa Marin.

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Being safe can actually relax you

Nothing is more distracting than worrying about STIs and pregnancy during sex. Even if it feels awkward, it is so, so, so important to chat with your partner beforehand about what you’ll do to protect yourselves. Use a condom even if you’re on another form of birth control to protect you both from STIs unless you are both monogamous with each other and STI-free.

Enthusiastic consent is a prerequisite for everything you do

“Make sure you enthusiastically consent to each and every thing the two of you do together,” Marin says. “Enthusiastic’ is a key part of that sentence. Don’t just go along with something; make sure you’re excited about it.” Remember that just because you start an activity — for example, intercourse — you don’t have to finish or continue it: You have the right to pause or stop whatever it is. No. Matter. What. Same goes for your partner, of course: Check in with each other as things progress to make sure you’re both enthusiastic about what you’re doing.

Must-Read Tips for First-Time Sex

Remember to breathe

A big part of enjoying sex is focusing on the sensations you’re feeling instead of, for example, your nervousness (which is totally common to feel your first time, even if you know you’re ready to have sex). “Deep breathing is a fantastic way to let go of distracting thoughts,” Marin points out. As you’re taking those deep breaths, focus on how different parts of your body are feeling and how your partner’s body feels against yours — not just the obvious part (penis in vagina) but their fingers in your hair, hands on your hips, whatever it is.

Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay. Did I mention foreplay?

The more aroused you are, the better sex is likely to feel, so don’t neglect foreplay — including oral sex, manual sex, and, yes, good, old-fashioned kissing. “You’re more likely to orgasm from oral sex or fingering,” Marin says, “so resist the temptation to think of these activities as the things you do before moving on to the ‘main event.’” Whether or not you do orgasm the first time you have sex, clitoral stimulation is the key to most women’s pleasure, and vaginal intercourse doesn’t usually provide very much of it.

Caring about your partner’s pleasure matters more than your technique

Must-Read Tips for First-Time Sex

It’s natural to worry that you won’t be “good” in bed your first time, but trust: what matters most is that you are invested in how your partner feels and vice versa, and that you two are communicating about it. “A lot of people get anxious about sexual performance, but perhaps the best quality in a lover is enthusiasm,” Marin says. “If you’re genuinely enjoying pleasuring him, he’ll notice it, and he’ll have a lot more fun too.” Simple questions like, “How does that feel?” and, “Do you like it when I [fill in the blank]?” give your partner a chance to express appreciation for what you’re doing or (gently) ask for something a little different.

Feedback is not the same as criticism, so don’t hesitate to give it

A common concern is that if you tell your partner something doesn’t feel good — or something else would feel better — they’ll feel attacked. But if they care about your pleasure, they’ll be happy to hear how to help you feel it. In the moment, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you want, so it can be helpful to talk after the fact about what you enjoyed, what you could do without, and what you’d like to try next time. And if you don’t have an orgasm, don’t feel pressure to pretend to have one. Think of orgasming not as your responsibility but as a fun goal to work toward with your partner(s), together.

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