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How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re being kind and loving in a relationship, or if a man is using you. How do you protect yourself from being walked all over — especially when you’re in love? Love is blind; you can’t see as clearly and you’re less able to make rational, level-headed decisions.

That’s what I’m here for! To help you make decisions that help you blossom and flourish into who God created you to be. These tips are inspired by a reader who couldn’t find the strength to leave a manipulative man. She says:

“Some married men are extremely manipulative with vulnerable women, and will keep using you until they’ve had enough,” says a reader on How to Break Your Addiction to a Toxic Relationship. “Most women (like me) will stay in affairs with men, not finding the strength to leave until the cold hard truth hits home. Or, something shocking and heartbreaking happens – and the men don’t chase you. It saddens me that so many amazing women on this blog (She Blossoms) are still being manipulated. They stay in affairs for months and years, waiting for the man to commit. Instead, they should focus on their own lives so they aren’t being used in relationships with men.”

First, how do you know if you’re being used? Being in a relationship involves lots of giving and sacrifice, and the “give and take” isn’t always equal.

Second, how do you put your rational mind above your normal, natural desire for love? Let’s see if we can uncover a few ways to guard your heart without protecting yourself from falling in love.

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship

These five “Blossom Tips” are divided into categories: spiritual, heart, soul, body and brain. This will give you a holistic approach to protecting yourself in a relationship with the wrong man. Warning: just because I’m all about blossoming doesn’t mean I only offer roses. Indeed, this article may have a few thorns attached.

1. Grow your spiritual strength

It’s not enough to believe in God or a Higher Power. Even the devil believes! Your faith has to be developed and strengthened by building a relationship with Jesus. When you have a strong, vibrant relationship with Him, you won’t find yourself feeling desperate and needy for a man’s love. Spiritual strength offers a source of peace, joy and freedom that worldly problems can’t touch.

If your strength and self-image is based on your relationship with Jesus, you won’t keep struggling to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. You’ll have a strong, firm foundation of faith that will see you through the most difficult relationships…and even the saddest breakups. The “secret” is to build a relationship with Jesus first, and allow your other relationships to fall naturally from your spiritual strength.

2. Learn how to see past blind love

Not only is love blind, it’s also deaf, dumb and often mute! This means you overlook relationship problems others may see, you believe lies or half-truths you’d otherwise catch, and you don’t speak up for yourself when you’re being mistreated. Learning how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship involves being aware of your tendency to make mistakes and overlook bad behavior when you’re in love.

Here’s how to know if you’re being used by a man: you can’t tell your friends and family about the relationship or how he treats you. Whenever you have to keep someone’s behavior or words a secret, you know you’re being used. If you can’t be honest with your loved ones about your relationship, then you’re in an unhealthy or even abusive relationship.

If you know you’re blinded by love, read 6 Reasons You’re Stuck in an Unhealthy Relationship.

3. Find a relationship you don’t have to hide

You can protect yourself by relying on the strength and smarts of people you trust. This is hard. First, you have to share the honest truth about how you are being treated in your relationship. Hopefully you can talk to someone in person; it’s more difficult and real to share the truth face-to-face.

Second, you need to be willing to change. Maybe you need healing in some aspect of your life. Why are you prone to being used by men in relationships? What are you looking for that you’re not getting? When was your last healthy relationship, and what happened with it? Dig into yourself. Look for the answers, and you’ll find them. These truths will help you heal.

4. Challenge yourself to rise above your emotions

Here’s how to put your rational mind above your natural desire for love: stop living out of your emotions. Yes, you love him. Yes, he’s manipulative and controlling, perhaps even narcissistic. Or, he’s simply leading you on because he’s not interested in committing to you. Yes, he’s using you in this relationship, and you’re struggling to protect yourself. It’s all true.

Now that you know the truth, you need to stop following your emotions. You aren’t a child; you are a grown woman who has power, intelligence, and choice. You can rise above your feelings, and start living a life you’re proud of.

Don’t let him control you by continuing to use you. This isn’t his problem; it’s yours. You are more powerful and strong than you think!

5. Decide how you want to be treated – and accept no less

Sometimes we shift the blame to men instead of taking responsibility for own choices and actions. Whether you’re walking with God or not, for example, you know that having an affair with a married man is destructive. Deep down (or maybe not so deep at all) you know he’s using you in this relationship. You know it isn’t right, and you know you’d be destroyed if your husband was in an intimate relationship with another woman.

How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a RelationshipSo, why aren’t you using your brains to protect yourself from “being used in a relationship”? Why aren’t you taking responsibility for your actions? Because you’re in love. You yearn for a romantic relationship, and you’re attracted to this man. You’re allowing yourself to be manipulated — and you’re following your emotions.

It’s normal to be interested in men who aren’t available. The problem arises when you ignore your values, vows and beliefs. You turn away from your convictions and self-respect, you find yourself vulnerable to the whims and choices of others — including men who will use you in relationships.

You have the power to change your life. Don’t give that power to a man who will use you.

What do you think? Your comments – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t lecture you on how to protect yourself from being used in a relationship. Now’s your chance to respond.

You have a source of wisdom that goes far above me, and you’ll listen to His voice when you’re ready. Then, your faith will give you the strength and courage you need to walk into the next season of your life. You’ll learn how to protect yourself from being used, and you’ll blossom into the woman God created you to be.

You’ve already started.

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599 thoughts on “How to Protect Yourself From Being Used in a Relationship”

  1. Hi, Blossomy friends! 🙂 I’m glad your conversation is going so well, and that you’re supporting each other. It’s going too well, in fact; we have to shift over to a new article because my server load is getting too heavy on this one.

    So, just like before, I’ll shift us over to a new article. I chose this one – NOT because I think anyone feels sorry for herself! Just because it’s an older article that doesn’t already have a bunch of comments.

    Please, feel free to pick up where you left off here:

    Take good care of yourselves, because you’re worth taking good care of!


  2. Nomad, I don’t think you’re overreacting or acting impulsively. You have thought about this man and this situation for months. His trip in December has bothered you a lot, ever since you found out about it. I think you are just recognizing how much it bothers you and being honest about how you cannot be with him and be happy. I think you were kind to give him an hour today, but you also explained to him that you want to move on and you can’t keep going through the cycle of highs and lows. You were very honest with yourself and your MM. You’ve also been talking about this with us for a while. It doesn’t sound impulsive to me at all.

    You have nothing to regret. You tried many times with him. You told him what you need. He couldn’t give it to you. It is not impulsive to leave. It is wise and mature. When he is out of sight, he will (eventually) be out of mind.

  3. Met him for an hr in a cafe. He wanted to talk abt my bombshell dropped on him this morning that I wanted to move on. He understands my cycle. I’ll seize the chance to leave the moment he withdraws or slacks. He didn’t think I’ll leave so soon, just 1wk after the room and he did say gn to me every night since then.

    He’s going Japan in Dec and he told me air tickets booked. All is well for him at home it seems. He tried to pursue me, sweet talk to me, expressed his “love” but his trip confirmation stings badly and he’s celebrating his birthday in Japan. I cannot accept or swallow he’s going so I had to choose the other option of moving on. I’m not sure I can since I’ve failed so many times. But I need the time and distance desperately. I can’t continue … i didn’t cry…

    I’ve blocked him and deleted his number. Each time I restart, I’m hoping I’ll be successful although I’m already regretting for overreacting abt his trip, impulsively ended us again but I need to seize such moment to leave and it’s the right thing to do. I need time and distance

  4. BAF, I hope the Mend App helps you. I was very helpful to me. It’s not a replacement for therapy, but I think it’s helpful for people who just generally want to get over a break-up. I think therapy has helped you for a long time, and I think the Mend App could just be a supplement that helps on a daily basis. I also found the short “reminders” and positive messages that came to my phone three times/day. I really liked the journaling and thinking about the questions they asked me to reflect on, but I was surprised by how helpful the little daily reminders were. I think they helped direct my thoughts towards positive thinking or away from dwelling on my break-up when I needed it most. They have some instructions for meditation, too, that I found helpful and still use once in a while. You seem pretty far along in your process of healing as you’ve given all of this a lot of thought and positive action. But, we all know that it’s a slow process and we could all still use a little more healing. Continued good luck to you on your path.

  5. I’ve said it to him over WhatsApp when I saw his “gm bb” text:
    2hrs a month, 24hrs a year which is 1 day in 365days is not enough for me. Sorry, 1 day out of 365 is not worth it. Please don’t tell me you are busy when you could attend an unimportant bbq. It just can’t be me. I really can understand your guilt. I do not want to deal with your guilt and fear anymore. I don’t want to deal with your absence or overseas vacation in Dec. I want to move on. My cycle has started. As long as I don’t come in contact with u, I can do it. We did it in Jun, we can do it in Aug. It’s isn’t working for me and I’ve been in denial thinking it’s enough for me. So, my cycle has again started. I’ve calmed down my desire and I’m telling you we are over.

    He replied “omg”, “I’ve dealt with your trips”, “Definitely more 1 day a week”, “did I do anything wrong?”, “what’s your cycle”, “meet for lunch. Wait, I’ve lunch appointment”


  6. Butterflies are Free

    J, Our denial because we love these men is a real danger to our won selves. We somehow believe we can help them that our love can not save these men. We believe in the power of true love.
    But what do these MM do after we have tried to love them for years?
    They go home where they feel safer because they are less challenged to get well at home. The status quo rules at home and it feels safer there.
    We represent “challenging them” and wanting them to get “weller”. We represent the unknown. It is noble of us but if they did not get well before we entered the picture it is HIGHLY unlikely they will get well for us now! The reason is this: in seeking out an affair with another woman they seek more an escape from their lives and from their thoughts and selves. An escape from reality is what they want. Not another serious relationship because the latter involves true work and commitment and responsibility and that is the LAST thing they can handle in their state! Think about it. Can a mentally ill person leave a wife and family embark on a whole new life? Nope. It takes a person with a great deal of inner strength to do such a thing.
    We give them qualities and strengths (in our minds) that in fact sadly they do not have. But in fact we deeply make them anxious because our ideas destabilize them. “Love” blinds us! And our addictions to them blind us!
    I hope this makes sense J! Hugs and Love BAF aka Lara. xxxooo

  7. Nomad, even though you seem sad, you seem clear that this affair cannot work for you on your MM’s terms. If you felt happier and more liberated during NC, it sounds like you know that will work for you again. Especially with your MM gone from your workplace soon. I’m glad you will get that space and I understand how it will make NC easier for you. So you are planning to block him and go NC in August?

    For me, it is nice to feel better, and I can look back and see how far I have come. I remember many times wondering if I would ever feel “normal” again. I believed it would happen over time, but the pain was so intense that it was hard to see the end of it. But the pain is gone. Now, it’s just a little bit of missing here and there, and I am still in a little danger of hoping for more. This will all still take more time, but it’s nice to feel like me again.

    Give yourself (a lot of) time. Take strength from knowing that you didn’t compromise your needs and just agree to an affair that worked on his terms. Take strength from knowing that you are ending it because you are prioritizing yourself. Ending this affair takes a lot of strength, but you are showing a lot of self-awareness knowing that you cannot be happy with his crumbs.

  8. Happy Birthday Life Lessons!! WooHoo!
    I wish you the best for your birthday!
    HB LL!!!! Enjoy yourself no matter what today. It’s your day! You deserve it!

    Today was the first day I felt a tiny bit sad about my relationship with my exMM being over. I know it is normal. I am going to feel sad sometimes. No way around this. I have to strategize “activities” now especially at night. I need to take helpful actions.

    I might allow lose myself to lose myself in a Netflix series. We shall see. Of course I am a binge watcher. What else? LOL. we shall see however. Because I also need to remember that the addictive part of my relationship means I am going to have cravings for my exMM. Running from those cravings is a VERY BAD idea. They will linger more if I try to evade them.
    Instead I have to process WHY I am having them?? What is triggering me?
    And I need to take concrete actions to get over them.

    One thing I am going to have to do I know is I have to wean a bit from this board as I get triggered sometimes here. I will miss spending time here! 🙁
    Please know I don’t blame you or anyone else! It’s just all the talk about our MM’s in general can get me triggered to wanting him or missing him, etc. I can get triggered to think MORE about him rather than LESS about him which is what I need to do.
    Better for me to move forward whenever possible.
    Better to develop new habits and ways of thinking about this situation.
    Like I said to Felk it takes real work and energy to break-up!
    And so I need most of my energy right now going into creating my life AFTER this break-up.
    Not to thinking about him all the time.
    Go Ask Suzi sure stresses this too. I know it intuitively. As an addict I know this because I know what it means to stop an addiction. It is TOUGH for sure.

    But I am fine in an overall sense in terms of my break-up. I am happy I am NC. I could not do it any other way. I can not tolerate in “middle” ground with my exMM anymore. Being half in the relationship and half out does not work for me. It is black and white for me now. I am moving on.
    But I will share one thing:
    I did try to pull a tarot card yesterday for how he is feeling about me these days?
    I pulled the best card ever: The “Devil”.
    Perfect! LL. have have fun looking up what that card means when it comes to “love relationships” LOL
    In fact the the “Devil” card has the two former “Lovers” from the “Lovers Card” inside of it! There are chains too. (I use the Rider Waite Deck and I like the “Truly Teach Me Tarot website) ).
    Anyhow from my point of view this card is So Perfect! I am going to pull a daily card and write it down to help me process this break-up.
    I also started the MEND app tonight! Felk and Kub used it and like it. I like the first session and one week is “free” so I will see how that goes…
    Many hugs Brave and Free aka Lara 🙂

  9. Wow TTSP, I love your simple instructions: Put the onus on him to initiate contact and plans. If he knows you’ll keep plugging away on your own that’ll light a fire under him. If he doesn’t pursue or continues to give you minimal attention than don’t give any more than you receive. However, we have different cycles which are disruptive to me sticking to my decision to move on. His cycle: mia and back when his guilt fades or when he lust. My cycle: block, move on, live, negative feelings fade, suck back into the fantasy when he returns in a timely manner, reality sinks in, struggles with unreasonably and unrealistically high expectations, enough is enough, this too shall pass, block, move on, live… repeat cycle. Apparently, it is a sad case of gears disengagement. When he text “gm” I’ll think why not “gm bb”, when he text “gm bb”, I’ll think why he couldn’t say he loves me. So yes, I can’t be happy with him. I’m talking myself to leave again. I am talking about self-preservation and protecting my heart. The mantra I repeat daily happens to be “Breathe, this too shall pass, it’s no big deal”

    I didn’t see him this week except that meeting on Mon. He knew I fell sick but not sick enough to make him show more concern and presence except a text “rest well, hope u recovered”. Will he grieve if I’m gone? Of course, perhaps a day or 2 or 3. He could go nc for 1.5 mths so it’s no big deal.

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