Relationships

How to tell if you’re being used

I’m very late to this bandwagon, but I just caught a few episodes of 90 Day Fiancé on TLC. Holy crap is that compelling watching! The show follows several couples who are pursuing K-1 visas, also known as the fiancé visa. The visa is use when Americans want to marry non-Americans and live in the United States together. The non-American is allowed into the US on a K-1 visa and then has to get married to their American partner before 90 days have passed. If they’re not hitched in 90 days, the non-American’s visa runs out and they have to head back to their home country. For a lot of the couples profiled on the show, they’ve truly only been together for a few vacations and the 90 day visa process is the first time they’ve ever spent serious time together as a couple. It’s interesting to watch the relationship dynamics and how the couple explains their situation to their friends and family. The friends and family are often concerned that one person is using the other, usually for money or citizenship, and as a viewer who sees many sides of their relationship, it’s honestly hard to tell what’s true love and what’s more of a non-consensual business transaction in some cases. In others, though, it’s crystal clear.

I doubt that many of you are in 90 day fiancé situations, but you can still have worries that you’re being used. Love can blind you to some really problematic things. So, here are some tips to see if you’re actually being used.

Your bank account

Money needs to be very separate from love. And yes, I’m saying that. The Millionaire Matchmaker herself thinks money shouldn’t be in the same equation with love. Money can be attractive and sexy and definitely play a part in the romance process. But, it’s not a replacement for true love, or even an indication of love. Does that make sense? You can be attracted to someone’s success, which is often manifested in money, but exchanging cold hard cash or expecting a lot of expensive gifts in exchange for love and devotion is not cool. Do not give, lend or invest money to or with a romantic partner. And certainly don’t combine finances until you’re married. Your bank account should be YOUR bank account. If you feel like your partner is too interested in getting their hands on your money, they probably are. Of course, in long term relationships, you do need to discuss money, disclose your holdings and debts and figure out a way to work together financially if you’re going to get married. But that’s very different from giving or taking money before a relationship is solid.

Emotional milestones

A true relationship is about treasuring each other and hitting emotional milestones together. It’s about supporting each other and taking big steps together. It’s important that you guys focus on the emotion and meaning behind big moments and not just the size and quality of the celebration. For example, if your boo is overly disappointed by the size of the engagement ring instead of focusing on how wonderful committing to sharing your lives together is, then you’ve got a problem. Focusing on things over feelings is a big red flag that you’re being used for what you have, not appreciated for who you are.

You feel it

What shocks me most about this show is that the people who are being used do seem to know it. They sometimes even talk about it on camera and then they totally forget about how they feel used when they get even the slightest bit of affection from their user. Here’s the cold hard truth, if you think you might be being used, you definitely are being used. No two ways about it. Trust your gut on this one.

K, I’ve got to get back to binging the rest of this season. I’m really fascinated by all of these couples and their unusual love stories. Tweet me or comment below if you have thoughts on the show, pretty please. Would love to discuss!

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