At the end of a presentation recently, while teens were making their "I'm worth waiting for" pledge to get the pin that is our trademark, a 15 year old girl said, "I'm worth waiting for, on one condition -- can it be after the relationship I'm in now?"
I asked her to hang on and talk to me when the others were finished, and she stepped to the side to watch the string of mostly boys say, "I'm worth waiting for until I get married."
[Side note: that is the BEST part of my job!!]
I said, "Let me tell you what that sounds like to me. It sounds like you're saying, 'I want to continue using him and being used for now, and then later on, I'll choose to be treated with respect, by someone else."
As you might imagine, she didn't realize that's what she was saying. For her, it was about keeping what she had going now until something better came along... a VERY typical response and not just from teens!
I try to say it kindly, but the sting of truth is still there. I've said it to adult women who are dating someone they know they would never marry because they want male attention, or someone to taken them to a movie etc. I've said it to adult men who are "seeing someone" they aren't really committed to, just to have their sexual needs met. Let's face it, no woman wants to be used sexually and no guy wants to be used emotionally or financially.
Here's the thing though. The reaction, across the board, is ALWAYS surprise. No one realizes they are using someone until it's pointed out. Until that moment, they tell themselves, "It doesn't really hurt anybody. We're both getting something out if it. It's not like I'm not being mean to them."
Really? You've been on the receiving end of having someone move on when you thought things were going OK, haven't you? Did realizing you were being used have little or no impact on you? Did you say to yourself, "It was fun while it lasted, but I'll just move on to someone else."?
Didn't think so.
The reason relationships fail is ALWAYS selfishness. From one person or both -- that's always the reason. If you want a successful relationship, you have to learn to be unselfish. How are you going to do that if you are using or being used in every relationship prior to finding the Love of Your Life?