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How do I know if I'm being used?


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In late 2007 I met a grad student in my department who I quickly developed feelings for. She didn't seem to return these feelings and was already in a relationship. There was, however, a lengthy back and forth during which I wasn't sure whether or not she was sending me inviting signals. It hurt. It hurt even more when, in one online conversation, she confessed (at my prompting) "It is safe to say I am not physically attracted to you."


This did not prevent us, however, from forming a friendship (though it was not really friendship from my side, at least not completely) and we actually became housemates at the start of the 2008 school year - we live alone. In mid-November (two months after she had broken off her long distance relationship with her boyfriend) she comes into my room and propositions me. I accepted, and we started sleeping together - following which she confessed that she had been sending signals all along, and only demurred from 'propositioning' earlier because of her relationship situation. She also took back the 'not attracted to you' comment, saying that when she had said it she immediately regretted it.


It's been a little over two months now, and even after having been apart for the Christmas holidays, the...carnal desire for one another doesn't even seem close to being quenched. And she has, on more than one occasion without my prompting, confessed to missing me during the time we are not together, to having strong affectionate feelings for me, to being unable to leave things simply at sex without emotions interfering. My feelings for her are approximately of the same nature, if maybe somewhat stronger.


The fly in the ointment is that she won't tell anyone about us. She's told some friends (who live in a different country) about how she's "sleeping with her housemate", but she seems to be adamant about letting no one in our graduate program in on our relationship. Her philosophy seems to be "let's wait until the end of our program (in six months) and see where things are." (it is somewhat likely that she will return back home, while I am likely to stay on where I am now)


Instinctively, her position sounds rational - I can't say that I disagree with it. I'm certainly not ready to come out and tell the world I love her, but nor is this purely lust. Am I wrong to desire some form of recognition? Am I being taken for a ride? I don't want to put any pressure on her, or (absent other corroborating evidence) assume what her reluctance means, but friends have alerted me to the possibility that she is 'embarrassed' of me in some sense, or not willing to admit to others in our program (who knew of my initial affection for her and her rejection of it) that she might have been wrong, and it is painful and frustrating to think that either might be the case.


I'm more or less lost. I don't like issuing ultimatums (and in any case, after barely two months, it would be totally over the top), and I don't even know if I could withhold affection (it is not only sex, we sleep in the same bed regardless of whether anything goes on, and our days together are filled with intimate gestures)...


Do you have any (online) advice at all?

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I guess it could be one of several things


it could be that she is embarrassed in some way as your friends said, either of being with you, which is harsh to hear i know


or embarrassed to admit to others in your program (by the way what is a program? i'm british and we don't have that here, is it the same as what we would call a course? ) that she was wrong about you


if she is quite a private person then the latter of the above could be true, or she could just be the sort of person who likes to keep these sort of things private until some form of commitment to each other has been made.


I certainly know people who would never talk about their relationships or who they are seeing to other people unless the other people are very close friends.


It is also possible that she feels that her last relationship went sour after her thinking initially that it would be a lasting relationship and wants to be sure of her own feelings before she dives into being serious with someone so soon after that relationship, If she tells other people in your program then it might in her mind be a profession of the two of you being serious about each other and it might be too much for her to handle right now.


If you can handle it i would just go for the flow for the time being, after all it's only been two months with a christmas break, if you push the issue you might drive her away.


If after say, six months and you are still "together" and have made more of a commitment to each other and she does not want to tell anyone about the relationship (anyone that you both have contact with )then i would tell her you have a problem with it and that you are not happy to continue the relationship "in secret".

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If it's purely about the people in your program not knowing, that's understandable. But it seems to be more than that. You should be able to tell people that have nothing to do with the program, like your best friend.


I would be really unhappy with that because it would make me feel that my s.o. was embarrassed of me. Maybe you don't issue an ultimatum, but at least tell her how you feel?

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