It can be hard to realize you’re in a parasitic relationship when you’re in the midst of it, but there are signs to look out for when figuring out whether your relationship is more of a job than an actual relationship.

From needing to take care of your significant other constantly to dropping things in your life to be with them, sometimes a relationship just isn’t what you thought it would be.

INSIDER spoke to best-selling author and relationship expert Susan Winter about some of the signs that may mean your relationship is parasitic.

Your day is made up of taking care of their needs and wants

If all you’re doing is taking care of your significant other, you may be in a toxic relationship. Winter shared, “Whether they’re lazy or petulant, your life is not peace until they get their needs met. You’ve unconsciously fallen into the habit of responding to their whims — not because you want to but because you’re afraid of the consequences if you don’t.”

“If they don’t get what they want they become angry, moody, and petulant. Therefore, managing their emotions is the only thing that guarantees your peace,” she added.

You’re constantly putting out fires they created

Whether it’s something small or more public, your partner always makes you clean up their messes.

Winter said, “Your partner seems incapable of handling life on his or her own. So much so that they create ongoing problems for everyone when they do take action. The impact of your partner’s poor decision-making affects you and your family. You find yourself running to the rescue because someone capable has to intercede.”

“This continual action casts you in the ‘rescuer role.’ Once you’re the rescuer, it’s almost impossible to have needs of your own. Your job is set in stone,” she added.

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