8 signs your partner is treating you like an assistant

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Contrary to popular opinion, life isn’t that short. In fact, it can feel really long, especially when you make the wrong decisions. 

And one of the most crucial decisions one can make is choosing who to be with. 

In an ideal world, your partner should be uplifting, empathetic, and respectful. They should be your co-pilot, not a passenger. 

When the power balance is constantly one-sided, it’s a textbook sign that something needs to change. 

If you start feeling like an employee or an assistant more than an equal for instance, this is cause for concern. 

Once you recognize these signs with clarity, you’ll be in a better position to make a move. 

We all deserve a healthy and loving relationship, anything less needs to be tossed in the bin. 

Let’s dive in! 

1) You’re always on call

Does your partner treat you like an on-call employee? 

Let’s say you’re clearly occupied or relaxing after a long day–this won’t matter to your partner, they fully expect you to be available at all times to perform tasks or respond to texts immediately. 

A girl I used to date had a particularly low threshold for stress. 

When she was stressed, she’d call or text me frantically, pleading for me to help her without being able to articulate how. 

If, for instance, my phone was in the other room and I’d take several minutes to respond, she’d go haywire, and her text and call frequency would multiply exponentially, the tone growing in intensity and anger. 

She wouldn’t care that I was busy working or did not have my phone around at that moment, if I didn’t reply in seconds, she would lash out. I needed to be at her beck and call. 

In short, once your partner starts to show disrespect for your autonomy as a person, almost completely disregarding it, I have news for you: you’re their glorified assistant first, romantic partner (a far) second. 

2) You’re always doing one-sided tasks 

Real talk: If your partner seems to constantly delegate tasks to you that could easily be done themselves, the sad truth is that you, my friend, are their assistant. 

Maybe you’re both in bed and they’ll tell you to get them a glass of water or demand you get their phone charger in the living room. 

Remember, there’s a fine line between being a supportive, helpful partner and being a downright servant. 

If they clearly have their hands full and ask you nicely, then sure, you have a good excuse to willingly fetch that charger without resentment. 

However, if they ask you to do them a favor while they’re just idly scrolling through reels or watching reruns of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, you have to nip this behavior in the bud before things get out of hand. 

3) They lack appreciation for you 

If they’re highly appreciative or thankful for you and make it known, that kind of evens things out. 

Sure, you may be helping out more than your quota requires, but at least you’re getting credit for it. It may not be ideal but it is understandable.

But if they take your assistance for granted, rarely even acknowledging your efforts, this just screams entitlement. 

Once this becomes the norm, you’re reinforcing bad habits; you can’t allow this destructive behavior to go on. 

Start demanding the kind of respect you deserve. You’re an equal, not their chambermaid or butler. Your needs should be a priority too.

If things don’t change, then you know what to do. 

4) They are entitled communicators 

Here’s the thing: sometimes, it’s not so much the actual tasks but how they’re being delegated that’s the problem. 

Do they speak like a bossy dictator or do they have finesse and kindness in their approach? 

If their communication often feels more like orders than something up for discussion, then that’s just blatant disrespect. 

You deserve better. It’s time to call out their thoughtlessness.

Simply put, this is them treating you like an inferior or some low-level employee, not an equal counterpart in the relationship. Time to reclaim your power. 

5) You have limited decision-making power

Speaking of power, do they seem to make the big decisions unilaterally without consulting or involving you? 

If this is the case, then it’s clear who wears the pants in the household. 

But this shouldn’t be–any healthy union in this day and age should have a teamwork dynamic, one where both partners play equally important roles. 

Disregarding your partner’s input is a major red flag. 

If things don’t change even after you speak up about it, then take it as a queue to run–or at least brisk-walk in the opposite direction. 

6) They make you do personal tasks 

It doesn’t get more transparent than this.

If they make you handle their personal tasks such as creating appointments, organizing their schedule, responding to personal emails, or answering their calls, then you’re officially an assistant. 

You might as well be on their payroll and get a job title for your LinkedIn profile. 

Sadly, at this point, they consider you a doormat, so it’s high time to put your foot down and make yourself heard. 

7) They rarely reciprocate the gestures 

I’ll be honest, there’s nothing worse than a double standard in a relationship. 

Ask yourself this: when you ask for a favor from your partner, do they display a willingness to contribute in the same way you do? 

If the answer is no, then that ain’t fair. Either they are lacking respect for you as their partner, or they are just inherently narcissistic–or perhaps, a combination of the two. 

Regardless, it’s not a great situation. 

I remember in a previous relationship, my ex would make me watch her favorite TV show for hours on end. This went on for months. 

Even though I had minimal interest in the genre or subject matter, I’d willingly oblige and try to get into it. 

Occasionally, I’d suggest we both watch something I was interested in as well. She’d respond either by flat-out refusing to watch or by making some excuses like a headache or overwork. 

It became quite clear to me after some time, that her not reciprocating gestures indicated a power imbalance. 

In hindsight, it’s not a huge surprise that things didn’t work out.  

8) You feel overwhelmed

Bills, illness, politics, and endless culture wars–life is stressful enough. 

Conventionally speaking, when you choose to be with someone, one of the main objectives is happiness.

Your union should represent a safe space, a point of refuge, from the trials and tribulations of the world. 

So when your partner ceases to be that; when in fact, they add burden to your life in the form of extra tasks or a generally poor attitude, you might begin to feel overwhelmed. 

This is no way to live and contradicts the role of a loving partner. 

They shouldn’t be a liability in your life. You shouldn’t enable this mentality either.

Final words

Acknowledgment is the first step. The good news is, you’ve already reached this point. 

Once you find yourself being treated like an assistant, it’s wise to call your partner out before things get out of hand. 

If you let things slide, expect resentment, and other negative feelings to begin to manifest on both sides. 

And if that goes on, you’ll eventually reach that toxic point of no return. 

The cliche is very much true: communication is the key to a happy relationship. 

Voice your concerns in a respectful and gentle manner. If your partner values you and the relationship, with some work, you can expect them to change. 

But if they don’t, then perhaps it’s time to seriously rethink things. 

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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