4 Signs You're Someone's 'Emotional Support Human' — And They Don't See You As A Valid Relationship Partner

Are you a partner or a crutch?

Last updated on May 20, 2024

unhappy couple Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

Every relationship is as rewarding as it is challenging. We support each other, encourage each other, and carry each other through the dark times — but we also mirror and trigger each other, bringing up the parts of ourselves that we did not know existed.

Human relationships are never a perfect fairy tale. But they aren't rescue missions, either.

So, if you've found yourself trying to be a rescue nurse, rather than someone in a stable relationship based on equal amounts of give and take, one may consider you an "emotional support human," or someone others rely upon for their mental and emotional health.


How can you tell that someone you love isn't looking for a relationship, but is looking for help and healing instead?

Here are 4 signs you're an emotional support human — not an equal partner in a relationship

1. They haven't said anything about wanting to be in a relationship

Sometimes, we catch ourselves trusting our projections and wishes for a certain outcome to be reality. If you're happy and joyful, you see happy people everywhere. If you're suspicious, you somehow imagine everyone else out to get you.

You see others the way you want to see them. And that is not always the way they really are.


So, the first indication that you're an emotional support human and not the recipient of reciprocated love, the first question to ask is: Have they said they wanted to be in a relationship? Have they clearly expressed it?

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But sometimes the issues we are dealing with have nothing to do with karmic lessons, soul contracts, or any other stories our mind begins to weave when it refuses to see the truth. Perhaps the other party simply doesn't want to or never wanted to be in a committed relationship. And it has nothing to do with you.


They are with you and not leaving because they are comfortable with the way things are. Perhaps they appreciate your company or they enjoy the intimacy. You make them feel happy, secure, or provided for. They may even be willing to put up with the inconvenience of making a commitment to a relationship — as long as you give them what they want: help, in whatever form it may take.

But they never said they wanted to be in a relationship. They simply don't have the capacity for a partnership, the give-and-take dance of two equals, where one complements the other.

They just like their companion, hence the modern colloquialism of "emotional support human."

2. They clearly need help

Does the person you love need help? Are they struggling with an addiction? Are they depressed, consumed with grief, unable to express their emotions, or stuck in some other dysfunctional pattern? Do you feel like you are the only one who can help them?


Sometimes the truth is simple and banal. They clearly say they want help. Granted, maybe they charm you a little bit extra to make sure they get it. And if you retrace the steps, the fantasy of a relationship was entirely your creation.

You were the one who thought they would recover, see the light, and realize their mistakes. That somehow, they would become a perfect version of themselves. And when they did, they would love you for who you are.

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You may have bought into an old fairy tale that your love could somehow save them. Or you may have been replaying an old scenario from your childhood, trying again to "save" an abusive parent, an alcoholic father, an absent mother, or a mentally ill sister.

The point is that when someone needs help for their own problems, instead of seeking out professional help, they find it in keeping you around instead.

3. They don't tell you what they are looking for

It's as if they just stumbled into this relationship. And maybe that's how they feel — that no one else is going to take them. Or maybe they are just allowing you to love them because the alternative, being alone, is much worse.

Regardless of what their motivations may be, they have not made a conscious choice to be in a relationship. They are just drifting, taking every day as it comes.


Their reason for staying in a relationship with you may be very simple: it's the best alternative in their current situation. But the more you try to help them, the more you pull, tug, and try, the more they pull away.

Truth is, you're not giving them any real opportunity to choose, you're just dragging them along, only postponing the inevitable. And unless they want to work on themselves, you cannot help them. Your love cannot magically create change!

4. They aren't interested in making long-term plans

They don't want you to meet their family or friends. They don't make plans for special events or holidays. You're not a part of their future, and maybe not even a part of their inner circle.

You're simply helping them; you're not a part of their life in a deeper sense. They need you for things other than a relationship. They just need help.


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They don't share much with you. If you start asking questions, maybe you manage to pull some details out of them, but as a rule, they prefer to keep their world to themselves.

They only see you in their present circumstances, not in their future. And it can be a hard pill to swallow when you love this person, yet they don't view things the same way.

You fell in love with someone who does not want a relationship. Why?


Often, we seek to heal our childhood wounds through romantic relationships. The way our subconscious works, we keep recreating the same trauma until we are strong enough to heal it. We fall for the same scenario over and over again because it feels like home. We come home to pain that is all too familiar.

And if you're in love with someone who cannot love you back, who seeks help rather than a relationship, it's not because you are unlovable or you have to try harder. It may be that the very foundation you're building your relationship on is based on old, unhealed pain.

Building your relationships on saving, caring and giving, until you are fed up and have had enough, is an indicator of trying to resolve a wound within you. In basic terms, it's a recipe for disaster.


Trying to help others isn't bad or wrong. But your brain has activated a mechanism that is much stronger than simply goodwill.

By falling in love, you have many more chances to get to the root of your own pain, to find what is being reflected in you. You have a much better chance to heal. And your body, mind, and soul will keep pushing you towards healing.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Reach out 24/7 to SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you.

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Inga Nielsen is an intuitive healer, energy worker, and Akashic record reader. Her mission is to empower clients to start living from their souls, opening their hearts, rejoicing in their creativity, and following their bliss.