There is a great episode of the show “How I Met Your Mother” ( “Hooked” Season 5, Episode 16) in which they discuss what the term “on the hook” means. I highly recommend that you watch it because it’s a really great episode. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of getting used by a person. Being on the hook mainly happens to a co – dependent person who believes she will be rewarded for going the extra mile. Let’s break down if you have been “on the hook” and how to prevent it for the future.
“I can’t be in a relationship….right now….”
This is a common phrase used to keep a person on the hook. It gives a sense of hope and is vague about a timeline of when he will be ready. The reality is he usually has no intention of making a commitment and just loves the attention.
How do you know you are “on the hook”?….
Beware if he just got out of a long-term relationship. He might have a void of someone who took care of him. If you are being helpful or useful to him, he will want to keep you around.
Is “on the hook” the same thing as a rebound?…
Not really. Being on the hook is about emotional support and attention, and a rebound can be more sexually based. Also in a rebound it’s a lot more transparent as to what the intentions are. He is more afraid to lose an on-the-hook woman since it serves him in a more useful ways than just sex.
Is there ever a bad time to get into a new relationship?….
Technically yes, but people will get into one anyway if they are head-over-heels with a person. The term “it’s just not the right time…” is usually a lie and a sign that the person does not want to commit to you in general. A bad time to get exclusive would be after rehab or a huge breakup, but I have seen it happen.
Don’t do a favor for him and then see how he reacts…..
This is a great test. Is he always asking for favor after favor? Pretend you are unavailable to take his cat to the vet. See how he reacts. Is he super-pissed and does he throw a fit? This is a sign he is using you as his assistant and not a future romantic partner.
Who is a target for being on the hook?…
People pleasers and co – dependents. Sometimes the person who also wants love and attention as well. They are happy to do favors and go out of their way because it makes them feel needed.
“You’re so good to me…”
This is another on-the-hook phrase. It is acknowledging that you have been going out of your way a lot. He might be feeling a little shocked that you are going through with every request. This is a tricky phrase to receive because it sounds like what you are doing is working, so you continue to do favors.
What can we do to avoid being on the hook?….
Stay away from people who are in transition. If he just ended a marriage or is currently in AA, avoid him. You will be in an uphill battle and not receive the love you want. These people need to be single and in therapy.
There is so much using in dating. It can be frustrating to be a nice person who wants to be helpful. It’s very disheartening to be used when you are simply a kind and empathetic person. I am not saying you have to be a stone-cold bitch to everyone, but you just have to be very careful with your kindness. Be nice and helpful to those who truly deserve it, like your family and very close friends. People need to earn it from you. If you are on the hook you are probably in a bad place, too, and like feeling needed. Really check in with yourself. Are you going to the grocery store for the fourth time this week because he is too sad to buy tuna? If you are going out of your way you are doing too much.