In a healthy relationship, one should seek to give more and receive less, loving one another as oneself. It should be mutually, loving, caring, respecting, and well-balanced. A parasitic relationship is an imbalance that must be identified and corrected promptly.
Identify the relationship. In order to know whether you are in a parasitic relationship, you must first identify the relationship. Identify the person or living thing with whom you have a relationship.
Determine what benefits, if any, you have derived from this relationship.
Are you receiving love?
Are you getting/saving more money?
Are you living more healthily physically?
Are you finding food more easily?
Are you finding shelter more easily?
Are you able to go shopping more easily?
Are you able to perform daily routines more effectively?
Is your life more meaningful as a result of the relationship?
Determine what harms, if any, you have derived from this relationship.
Are you hurting emotionally?
Are you losing money?
Are you living more unhealthily physically?
Are you finding food more difficult to obtain?
Are you finding shelter more difficult to secure?
Are you having more difficulty shopping?
Are you finding your daily routines more difficult to perform?
Is your life less meaningful as a result of the relationship?
Compare the two lists (benefits and harms you obtained from the relationship) to see whether overall you are benefiting or being harmed from the relationship.
Assign a weight of how important each item is to you. For example, you can use a scale of 0-5, where 0 is not at all important, and 5 is extremely important.
Assign a score to each item, rating the extent to which you have been affected. For example, you can use a score of 1-10, where 1 is minimally affected, and 10 is maximally affected.
Multiply the score you assign to each item by the weight you assigned for that item. For example, suppose shelter is more difficult for you as a result of the relationship, shelter should be an item on your list of harms. If shelter is very important to you, but not the most important, you could assign it a weight of 4. And if, because of the relationship, you are experiencing moderate difficulty with affording shelter, you could give it a score of 5, so multiply to get a score of 20 for that item.
Do this for each item on the list of benefits, then add up all the results. Do the same for the list of harms.
Now compare the two composite scores, to see which score is bigger. If the list of benefits has a bigger score than the list of harms, you are benefiting from the relationship overall. If the list of harms has a bigger score than the list of benefits, you are being harmed by relationship overall.
Create a list of benefits and a list of harms derived from the relationship by your partner. This is a more difficult step, as you may not be fully aware of all the benefits and harms derived by your partner, and the extent to which each benefit or harm is important. Just try your best to make up the lists, knowing that they are estimations at best.
Do the same analysis you did for yourself to see whether, overall, your partner is benefiting, or is being harmed, by the relationship.
Interpret the results, as follows:
If you are benefiting and your partner is benefiting, you are not in a parasitic relationship (you are in a mutual relationship).
If you are benefiting and your partner is being harmed, you are in a parasitic relationship (you are the parasite and your partner is the host).
If you are being harmed and your partner is benefiting, you are in a parasitic relationship (your partner is the parasite and you are the host).
If you are being harmed and your partner is being harmed, you are not in a parasitic relationship (you are in a mutually destructive, or abusive, relationship).
Have a genuine, heart-to-heart conversation with your partner. One of the most common causes of conflicts in relationships is misunderstanding. Perhaps you have misinterpreted the facts. Perhaps some things have eluded your thinking about the relationship. Perhaps your partner is well-intentioned, but made mistakes unaware.
If you are in a parasitic relationship, take action to correct this.
After talking with your partner, resolve any misunderstanding, forgive, and discuss ways you can both improve the relationship, so that neither partner is harmed anymore.
Seek counseling and support from others if needed.
If the relationship cannot be repaired, look for a way out respectfully and peacefully.