You and your ex are back together – at least, you’re seeing each other again. You’re sure things are going to work out – eventually, but right now, well, it’s tricky. You’re so afraid of doing something that will drive your boyfriend away again, half the time you feel you’re walking on eggshells. And even worse, the vibes between you just don’t feel right. In fact you’re beginning to wonder if your ex is using you.
The thing is, when you want something from somebody who doesn’t want to give it, it gives them power over you. This makes it much too easy for them to use you for their own ends. Your ex may start to see you as a sort of prop in his life, a source of easy money or sex, or someone to fall back on when no-one else is available.
And you are eager to reciprocate, because you want him back. But you only get one life, and you need to think about the future, not just the present. Remember, the time you spend trying to get this relationship back is precious time. It can never be regained. And if it turns out to be wasted time…well, that’s not good. So how can you tell if your ex is using you?
1. He’s Giving Very Mixed Signals
Some men are very good at telling women what they want to hear, just so that they can get what they want. Of course you see your boyfriend as a good person – that’s why you want him back. But remember that breakups are painful, even for the person who ends things.
Your boyfriend is probably feeling bad right now, and he misses you. You desperately want him back. Maybe you’re even telling him how wonderful he is, and how important he is to you (if you are, go here to find out what a big mistake you’re making).
This is balm to his bruised ego. He doesn’t want to reignite your relationship, but he loves having enough of you in his life to make him feel better about himself.
So he keeps in touch; you see each other from time to time, maybe you even sleep together occasionally. It’s enough to make you think you might get back together. But it’s not a relationship – a real relationship, like the one you used to have.
You don’t want to believe it, but your ex is using you.
All this “togetherness” is giving you hope that there might be a second chance to make things work. But desperately wanting to believe something doesn’t make it true. Remember that talk is cheap. Your boyfriend is trying to adjust to his new single life – and you are helping him.
You’re there whenever he needs you, and he hasn’t had to promise a thing in return. All he has to do is be nice to you when it suits him. In fact, your continued support is beginning to convince him that he isn’t the loser he thought he was when your relationship failed. He’s beginning to think he deserves – and can get – someone better.
2. He Needs You To Do Him a Favor…
This is another trap into which the woman who wants her boyfriend back can easily fall. And if you are the nurturing kind, as lots of women are, it’s even easier.
After all, if he did these things for you, you’d practically swoon into his arms with delight. It would make you feel cherished. It would make you feel loved. So you instinctively think it will have the same effect him. In no time at all (you think), he will realise what a feminine jewel he has (almost) lost, and beg you to return.
Except it doesn’t work like that. Not with men.
Giving a man attention that he hasn’t done anything to earn or deserve is a mistake. And it’s not just a mistake in this situation, it’s always a mistake. Men just don’t value what they can get without effort. It’s not that they don’t like having your attention, they do. They just don’t value it.
But they can quickly get used to it. Hence the casual requests for you to do this, help out with that, fill in for him here… So unless you’re comfortable as a platonic errand girl with occasional sexual favours, learn to say no.
Because your ex is using you.
3. He No Longer Looks On You As His Equal
A man – a good man – only wants a relationship with a woman he considers his equal. But you’ve been so accommodating since you broke up, he doesn’t see any reason why he should let you go completely. After all, it’s what you seem to want.
But when you ask about the future, he says “I can’t be with you right now because…”
The truth is, having a woman want him, especially a beautiful, desirable woman; is dynamite for a man’s self-esteem. Although he has no intention of getting back into a relationship with you, he doesn’t want to lose that tonic, that ego-boost.
So he strings you along by giving you just enough attention to keep you wanting more. He makes just enough effort to stop you thinking that actually, you are doing all the work here. It’s always you who calls, you who suggest somewhere to go, you who does everything for him…
And when he says “I can’t be with you right now because…” he’s giving you hope. Hope that, one day, he will be with you again.
And all the time he’s thinking deep inside: “If I can treat her like this – and get away with it – then I am better than her”.
And when he thinks like this, your ex is using you.
4. He Starts Relying On You For Money
Maybe you and your boyfriend lived together, and had to untangle complicated domestic arrangements when you broke up. Maybe some financial disaster has overtaken him, one that was not of his own making. There are all sorts of reasons an ex might ask you for financial help. And it’s entirely up to you to decide whether you want to help him; whether you should help him.
Lots of people will be ready to come to the rescue of someone they care about. And if it’s a justifiable request, then that’s fine. But if you are being treated as an on-demand financial service, rather than a last resort, then your ex is using you.
It’s not something that someone with any genuine self-respect would do; so if your boyfriend is guilty as charged than you should take a long hard look at why you want him back. You could do so much better for yourself.
5. You Have Become Friends With Benefits
This has to be the most obvious sign your ex is using you. So how can it happen so easily?
Well, it’s usually because the FWB doesn’t see it like that – not until it’s too late, anyway. Because you want your boyfriend back so much, you’re only seeing what you want to see, instead of the whole picture. Let’s take this very common scenario, which may not be a million miles away from YOUR current situation.
A couple break up, but they remain on good enough terms to keep in touch. They call and text occasionally, and meet up for coffee. Soon it becomes a regular thing. The talk becomes more intimate; meaningful looks are exchanged, and hands linger a little too long when they accidently but deliberately touch each other. Almost inevitably they end up sleeping together.
This goes on for a couple of weeks or months. Eventually the partner who was dumped is feeling so reassured, they ask if this means they are back together – officially.
And the other partner backtracks furiously, saying “I’m not ready for that yet” or “I think it’s a bit too soon to be hanging labels on it”.
You have become a Friend with Benefits.
No woman who wants to get her boyfriend back should ever become a FWB. It’s a dead-end street.
To be a FWB, you need NOT to be emotionally attached. You should view it as a purely sexual connection. And you should have NO expectations of anything else.
Do you fit that description? Quite. That’s why you must AVOID EVER becoming a FWB.
Your Ex Is Using You When His Actions Don’t Match His Words
In ALL the above cases, the man’s actions were completely at variance with his words. And when a man’s actions don’t match his words – well, it’s his ACTIONS you must believe. Because that’s where the real truth lies.
In any successful relationship, the balance of power between the partners must be equal. It might tip in one direction or the other at times, but only slightly. Mostly it is evenly balanced. It’s when it becomes seriously unbalanced that problems start. And right now, the balance is tipped away from you. You need to tip it back in your favor.
There is a failsafe way to avoid all these pitfalls (pratfalls?) by mugging up on the 10 Big Mistakes (Almost) Everybody Makes After a Breakup and by practicing the No Contact Rule. And when you are talking to your ex again, you must make your expectations clear.
But remember, he isn’t obliged to live up to your expectations. It’s not something you can force him to do. But to get him back, you must be prepared to walk away.
You Want a Commitment, So Insist On One
You must make it clear that you are not prepared to be taken for granted any longer. You won’t go on giving your time and your love unless your boyfriend will make a commitment to you. Either your relationship is on, or it is off. There are no half measures.
Don’t waste yourself on someone who doesn’t return your love, as it will never make you happy. It will take time and determination on your part to convince your ex that he can no longer take you for granted, and you will have to stick to your guns on this. (If you want to know exactly how to do this, click here to find out.)
What You SHOULDN’T Do When You Realize Your Ex Is Using You
Don’t go on being the supplicant. Know you own value. To get your boyfriend back, you must attract rather than persuade him. In all the above cases, you were trying to appeal to your boyfriend’s basest feelings and instincts. Don’t do that. Appeal instead to his imagination, and create the romance and passion with him that you really want.
When you are doing things right, your ex may become a bit impatient or frustrated, but that is a good sign. Your time and your love is valuable, and is not to be given away lightly. You are trying to get things right this time, so you take your time and let your boyfriend prove his commitment before you let him completely back into your life. You want to be sure this time around; not wondering all the time whether your ex is using you.