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.

This Post Has 57 Comments

  1. Melanie

    So I’ve know been with my ex since high school and broke in 2019. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, off again on again type of mess( he cheated on me when he was in boot camp in the army, and forgave him but still was off and on again. There was a lack of trust and communication). But recently this past year of 2020 (of course) he found me on Facebook and ACTUALLY reached out to me. Mind you that he had recent girl at the time. So about February to May we were talking and then I believe his then girlfriend ended their relationship for “reasons” . But anyways now with the gf out the way he finally admitted he’s true feelings and intentions. He missed me and wanted/needed to be with me a lot that type of crap. And I was surprise since the way we ended things back in 2019 wasn’t so good. After a good while of catching up and him flying down to come see me , it felt like old times but at the same time it didn’t . Either I changed and I see him a light that I know how to recognize a bull crap …. or he was just being HIM. After a while I finally told him not see me anymore it got way to hectic I felt like I didn’t know or like who I was with him anymore . That or I just liked my own space I didn’t like being claimed or wanted …. please let me know if this makes sense . But fast forward to now it’s 11/19/2020 he called me back on 11/1/2020 stating the same thing.( that he misses me and all that ) and I still can’t feel the same yes I miss him and all . But I don’t think I want a relationship like he wants one with me. I mean I wish I can back to how we were when we were in high school, but we’re in out early 20s. I love him truly but I just want to remind friends with him and he agrees to that but I feel like he has other intentions. Plus he talks about marriage and having children with me…… I don’t know how to feel . I’m very overwhelmed.

    1. Sarah

      You’ve decided that he’s not the man for you, and that’s the most important thing here. He behaved pretty badly when he had the chance to be with you, but now he says he wants you and he’s even talking about marriage and children – well, why? Why now, when it’s all over? Is it just emotional manipulation? It sounds like it. Good men don’t talk about marriage and children at this point in what is no longer even a relationship, but manipulators do.

      So don’t feel guilty and overwhelmed. Walk away with your head held high and learn from this experience so that you choose better next time. Good luck!

  2. gina

    my ex was my first love and it was a roller coaster. it didn’t start well because i had to adapt to being lovely and treating someone as priority and when i finally did that, he got tired of it because i’d always get angry for not having things go my way etc wanting to fix things. the relationship lasted 1 year 1 month and i got anxiety, insecurities etc from my depressed ex. on the last month, he started talking to another girl around august and they got together 2 weeks after he broke up with me which was september. he recently reached out to me as his only support and we made out once over at his even his parents were surprsied he brought me home. i have already rebuilt my life and im doing pretty well supporting him the past few days but he’s said confusing things like “the rs with my ex lasted only 1 month but it was all happy memories” etc and they broke up because he put in everything and wanted to marry her because that one month was so good to him but because of her mental unstability, she questioned him and he broke it off. ngl while he’s talking to me rn, he’s also very upset at random times for thinking about going back to her and all which makes me feel very off. he recently mentioned that she’s also texting him, sometimse he starts the chat and idk what to do. we are trying to work things out to see if we will happen again as two months off without each other, he’s seen change in me and i’ve seen change in him. he’s upset that he might hurt me again and doesn’t want me to resort to using different men as distraction again so he cried telling me what if he doesn’t get over her and goes back with her. i have also always been the one sending good morning texts and asking him how’s his day, what is he doing etc and i just realised that never happened to me and all we did was intimate stuff when we met. we’re meeting again next monday and idk how to tell him how i feel ‘used’ in a nicer way without being mean. do i just tell him that i am not going to want him back if he doesn’t reciprocate and equally care for me? because i look like the same pathetic pushover back when he dumped me. and idk how to convince him to move on from his ex.

    1. Sarah

      Take some time apart. Find out more about that here and if you want to rebuild your relationship go here.

    2. Matt

      Hi Gina your situation is exactly word for word what happended with my ex although I’ll be honest from my point of view I wasn’t using her cause I did and do want her back sometimes a man just needs sex and if his coming to you for that it’s a good thing cause that means his not getting it else where I can’t say for sure and maybe he doe t know it but for me when I was doing this looking back I did want her just timing wasn’t right and thought of sleeping with somebody else dint seem appealing to me so I’d go to my ex but you need to have that conversation about how you feel about it and try to get the answers you need. My ex was in your same position but now she tried to move on and we’re seeing eachother spending time for dinners and Lunch but that’s it we’re not sleeping together and it’s getting me down as I know her as a person and it’s not her a he says she loves me but is very distant in being intermate and it’s confusing the hell out of me any advice?

  3. Kiyla

    Me and my ex broke up over a year ago then he literally got with another girl within two weeks later but he was still around me he even told me that he misses me and he came to me about his gf a then they broke up then a day before we had school he was wearing the necklace i gave him with my name on it for his birthday then weeks later i texted him just to check on him next thing you know he’s at my house and we had sex but that wasn’t the first time we’ve been messing around for over a year now and he’s been with other females but still sees me behind closed doors we actually gotten closer in the past couple months than we was earlier this year because i’ve finally stopped focusing on him but here we are now this dude has opened up to me for the first time in months like 2 weeks ago then last week he had came and saw me bout me fries from chick-fil-a bc that’s all i wanted he pulled up and kissed me we was talking goofing around he kissed me again i had gave him $5 for his brother for food bc he had spent the whole $10 he had kissed me again and mind you there’s another girl in his life a few days later he called me 5 times on a school night at 3am he had a situation with his parents and he came to me first out of all people he wanted a hug so he pulled up and he apologized for waking me and hugged me and kissed me the kissed got heated but i stopped him but we still made out then just a few days ago he came and saw me again he was more flirty usual like he knows me like the back of his hand he hugged and kissed me when i got in the car then our heads are leaning against each other so the he’s just biting my face knowing i hate that then he tickles me while biting my face and i tickled him back then we kissed it got heated he said i make him feel good we ended up having sex for the first time in a couple of months yes I still love him with everything in me but i am not trying to fall to deep again for me yo get hurt so idk what any of this means

    1. Sarah

      It sounds as if he’s on a big ego trip; that it’s all about him and not about you. Tell him you don’t want a boy and to come back when he’s a man.

  4. Andre

    I had a relationship with my ex for nearly 2 years. We used to have good memories at the beginning with a full passion and commitment and much of jealousy. Then things in my life went worse, I lost my father from cancer after a year of homecare together with my mum and nearly 5 months later on I lost my uncle who was like my second father. I was sort of depressed all the time crying but trying to cover it with role-play in some situtation. I gained weight and begin to lose my hair and self confidence. Then my boyfriend began to change and be mean to me by telling me all the time to change and he doesn’t want a relationship like that. It kept going like that for 3 months more and I found myself in a situtation of being guilty for everything and trying to please him in every way that I can. Finally we had an argument in our holiday and he told me that he needs time and space. After 2 weeks of no contact he sent me a message that he wants to talk to me and doesn’t want to finish the relationship in that way (but didn’t mean he wanted to continue neither) We had a dinner that he told me he missed me alot during these 2 weeks and he was missing me a lot and invited me to his home and we had sex that night.

    The next morning he woke up in another mood by telling me we ended up this relationship, it was a night as we both wanted and missed each other. I felt too bad and played the game of ok let’s stay friends and planned a journey together as ”friends”. He sent me mixed signal as we were together sometimes and the other times he repeated me as you know we dealt already on break up as we dealt! (I felt terrible each time)
    After the journey finished and we came back home we treated mean again and I wanted to stay together that night but he told me lets see each other another time. I was so angry but went his home again and telling I wanted this journey to end in a good way! he was again mean to me by saying you don’t have to come here that night as you wish, don’t bother me etc. That night I decided not to play this game anymore.

    We went on no contact again 1 week and after that time I sent him a message by saying I want to give all your stuff back let’s meet and finish this thing. He was surprised and told me ok no problem etc. We met and he gave me signals that he missed me alot and couldn’t sleep for 2 days etc but I tried not to show any emotions during that time by saying : oh you should take of yourself and get good sleep that’s bad for you etc. While we are leaving I gave his stuff back, his keys etc and he told me he didnt bring my stuff and he said that he didn’t imagine that would end up that way. I asked him if he has something to say and we talked : he said he doesn’t want commitment and relationship and thinking that everything will be same if we had and I told him I don’t want uncertainty in my life and I closed the old book and won’t be same me anymore and you need to communicate me in different way if you want me back.
    We left and no contact again for 2 weeks now he hasn’t given my stuff back yet and I keep up no contact even if I have difficult time and deep feelings for him. I started gym and lost weight and trying to get better version of me as I am in the beginning. I want to ask how to react when he comes to give my stuff back ? should I just say leave them in the entrance or give him a chance to communicate ( I want him back in my life)

    Thank you

    1. Sarah

      It’s probably good that you still have this opportunity to see him again and that it hasn’t happened yet. Don’t be in a hurry for it; it’s better to leave some time for you to get your act together in the way you have already started. And as you want him back you need to be ready to see him again and have a plan for when it happens. Just leaving stuff in the entrance won’t help at all, but you must be ready and know what you want to say. It you help with this then you can find it here.

      1. Confused EX

        Dated my ex for 3 years (2017-2020). In that 3 years there has been 4 break up by my ex.
        In the first year year she ended the relationship because I didn’t spend her birthday with her. It was a new job so I didn’t have any vacation days to take just yet. Anyways I saw her after work and we patch things up. Her birth month is September and mine is December. I notice each time any of our birthdays come around there is a problem. In 2019 after our anniversary I found out she was cheating through a mutual friend. From that the relationship was never the same. I eventually made peace and forgave her before confronting her. In December 2019 I attended her graduation and took her out to celebrate. She left me following day via text message. I asked her why she couldn’t answer me. Some time had passed and we started speaking in late January and in February she confessed to cheating. I put in the past and after talking for a few weeks we got back together. A few days after our anniversary in 2020 the relationship was broken again. I was given the cold shoulder like I did her something. After trying for a month I decided leave her alone. The relationship ended in May and we patched things up at the end of August. Things were going fine ( or so I thought) until October 3rd where the relationship was stopped yet again. The excused given was that she was unhappy in the relationship. The last message sent to me the day she broke up with me was ” can’t you see that I have left you alone so you can continue being the best boyfriend to who ever you want and and stop blaming me for everything.” I was confused because we never argued, muchless blame reach other for stuff. It took me a while to understand what she met. She was stating that her life was unhappy and she let me go to heal and fix her self. Through October she would beg me to leave her alone to the point where she cut off all forms of contact. Yes I was blocked and so I did some a cleansing (delete numbers ,media and so on). October 31st came and I realize what’s app messages coming in on my phone and the person was upset. Turns out it was my ex and I replied she said to leave her alone (which I did yet again). By November 1 st I notice she messaged me again and I replied which started a conversation. I also nice I could see her display picture and status updates. We conversed right through the day. Half way through day two she stopped messaging for awhile and her status update changed to “broken, time to heal”. When she started messaging me again her attitude was different and she was very agressive towards me and then she calmed down. On November 3rd I asked her about going to the drive theatre that just opened in my country and she said should go with friends and I asked her if she isn’t my friend to which she replied “no”. I asked her if it is a case where she is uncomfortable with me and her reply was that things were moving too fast which means it’s too soon for us to meet up. And she stopped talking to me from then. What ever her situation is, it took a toll on her and the relationship we had. I still love this girl wholeheartedly but I need help I’m walking away.
        Fast forward to November 7th she I was trying to get closure from her and she replied” you need to rest these questions and just go with the flow”.
        She now speaks to me 24/7 and the conversation is not as dry as it used to be.
        Can I get your opinion on this?

        1. Sarah

          Blowing hot and cold is never a nice quality especially in a partner. What exactly is it about her that still attracts you? What are the positives for you in the is relationship? Trying thinking about yourself for a change and what you want. Then ask yourself whether she is capable of giving it to you.

  5. Stephanie

    My ex (1.5 yr relationship) reached out to me claiming he is still in love with me, but he is leaving overseas to live in a couple of months so does not want a relationship (not much point). Since the break up, none of us have done anything with anyone else and have remained in on and off contact – but there has been continuous lying about pursuing other people etc. He wants to have something casual, but exclusive (including sex) yet refuses to prove that he is staying loyal. I don’t know if I am asking too much for him to prove it to me? He says I don’t have that right anymore since not in a relationship yet claims to want to be exclusive and I guess I understand but I worried I’m being used? He doesn’t want all the emotional investment in a relationship, but my feelings are so strong that naturally I think i care more than he does… I don’t want him out of my life though altogether. Should I just try to trust more due and relieve my anxiety or trust my intuition?

    1. Sarah

      He wants to have his cake and eat it and he’s saying so quite shamelessly. Ask yourself what there is for you in this arrangement. And for the sake of your feelings which you admit are still very strong don’t settle for less than you deserve.

  6. Chad

    I dated my kids mom for 6.5 years. We separated 2 years ago because I was having mental problems that unfortunately imposed. She never got the affection she needed, she never got the quality, she said I was never there when she needed me. I was living in my own head.

    The past 2 years we’ve been talking off and on about a future and each time she confirms she sees a future together. But the. It’s followed by an I don’t know how to because I’m scared what happened will happrn again. Right after the break up in was devastated for 3 months and then things leveled out and now about a week ago I broken-down again saying we need to figure this out it’s been 2 years. She says she hasn’t slept with or dated anyone since me. Which I don’t know if I believe. The past weeks it’s been rough because I want an answer. I spill my heart out to her. She then says she needs to process it. But I keep texting her because if I don’t I won’t hear a word from her. When I do text her I get carried away becsuse I get panicked and then she says I’m overwhelming her. Am I being used? Or drug along?

    1. Sarah

      You don’t say anywhere that your mental problems have been resolved. Nor do you seem to allow for the fact that she has already put up with a lot from you. That being so she is entitled to be cautious about the future.

  7. Blake

    My ex broke up with me in February but still stays in contact. When we first started reconnecting after our breakup I wasn’t trying to hurt myself so I detached. However, she would do things like get really close and subtly make contact with my thigh or body. I would get aroused and when I couldn’t hold back any longer I would go all in and she would act like she was not trying to send mixed signals. I know she was lying because I could see the pleasure on her face every time I expressed that I wanted her whether sexually or verbally. One time she even laughed. We’ve seen each other several times since and she knows I have deep feelings for her. She meets with me whenever I ask but when I’m expressive she is cold. She told me she had sex with someone over the summer but I foolishly still want her. Sometimes I feel as if I’m convenient for her getting over the casual sex she had with someone else. She left me hopeful about getting together by constantly saying “idk if I’m ready for that right now” and other things she says and does.. There is a strong emotional connection between us but right now it feels like a wall. I truly care about her and I check up on her now and then but I’m not sure if I’m being used or not. We’ve had 2 intense moments that were sensual but she would always say no sex. That would leave me feeling drained and used. Since she doesn’t verbally express herself, the way I feel close with her is through intimacy. I sometimes get the feeling that she too cares deeply about me but then I’ll feel like I’m just boosting her ego. She’s a Scorpio moon and I’m a cancer moon if that helps. Maybe I’m playing myself. When I recently talked to her I was detached and cordial and I could see that frustrated her. Thanks for the read this really helped me digest some things. Should I continue to stay detached and play the game or let her go? Any thoughts?

    1. Sarah

      Using sex to manipulate a man is not a nice thing for a woman to do, so I would question her character and perhaps you should too. However you have discovered that the way to get under her skin is not to react, so I would certainly suggest you remain detached. Perhaps that way you will find that over time reality mirrors your actions and you find you care less about her, and so she loses her power to hurt you. Of course all lovers have the power to hurt each other, but when it is done deliberately you should ask yourself whether that’s really the kind of person you want to be with.

  8. Ash L

    My ex and I broke up a little over a year ago after 3 years and I still miss her. She was like a mother to my kids and even left her own baby blanket here to this day. I have a hard time being angry even though she broke my heart. We were planning a life together, I asked her to marry me and she said yes and then a week later changed her mind and said no. I told her to only come to my kids first day of school if she was going to be a part of the family and she came and still left shortly after. I had planned my first dream I achieved and told her only to come along if she was going to be a part of our family and she came and left. When we broke up permanently I kept convincing myself she would change or maybe even care. She lined me up before she broke up with her last boyfriend and she seemed to get over our relationship overnight. If I wanted to work on problems she would give me the silent treatment and blamed me for the reason she was silent. She said it hurt to miss my kids but even that only lasted a few weeks. I cared for her so much and was learning in that I tried to make it easy for because I had been in a really good place. She wanted to remain friends but only a way street type of friend who would listen to me but wouldnt share anything in return. She basically replaced me with another same version of me in a few months and I saw her rebounding and wanted to help by offering support, hoping she would sit down and deal with the feelings and hurt because I saw the person she is capable of being inside. Everything I said to her I meant and I wasn’t perfect, however, I never cheated or lied. I had been honest about my issues in life but she used that as her excuse to leave literally after telling me she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me and the kids. I clearly let her use me and I’m forgiving myself for that. I feel betrayed and hurt. I tried to talk to her about it and she ignored me. When I needed to get things back from her after the breakup she treated me like I was lying even though she knew it was real to protect herself in her new relationship. I recently accepted defeat and gave up hope for/of her. I supported her dreams and gave 100%. I don’t trust she will change as a person anymore and that makes me sad. I wanted things to work out so bad.

    She left her very own baby blanket here on purpose as a gift for my daughter but it now sits on a shelf in a closet wrapped up because I don’t feel right throwing it out. My daughter and I are reminded of her by it so it had to go out of sight.

    Should I throw the blanket away, burn it or mail it back?

    She broke my heart and my kids hearts and stopped giving a shit over night. Denied truths and told people I was unstable, a stalker, etc when she knew I was just supporting her dreams in life. I’ve been in therapy and letting myself ride the waves of feelings. Love is a pretty scary thought still because of how much I’ve hurt. I had so much intent and empathy for her I often turned a blind eye(my own fault.)

    I am writing everything down tonight in letters and burning it. A letter for my toxic mother, a letter for my ex wife who abused me and a letter for my ex gf who hurt me.

    My ex gf “hated fighting”(verbal arguments) and looking back it makes sense she hated fighting for me too.

    I’m starting to feel ready to date now again. I learned a lot, made myself a much better person and I appreciate being able to share — it helps.

    Cheers to learning how to not be too nice.

    1. Sarah

      I think you have shown a very mature and generous acceptance towards this woman who disappointed you so badly, and so I hope that now you find the love you deserve. But burn the blanket: it will be more therapeutic than the other options. And then start afresh.

  9. B-rit

    My ex boyfriend and I dated for eight years and about 4 months ago, I decided to move out of our home we were living in together because of the differences in values and disregard for respect on both our behalves. I was told that he couldn’t be in a relationship with someone if they did not live with him (sounds like a person who wants to control/manipulate the situation, or someone who’s insecure/have trust issues). After living with me for eight yrs and three friends (of his) later, he tells me this nonsense. On top of that, he wants to have sex with me because he doesn’t want to do it with no one else…WTF!!! My response was Hell No! But a part of me thought that he’d choose me one day..did I make the right decision to leave? Why am I just realizing this? Omg help!

    1. Sarah

      It’s sounds to me as though you made exactly the right decision. You’ve learned a big lesson in all the things you don’t want from a man or a relationship. Use it wisely to choose a man who deserves you and with whom you can share happiness and respect.

  10. Charles

    My ex of three years broke up with me in June. The anxiety around the pandemic sent my alcohol consumption to an alarming level (physical dependence) I have had an underlying mental illness that I tried to stabilize with alcohol for over 18 years. I quit drinking for six weeks and relapsed on my birthday in June. I went right back in drinking 12-18 beers a day and half a bottle of tequila. One night I got upset because she drove five hours out of town to visit family and didn’t notify me that she arrived until wayyyy later. The vehicle she took has some transmission issues. We both agreed on her letting me know when she or to let me know if the car broke down. I was wasted, stewed on it for hours, and then called her to yell at her about her lack of consideration of my feelings and anxiety. This was the final straw. She came back a few days later and broke up with me saying she had “reached her limit.” I have been sober ever since, I’ve been in therapy since March, and just had psychiatrist appt to get back on mood stabilizers. In the past month, we have been hooking up, no strings attached as she said. Our friendship and creative connection is unparalleled. We work on comedy videos and music together and sexual relationship is out of this world (admittedly the best we’ve ever had) am madly in love with her and she knows that. I understand there’s a level of trust and a feeling safety necessary to move forward romantically and she told me she isn’t quite there yet. She’s been visiting family over 1,000 miles away from our house (yes we still live together) and we talk and text everyday. We’ve had phone sex the past three nights. She told me can’t wait for the real thing and she can’t wait to hug, kiss, and snuggle because it feels safe. The nature of our romantic relationship has been a textbook codependent one and we are unlearning our behavior patterns and I’m actually getting help for my condition. During this whole time, there have been exchanges of “I Love Yous” and “I Miss Yous” and I’m wondering if I’m getting false hope. She told me to not get my hopes up before she left for this current trip. I have been thinking of moving to another city and my buddy in said city has a room open for me at any time. I told her that I was probably going to move. She asked “are you suggesting that I go with you?” and I said “no. We’re not together and you can whatever you want anyways. But the door of invitation is open for you.” She got really sad and said “I don’t want you to leave.” I had a phone conversation with my friend in the prospect city a couple of days ago and he was very persuasive in me coming to take over the room. I told her about it later that night on the phone and she started crying and said “I just want you to be happy.” I told her that whether she joins me or not, I will be happy and that if she comes with me, that would serve as a happiness enhancer. She comes back home Sunday. Gonna see where this “undefined” relationship goes. I’m really hoping she’s not using me for emotional support and sex. It just doesn’t feel like that to me but my brain says otherwise. Thoughts?

    1. Sarah

      She might be but the picture you have painted suggests your biggest problem is a lack of trust. You admit to having various problems which are going to make any relationship challenging and your girlfriend is understandably finding it hard to cope. You don’t trust her intentions and she doesn’t trust your ability to conquer your problems and stop making life so difficult for her. On the positive side you have a great connection on several levels which is a powerful force keeping you together. Perhaps you need to take some more responsibility for yourself and have a calm and mature conversation with your girlfriend about your problems and what you both want out of this relationship. It will be hard to be honest with her, but without honesty there will be no trust.

  11. Sara

    I have an ex, he was a liar, a cheater… just super shitty. Of course we had some really good times, and at one point he did make me fall in love with him… however we broke up a year and a half ago. He’s dated a whole other person during this time yet insisted on trying to keep in contact with me. He’d show up to my house when things went wrong. He would also sometimes just show up drunk out of his mind claiming he was in love with me still. Now he is no longer dating this girl. There was about 6 months where I made no contact with him. Recently it started happening again, showing up to parties im at, showing up to my house at 4:30 in the morning during the week. Claims he’s in live with me. Claims I’m all he wants, but of course when hes sober no such action follows. I don’t want him back, I’m just confused on what the hell he wants from me. He left me, he messed everything up… and I’ve honestly moved on with other men. Oh and it’s important to say, we have not had sex. And I really don’t want to either, not sure where he’s been. But yeah,.. and ideas?

    1. Sarah

      Next time he shows up drunk at your house at 4.30am call the police. Or at least tell to get the hell out of your life and don’t come back or you’ll call the police. If he still comes back, make a complaint against him for harassment. Get angry. Get tough. Don’t put up with being treated like this any more.

  12. niki

    My ex and I were together 3 years. The last year it was more off and on. About month ago he wanted to talk about what happened. He told me that he left, because he was unhappy. That hurt majorly, I would of dealt with him saying he left cause he cheated (which he did). When I went to tell him how I felt he not only didn’t want to listen, but also changed the subject. Now, he is constantly asking for money or sex. I don’t understand that if you were so unhappy why do you keep bothering me.

    1. Sarah

      He’s bothering you because he wants money or sex. Stop giving it to him and he should stop bothering you. If he doesn’t then report him to the police for harassment.

  13. Jolie K.

    Me and my ex started dating in 2016-2018 then in and off 2018-2019. We were going to move away together but he decided he didn’t want me to go anymore. So we did a long distance then he broke up with me and started dating this girl but that didn’t work out… he’s back home and he wants to see me but I know I shouldn’t feed into *surprise I fell into the trap*. Now We are going through a miscarriage together and I have no support from him, all he ask is to buy him food and to help him get an apt. I just…. I want us to work but I feel like he’s using me ( too much to type lol)

    1. Sarah

      Doing no contact would be a good idea so that you can concentrate on recovering your health. Make him work for a place in your life, and if that’s too much effort for him, move on.

  14. Dreams

    So my ex ghosted me for around 3 years and then he came back into my life on my birthday wishing me nothing but the very best because I deserve it— we started to talk after that and decided to meet up. We ended up fucking and continued like that for a little over a month. Recently i moved into my own place and I told him “this would be the last time we would see each other” and he was like huh? I then explained that next time he is going to come to my new apartment. He said to let him know how everything went & I said I would but I
    didn’t because It’s a little weird for me to text him first since when we were in a relationship I would do that all the time and sometimes i would feel like im bothering. After he came back he is the one hitting me up first to fuck but I haven’t heard from him in over a week. Should I reach out? Or should i let it be?

    1. Sarah

      You should let it be. What’s he been doing for the last 3 years? And most of all don’t have sex with him unless you’re content with being a friend with benefits (which is currently what you are).

  15. Sayami

    My ex literally came bck to rejoin the relationship he beg me foe 2 to 4 hrs and said if he break my heart he will write in his bio he is gay and in our last relationship when I ask him to meet up he always says no but today he really wants to meet me an take me to a date
    So could you tell me he is using me or wat?

    1. Sarah

      He doesn’t sound like a grown man making a mature decision about his relationship with you, does he?

  16. Taylor

    I was with my ex for a year and he is the kindest person I’ve ever met. His family took me in when I had no place to go. His family was the family I never had. He left for a month to England and I had to be alone. I had an unhealthy coping mechanism of talking to men online and he found out. I think he was disgusted with me. He wasn’t able to trust me anymore. We went to a counselor and he convinced my counselor that he really wanted to stay good friends with me. He’s been sleeping with me. Telling me he loves me. It fucking hurts. He’s repeatedly told that there is no future romantically between us. He’s my only true friend. I still tell people he’s my boyfriend. I’m delusional. I’m so afraid of finding someone else. I don’t know what to do.

    1. Sarah

      “His family took me in when I had no place to go. His family was the family I never had.” This is the crucial sentence in your message. If you lose him, you will lose not just him but the family you thought you’d never have. That’s a big loss, which makes me wonder why your coping mechanism when your ex was away wasn’t to draw closer to them. Wouldn’t that have been more real, as the family you’ve never had, than to talk to men online?

      Perhaps your previous experiences have made it easier for you to keep a distance between you and other people; hence your preference for looking online for companionship. Have you ever had any professional help to come to terms with your past problems? It might help.

  17. Confused

    My ex and I were together for a year and a half. during our relationship we fought over petty stuff that caused tension in our relationship. I tried to get through that and we were working on it. I made the mistake by going to get a massage and didn’t tell him. I didn’t tell him because I thought he would be upset because we had been talking about getting them together. To this day I ask myself why I even lied about it, it was so stupid to lie about something so stupid! but, he had trust issues when I met him and that crushed him. We have been broke up going on three months now. Two weeks after we broke up, we communicated with each other. then, he got upset and stopped talking to me again. We have now been talking and hanging out for about two weeks. I will go over to his house and stay, but he does not want to hang out in public. He gets upset sometimes and says he just feels like he needs to find someone else and start over he is tired of being screwed over. He feels like he will never be able to trust me again. I am so confused as to what to do. There are times when we are together that it feels like stuff is falling back into place and we might be able to start fresh. I don’t want to fix the relationship we had, I want to rebuild and grow something new.

    I need opinions and perspectives on what people think please.

    1. Sarah

      Stop going over to his house and staying; especially when he won’t see you in public. You are giving him all the advantages of still being in a relationship you while he is giving nothing in return.

      Why is having a massage such a big deal? Was your masseur a man? Otherwise I can’t see why it should matter in the least, unless he is the kind of man who likes to control women. Does he expect you to account to him for everything you do, for every minute in the day? If so, that is a big red flag.

      Whatever his trust issues, he needs to sort them out himself. It’s not your job to fix his problems, or to take the flak for the failings of some other woman from his past.

  18. Rocío

    We were together, 4 years, 3 as LDR, the rest living together in Mx, everything was fine and suddlenly he kicked me out saying hurtful things without any sense (he asked me to leave cause he needed space, depressed boyfriend) I got so mad, 3 days later I told him I was moving out and he stopped me while he was crying, next week he asked me to leave again, I couldnt sleep, eat, I was crying the whole time. He didnt show up feelings, I felt use. I decided to not say anything about moving out until one night before, I said goodbye, one week later he ran after me, 2 days later (sex, kisses, sleeping together), he dumped me again… after that a week later again he called me again (Sex, kisses, sleeping together). I said no more! fucking asshole! He called me again and I said no to go to his house, he begged, and I accepted, it’s been 4 days seeing each other. Everytime I wake up next to him, I feel use, that my feelings dont matter, I feel he is talking with someone else and HE IS MOVING BACK TO US after his deppression crisis, he feels alone here, no friends (he pushed them away) I tried to get professional help for him and he rejected. Im so mad at myself for let him do this to me, I just want to dissapear, He has caused so much pain during this last month. I moved to this state because of him, I didnt have friends cause I gave all my attention to him, and I feel betrayed. Of course I love him so much but it seems he is using me just for sex and attention. I know I need to stop talking to him, but I dont know how to be strong. He is living 10 days to US and coming back

    1. Sarah

      When a man has his own problems, he needs to sort them out before getting into a relationship. If he already had problems when you met, then you would have been wiser to pass him up as a potential boyfriend. If they have happened since, then he needs to sort himself out and you need to give the time and space to do so.

  19. RJ

    Me and my ex broke up a month ago. Yet we’ll have sex every other day. She texted me and said she think we should sleep separate. Later that day she texted me a picture of a hairstyle she wanted me to help her get. I told her I’ll help her because she’s unemployed right now. She knows how desperately I want her back. She texted me a picture of a MEME from social media basically stating how bad of a relationship she had with me. The next day she texted me and told me she admire my effort and see the change. Later that day she gave me a key to her apartment. Smh.. She was acting nice that whole day (which was pay day for me). Yet her actions really don’t match her words. HELP!!

    1. Sarah

      Do you give usually give her half your wages then?

      You make it clear she comes back when she wants something because she knows you’ll give it to her. So stop. If it’s really your company she wants, she’ll continue to seek you out. If she doesn’t, then it’s a relationship you’re better off without.

      And she’ll respect you more if she sees she can’t manipulate you. It might even change the way she sees you – for the better.

  20. Rebecca

    My bf and I broke up 4 years ago and then I moved to another country. Whenever he knows I’m single, he always trys to meet up with me and we did sleep together. He said it can’t be something more however, because we are not living in the same city anymore. Would you think he is using me?

    1. Sarah

      Do YOU think he’s using you? And if you do, why do you go on seeing him, let alone sleep with him? I can’t see that you’re getting anything worthwhile out of it.

      But why does HE seek you out whenever you’re single? Have you even asked him, supposing the reason is important to you? Maybe when he talks about the distance, he’s hinting obliquely that there could be something more if you came back. Or maybe he’s sounding you out merely as an ego trip.

      You’re the one who knows him. What is the most likely reason? If you want to know how he feels, there’e only one way to find out. Ask him. But don’t invest emotionally in the answer before you’ve even asked the question, because you might not like it; and you must be prepared for that.

  21. Sam

    I think my ex used me.
    He asked for a step back due to depression/anxiety. He got cold feet with us moving in together. I had also been looking after his dog for 5 months. The day he asked for a step back, he didn’t take his dog with him. I cared for the dog for another 5 weeks until he came and picked her up. During that time there were mixed messages and also FaceTime sex a couple of times. He came and picked her up, promised to keep me updated on her, gave me 2 intimate cuddles and off they went. Only heard from him three times since, when he wanted something.

    1. Sarah

      It sounds to me as if your ex used you too. Next time he calls you and wants something, be unavailable.

      1. Sam

        Absolutely. He blocked me out of his life a month afterwards when I confronted him about something. I walked on eggshells towards the end of the relationship and during the time afterwards as I didn’t want to upset him. He knew that I was still very much in love with him. I ended up with depression and anxiety. I had resigned from my job (he lives 2 hours away) and started to pack my house up when he told me that me moving is f***ing with his head. Literally told me that….via text. I took the idea off the table and was good about it. Then he didn’t want to talk about it any further. A week later he asked for the step back.

        Last week I sent him an email for my closure. He then removed 5 of our mutual friends that we worked with from Facebook and Instagram. So guessing he read it lol. I have felt better since as I was finally able to get stuff of my chest, thanked him for our time together and move on. He showed his true colours. I have been told by a few people not to be surprised if he comes back and not to take him back. There’s just been to many red flags so I won’t be taking him back now.

        1. Sarah

          Great. Stay strong and keep to your best intentions. You’re worth much better than that.

  22. Michel

    I think my ex is using me as: a bank service that gives out interest free loans and she can pospone payback at will.
    Also i am like a taxi service to her when she is in need of transport, my refusal a few day ago, made her go silent on me.
    She once left her husband for me, now she left me some 3 years ago for a younger man, and now saying she want me back, but can’t leave her younger lover coz he’s sick?
    All signs say to me there’s an hidden agenda and that’s how to get rich in the end.
    Enherit the appartment from her former 78 yo hubby, enherit my appartment, and what’s next?
    JUst to say, in your article, the HE may be joined by SHE, girls can and do harm or abuse their exes too.

    1. Sarah

      Of course it’s possible for women to use men too; but as this is a site aimed at women, it is written with women in mind.

      In your own case; what you write makes it so clear that the woman you describe is using you, that you cannot possibly be unaware of it yourself. Therefore you should exercise your right to turn your back on her. You might be surprised at the feeling of power such an action will give you.

  23. Hannah

    I think my ex is using me, he will ask for money and I say no then he will get stressy and cause an argument. He plays head games one minute he wants me and when I don’t do something he says he sees nothing for us

    1. Sarah

      From what you say he does indeed sound like someone who is using you. Is it possible to talk to him about it, or is he not interested in your needs? If not, then perhaps you should try no contact. That way at least he won’t be able to go on trying to manipulate you, and maybe it will help him see things in a different light.

  24. Dree

    my ex and i were ldr couple. now we over and he wanted nude pic of me despite him already has a gf. I tried to cut off contact but somehow he know how to bring me back to continue talking, insisting on the picture. I need some insight on how to stop this bad cycle once and for all as I felt ready to move on . I know im being used but I can’t find myself to completely cut contact as online is the only way of contact and im always online.

    1. Sarah

      It’s clear you already know the answer. Cut your online contact with him. Stop dithering and making excuses, just do it. He is already your ex, and now he is disrespecting you too. Don’t let him get away with it.

  25. Jay

    I think my ex is using me. She wants me to pay all the kids expenses and child support. If I don’t agree to pay she keep blackmailing me with she will move away and take the kids.
    Such an emotional strain on me and out three young kids.

    1. Sarah

      Unfortunately this kind of situation is not uncommon, but one thing is beyond dispute: the children should always come first. Unless there are very good reasons for it, no good mother should try to separate her children from their father, or to alienate them from him. Whatever the relations between the two of you, this should be paramount. Not knowing your circumstances, I can only speculate on your options. You could try to appeal to her better nature, but perhaps you have done that already. Or you could seek redress from the law, if such exists in your particular situation. I hope you manage to hang in and find some sort of compromise. Good luck.

  26. Honor

    My ex has always relied on me for money. Today he called wanting to borrow more. I want him back, so I feel I should lend him the money. Because if I don’t, I might never hear from him again. But I don’t want to lend more unless he comes back and gives our relationship another chance. How can I get him to agree?

    1. Sarah

      WHY has your ex always relied on you for money? And why, in the circumstances, do you want him back? For heaven’s sake, just pause for a moment and ask yourself what exactly is there in this relationship for you? What is your ex contributing that you would want him back?

      It shouldn’t be hard to come up with the answer.

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