Relationships can be unpredictable, whether short-term or long-term. And it’s important to know the universal signs if your significant other is using you in the relationship. I believe these signs tend to be easily masked over by emotions, and can almost become normal behavior in a relationship when ignored for an extensive period of time.
You may start to question 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 years in. No matter the case, if you feel your SO is beginning to show any of these signs, it’s likely that your love interest has taken a turning point for the worst. And no matter the reasoning, it’s essential to acknowledge these behavioral signs that your significant other is using you – how and why.
18 Universal Signs Your Significant Other Is Using You
1 | He will only see you on his terms
If it seems like you only get together when it’s convenient for him – whether it’s certain days, odd or strict hours – it’s likely your significant other is using you for just companionship, strictly at his own convenience. It is also likely your SO frequently declines getting together when the effort is made from you, which ultimately is a sign of manipulation and having total control over the relationship.
This isn’t a matter of busy schedules or having an excuse for every failed attempt you tried to see him – if he can’t make time for you other than the time that is solely convenient for him, he is not wanting to invest his time in the relationship any further.
2 | His ulterior motive for getting together is to ‘Hook Up‘
This shouldn’t be too difficult to see. If you only get together for short periods, at one another’s place, at odd hours of the night, or through frequent last minute planning – that opens the gates for sexual temptation. If dates are cut short, just to end the night at one another’s place, or he quickly leaves after engaging in sexual activity, it’s likely your significant other is using you with the expectation of sexual satisfaction.
Let this not be confused with striking chemistry – if you engage in sexual activity a lot with your significant other, that’s not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing. But odds are, if any of the above is frequently implemented in the endeavors with your SO, there could be an ulterior motive for that behavior.
Ultimately, if someone is not only just physically invested, they won’t have the expectation of getting down and dirty every time they are with you.
3 | He continually puts off being an ‘Exclusive Couple‘
He removes himself from being labeled as boyfriend/girlfriend, refrains from discussing the matter, constantly makes excuses to not be a couple, and publicly expresses to his friends (and in front of you) that you both are not exclusively together.
What is the main reason for someone to not want to be exclusive? Sure, ‘taking things slow’ isn’t a backwards thing in the dating world – there are more people who need to take things slow. But what defines ‘slow’? There’s a fine line between needing to be exclusive after 6 days versus 6 months. If it has been a difficult topic to discuss with your SO as far as your feelings for one another and where the your relationship is going, that may add to this behavioral sign.
There comes a point where the lack of communication about future relation stems from lack of wanting to ‘commit‘ – it now has nothing to do with how they feel about you anymore.
With that, your significant other is using you out of short-term convenience, not a long-term emotional commitment. He is refusing to be ‘tied down’, and because you continue to stick around, he figures you are accepting of that.
4 | He refuses to go out of his way for you
You know, if you have that flat tire on the roadway, skipping the gym for one day just to be able to see you once that week during your busy schedules, or be by your side at a family funeral (even though he’s never met that family member). Whatever the case, whether it’s as simple as being on time for a date, or bring you chicken noodle soup when you’re sick – sometimes it’s the little things without even expecting it.
It’s in our social nature to do things for one another, with or without being asked of, and as you engage in a deeper relationship with someone – some of those things will be a little more above and beyond at times.
Maybe you feel you go out of the box for him, but it’s never reciprocated. Or at a time when you needed him the most, he just simply wasn’t there, or refused to be there.
Not doing so (willingly, or refusing to when asked of) is merely out of selfishness and lack of emotional investment in you. Simple as that.
5 | He instills double standards frequently
These are sneaky, and so very common among early relationships. Yet may be prominent in long-term relationships as well.
A definition of the double standard is when someone has the freedom to think/say/do something that they believe the other cannot. Many are tied to sex, trust, gender/partnership roles, and money. If your SO tends to use the words of, “Well, that’s different…” or “This situation is different…”, more than likely he’s creating a double standard.
It’s a sign of disrespect, and depending on the situation can imply sexist, gender role inequality. An example of a double standard is as follows:
Girl: “I don’t really like the fact you talk to so many women at work…”
Guy: “Okay, but you work with all men at your job. Am I telling you not to talk to them? No.”
Girl: “Well, that’s different. I’m a woman – and my initial desire for talking to men isn’t for sex. Guys talk to women because they have sexual incentives…” [DOUBLE STANDARD]
And if this type of behavior inhabits your relationship frequently, it’s safe to say your significant other doesn’t respect you, and is using you for your weakness and lack of self worth.
6 | No matter the situation, you’re always to blame
It could be overcooking the meal, that light bulb burning out, or there being nothing to watch on TV. Yeah, I went there. Being with someone who enjoys pointing the finger in your direction for everything is not only a toxic situation, but a reflection as to how that person will treat you in the future.
If you’re honestly blamed for there being nothing to watch on TV, however that be, it’s time to ask yourself how everything got to that point in the relationship. It could be that your significant other is using you as a scapegoat and for control – since you have allowed yourself to submit to being the culprit for every problem within your relationship. And because he feeds on your weakness, you just simply ignore it and take the blame rather than it being worth sparking a petty fight.
7 | He frequently ignores you
This behavior can mean ignoring your messages, being frequently distracted in your presence, not paying attention to what you have to say, segregates you around his friends, and closes you off in public and private. When this behavior is frequent, there might be other consequent signs of disinterest involved.
Otherwise, to ignore someone (frequently) is a sign of disrespect, lack of compassion and emotional investment. It is likely that he sticks around for the sake of what you add to the table that he doesn’t have to.
8 | He never returns the favor
The many times you have picked up the tab, taken to and from work, allowed your SO to crash at your place after a fight with his roommate, or walking his dog while he’s at work. All you hope is that you are able to rely on your SO to do the same for you in return. Not asking of much, right? And if any stable, healthy relationship that would come naturally.
As for someone who never returns the favor in a relationship, your SO has taken advantage of the relationship through self absorbing behavior. Your significant other is using you not only for your willingness to please, but also for your lack of self worth in recognizing his behavior.
9 | He’s selfish in bed
There should be no reason to spell this one out. If the deed is always one sided (his sexual fulfillment), and never reciprocated or made a priority – your significant other is using you for sexual self satisfaction. There’s no need to say more.
10 | He avoids from having you meet his friends and/or family
There’s only one reason for anyone to avoid having their SO meet friends and family. He just simply isn’t interested in you enough for others to know you. Harsh reality, but it is what it is.
To put it simply, your SO probably already has the intention of the relationship being short-lived, or has the plan of breaking it off with you – without you even knowing it.
11 | You are his personal ATM
If you do anything fun together its because you pay, you take care of his groceries and toiletries, you pay his rent, and at the end of the day you’re the only one with a job. There might be a common saying for this, like: ‘your wallet is his wallet‘. And early on in a relationship – that isn’t right.
When there are no boundaries or limitations set, the expectation of money being readily available to your SO can quickly spiral down from paying off his credit card that one time, to consistently paying his bills every month. Not because you are a nice, giving person – but because your SO takes advantage of you, and your willingness to dish out the cash without him needing to lift a finger.
There’s a difference between mutually deciding on a sole household provider (in a long-term, committed relationship), and your significant other taking advantage of what you bring to the table. As an early couple, it is not anyone’s responsibility to financially support the other, nor expect one to constantly pay for necessities.
If your SO tends to stick around for the sake of being bought, with that expectation and zero intent of paying you back, then he is using you for financial support.
12 | He refuses to empathize with how you feel
Everyone’s perspective on things are going to be different, thus how you feel will be different as well. But it’s important in relationships to share a common ground with one another’s feelings.
There’s no right and wrong way to feel – ever. But if your SO can’t or refuses to understand and empathize with how you feel in given situations, he is avoiding critical elements that make up every deep relationship. It is also a big sign that he has no sense of compromise.
13 | He isn’t affectionate in public or around friends
Very rarely is this the sign of someone who just doesn’t like PDA (it happens, but it should be well known and expressed in the relationship already). Otherwise the lack, or refusal, of affection in public or around friends boils down to multiple things: immaturity, masculinity and pride, or that there is something hidden within. It may be likely your SO doesn’t want to be affectionate in public or around friends in fear of getting caught by someone else they are seeing as well.
14 | He goes ghost (even if it’s just once)
Everyone by now knows what ‘ghost’ means. It’s far too common that it’s scary how often it is done to one another. And even if it’s just one time, it still means something – during that time, specifically. For anyone to go ‘ghost’ early on in a relationship, there are too many possibilities of its meaning. The first is realizing that he may not be truly interested.
If he frequently goes ‘ghost’ and comes back, your SO is using you for security. Whether that is as someone to be with on the side or on the back burner (in case others he is seeing have failed), and possibly using you for specific reasons such as sex or money.
15 | He often crashes at your place uninvited/unannounced
He either has his own place, or lives at home with the parents. Otherwise, if you’re dating someone who is homeless, that alone should answer your own question.
Whether he is jobless or not, can’t afford and/or being kicked out of his place – automatically expecting or asking to crash at yours – is a clear sign he is using you for stability, and can be taking that to his advantage. Especially so if you allowing him to do so without any boundaries set.
Am I saying the once in a while sleepover is at one another’s place has a bad rep? No, as long as your SO isn’t taking full advantage. But if he has no where to go every night, expecting free use of your place without earning his keep, that’s only the start for trouble under the hood of any relationship.
16 | Frequently attempts to see you at all odd hours
If your SO is calling you to ‘see you’ after 9pm, it’s safe to say he is either looking for a release or previous plans fell through, and you’re the sloppy second option of the night. Either way – never a good sign. And once you feed into it, it’ll keep coming back for more.
Everyone’s depiction of late is entirely different. But when stores are closed, there’s nothing to do and it’s technically bedtime for the rest of the world and your SO is calling to ‘see you’, there’s only so few things you can do that late at night.
As my mom used to always tell me in my teenage years, “Nothing good ever happens after midnight.” And in all senses, she’s absolutely right. If your SO is making a point to finally see you after a certain hour of the night, he’s using you because you’re easy, willing, available and vulnerable.
This is not a matter of, ‘Well we hardly get to see each other…’ Blah, blah, blah. You know what I hear? Excuses. There are 24 hours in a day (I’m sure you know), and you’re telling me that him giving you those last 2 hours of the day makes you something special?
17 | Courtship comes to a screaming halt
The magical, romantic date, picking you up at your place, opening doors for you, pulling out your chair, giving you a rose, and letting you order first – all the ‘honeymoon phase butterflies‘ as I call it. For many, it’s an emotional phase and for others it’s a clear tactic.
If your SO suddenly stops all romantic gestures, whether from Date #1 or Date #20, it is likely out of more harm than good. It’s not possible for a ‘gentleman’ to suddenly lose all gentlemen-like behaviors, unless they’re using it against you. Granted, in long-term relationships that can be called complacency. Those tendencies only require some rekindling and motivation.
When it stops suddenly early on in relationships, it is likely that your significant other is using you as a way to simply ‘win you over‘, which could ultimately be a game to some. They will you over with courtship, then feel that they don’t need to exude any effort thereafter – which may result in ‘ghosting’, disinterest or ulterior motives. It’s important to watch for those signs.
And if Date #1 wasn’t defined with any courtship at all, then that’s depicted upon your personal expectations in dating. And if that bothers you, then you need to reflect on and change your expectations as for the kind of men you choose to date.
This ultimately is judged based on your self worth. Learn and understand how those with self worth have more successful relationships.
18 | You’ve confirmed that you aren’t the only one
You saw the text. Her name is Layla, and she always ends a text with a heart and ‘XOXO‘. There isn’t much else you need to know here – but that you are not the only prospect in his life.
And it’s as blatant as that: your significant other is using you. Using you for all aspects you acquire, and getting the rest, and more, from someone else. And he isn’t committed to just you, or you at all, yet continues to drag you along because you allow it.
These signs are universal – as they all apply to both men and women. It’s important to understand them all and identify them within your relationship or new love interest. Because, once you start questioning, it never gets any easier from there.
Not every relationship will be simple – there will be ups and downs – but it’s important to start out valuing yourself and knowing when someone doesn’t value you in return.