It is a rare thing to find someone who has your best interest at heart. I find myself constantly distancing myself from friends who openly consider dating to be some sort of dinner service, or dinner and sex service. I had one friend who only hits up her tinder profile when she’s hungry and doesn’t feel like paying for food. It’s horrible and goes against my moral code and even makes me a little sick to think about. But it got me wondering, has dating just become some weird warfare. I mean, it seems to me like no one trusts anyone ever anymore.
A majority of women I know think that men only use women for sex, so they date in this aggressively detached way to avoid getting hurt. But turnabout is fair play because I see men do the same thing with women, assuming that they are only going o be around until they’ve leeched everything they can out of them.
It’s sad, but it happens all the time.
I’ll be honest, I have been on the receiving end of some pretty terrible boyfriends.But I try my best not to let their actions temper the way I see my active relationships. That’s not to say my insecurities from past relationships don’t sneak up on me from time to time. I have often considered whether my current boyfriend will leave me as soon as something better comes along, just like a few of my exes. I’m pretty good at dismissing the thoughts though seeing as my current boyfriend has given me no reason to think he would.
So, how do you know if you’re being used?
People are pretty good at hiding their motives. And you can’t expect her to just up and tell you that she’s using you.
So how do you know?
Signs She’s Using You
Below are the signs that your ex girlfriend could be using you,
- The gut feeling
- Your relationship was “wishy-washy”
- You feel like her therapist
- She turns into someone else around other people
- She isolates you
Now, it’s not enough for me to simply just give you the reasons without an explanation which is why I am going to expand on the reason and give you a clear and detailed game plan on what to do if you determine that your ex is using you!
1. That Gut Feeling
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My grandmother used to tell me when I was a kid, “if it feels like something’s not right, then it probably isn’t.”
This is the number one way to recognize an imbalance in your relationship. Intuition is a combination of logic and emotion. You see, despite most people’s lack of perfect recall, our brains store information constantly. It’s why we don’t have to be body language experts to know that someone with their arms crossed and a scowl on their face is upset or uncomfortable without really thinking about it.
With every experience, our library of knowledge grows and our brain works at lightning speed to make connections that we don’t even realize that we are making.
So, the only real complication is recognizing the difference between intuition and insecurities.
The best way to do that is to examine what is making you feel uneasy.
For example, I have this friend who starts to panic every time she notices that her boyfriend hasn’t been texting her throughout the day. She and I were talking about it over coffee a few weeks ago, and she said, ” I hate it. Because my brain starts coming up with all of these horrible places where he’s bored with me or worse, he’s cheating.”
So, I asked her why she thinks her mind goes there. Had he given her a reason to think those things? I mean as far as I knew, he was head over heels for her.
It turned out that of her teammates that she plays soccer with was going through a major ordeal with her boyfriend. She insisted that the girl had no idea. The more we talked about it, the more it became clear that her insecurities had spawned from watching her friend get hurt.
The only way to know whether it’s your gut telling you that the balance has shifted in your relationship or if your mind is playing tricks on you is to do the following:
- look at your girl’s past relationships. Often, if someone is cheating or something equally crappy in a relationship, they’ve likely done it before or had it done to them.
- look at your reasons for feeling this way. If your reasons for feeling this way are based on things that have nothing to do with your relationship, then it’s most likely an insecurity and you should let it go.
- look at reality. are there legitimate reasons for a shift? For example, when my friend would get upset because her boyfriend hadn’t texted her all afternoon, she started to look at what had changed lately. That day when we were having coffee and it came up, I pointed out that he had been working more and it was likely that he was studying for his exams since he had less free time. It’s easy to forget these things when you are feeling neglected.
2. Your Relationship is Wishy-Washy
Being together is like being on an emotional roller coaster. She’s all in one minute and you two are blissfully happy. Then you get the cold shoulder for no apparent reason.
She’s popping in and out of your life so much that you have no idea what is going on. You sure as heck know this is the case when your friends ask what the heck is going on. This becomes even more obvious if, when she suddenly reappears in your life, she needs something or wants something from you. Beware the woman who doesn’t seem to know if she wants to be with you or not. Think about it.
When you are eating you pick up a fork when you need to get the food to your mouth, but when you aren’t hungry or you don’t want food for a bit, you put it down. When you are full you put it down and don’t pick it back up. The fork doesn’t have a say. If she comes and goes in your life without a second thought about how you might feel, then you are being used. Don’t let yourself be used. Don’t be the fork, my friend.
3. You Feel Like Her Therapist
Don’t get me wrong, being able to talk about the issues in your life and hers sounds like a healthy bout of good communication. If you have a good balance to it. However, if it is a one-sided kind of thing, then she’s using you for some free therapy, bud. That’s all there is to it. If she is popping into your life just long enough to vent about what is going on at work or some spat that she is having with a friend and then disappearing again. That is emotional manipulation.
Well, if it was a healthy exchange then you would be able to unload you emotional discord onto her as well. But an emotional user will dip in, and lay all of their issues on your shoulders. However, anytime the conversation redirects toward your issues or your troubles, it seems like she disconnects or suddenly has somewhere she needs to be.This will sort of mirror the wishy-washy nature that I was talking about earlier.
This will sort of mirror the wishy-washy nature that I was talking about earlier. She’s affectionate or present when it benefits her, but at the first sign that you are needing some support from her.
4. She Turns Into Someone Else Around Other People
Manipulative people turn into the person they think they need to be in order to get what they want from you. Most people had a moment as a kid where they went up and hugged their mom for no apparent reason. The universal response is usually what?
“What did you do?” or What do you want?”
In our family, it was usually “What did you do?”
There’s nothing more terrifying to my parents than children acting like little angels. It usually means that we used the tire swing as a centrifuge and now someone is so dizzy they’re throwing up and possibly have a broken clavicle.
I’m not saying that we did that…
But what I’m getting at is that, when you are alone together, things are comfortable and she needs you. But then when you are around her friends, you might as well be an accessory, like a purse. Yeah she brought you and she’s taking you home, but she could probably set you down for most of the night and forget you are even there and she’ll pick you up and take you home. I have one friend who’s voice even changes into this baby-like breathy voice when she answers a call from him. It’s as if she trying to convince him that she’s vulnerable and needs him. Then when he comes out with us, which is rare, it’s as if he’s watching a stranger. You can literally see his confusion. And she picks on him, making jokes at his expense.
I feel bad for the guy. He is so sweet to her and it’s as if she is deliberately trying to drive him nuts.
You’d be shocked how many men I know that think their girlfriends have some kind of personality disorder, when in fact, she’s just being manipulative.
I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I just doubt that it would work out so that it only manifested in her favor. There would probably be other signs of mental issues. I’m not an expert on that stuff though, so I won’t try to cross into a subject I’m not familiar with.
5. She Isolates you.
I dated this insanely manipulative guy last year, and one of the biggest mistakes he made was that he introduced me to all of his friends. Effective manipulators do this thing where they isolate you from as many people as they can, both in your life and in theirs.
The goal being to create this chasm between your most trusted friends and family and you. They also try and keep you from building new relationships.
In my case, I made friends with his friends. Most of them to this day are some of my closest friends. When our friendship became stable, for lack of a better way to describe it, one of his good friends, now my good friend, warned me to his manipulative nature.
It kept me from getting that “rose-colored perspective” I’m always talking about. You know when you are so hung up on someone that you can’t see their flaws or actual issues.
If you find yourself isolated to the point where the only person you have that you can rely on for feedback is your girl, pay attention to how you got there. Whether she’s monopolizing your time so that no one else gets to even see or talk to you. Or if she’s caused rifts or problems with your friends or family, making them not want to be around her, and consequently you.
Author, John Doone, once wrote, “No man is an island.” Pay attention to when someone is trying to get you on an island alone.
This isn’t LOST, man!
She shouldn’t have control over your other relationships.
Few people can take information like this without asking “Why?”
I get it. I really do.
I have wasted so much time wondering why people do the things they do.
I thoroughly enjoy people watching, but understanding the actions directed at you is nearly impossible, especially if you are romantically involved.
Well, it’s hard to separate your emotions from your experiences, leaving you with a skewed perspective.
So I am going to go ahead and save you the time.
Feeling the need to manipulate people originates from many places.
Some people just need to feel like they control something,
Some want money or for you to buy them things.
Some want favors or standing.
or just to be able to say that they have someone.
Basically, if you are feeling an imbalance in the relationship, like you’re being jerked around, you are probably right.
It doesn’t really matter the reasoning behind it though, This sort of way of going about life… it can usually be traced back to childhood and relationships with parental figures. Only a proper therapist would be able to alter this behavior. And, as they say, she would have to be willing to make a change.
How to Deal
Well, you have two options.
Address the issue and lay down some boundaries or walk away.
In my opinion, relationships with manipulators are basically chock full of emotional abuse and you will end up stuck and unhappy.
However, I know how hard it can be to make that call.
So, let’s learn the rules of how to set boundaries.
- Identify the things in your life that are non-negotiable. These are things that are important to you, like your best bud that she doesn’t like you hanging around with or you letting your mom have input on life-decisions.
- Don’t drop what you’re doing for her. I get that it’s romantic and helpful to be there when she needs you. But make better judgment calls on when she actually needs help or she just wants you to feel obligated. I have this one friend who drops everything for his ex, because he thinks it will make her change her mind about the relationship. He has ditched our game nights so many times because “he needs to pick her up from the airport” at some ungodly hour. But I can’t tell you how unbelievably sad he is the next day because he’d get his hopes up after a couple of hours in the car joking and talking like they used to. But then she ends up just having him drop her off. And doesn’t talk to him for a few weeks, or at least till she needs another ride to or from the airport.
- Stop saying Yes to things when you really want to say no.
- Learn how to voice how you are feeling. If you still have an inclination that you are being used, say something about it. Although, don’t be surprised if she spins it. Most natural manipulators are talented at manipulating the way you see a situation. They’ll have you believing that the way they have been acting is “for your own good.”
- Stop letting her do things that drive you bananas. Like ignoring you for days and then calling or texting at 2 in the morning. If you don’t like it, put a stop to it. Especially if you two have already split up.
- Stop keeping your schedule free just in case she happens to turn up. That’s nonsense. Don’t put your life on hold. If she wants to be a part of your life then she should make some effort.
- Once you set boundaries, STICK TO THEM! You will never earn her respect if she sees you as a pushover. You don’t want boundaries to be seen as mere suggestions. They should be set in stone.
Well, there you have it. Everything I’ve laid out here can apply to whether you are being used in a relationship you are still in or after a breakup has already happened.
The best part is that during No Contact you have the opportunity to think about and instill these boundaries and then go into the following phases with the ability to demand the respect that you deserve.
Feel free to hit me up and ask any questions you minght have in the comments below. Also, I would love to hear what type of boundaries you intend to establish in your situation. Don’t hold back!