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18 Signs He’s Using You and 4 Signs that You’re Just Not Listening

Last updated on November 10, 2022 by Rhamah Norris

Your boyfriend makes you so happy when you’re together. Do you also feel that way when you’re apart? Making a relationship work isn’t just about how special you feel. It’s about working together to meet a common goal.

Have you felt like you’ve been putting in way more effort than your partner? Does it seem like he gets a lot more out of the relationship than you do? Do you worry that you’re being taken advantage of? 

Do you constantly ask yourself “Is he using me?” If yes, then here are some signs to look for. 

Signs He’s Using You For Sex

1. He Only Texts You When He Wants Sex

How you communicate says a lot about what you want in a relationship. If you are looking for signs that your partner is thinking of you, you might like random texts during the day. If you need someone’s whole attention, you might like to have quick back-and-forths every now and then.

Someone who avoids conversations unless it’s about sex? He’s probably just interested in sex.

Look at your messaging history. How often do you talk about your day or your friends? Does he give you one-word answers? How fast does he respond, compared to conversations about sex? 

These trends might be an indication that for him, the relationship is purely physical and it’s one of the most telltale signs he’s using you for sex.

2. He Threatens to Leave if You Don’t Have Sex with Him

Some people can be pretty casual about sex. For others, being physically intimate can be a big step in a relationship. Either way, you shouldn’t feel like you haveto have sex to keep the relationship.

You can’t truly say yes to sex if you feel like you’ll lose something by saying no

If your partner regularly threatens to walk out if you’re not in the mood for sex, that’s a bad sign. He’s allowed to have strong feelings about sex. Both of you can and should state your boundaries and expectations. But if you want different things, that’s no excuse for him to pressure you.

If you’ve felt uncomfortable or unable to say no without giving up the relationship, he may be using you for sex. 

3. He Ghosts You

Ghosting, known as the act of disappearing without warning, hurts. It could be especially painful if you have been dating for a while. This type of rejection can leave you feeling embarrassed, anxious, and insecure

In a committed relationship, sex shouldn’t change communication patterns. If you have sex with someone, and he suddenly disappears, you were most likely being used.

If you’ve been the victim of ghosting, it’s best to move on, even if it hurts. Try not to blame yourself for his actions. Delete or block his contact information. Focus on your well-being, and lean on your friends and family for reassurance. 

Signs He’s Using You for Money

4. He Always “Forgets” His Wallet

Forgetting your wallet on the first or second date might be embarrassing, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world. However, if you’re constantly footing the bill on dates, that’s a red flag.

Many women feel awkward talking about money and expectations while dating. You might be hesitant to speak up if you feel like you’re crossing your own boundaries. If he has “good reasons” why he can’t pay, you might feel guilty for feeling frustrated.

But unless you volunteered to be his sugar mama, there’s no reason for you to pay every time you go out. 

How often are you paying for your dates? Does he invite you out, but conveniently has a reason why he can’t pay? Do you find out that you’re paying only after the check arrives?

5. He Lives Above His Means

In our society, there’s a lot of pressure to appear wealthy and happy. Social media allows people to curate their image, and encourages many people to spend money they don’t have. After all, you’re not likely to spend time with the Haves if you look like a Have-Not.

It may be hard to notice that he’s overspending if he’s buying you gifts. You may feel special if he takes you on expensive dates. On the flip side, you may want to pull your hair out when he asks you to help him pay his bills.

If you’ve not agreed to connect your finances, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Look at your bank statements and see how much money you’ve spent on him. How much of that was you paying for your own gifts?

If you have connected your finances, make a budget and examine where your money goes. Does he buy frivolous things while you’re living paycheck to paycheck? Who’s contributing to household expenses? (@beefanney on TikTok has a great in-depth budgeting spreadsheet if you’re interested.)

6. He Blames Others for His Lack of Money

he blames others for his lack of money

A lot of people who have difficulty with finances play the blame game. They blame others for empty pockets or irresponsible spending. (“My job doesn’t pay enough!” or “I wouldn’t spend so much if my friends didn’t make me eat out all the time.”)

This, to me, speaks of a level of emotional immaturity. An immature person depends on external forces to keep them stable. If your boyfriend is in the habit of making others responsible for his financial situation, chances are he’s going to be financially dependent on you.

Is it like pulling teeth getting him to spend time with you?
The key to solving is understanding men on a much deeper emotional level. The number #1 factor that causes men to behave this way is actually relatively easy to change with a few subtle things you can say to him.

Take this quick quiz to see if he actually likes you!

When he’s dealing with financial stress, how does he handle it? Does he tell you how he’s going to handle it? Or does he point out all the ways you don’t help? It can be difficult to hold him responsible for his own actions, but there are ways to get support from a professional.

7. He Gets Angry You “Don't Support His Dream”

There are so many Reddit threads of people feeling bad for asking their partner to work while pursuing their “dream.” The story is usually a variation of unsustainable financial struggle with only one partner paying the bills.

Everyone should have at least one area of their life that satisfies their need for purpose. Those activities are important for mental and emotional wellness, even if they don’t pay the bills. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you need to find a source of income to support those dreams.

Do you have the sinking feeling that dating you is his plan for financial stability? Then you need to reestablish your financial boundaries. In a relationship, what do you need a partner to contribute? If he’s not meeting those needs, it’s in your best interest to reevaluate your relationship.

8. He Asks for Money Constantly

One of the clearest signs that he’s using you for money is that he simply asks… all the time. He’s constantly asking you to Venmo him for this and that. He may even have good reasons! But you’re unlikely to get paid back.

Asking for money is not a dealbreaker on its own. In a serious relationship, it makes sense that you would touch base with your partner for help. Especially if you don’t make as much, or are in an unsteady situation.

But frequent requests for financial support can put a strain on you. That can result in a build-up of resentment.

Do you find yourself anxious when he calls you on payday? Do you feel like you’re paying for things that have nothing to do with you? If so, it’s time to practice saying no

Signs He’s Using You For Attention

9. Every Time You Hang Out, He Has to Post About It 

Attention doesn’t necessarily need to come from you. Attention can come from strangers on the internet. For some people, social media engagement is an addiction, and their life revolves around it.

Established and aspiring content creators and influencers need to maintain a certain image. For some, that image includes relationship expertise and satisfaction. It’s literally their job to share their lives with their followers.

Dating someone with that job takes a lot of negotiation. If that’s not what you signed up for, you might feel like your personal life is suddenly public. It can be difficult to feel connected if every interaction is for the camera.

Do you feel like you never go on “real dates” because he's recording and directing? That could be a sign that he’s more emotionally invested in his image than the relationship.

10. He’s Not Interested in Your Personal Life

Listening and genuinely being interested in your partner are what make a real relationship last. When we talk, we reveal something about ourselves. Our goals, our pasts, our strengths, and our vulnerabilities. You can map out your understanding of your partner by listening to them.

After a long day, it’s common to want to shut out the world for a bit. You might want to focus on something a bit more physical (sex or a nap, either will work). Being refreshed and in a good mood helps everyone be better listeners.

Your boyfriend might need a bit of space before sharing his day. But you shouldn’t have to skip catching up on each other’s days, altogether. If he is all for blowing off steam but won’t talk or listen, it’s a clear sign he has different priorities.

11. He Gets Mad When You Have Your Own Life

If you feel like you’re losing yourself because he’s demanding your time, that’s a bad sign. Whether he says it’s because he’s sensitive or being overprotective, it’s crossing a line.

Healthy couples can spend time apart. You should be able to have your own hobbies, interests and friends. You should be able to spend time at work without worrying that he’ll be angry.  

Does he act jealous when you spend time with others? Does he deliberately interfere with your plans? It might be time to reassess what you both get out of the relationship.

Signs He’s Using You to Get Over His Ex

12. He Criticizes Her Without Prompting

he criticizes her without prompting

Getting over an ex can be difficult. It can be easy to fall into traps that keep you stuck on your ex instead of moving on. It might seem that identifying your ex’s flaws could be helpful, but it’s not. It actually keeps you focused on that person instead of the other relationships in your life.

It’s hard to feel like you’re his focus when he keeps talking about his ex, even negatively. Criticism can affect your self-esteem. This can lead to anxiety about your relationship.. After all, if he’s criticizing her, what would he say about you?

Are your boyfriend’s compliments all about how you’re better than his ex? Does he criticize her interests or preferences often, even when you didn’t ask? He may not be focused on the relationship he’s currently in.

13. Constantly Comparing You to His Ex

It’s normal to be aware of how different you feel in a new relationship from the last one. You might notice that you’re happier and sharing new experiences. That being said, those comparisons don’t need to be at the forefront of your mind.

Compliments that put other people down can be pretty insulting. They imply that your worth is tied to that other person’s failures. Even if your boyfriend genuinely means it, you might find his compliments fall flat. This can be one of the big signs he’s using you to get over his ex and is till hung up on her. 

Does it seem like everything good about your relationship prompts a story about his ex? If so, don’t hesitate to bring it up.

14. He Brings Her Up During Intimate Moments

Intimacy is more than sex. It can be mental, emotional, and spiritual. Intimacy is a time when you’re vulnerable and open. It would be an obvious faux pas for him to bring up his ex during sex. 

(If he does, you may need to break up. He definitely needs to work on his boundaries.)

But what if he brings up her fashion choices when you’re trying on something new? Or mentions their music preferences when you share your favorite album from high school? How would you feel if you were lying in each other’s arms, sharing your dreams, and she suddenly becomes part of the conversation?

These would be obvious signs that he’s thinking of someone else. Intimate moments are ones where both of you should be completely focused on each other.

15. He Takes You to Places He Expects Her to Be 

It’s not unheard of for a couple to have their spot. Their restaurant. Their park. Their bar. These can, of course, overlap across relationships. Especially if you don’t have a lot of spots to choose from.

Even if you’re in a small town, if you find yourself everywhere she is when you go out, that's a red flag. 

Hopefully, you’ve discussed your exes, so you know if they ended things on good terms or not. If they haven’t, and he’s parading you around her, that suggests an ulterior motive. He may be trying to make her jealous or hurt her feelings and is a clear sign he’s using you to get over his ex.

If they have, and you don’t go on actual dates because he’s always including her… That’s not a good sign. If you feel excluded because of how he’s focused on her, it’s a sure sign that you need to discuss exes again.

Either of these situations shows a lack of respect for your relationship. You probably need to have a serious conversation about why you’re together. 

Signs He’s Using You as a Placeholder

16. You Don’t Meet His Friends, and He Doesn’t Meet Yours

Friendships within and outside of your relationship are beneficial to your health. It makes sense to wait to be serious before being introduced to friends and family. A lot of people only know one or two of their partner’s coworkers. But if you’ve been seeing each other for more than 6 months, it should catch your attention that you never interact with each other’s people.

Even if you did meet someone, how would he introduce you? Are you his girlfriend or just a friend? Does he include you in the conversations, or does he talk around you?

Does he have zero interest in getting to know the people who are important to you? Do you think you should have met his friends by now? If you answered yes to either, you may need to ask yourself why he doesn’t claim you in public.

17. He Makes Decisions that Impact You Without Asking

Change is a part of life. When changes come, people generally think about how that might impact their friends, family, and partner. 

Has your partner ever made a big decision without consulting you? Moving for a job, painting a room, or inviting people over for a party – these impact you. If he’s not asking you about it he’s not thinking of your feelings.

Have you been frustrated with him for telling you about his plans after he’s already started? Do you feel like you always have to catch up on his plans? It may be time to ask yourself if he’s dating you because he wants to be with you or if he’s waiting for someone else.

18. He Doesn’t Want to Label the Relationship

he doesn't want to label the relationship

Labels can be a helpful way to categorize the world around us. In relationships, labels help us to know what to expect. You would expect different things from a hookup, a boyfriend, a husband or a partner.

Not labeling a relationship is a way to avoid dealing with expectations. Monogamy, living together, marriage, or kids. You might feel that you’re ready for any of those decisions. You may even make them together. But if he won’t label it, it is possible he’s leaving himself out.

If you’ve been dating for any length of time, you probably have intentions for how your relationship is going to proceed. If he’s not being upfront with how he sees you or where he sees the relationship going, it’s possible he doesn’t see you as someone he wants to call his girlfriend.

4 Signs You’re Just Not Listening

1. He Doesn’t Want to Discuss the Future with You, He Wants to Hook Up 

There’s nothing wrong with hookup culture. In fact, with proper sex education and protection, I think it helps eliminate anxiousness about sex from decisions to start a relationship. With that disclaimer out of the way, I pose this question:

Do you sleep with him to feel special?

A lot of people have sex to feel better about themselves. That can be a strong form of external validation. As long as everyone knows what to expect from the relationship, that’s not a problem.

But that means you have to listen to him if he says he’s not interested in anything more than sex. He’s not taking advantage if he was clear from the beginning about his expectations. It’s not bad that he makes you feel good. But it’s also not a sign that he wants more.

Ask yourself: Is this a one-sided relationship, or are you trying to make sex something it’s not?

2. He Has Zero Intention of Spending Money on Dates, You Just Keep Offering

In this economy, people are broke. Not having money is not a reason to deny ourselves fun. Even if you’re in poverty, it’s important to enjoy what you can. You’re worthy of that as a person.

If you choose to start dating, that won’t make him magically forget his financial boundaries. He’s giving you clear signs of his budget if he consistently suggests low-cost dates or staying home. If you insist on dates that are more expensive, don’t be surprised when you have to come out of pocket.

Ask yourself: Is he giving you a lame excuse about leaving his wallet at home? Or is he telling you he has to meet his own needs before he can splurge on you?

3. He’s Made Statements About His Emotional Unavailability

You might have a gut feeling that your guy isn’t all-in when it comes to an intimate relationship. Maybe you’re seeing signs he’s using you for your body. Maybe he’s making comments about his ex. Maybe he is just shutting you out.

Want to know one of the big signs that he’s not emotionally available

He says it.

That’s not a code for wanting to take things slow. It’s not an invitation for you to convince him that you have a future together. It’s a clear statement of what he’s ready for or not ready for. 

You’re allowed to hope that one day he’ll figure himself out. You can dream of your happily ever after. But you also have to respect that he knows himself and is being clear with you.

Ask yourself: Did he ever say he was ready for a relationship, or did you decide to wear him down until he agreed to try?

4. He’s Explicitly Said He’s Not Interested in a Serious Relationship

Are you frustrated that he wants to keep his own place instead of moving in together? Are you worried that, after dating for so long, you still haven’t met his friends or family? Are there other signs that have you worried about your relationship?

This might be hard to ask, but does he even want to take your relationship further? 

You need to be clear about what you’re looking for. And you need to keep an eye out for warning signs that the two of you are not on the same page. He may not be ready to settle into a more serious relationship than what you started with. 

Ask yourself: Have you had a conversation about the future of your relationship? Are you being upfront about your expectations? Are you willing to leave the relationship if he tells you it won’t meet your needs?

Conclusion

Understanding each other’s motivations is important when it comes to a relationship. No one likes being used. Knowing the warning signs that he’s using you can help you avoid future hurt. But you should also be careful to check in on yourself. 

Do you feel like all you think about is him, but he only thinks about himself?
This doesn't mean he doesn't like you. You have to understand how he is wired. Once you do, you'll find there is a subtle thing you can say that to him that will drastically change how he shows his emotions towards you.

Take this quick quiz that looks at whether he actually likes you or not!

Rhamah Norris
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I know a little bit about relationships! Writing has always been a passion of mine, and I can’t think of a better way to combine my experience than to write about love, dating, and communication. I want to give everyone, women, nonbinary, genderfluid, and otherwise, tips, tricks, and tools to help improve their relationships.

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