It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a disagreement and a situation in which a guy is really taking advantage of you. Not every misstep a guy makes has malintent behind it, but there are some signs that the dude you’re dating is trying to walk all over you.
He offers “non-apologies” after an argument. “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “I was just kidding” aren’t real apologies — they’re (cheap) band-aids to make you shut up. A man who uses these to end an argument isn’t treating your emotions like they’re valid, and he’s assuming you’ll allow him to get off easily if he throws one of these non-apologies your way. The next time he does this, call him out on it and let him know that his “apology” hasn’t fixed the disagreement. He’s a grown man and he needs to either learn how to deal with conflict like a mature adult or feel the consequences of his actions if he refuses.
He acts like you’re crazy for setting boundaries. It’s up to each individual couple to set their own agreed-upon boundaries in their relationship, so what’s “not OK” for you might be “totally fine” for someone else. He can politely disagree with you about the boundaries you request to set, but acting like you’re controlling or “psycho” for asking him not to hang out one-on-one with his ex is just a way for him to manipulate you into letting him do whatever he wants. Don’t let him trick you into trying to be a “cool girl.” Let him know that you two can have a calm, rational discussion about what is and isn’t acceptable in your relationship, and if either of you is unwilling to compromise on a dealbreaker, accept that it might be best to go your separate ways.
He constantly cancels the plans he makes with you. Are you always his Plan B on the weekends? Does he regularly agree on a time to take you out and then magically, something manages to “come up” just a few hours before every time you’re scheduled to meet? This dude is just treating you like his backup plan and you deserve better. Having to cancel occasionally happens, but don’t rearrange your whole schedule around this guy. If your dates are canceled more often than they happen, just let him cancel his way into the sunset and find someone who will treat you like a priority.
He treats you like a second mother. Some guys seem like they want a girlfriend far less than they want a replacement mom to do their chores and cook their meals. If you feel like you’re constantly doing laundry, washing dishes, and grocery shopping for the guy you’re dating, take a step back and ask why he can’t do these things for himself. It may be time to have a talk with him about equal division of chores in your relationship. If he refuses to clean up after himself like an adult, you don’t have to put up with it.
He doesn’t message you if you don’t message him first. Both of you should be taking turns initiating contact, and if he only relies on you to get a conversation going, he’s just looking for a relationship that lets him be lazy. Communication in a relationship should never be treated as a “game,” but sometimes, you have to show guys like this what happens when you stop putting forth effort too. Even if you miss him, even if all you want to do is talk to him about your day, make sure that you’re not the one initiating your next conversation. It might take a taste of his own medicine for him to realize that he needs to send the first message sometimes.
He always expects you to come to him. Hanging out at each other’s places exactly 50% of the times you get together is rarely possible (especially if one of you has a nicer living situation), but both of you should be making the effort to go out of your way to see the other person. Even if you’re just friends with benefits, he doesn’t just get to sit around and wait for you while you spend all the time and effort required to go see him every time you get together. If you’re always the person who has to leave your house, ask him to come to yours the next time he wants to hang out. If he’s not feeling up to it, oh well — he’ll get to spend time with you when he’s willing to get off his butt and do so.
He’s selfish in bed. Effort is important here. Even if both of you don’t climax during every sexual encounter you have, he should at least be doing his best to make sure you enjoy yourself. A guy who’s only out for his own sexual pleasure isn’t treating you the way you deserve and honestly, you can do better. Before giving up on this dude and moving on, try offering suggestions (or demands, if you want to spice things up by playing a more dominant role in bed) for things he could do to get you off. Sometimes, guys really just don’t know any better, but once you point him in the right direction, it’s up to him to stop his selfish ways and make sex about more than just his pleasure.
He doesn’t keep his promises. Words are easy; actions are difficult. Guys who make you promises and then drop the ball tend to know they can keep you around by letting you cling to what they say. It shouldn’t be your responsibility to teach a grown man to do what he says he’s going to do, but if you really want to try to make this work, hold him to his word. If he backs out on having you meet his buddies for the third time in a row, don’t just stay silent — speak up and let him know that you’re a woman who doesn’t have time for unkept promises.
He makes you jealous on purpose. Some guys think that talking about how great their ex was or how hot their coworker is will make their partner so insecure that she’ll try even harder to impress them. Yeah, it’s weird and manipulative. This kind of nonsense is honestly worthy of one warning before cutting him out of your life for good, and that’s being generous. If the guy you’re seeing pulls this stunt, he assumes that he can take advantage of your patience to get you to pay him more attention. Prove him wrong.
He always assumes you’ll come back to him. Everyone messes up, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re taking advantage of you if they do. The problem comes in when they don’t understand the full weight of their actions and assume that you’ll stick with them no matter how many times they screw up. If your guy acts like your presence in his life is unconditional, it’s time to sit him down and explain that your patience with him has a limit… and then enforce that limit if he continues to treat your affection like a game.
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