11 Signs You’re Just His Placeholder Until Someone ‘Better’ Comes Along

If your feelings are getting strong and stronger for the guy that you’ve been seeing but it’s impossible to get a read on where his head and heart are at, there’s a possibility that he could be using you as a placeholder of sorts. This means he’s using you for relationship benefits without any intention of being with you long-term. In fact, once someone “better” comes along, he’ll be out the door. Here are some signs you’re his placeholder and you need to get out ASAP.

  1. He refuses to define the relationship. If you’ve been seeing a guy for a while and you’ve been wondering when you’re going to define what you are or make it official, it can be hard to be patient if he doesn’t seem to be in a big rush to call what you have exclusive. One of the signs that a guy may be using you as a placeholder is if he never gives you a concrete answer on what your relationship actually is or where it’s going. If he doesn’t have to define it, he can keep you in the dark for a while longer about what he’s actually doing.
  2. He wants to keep your relationship a secret. If he’s adamant about not telling anyone that you two have something going on, it’s never a good sign. Why should he care if anyone knows if you’re the only person he’s seeing? Even if you haven’t officially called yourselves a couple yet, there’s not really any harm in letting your friends know that you’ve been seeing each other. One of the reasons he may be urging you to stay quiet about it is that he’s trying to present himself as available to other women. If he wants to appear single, he’s just using you while he hunts for someone else. Drop him. He’s a jerk.
  3. He just got out of a serious relationship. If he’s just ended something long-term or serious and seems a bit emotionally vulnerable, he may not be in a place to date anyone and might just be using you because you remind him of the feeling he had when he was with his ex. There’s nothing wrong with a casual rebound as long as both people are aware, okay with it, and set boundaries they both agree with. If he tells you that he likes you and seems to be avoiding talking about the nature of your relationship, you’re just his placeholder and that’s not okay.
  4. It’s all about what works for him and never for you. Guys who use women as placeholders tend to have a very selfish and self-serving attitude about everything in the relationship. They know that you have feelings for them and they use that to their advantage in order to get what they want. If they call you up but only on their time when it’s convenient for them, and whenever they feel like it, regardless of what you want, not only is that a major sign that he’s using you as a placeholder, it’s also a major sign that he’s a loser. Boy, bye.
  5. He doesn’t care about your emotional state. If he’s in an emotional place, like if he just got out of a relationship or is dealing with things in his personal life, he might try to use you as a form of therapy or ego stroking (or both). He might vent to you about all of his problems and look to you for comfort and advice. There’s nothing wrong with seeking guidance from someone you trust, but in order for any relationship to be healthy and successful whether it’s romantic or not, it has to be a two-way street. If he’s all about seeking help from you but never checks in with you or asks you how you feel, he’s just as fake as the relationship he claims to have with you.
  6. He doesn’t introduce you to his friends or family. If he’s using you as a temporary placeholder, he isn’t going to want to introduce you to the important people in his life. If he’s planning on dropping you whenever he finds someone he’d rather be with, why would he go to the trouble of letting you into his life when he doesn’t think you’ll be around long? If he doesn’t want you to be a part of the more intimate parts of his life, he is so not worth your time.
  7. He talks about other women around you. This one is so painfully obvious and infuriating. If he has no problem talking about other girls when you’re around, whether it’s commenting on their looks, talking about girls he’d like to date, or even talking incessantly about his exes, this is never a good sign. If he was really interested in having something real and long-lasting with you, he definitely wouldn’t risk it by talking about other women in front of you! Dump him before he has the audacity to dump you first.
  8. He usually only wants to hang out at your place. Guys who are using their partners as placeholders are notorious for coming up with every excuse in the book to not hang out in a normal public place. They don’t want to go have dinner, they don’t want to meet up with you and your friends, they basically only want to hang out alone and usually at your place. Don’t let yourself be in denial about this. If he’s not taking you out on actual dates, even casual ones, he’s just using you.
  9. Physical intimacy seems like a condition. If he always wants to hook up when you’re together and is notorious for being MIA until late at night when he can hit you with a “u up?” text, he’s probably using you as a placeholder while he searches for his next girlfriend. You’re worth so much more than some loser who only wants you for one thing and makes you feel like you’ll only get to see him if you’re willing to give it. Stop answerings his texts. Better yet, block his number.
  10. He gaslights you. If you ever try to confront him about his unacceptable behavior and try to make him give you an honest answer about what your relationship means to him, he’ll probably try to manipulate the situation and spin it around so it seems like your fault. If he uses phrases like, “I told you I wasn’t looking for anything serious” or “I thought we were on the same page here. Did you change your mind?”, all he’s doing is gaslighting you and trying to make you think you’re the one at fault. This is such narcissistic behavior and you need to get out of that situation right now.
  11. He doesn’t take the time to know the real you. If he cared about you and wanted to have something real with you, he would want to know everything about you and would be interested in what makes you, you. If he isn’t then he definitely doesn’t deserve you. The right guy for you would never even consider using you as a placeholder because you would be the only choice in his eyes. Hold out for that guy. He’s worth the wait.


Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.