Do you ever get the sense that your ex is stringing you along, giving you hope of getting back together while secretly moving on?
Are they taking advantage of your heartache and weakness for their own benefit?
Are they just using you for sex or for other favours?
Sadly this is actually quite common after a breakup. In my 13 years as a breakup coach, I’ve worked with tens of thousands of people going through a breakup, and I see my clients and subscribers being used and manipulated by their exes on a daily basis. It’s often not sinister or malicious, but sometimes it can be downright cruel. Let’s talk about the four signs to look out for.
How To Tell That Your Ex Is Just Using You
Perhaps the worst part about being used by your ex — at least, if you’re still hoping to get them back and start over with this person — is that it can quickly destroy your chances of ever getting back together.
I’ll explain why shortly, but it’s important that you know right off the bat that you can’t let your ex take advantage of you or use you if you want to have any chance of winning them back.
You have to find the strength and confidence to stop being a victim and stop giving your ex what they want if they’re trying to use you or manipulate you for their own gain.
Sometimes, that might be extremely difficult and it might feel like you’re only making matters worse… but, in the long run, allowing yourself to be played or used by your ex is always bad news.
Even if you don’t want your ex back — even if you’re just focused on getting over this person and moving on with life — don’t let yourself be manipulated or let your ex string you along. Stand up for yourself, show integrity and self-worth, and show your ex you’re not willing to be their counselor or their butler.
I don’t even recommend being friends with your ex or continuing to sleep with them unless you’re fully over them and happy to have that kind of a relationship.
NOW… with that out of the way, let’s talk about how to tell if you’re being used by your ex, and what you should do about it. Here are some signs your ex is using you or stringing you along…
Sign #1 – Communication with your ex only happens on their terms.
I’m sure this one will be familiar to a lot of you…. This is the kind of situation where your ex will call or text you when they want to talk or want a favor from you, but won’t respond or engage with you when you try to reach out or ask for something.
Basically, any kind of situation where it feels like your ex only wants to engage when they decide to, and can’t be bothered at any other time.
For example, maybe you sometimes get a 2am booty call drunk text asking you to come over… but when you reach out the next day and ask if your ex wants to grab a coffee, they don’t respond or give you a cold, indifferent response a few hours later.
Clearly, the 2am drunk text is just because they want sex, but the next day when you want to hang out they’re simply not interested or can’t be bothered to even reply.
RELATED: “I Broke No Contact! What Next?”
This is communication on your ex’s terms, and it really isn’t good for your chances of getting them back. In fact, this kind of situation is a clear indication that there’s an imbalance of power in your relationship–your ex has the power to engage with you any time they want, but doesn’t need to reciprocate when you try to do the same.
They have all the power in this kind of scenario, and you have none. This is a bad dynamic not only for your chances of getting them back, but also it’s a bad thing generally in any relationship, romantic or otherwise.
How do you deal with this type of situation? Well, quite frankly, you shouldn’t let yourself fall into this trap in the first place… but if you’re already guilty of playing along and letting your ex dictate when and how you communicate, it’s time to stop giving them what they want.
Start ignoring those 2am booty call texts. Start waiting several hours before replying to your ex’s texts or calls, and stop agreeing to whatever it is they’re asking for. Basically, give them a taste of their own medicine, and start shifting the balance of power back in your favour.
Sign #2 – They’re “hot and cold” with you.
OK, this is similar to what we just talked about… only this time, it’s more that your ex is sometimes very friendly and affectionate, but other times can’t be bothered to respond to you or they seem cold and indifferent. This is super, super common and it’s a clear indication that your ex is stringing you along.
As an example, maybe your ex will tell you they still think about you all the time… they’ll tell you they wish you were with them, and that they miss you… and then, 24 hours later, when you try to reach out… they don’t reply or respond with something distant and unaffectionate.
And this will often continue for weeks at a time, where sometimes you get the sense they might actually want you back, while at other times they seem totally uninterested.
What this means, at least in most cases, is that your ex is trying to keep you around as a ‘backup plan’ while they test out the single life or casually date around to see if they can find someone new to replace you.
Now, on one hand this is a good sign — it means your ex is still somewhat unsure about the breakup, and that they do still have feelings for you. It means they’re not fully ready to let you walk out of their life, because they may still change their mind or decide they’ve made a mistake in breaking up.
On the other hand, this is also a dangerous situation to let yourself fall into, because it makes you look weak and needy… and it gives your ex all the time and freedom to date around or slowly learn to live without you. In the long run, this can lead to your ex finally committing to a permanent breakup.
At the very least, it makes the breakup far easier for them to endure, and gives them time to slowly adjust to life without you around.
Again, the solution to this is to simply not play ball. If your ex tells you they miss you and wish you were there in a late night text, don’t reply. Don’t let them have what they want, at least not immediately or every time they ask for it.
If you haven’t already, you’re probably going to need to engage in a period of No Contact starting immediately to put some pressure on your ex and force them to realize the full consequences of the breakup.
Sign #3 – They usually want something from you when they reach out.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If your ex seems to always want something from you when they reach out — if they want sex, help with their homework, or a hand painting their new apartment — that’s a clear sign you’re likely being used and taken advantage of.
Now, don’t get me wrong — if your ex contacts you regularly and only very occasionally asks for a favour, that might not be a situation where you’re being used.
But if they ONLY reach out when they need something from you, and never contact you just to catch up or share a joke or suggest you grab dinner… then you’re probably being taken advantage of.
This usually happens when your ex knows that you’re still heartbroken and hoping to get back together. If your ex knows this, they also know that you’ll jump at any chance to see them, and won’t likely say no when they ask for a favour or a booty call… so you’ll be the first person they call any time they need something.
Personally, I find this kind of behaviour pretty disgusting. It’s selfish and completely disregards your emotions. Your ex is blatantly taking advantage of your heartache and desire to get back together for their own benefit, and they know fully well that they’re doing it.
So again, this is another situation where you need to stand up for yourself and put your foot down to stop being used. If your ex wants something from you, and you agree, you look needy and desperate and sometimes downright pathetic.
These are obviously highly unattractive traits that will only help to solidify your ex’s decision to break up. Every time you cave in and agree to whatever they’re asking for, you’re showing them how fragile you are and how desperate you are for a chance to see them.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say that confidence is the most attractive trait that people look for in the opposite sex, and to a large extent that’s true. So show your ex that you’re confident enough to say no to their requests or demands, and don’t let yourself be played or strung along for your ex’s benefit.
They need to understand, without any doubt, that you’re not going to be used or taken advantage of for any reason… and if they don’t smarten up and quickly change their mind about breaking up, they’ll lose you for good.
I know this is hard to stomach — saying no when your ex messages you at 10pm to ask if you want to “netflix and chill” might seem like you’re throwing away a great chance to win them back — but trust me, you MUST shift the balance of power back into your favour and stop giving your ex what they want every time they ask.
If they don’t understand the consequences of breaking up — if you don’t show them that the breakup means you’re quickly going to move on and slip out of their life for good — they won’t miss you, and they won’t feel any kind of pressure to take you back.
Sign #4 – Your ex still engages with you regularly, but never initiate contact or show much interest.
In this type of situation, maybe your ex seems friendly enough and will respond to your messages or calls and even give you a few flashes of hope now and then. They’re not cold or disinterested… but they also don’t seem to ever initiate contact themselves.
Maybe it feels like they’re happy to talk or hang out, but only if you’re the one to send the first message or arrange a meet-up.
This is a less serious and clear-cut sign than the first 3 we’ve already covered, but it is still sometimes an indication that you’re being used to some extent… or at the very least, that your ex isn’t interested enough to put in any effort.
They may not be actively trying to string you along or take advantage of you, but they’re also happy to let you continue to have hope and believe there may still be a future for your relationship.
The key to escaping this kind of trap is to stop reaching out in the first place.
If your ex is never willing to initiate contact, and you’re always the one putting in the effort, you need to stop for at least a few weeks and see what happens.
Sometimes, they’ll suddenly be willing to initiate contact after just a few days of not hearing from you… and if that’s the case for you, it’s a great sign for your chances of getting them back.
On the other hand, if you cut off contact for a few weeks and they never reach out during that time, things are looking more dire.
Regardless of how your ex responds, engaging in No Contact is the only way to change the dynamic and work towards getting them to want you back.
If you don’t hear anything from them during your period of No Contact, then you can move on to the “re-engagement” techniques that I cover in depth in my Ex Factor program and in some of my past YouTube videos to try and re-start communication and get them interested in you again.
The Bottom Line About Being Used By Your Ex
The four signs I’ve just described are all strong signs you’re being manipulated or taken advantage of by your ex, at least to some extent. And as you might have noticed, all four have a similar solution: you need to change the dynamic between you and your ex by not playing ball or giving in to what they want.
This can be very difficult to do–it requires serious willpower and confidence on your part–but I promise you it’s the only way you’re going to escape the situation and improve your odds of getting them back or getting over them.
If you decide to ignore my, that’s fine… but please remember that I’ve been coaching people in your situation for over 13 years, and I’ve helped over 130,000 people get their ex back, so I have seen thousands of success stories and failures in that time.
I know what DOESN’T work — which is to keep letting your ex dictate your relationship and keep giving them what they’re asking for.
I also know what DOES work — which is to stay strong, show your own self-worth and self-confidence, and show them that you’re not going to wait around and allow yourself to be taken advantage of.