how to know if someone is using you?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Eric Charles 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #933187 Reply


    I’ve met this guy a month ago and it seems like everything is going great, however I have some bad experience from the past and as soon as I see something that reminds of it I am starting to think someone might be using me for sex, companionship etc.
    The guy I am seeing , we’ve met on dating site and from the beginning he kept saying he is looking for something serious , but I know men can say whatever just to keep women interested.
    He recently moved to my area for work, so doesn’t have any friends/family here so he is free most of the time to see me. When we do see each other is usually during the day and we either go for a walk/coffee, lunch, dinner, we did some sightseeing , next weekend we are planning to go to the beach. He cooks for me, even prepared lunch for me to take to work.
    We’ve had sex and pretty much next day he asked if I am seeing other people. When we meet he never checks his phone.
    Now I am writing this he seems perfect, but again because I was used before I am starting to look for signs that he might be using me for sex/companionship, even though he does all of this for me. Like if he sends me a message complimenting my body I instantly think he is only after sex. I am not sure if I am being that damaged? should I just relax and enjoy it while watching his actions?

    #933188 Reply

    Amy S

    Every relationship starts off as a guy wanting sex and companionship and if he likes the woman and falls
    In love there you have it a relationship. It sounds like he is doing everything he can so try and relax and enjoy the time you spend together and not overthink too much. If you ctively look for a problem you will find one so give him the benefit of the doubt and keep your awareness. X

    #933191 Reply

    Eric Charles

    Perspective matters.

    I understand that in the past you were disappointed and you felt used. You’re afraid that this pattern will play out again.

    So underneath the story, we have the real emotional driver in charge here: Fear.

    You’re afraid that this relationship (or any relationship) will take you back to that same outcome, where you’re disappointed, heartbroken and feel used.

    That fear isn’t doing you any favors.

    Insight would be much more helpful than fear.

    See, you’re afraid because you feel like you had no choice in what happened before. You feel like you weren’t in control, you couldn’t have prevented being used, you couldn’t have seen it coming.

    So now you’re in a relationship again, remembering the feelings of being confused and powerless to stop what happened before.

    I’m going to share some important things to realize here.

    When you realize them, you’ll be able to see how much control you actually have in terms of what happens.

    You’ll also be able to see the situation for what it is.

    If you had to choose between knowing a relationship is headed to disaster or being clueless, you’d rather know. Beyond that, the only way you could know a relationship is on the right track is if you know what the wrong track actually is!

    So let’s go through them:

    – A man will accept sex if you offer it.
    – No amount of sex will make him want a relationship with you, make him want commitment or make him fall in love. Love and sex have nothing to do with each other for a man.
    – If a man wants a relationship and commitment with you, it’s because having you in his life (and in his “inner world”) makes his life work much better than if you weren’t there.

    Forget about all the “signs” that all these sites and Youtube channels yammer on about. If you’re looking for signs a guy likes you or wants to commit, you’re missing the big picture.

    The big picture is that men aren’t looking for a “relationship” in it of itself. They don’t care to just be in a relationship.

    In fact, every man fears being in a BAD relationship. Men would rather be in no relationship than a good relationship.


    Every man would love to be in a GOOD relationship.

    That begs the question: What is a good relationship to a man?

    It comes down to the experience of his life being better with you there than without you.

    He has things in his life that are meaningful to him, and having you in his life helps him get to those things more easily.

    He has struggles in his life and having you there helps him get through his struggles (the deep stuff going on behind the mask).

    He feels he can open up to you, trust you and express himself freely with you. You accept him and can help him navigate his internal emotional world with grace.

    A long term relationship means that you complement each other’s real lives. Not the persona, not the pretty mask we all wear to be civilized and presentable in society.

    The “signs” are all shallow, surface level stuff.

    When I said earlier that love and sex have nothing to do with each other for a man, the question is what does trigger love for a man?

    The feeling that you bring out his best.

    When a man feels that having you in his life brings out his best, that’s what triggers his love.

    This means deeply knowing him. That takes observation and curiosity. A man will not directly reveal himself because it is against a man’s instincts to reveal his vulnerabilities.

    You can’t just demand he list out his deepest fears, frustrations and failures. And he might not directly reveal what’s most deeply meaningful to him, his true dreams, wishes and desires.

    But those are the things that move a man, those are the emotional drivers that run his world. If you want to connect with him, you have to understand that world he lives in and help him get to where he wants to go.

    Gracefully helping a man find his courage when he’s feeling defeated, that’s the type of thing that triggers a man’s love for you.

    Listening with curiosity and interest to learn what he loves in life and why, that’s the type of thing that triggers a man’s love for you.

    My point here is that you’re worried about being used when, really, that’s not the right perspective.

    Real simple: If you offer sex, every man will take it.

    It means nothing. It doesn’t mean he’s using you, it means sex was offered and he’s a man so he’s going to take it.

    It has nothing to do with love, commitment, girlfriend potential, etc.

    What I listed above is the track that takes you towards love and commitment.

    If that’s not there, if you can’t understand his journey and connect on that level, then he’s not going to want a relationship or commitment. Why would he? Why should he?

    For a man, he’s not even thinking about love or commitment with a woman unless she demonstrates some potential to understand this inner world and help him access his best.

    Women are much better at navigating the emotional world than men, so when you demonstrate that you can understand his inner world and help him access his best, that’s where your “girlfriend potential” starts.

    For him that’s the first moment of even considering you as having relationship potential.

    And you’re not going to have that with every guy.

    Think about how many people you’ve met in your life. Thousands, right? And how many became your friends? A few.

    How many became your closest friends? Very few.

    Why did they become your closest friends? Because of how you connect emotionally! Because of how you “get” each other!

    So if a man is choosing a woman on the basis of being his one commitment partner exclusively, why shouldn’t he have this same level of consideration?

    Think about it.

    And it’s not even something to take personally. Think of how many people didn’t become your best friend. All those thousands of people.

    Is it because they’re bad people? No. They just weren’t for you. They weren’t the people you vibed with. Nothing personal, they just weren’t for you.

    Same with relationships.

    Any man will take sex for as long as it’s enjoyable. It means nothing.

    For everything else, it comes down to how well you vibe with his life. And not every guy is going to be a guy you vibe with. Nothing wrong with that.

    Problem is, for a woman, once you start having sex you are fighting an uphill battle with your hormones, brain chemistry, biological programming, etc.

    On his side the sex is just sex, but on your side the more sex you have, the more bonded you’ll feel to the guy you’re having ongoing sex with.

    So that’s something to consider too…

    #933212 Reply


    I really like following all your replies on the different threads. Women bond through ongoing s*x. That’s true. But does the same apply to ongoing makeouts and cuddles too with some guy?

    Also I feel OP is seeking advice to detect abusers and manipulators maybe. People who go out with intentions to use, find targets like narcissists etc. I will leave it to the OP to clarify. But if you could shed some light on that, it would be great.

    #933216 Reply

    Eric Charles

    “I really like following all your replies on the different threads.”

    I’m glad to hear it. I appreciate that!

    “Women bond through ongoing s*x. That’s true. But does the same apply to ongoing makeouts and cuddles too with some guy?”

    Sex specifically triggers these deep biological responses. More specifically, orgasm.

    That’s not to say cuddles and makeouts are nothing, but I’ve never seen evidence to suggest they trigger anything close to the bonding mechanisms activated during sex.

    Funny thing is, years ago I was on the other side of this debate. Over a decade ago, I felt that people were too uptight around sex and that it was best that young people have some amount of casual sex to discover themselves and learn what they liked before settling down.

    There’s been an overwhelming amount of research to suggest that this approach is like swimming upstream, at least for women.

    But also, I have a bit of a unique perspective as I studied the questions over the years and what people struggled with.

    Certain patterns began to emerge.

    I noticed that relationships became increasingly impersonal. More and more, it was like women would meet a guy they got excited about. They’d have a few good dates and maybe start having sex immediately.

    Then the guy would start pulling away and losing interest. The woman would feel afraid she’s losing him, she’d wonder if she screwed something up (maybe from sleeping with him too soon).

    Truth is, sleeping with him “too soon” wasn’t really the root problem. It was part of it (in that it created the burst of intense biological bonding on her side), but the bigger picture is how the whole dynamic was missing anything that would trigger a man to want to commit.

    The dynamic was more like an interaction that systematically led to sex. Maybe through knowledge of what works and intention on his part. Maybe just through intuitive playing into social norms on his part.

    Regardless, women are missing out on the “track” that would even begin to put them on the radar as “relationship material”.

    The dynamic needs something that most women don’t know is important to bring to it.

    It’s not talked about. It’s not portrayed in media. It’s not the cultural focus.

    But the effects of women missing this understanding are seen in the man’s disinterest in commitment.

    This became a wider tangent, but I’ll keep it because… why not?

    “Also I feel OP is seeking advice to detect abusers and manipulators maybe. People who go out with intentions to use, find targets like narcissists etc. I will leave it to the OP to clarify. But if you could shed some light on that, it would be great.”

    I’ve refrained, mostly, from talking about narcissists and manipulators as a main focus.

    I have read up on narcissists and studied content from a few different sources.

    I think there are issues there that are worthy of discussion and valuable to bring to light.


    There’s a point at which those subjects can become somewhat of a perspective or worldview.

    I think in reality, everyone has various shades of “negative” personality traits that in proper context are positive.

    For example, when the woman is dating the guy and falling in love with him, he’s self-assured and confident. When they break up, those same qualities are seen as arrogance and narcissism.

    I don’t like to get into the weeds with it because it opens a different kind of discussion… Namely that a lot of the so-called narcissist traits are seen as sexy and appealing on the way in…

    IF the woman takes the time to get to know the guy, she’ll be able to detect if those traits are pathological and unhealthy, or if they’re appropriate and healthy forms of self-expression.

    In a grander sense, if a relationship falls apart… sometimes it’s totally one-sided, but the vast majority of the time it’s not.

    Even if the guy was a narcissist or whatever, something happened during the selection process that led her to choose him.

    Sometimes people think that it’s victim-blaming to point that out. I would say it’s the opposite: it’s denying the reality of victim or “who’s to blame” and reframing the discussion into what works and where do we have choice and personal power?

    I’ve stayed mostly on the sidelines in discussing narcissism and manipulators because I think they’re worthy subjects to learn about, but counterproductive if it becomes a reductive label to explain why a relationship failed.

    It is useful to spot red flags, so there’s value there. It’s useful to see what patterns are unworkable in a relationship, too.

    It can become a problem when people are so guarded against manipulators and narcissists that it makes them rigid and defensive as their default position. It’s fear-based and no good comes of that.

    I’d probably talk about it more if I could find the perspective where a woman can be aware of these things and avoid them, but also remain open-hearted and graceful as her general way of being.

    #933233 Reply


    thank you!
    I am not here to spot manipulators or abusers, I can see it straight away hah so it is not the case here. I also wanted to say that I am one of those women who don’t attach through sex , I can easily sleep with someone and not even think about contacting them again and I am not talking about one night, it happened to me even after few months.

    the reason why I am asking for advice here is because even though I don’t know him that well I feel like there could be a potential to develop something deeper (nothing to do with sex, just the way he treats me etc) and I am scared to open up in case it turns out he is yet another player. I have never been heartbroken purely because I protect my heat but it also means no one has ever got to know me on a deeper level.

    #933236 Reply


    Eric- that’s so true. It largely comes down to the selection process. It’s important to take time in getting to know someone before you go all in. As you mentioned in the previous posts that everybody puts on a mask Of their best behavior for the outside world anyway and nobody displays their frustrations and weaknesses, people are guarded about those naturally.

    #933269 Reply


    “I’d probably talk about it more if I could find the perspective where a woman can be aware of these things and avoid them, but also remain open-hearted and graceful as her general way of being.“

    This! Eric, if you find this perspective, oh my gosh, there would be millions of us literally that you’d be helping. If you and Sabrina can shed light on how to walk this fine line, this way of being… 🙏😍

    This is literally the holy grail… ✨☀️✨

    #933294 Reply

    Eric Charles

    M – I think I have an answer, or at least, an answer-in-development.

    This is why I’ve been aiming at the “big picture” of what a good relationship is, fundamentally.

    If a woman has the point of view that love happens for a man when she weaves into his life and helps him “live better” than he ever could hope to on his own, then she’s going to be seeing things in a much different light from the get-go.

    She’s not going to see a narcissist or manipulator or sociopath. What she’ll see is a dynamic that doesn’t work.

    No labels or amateur pop psychologist needed.

    It becomes very simple:
    – I understand what creates a love dynamic.
    – In this dynamic, there are essential areas where we’re at an impasse.
    – Therefore creating a love dynamic won’t be possible.
    – Therefore I know I can walk away from this because it cannot work because, mechanically, it’s broken.
    – It’s not personal. I didn’t fail, he didn’t wrong me or injure me.
    – I just see, clearly, it cannot work because the mechanics are broken, therefore it cannot work.

    The point here isn’t to become better at spotting sociopaths, liars, manipulators and narcissists.

    The point is to see what works more clearly, so when a dynamic doesn’t work you don’t get pulled into a vortex of mistaking it for something it’s not…

    … thinking you should be able to make it work…
    … thinking you are missing some secret, like 4 words to text him that make him immediately love and commit to you forever…
    … thinking maybe you screwed up or that you’re not good enough…

    And yes, even:

    … thinking that he’s a sociopath or narcissist or manipulator and that’s the problem.



    You know what works and if what works isn’t there or willfully blocks, you peacefully accept that and move on.

    You have a vision of the kind of relationship that works (deep emotional connection).

    Today’s world is a kind of acid test against relationships. It aggressively burns away every relationship that will not work. It might take months or years to burn away, but an unworkable dynamic is destined to fail.

    Therefore, more than ever, we must become very clear on the makings of what creates a relationship that lasts.

    And that’s Deep Emotional Connection.

    Either they are a person who can work to co-create that (cool, you build with them) or they don’t fit for that (in which case you can look at it and see the pieces you need aren’t there… you didn’t fail, you didn’t screw up, you’re not missing some secret where you send 5 words to make him fall in love…)

    Something like that. Am I making sense?

    #933656 Reply


    Hi Eric

    Thank you for this very comprehensive answer. And my apologies for the delayed reply, I’ve only just seen it now as I was scrolling through looking for an old post. (Incidentally is there a way for me to set up notifications on a thread?)

    Yes this does absolutely make sense. At first I wasn’t sure I fully agreed because ignorance was not bliss in my case and what I didn’t know did hurt me (and people I love).

    But the darker side of unworkable relationships (whether it be milder forms of controlling behaviour or narcissistic tendencies, or the most insidious cases of fully blown domestic abuse) is probably not something most women need to have an intimate understanding of. Unless they’re already in it and are suffering, or are struggling to get out of it because of trauma bonding, the details are irrelevant. And in fact it now occurs to me that revealing too much can be counterproductive because there’s then a danger of priming for it and then setting up confirmation bias.

    I really like your approach because it avoids all of that. It’s clear and simple. Will this work because it aligns with healthy relationship principles, or won’t it because it doesn’t.

    Giving women a vision for what a beautiful relationship is and how it functions in the real world (undistorted by modern societal wrong conditioning) is an invaluable gift. Better to put this into their consciousness and clear markers and fundamentals for what will work and won’t work, than anything else dark.

    Plus I agree with the danger of being a pop psychologist (I think I read that somewhere else on a post), because there are spectrums of controlling behaviour and sometimes this is contextual, the undiscerning eye might be quick to broad-brush and judge all such behaviour as narcissistic/controlling or abusive. Naturally this will do them a disservice and guys as a whole don’t deserve that.

    I really like your approach because it’s clear and simple. Even if the guy is controlling or abusive, they just leave him behind without it necessarily leaving a negative imprint in their mind, and they get out early.

    I didn’t think like this before, but the ladies in another thread have just helped me see this. Why get involved in the what’s and the why’s, if it isn’t working, it isn’t working, move on and less said about it the better.

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to reply to my question in full. You and this forum has helped me realise I don’t need to get any better at spotting these kind of guys. By virtue of past experience, I already know what to avoid, and I’ve finally realised thanks to all this, that it’s not that there’s something wrong with me and I’m only attracting these kind of men. It’s just that the women who end up in great relationships detect the no-go’s earlier and leave them behind faster.

    We’re watching a Mother Teresa documentary at the moment and two of her quotes come to mind:

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

    “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

    Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time to explain. I feel like I’ve just reiterated what you’ve said in the main, but it’s helped me get clearer in my head about some concepts I’ve been struggling with for a while.

    Also, thanks for saying I didn’t fail or screw up, I just didn’t see or know what I could build on and what I couldn’t.

    Now I’m getting better. You and Sabrina are helping tremendously. And when you post what beautiful relationships look like in the real world, it blows my mind and makes me believe in love again.

    #933674 Reply

    Eric Charles

    M – Thank you for your response here. I always appreciate kind words, but beyond that, I appreciate how you take the time to walk me through the experience of what resonated with you & what you found helpful.

    I’m glad I can help you, and you are helping me to keep improving as a coach. So thank you!

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