Well ideally, the girl you’re dating is honest enough to declare, “I’m just using you.” But failing that, there are some other methods to make that judgment call yourself (although none are as good as the first!).
The key is to watch for patterns, such as:
* Is she always going for the lobster at Che Fancy Eats?
* Does she respond to your calls or texts… or only when she wants something?
* Have you been “dating” her for 6 months and have yet to meet her friends or family? (she’s compartmentalizing you)
* Does she ever go out of her way for you or is often asking you for big favors?
* Do you find a small part of you resents how much more giving you are in the relationship?
These are what we’d call “red flags”, and notice how all of them involve nonverbal cues. Because if she’s using you, it’s not likely she’s going to tell you (maybe her friends or your friends – but not you).
You may have heard that women sometimes send mixed messages. But in a relationship, you don’t need a cracker jack box decoder to decipher a person’s intentions because, over time, a person’s true colors will always emerge through their actions.
So if she’s flirting with the bartender on your date, while there might be some plausible deniability that they both just happen to REALLY love the Pixies, that’s strike one.
But after three strikes?
C’mon dude, have some self-respect already! At this point, any benefit of the doubt is used up and then it’s up to her to make you trust her again. And if she IS just using you, then chances are she’s not up to that challenge… because she was never that invested in you or the relationship to being with.
Either way, problem solved!
Of course, there’s another very common way women use men, and that’s just to get your validation. This can be trickier for men to handle because we love validation too. And so much of the dating game is intertwined with the desire for power and control.
While the same rules above still apply, it’s a two-way street that requires a deeper level of self-reflection.
But that’s a discussion for another time. And if you’re already dating, then you’ve got your work cut out for you, Columbo.