When things first started out, you were probably optimistic. He swept you off your feet and made all sorts of promises. He might have made you think that your relationship was special and that it was going somewhere.
A part of you might still believe that he’s everything you want. But sadly, he isn’t even yours to have. Dating a married man is… complicated, and you can’t shake the feeling that he’s playing you.
Things to know
- If he's using you, he will treat you like an inconvenience and be emotionally unavailable.
- If he isn't interested in getting to know you on a deeper level and only seems to take from you emotionally, physically, or financially, he is using you.
- He'll refuse to leave his wife, make excuses, manipulate you, disappear, or use you for emotional support while neglecting your needs.
Is he using you? It’ll be clearer once we’ve gone over these things:
- How To Tell If A Man Is Using You For Convenience
- Signs A Married Man Is Using You
- How To Get Over Being Used By A Married Man
- Look To The Future
How To Tell If A Man Is Using You For Convenience
Generally, a man who is using you for convenience will treat you like an inconvenience. He’ll be unavailable— emotionally and otherwise. He’ll invalidate your needs and make you feel like your ‘demands’ are unrealistic.
Is he interested in who you are as a person, or is he only interested in what he can get out of you? Think about your interactions, is everything always about him? If he isn’t trying to get to know you on a deeper level, he isn’t invested.
If he isn’t matching your energy and ensuring your emotional needs are also being met, he doesn’t care about you. If all he seems to do is take, be it emotionally, physically, or even financially, he’s playing you.
Finally, you’ll know a man is just using you for convenience when he just won't commit or make things official. He’s content to keep you in the shadows. No one in his life will even know you exist, and he’ll fight to keep it that way.
Does any of that feel familiar?
Signs A Married Man Is Using You
Here are the top signs that the married guy you’re seeing is using you:
He keeps promising to leave his wife
He was going to leave his wife last week, but then her mother fell ill. Last month, things got hectic at work, and he didn't want to rock the boat. He was seconds away from leaving his wife when your text interrupted him.
Perhaps he's spun you the old 'we're separated but living together tale.' He can't leave yet because he's taking care of her, or she just won't leave, and he's stuck with her. They don't live together anymore, but it's better for you to keep a low profile until things are official…
Maybe he's dragged his kids into the equation. They're at a delicate age, and he needs a little more time to do right by them. He's made countless promises to leave his wife, yet here you are, dealing with a permanent tension headache from all the stress. I hate to break it to you, but your gut feeling is right. He's not leaving his wife anytime soon.
Married men have been known to do this for years. Why would he turn his life upside down over an extramarital affair? He can have the best of both worlds.
He manipulates you
He loves you so much, yet he’s never there for you when you need him. You’re his world, but he’s never asked you anything meaningful about your personal life. He comes and goes as he pleases but expects complete loyalty from you. In fact, since you started seeing him, you've isolated yourself from friends and family members.
He gets exactly what he wants from you (sex, comfort, and validation). Yet you're deprived of the intimate relationship that you crave. Whenever you try to bring it up, he gets aggressive or gives you the silent treatment. He might up the charm instead and try to pacify you with expensive gifts. He could even gaslight you or make himself out to be the victim.
Days, weeks, and even months can go by without so much as a text message from him. Just when you’re coming to grips with being ghosted, he waltzes back into your life with a bouquet of roses and a sob story about his married life.
This isn't even a one-time occurrence; it’s a consistent pattern of behavior that you’ve come to expect from him. Even when it comes to little things, he’s inconsistent.
When he promises to help you out with things, he flakes on you. When you really need him, he lets you down. If he pulls a disappearing act when it comes to everything other than getting his own needs met, he’s just using you.
He uses you for emotional support
He vents, complains, and dumps all his emotional baggage on you. When you need to do a little venting of your own, he shuts you down. Your problems are the least of his worries, and whenever you try to confide in him, he changes the topic or suddenly has to rush somewhere. If you mention that you’re having a hard time, he might ghost you and leave you to deal with it alone.
When someone loves you and truly cares about you, they're usually empathetic. A man in love will want to make you feel better, protect you and fix the problem if he can. At the very least, he’ll be willing to hear you out. If he isn't ready to do any of these things, that’s a major red flag. It's an obvious sign that your well-being isn’t important to him.
Everything happens on his terms
You can only call him or text him at a specific time. He can only see you on Tuesdays. Forget about real dates. You can only meet up at a hotel out of town. Weekends are off-limits, and he can never spend the night.
You can’t tell anyone, not even your best friend, about your relationship.
He’s given you a very specific set of rules to follow. Everything is on his terms, and he doesn’t let you get a word in about what you want or need.
He can cheat on his wife and be with you, but you can’t even go out for drinks with a male friend. If you do break things off with him and start seeing other people, he makes all kinds of promises and goes to extremes to ruin your love life.
He might love bomb you. He might even give you the impression that he’s finally ready to take your relationship seriously, only for him to go back to his old ways.
If the relationship is on his terms with very little regard for your feelings, he’s definitely using you.
He doesn’t make an effort
Dates, calls, and texts: a man in love will make an effort. If you’re the one constantly reaching out to him or pushing him to make plans, he doesn't share your strong feelings.
He tells you he loves you, but his actions say the opposite. He tends to stand you up or drop you at the last minute. On the rare occasions when you go out together, he’s disengaged. His body language tells you he's on edge and that he'd rather be elsewhere. Unfortunately, he’s communicating that you just aren’t a priority to him.
Sadly, if your love story is an occasional lunchtime quickie or him stopping by every evening for sex and not much else, you aren't in a serious relationship. You have a purely physical relationship, and he’s just using you.
He doesn’t want anyone to know about you
If things were as bad as he says and he really was on the verge of leaving his wife, why would he need to keep you a secret from the people closest to him? If they were truly separated, why wouldn't he spend some of his free time with you? Why would you be sneaking around if his divorce was almost final?
The truth is, if he were serious about you and telling the truth about his soon-to-be single relationship status, he wouldn’t be hiding your relationship. If he’s still treating you like a booty call, you still are.
How To Get Over Being Used By A Married Man
So, he’s using you. Here's what you can do to get over him and move on.
Come to terms with the situation
If you went into this knowing what you were getting yourself into, maybe the thrill of it all has worn off. You’ve realized that you need more. Unfortunately, unless he makes some major changes (like getting a divorce), he’ll never be able to give you what you truly want.
It’s important for you to accept the reality of the situation. The bottom line is: you’re invested, and he’s not. He has the luxury of a stable, meaningful relationship, and you don’t. As long as you let him, he’ll keep using you. You could waste years of your life stuck in a toxic arrangement. In the long run, you’ll just be miserable.
Cut off all contact
The only way to be free of him is to cut off all communication with him. Delete his number, block him and avoid seeing him at all costs. If he comes looking for you, pretend you're not home. Switch up your schedule, so you don't run into him.
Remember, he’s been manipulating you. Such a drastic approach is the only way to guarantee that you won’t stay stuck in his web of deceit.
Now that you've made the choice to leave him, you're emotionally vulnerable. You're still going to experience all the trauma that comes with a typical break-up.
You need to give yourself time to heal without him there to distract or dissuade you.
Work on yourself
Have an honest conversation with yourself about how you got involved with him in the first place. Consider your motivations for staying with him. Did you actively pursue him knowing he was married? Did it start out as an online affair? Did he deceive you? What were the warning signs?
Use this as a learning experience to avoid getting yourself into a similar situation again. More importantly, allow yourself to process the break-up. If you need help making sense of everything, confide in someone you can trust.
Better yet, speak to a professional. They’ll help you work through your emotions. You'll also be able to deal with any psychological issues that may be preventing you from being in a healthy relationship.
Lean on your close friends and family
Breaking up with a married man can be a lonely experience. The support systems you should be able to lean on might not be understanding of the situation. You might not be able to get everything off your chest because of the potential judgment you could face. With this in mind, it’s important to use your discretion.
While you're grieving your relationship, you don’t need the added stress of being at odds with your friends and family. Best save all the gory details for your therapist or relationship counselor—for now.
Look To The Future
As with any break-up, give yourself time. Mourn the loss of the relationship at your own pace and prioritize your mental health.
You might feel cast aside or unworthy of love. But, it’s important to counter such thoughts with positive affirmations. You deserve happiness and the security of a committed relationship. Keep your chin up. You’re still desirable and attractive.
When the time is right, start dating again. This will give you a much-needed confidence boost. One day you'll look back and be glad you didn’t settle.