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17 Signs Your Ex Is Taking Advantage Of You

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ex is using you, how to tell if your ex is using you, signs your ex is using you

There’s a reason why so many relationship experts caution people against remaining in close contact with an ex. It’s because you are in a susceptible position to be used, either intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly. Sometimes, we can be so blinded by love that we miss all the signs that we are being used. So, today’s article is a compilation of signs your ex is taking advantage of you.

If you’re an unsuspecting, generous, and compassionate person, you need to familiarize yourself with these signs because there’s a difference between generosity and being used.

The former fills you up with fulfillment and gratitude, while the latter leaves you with a dirty, empty feeling in your gut.

My advice to you is this: Don’t give away the best parts of yourself to someone who will no longer be a great figure in your life.

By all means, be helpful, but don’t be exploited. I’m fortunate enough to not have been with anyone who wanted to take advantage of me after a breakup.

But I have been in courtships with people who did.

It’s really disheartening to experience this type of behavior from someone you care about, but having boundaries will save you from being used or exploited.

Once you understand the signs that your ex is taking advantage of you, enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.

Related Article: How to act around your ex who dumped you

How To Tell If Your Ex Is Using You

signs your ex is using you, signs your ex is taking advantage of you

1. They use you for emotional support

When an ex treats you like a therapist for emotional support but doesn’t reciprocate the behavior and isn’t available to communicate with you when they’re okay, they are taking advantage of you.

In a lot of cases, an ex who ended the relationship may dangle friendship over your head as a means of eliciting support from you so that they can comfortably deal with the effects of breaking up.

Your emotional support becomes a springboard for them to bounce out of suffering and into another relationship.

Related article: 11 Reasons why avoidants come back

2. Gaslighting and manipulation

To keep you under their control or in the palm of their hand, a vindictive and manipulative ex may employ the use of gaslighting to deceive you into doubting your feelings and perception of reality, especially in regards to them.

If you would like a step-by-step explanation on how to get an ex back or to re-attract someone who lost interest, grab a copy of my ebook called Reconcile. I put this guide together for serious students of the game who want to cut through the fluff and get results in their love life. Click Here To Check It Out! 

People only use these tactics for personal gain, whether it’s to benefit through the acquisition of resources or by evading consequences for their actions.

3. They send mixed signals

If they have no intention of actually reconciling but use mixed signals to draw you back in whenever they fear that you might move on, then that can be viewed as another sign that you are being used.

In fact, one could argue that this is a form of manipulation used for self-gain at the expense of your time, energy, and effort.

4. They string you along like an option

Sometimes, a devious ex can lay the foundation for you to be a backup option while they scan the dating market in search of someone they may view as better.

Dropping random remarks about missing you, not knowing what the future holds, or reminiscing about special moments spent together followed by zero escalation to rekindle the relationship is a bad sign.

5. Contacting you only late at night

If they’re trying to use you for intimate reasons or they’re looking for comfort when they feel lonely and afraid of being alone, you’ll only hear from them at night and spontaneously.

Within a few texts, you’ll be able to tell that their bombardment of attention and affection is fleeting and a tool for eliciting something from you.

6. They only talk about themselves

Conversations that only pertain to your ex’s interests, needs, opinions, and feelings do not reflect a mutual desire for true friendship.

If they are nowhere to be seen or heard from when you want to talk to them about yourself, then the constant benefit or gain from contacting you is a telltale sign that your ex is taking advantage of you.

7. One-sided benefits

The kind of boundaries or agreement you have with an ex is up to you.

Nobody else can dictate what you should do, but when the benefits of being in touch with your ex only apply to them, it’s a sign your ex is taking advantage of you.

This can be proven if your ex has gained financially, emotionally, and physically from you without much reciprocation.

8. Inconsistent communication 

Wouldn’t you agree that it’s disrespectful to randomly disappear during a conversation?

That’s how I feel about it. An ex who shows up, builds a conversation, and then disappears is just taking advantage of you.


By disrespecting your time and effort without any consideration for how you feel.

Related Article: My ex reached out and then went silent

9. Keeping secrets

An ex who continues to elicit attention, affection, and resources out of you while maintaining a great degree of secrecy may have something malicious in mind.

Perhaps they don’t want to tell you about their relationship status or what they’re up to because that information will discourage you from remaining in contact with them.

10. They blame you for everything

Remember when I said that exploitation of weaknesses or personality traits can be considered a sign your ex is taking advantage of you?

That applies here!

An ex who knows that you’re extremely soft-hearted, forgiving, non-confrontational, trusting, and/or gullible may exploit this information to shower all the blame on you.


Because blame elicits a feeling of guilt and remorse, and when someone feels these emotions, they’re more susceptible to control and manipulation.

11. Playing with jealousy

If you notice that your ex tends to behave strangely when you begin to move on and they go out of their way to rub a new relationship or new person in your face, it could be to elicit an emotional reaction out of you. Why? That’s hard to say.

They could be vindictive or manipulative in so far as they don’t want you to be happy without them.

It may sound crazy to say, but believe it or not, some people go on a power trip by emotionally triggering others.

12. Ignoring boundaries

I’ve noticed that selfish people will discard your boundaries under the pretense of desire or affection.

Having conversations or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable and disrespected, regardless of how they’re packaged, is a sign that you’re being taken advantage of.

A good ex will make an effort to respect your needs.

13. They show a lack of responsibility

Sometimes, taking responsibility for our actions can impose serious consequences on us. We may have to lose something of value, make some sacrifices, or endure some suffering for our actions.

An ex who doesn’t want to give up what they get to enjoy may distance themselves from responsibility for their actions in and out of the relationship.

If someone is not invested in making things work or in improving themselves but they want to remain a part of your life, they’re inadvertently trying to take advantage of you.

14. Using children as pawns

A nasty ex will resort to the dirtiest of tactics to get what they want.

This may include using your children as leverage to elicit something out of you.

We see this occurring in the form of manipulating custody and visitation rights to their advantage without factoring in the greater well-being of your children.

15. Financial exploitation

Most people are generous to their loved ones.

If you’ve been dumped, you probably have a natural inclination towards the idea of impressing or helping your ex in an attempt to win them back.

An ex who sees this may feel free to borrow money or things from you without actually considering whether it will have a negative effect on you. Even worse is if they borrow from you but never repay their debt.

You’re not in a relationship anymore, and there should be firm boundaries that protect both of you from exploitation. An ex who veers away from making or respecting boundaries designed for financial protection may have an ulterior motive, which is to use you.

16. Isolating you

I want to make you aware of the fact that being taken advantage of isn’t limited to the exploitation of resources. It can also extend to the exploitation of weaknesses.

An ex who discourages you from connecting with family and friends while using other tactics to trap you in a situationship with them is taking advantage of your kind, compassionate,trusting, and pleasing nature.

17. Lack of respect

An ex who exhibits zero fear of disrespecting or overlooking your feelings, opinions, choices, and boundaries is just taking advantage of your blind spot toward them. A person with good intentions and respect will always try to honor their code of ethics and values.

Even if they could disrespect you with justification, they choose not to because it conflicts with who they are and how they feel about you.

An ex who knows you still care about them but chooses to be insulting, disrespectful, inconsiderate, manipulative, and aggressive is taking advantage of your feelings.

Related Article: How to let go of an ex you still love

How To Deal With An Ex Who Uses You

Everything pertaining to another person’s behavior toward you boils down to boundaries. Having a clear idea of what behavior is unacceptable to you, expressing it to them clearly, and then enforcing a consequence when that boundary is crossed more than once is the way you alter someone’s behavior or perception of you.

People who have boundaries are often more respected than those who don’t.


Because holding someone accountable for their behavior toward you requires some degree of self-respect and a willingness to have uncomfortable conversations, which require some confidence in yourself.

These are attractive and respectable traits in a person. So, having boundaries helps filter out the wrong people from your circle while also establishing some degree of respect among those who do belong in your circle.

I’ll tell you what: An ex who doesn’t have an ulterior motive to use you isn’t going to disappear or blow up at you for rejecting them when they want or need something from you.

As long as your approach is respectful, non-confrontational, and kind, you’ll find that even if they’re disappointed or taken aback, they’ll be okay with your decision and not try to manipulate you with guilt or cut you off rudely.

So, to summarize, just have boundaries, and you’ll limit issues like this in your life.

With that being said, I hope you found this article on the signs your ex is taking advantage of you to be helpful and eye-opening. Be sure to check out my ebook on getting your ex back by clicking here before you leave. Also, drop a comment below if you think I missed a sign in this article.

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