We’ve all seen examples of misogyny.
Starting from that guy who firmly believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen and going all the way up to the world leaders who have a major problem with women (if you know what I mean).
From calling us incompetent to objectifying our bodies, we’ve all heard and lived through these things.
But, even when we’re aware of how misogyny works, we still can get tricked by a misogynist without even realizing it.
Guys like that use women for their benefit and don’t feel bad about it, pretty much like narcissists.
As women, we have to protect each other.
So, here are some of the most common and insidious ways that men use women.
1) Childcare and housekeeping for free
According to the Working Mother Research Institute survey, the chores are not evenly split between men and women.
That’s not surprising, huh?
Women tend to take on the majority of the housekeeping, and this happens even more when we have children.
I’ve known women who say that their spouse is like another kid in the house because he isn’t helping but creating more chores for her to do.
A lot of people believe that women are “motherly” by nature. And that’s how they also explain why women do more work around the house–because they like it by nature!
What a load of BS!
Women do most of the unpaid work like cooking, cleaning, childcare, etc.
Most of the time, the woman takes charge of housekeeping tasks.
Some men use women to keep their homes clean or as a nanny for their kids.
While some do it unconsciously — and it’s a matter of having the talk and dividing the chores and everything – most are aware of the unbalanced workload, and it’s OK with them.
Ladies, if your man acts like a baby–let him go to his mom!
2) Relationship maintenance
This is also something a lot of women can relate to. In many heterosexual relationships, women are the only ones bringing up serious topics to discuss with their partners.
They have to initiate every conversation about the problems in the relationship, and more often than not, they get shut down by their partners.
I’ve said this to my friends, and now I’m writing it down: it’s not a woman’s job to be the only one caring for the relationship. It takes two, and you’re supposed to be a team with your partner.
Men who can’t see the problems and won’t communicate are usually not great romantic partners.
3) Explanations about inequality and social justice
I’ve lived through this one so many times; it’s almost a joke. Men are always asking me about feminism and social issues, waiting for me to explain these concepts to them.
It doesn’t happen only to me. People of color are also often burdened with explaining the meaning of racism, just like other marginalized groups that must explain why they face discrimination.
While it makes sense that people ask women about feminism, it’s also a burden for many of us.
We don’t feel like educating men on the same topic every day, and we don’t feel like arguing about basic things to the point of exhaustion.
Men are more than capable of learning and understanding these things by themselves. Especially today, with the internet and so many content creators talking about these topics.
4) Manipulation and dominance
I am very careful when I start dating men. Unfortunately, some men love manipulating women into doing things they don’t want to do.
There are men who would gradually destroy a woman’s self-esteem to make her dependent on him, and this is not as uncommon as you might think. If you’ve ever been in a “situationship” with someone who texts you all day and then ghosts you for a week, there you have the perfect example.
If you fall into this game, you’ll be expecting his attention and being grateful for less than the bare minimum.
You might even start overthinking: was I badly dressed? Did I say something out of place? If you’re following his toxic lead, it can hurt you.
So, why did I bring this up? It’s simple–some men use women to feel power and control. If we’re being honest, it’s definitely toxic and pathetic, but it still happens.
So, don’t let toxic men use you. Pick good guys!
5) Emotional fulfillment and support
This might come as a surprise, but many “broken men” have more than one woman trying to get their attention.
Well, too many of us “love too much”. What I mean is that if we like to play a superhero, feel needed, and save someone, we’ll look for broken men who need us to be happy again.
Sounds familiar? Girl, I’ve been there, and it’s a trap.
They never get better but rather find a new victim who’d start to “save” them at the cost of her own mental health. Ugh.
These broken men can be surprisingly manipulative if they want to be. They normally have one or two very attractive traits:
- They rebel against society;
- They present themselves as feminists and someone who is in touch with their feelings;
- They are romantic and ostracized by other men;
- They are poets, writers, or musicians trying to make a living off the arts.
Once, I met a man, a journalist like me. We went on two dates, and he seemed very romantic and reasonable.
Then, he said he was in a bad place in life and doesn’t want to hurt me with his broken feelings. I naturally felt like I could help him feel better and offered my emotional support.
I got attached to him, but he suddenly disappeared. It broke my heart a little. And after two months of no contact, he texted me and tried to borrow a large amount of money.
Yes, he said he’d give it back as soon as possible. No, of course, I did not give him a single cent!
I spoke my mind about his behavior and blocked him everywhere.
I don’t want to fix “broken” men anymore, and neither should you. We all have enough of our own problems.
6) Feeding their ego
Sometimes, men simply need someone to be attracted to them, especially if they’ve been turned down by some other woman.
Men simply know that, if they give you a little bit of attention, you’ll most likely reciprocate it.
These kinds of men are always dating several people and sleeping with them too. They move on very quickly, incapable of forming deeper attachments.
Unfortunately, if you let yourself be roped in by his attention, he’ll always leave you wanting more. You will –again– end up frustrated without needing to in the first place.
7) Social status
We’ve all heard the concept of a trophy wife, and some women don’t mind that role. While it may work for some of us, I personally couldn’t stand being just a trophy for some guy.
If he’s only taking you to fancy places and showing you off to all his friends and colleagues rather than spending quality time alone, this might be something he wants from you, even if he doesn’t say it.
He might shower you with gifts, jewelry, the best clothing, etc.
However, he’ll always do this in front of other people. Furthermore, he’ll expect you to talk to everyone about how amazingly he treats you and how lucky you are to have him.
It’s just a subtle way to flex on his buddies and keep his status around important people.
8) Getting over his ex
Being a rebound isn’t good. It’s unfair to the new partner, and it’s also an unhealthy way to live through a breakup.
I once was a rebound girlfriend, and by the time I realized I was the one–I’d already fallen in love with the guy…
So, if you find yourself in a position of a rebound girlfriend, take things slow and avoid becoming a rebound for him, even if you like him a lot.
If you meet someone and he just got out of a relationship, give him time, or don’t date him at all.
Mourning the loss of a relationship takes time, whether you want to or not.
If he’s genuinely interested, he won’t have a problem taking things slow.
How can you tell if a man is using you?
It all comes down to your feelings.
If anyone makes you feel terrible after a conversation or a date– it’s a red flag. They might be manipulating you. These are some of the forms in which manipulation can happen:
- Gaslighting you;
- Behaving in a passive-aggressive way;
- Threatening you;
- Lying and blaming you;
- Emotionally withdrawing;
- Isolating you.
Let’s look at some of them in more detail.
Lying and blaming you for it
This happens when someone won’t take accountability for what they did or said to you. They’ll lie to you and then blame you for making them lie.
This is super toxic as they will blame you and gaslight you into feeling guilty.
Don’t fall for this trap, girl! Your intuition never lies. If you feel like he’s manipulating you–he probably is!
His insecurities will be your problem
If he’s insecure, he’ll become jealous and controlling. He’ll do this while pretending the relationship is healthy and his reactions are normal. Here’s how he can place his insecurities on you:
- He doesn’t want you to have male friends because he was cheated on;
- He doesn’t want you to dress in certain ways as he feels this will attract other men;
- He’ll control everything you do, but he’ll present it as him trying to take care of you.
Don’t fall for it! This is just him being toxic to you.
It will be too much too soon
First date? They overshare. Second date? They might tell you they see a future with you.
They will share too much and too soon for the moment. And the worst part is that they will want the same thing from you!
They might ask invasive questions before you’re ready to answer them. Since they’ve already shared so much, you’ll feel bad for not answering.
This is all a fake front to get you–again–to become dependent on them.
How to get over a manipulative man
The first thing you need to understand is that manipulative men aren’t rational people. If you respond emotionally, you will give them what they want.
The more “crazy” their behavior is, the more you can find an opportunity to get away.
You won’t beat them at manipulation. They are naturally manipulative, and you’re not.
Don’t give in to their emotional triggers; rationalize their manipulations and call them out.
Stay aware of yourself and your responses. Recognize their tactics, and don’t play along.
Even better–find yourself a healthy, genuinely caring man!
In a nutshell
If you realize your partner makes you fulfill all their needs and gives you nothing in return, you might be in an abusive relationship.
You do have to manage your partner’s trauma by limiting yourself to what he wants. There’s no need to feel guilty.
Reconsider things with this person. Trust me; it’ll be easier to move on from an abusive relationship than it is to stay in it.