My first thought after typing that title was, “God, so many people are going to read this and think, ‘Isn’t it obvious? If you don’t know the difference between a boyfriend and a booty call, you’re pretty stupid.'” But then I realized, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re aware of just how tricky seeing your way through relationship fog can be. If you’re spending time with someone and you don’t feel secure in the relationship, it’s not a secure relationship. It really is that simple. But not always that easy to understand.
The reason why wrapping your mind around that simple truth is so difficult for some of us is because we want to be in relationships so badly, and narcissistic, selfish people are willing to obfuscate the truth and manipulate your vulnerability to get what they want from you. Because I’m a woman, I’m going to write this from the perspective of a woman addressing other women, but guys, I’m sure some of you will be able to relate. (Gay people are not immune to this kind of relationship confusion, either, so no matter who you are and who you like to get it on with, just know these basic principles apply to you.) I learned all of these lessons the hard way, through experience. Some of them are painful to admit because I was so blind to such obvious bad behavior, but it’s easy to be duped when you want to fall in love!
Here are 10 Signs He’s Just a Booty Call and Not Your Boyfriend:
1. You ask him to be your boyfriend and he says he doesn’t like labels.
You would think this would be the clearest sign of all, but notice how instead of saying, “I don’t want to be your boyfriend” he says something like, “Baby, come on, I mean, you know I like you — I even kinda love you, but, I just think that word boyfriend is so childish. What, are we in 6th grade? I mean, does this relationship need to be Facebook official in order to mean something to you?” And there you have not only manipulation (you know I like you) but deflection and projection (does this relationship need to be Facebook official in order to mean something to you?). Suddenly you’re the bad guy when he’s the one who won’t give you a clear answer. If you’re dating someone who uses this crazy-making technique on you, it’s never going to get better. Trust me. Just run. No matter how good he is in bed.
2. He’s really good in bed. I mean crazy good. Key Word: crazy.
Not to say that you can’t find someone who is boyfriend material who is also good in bed, but, as Answers From Men noted in their post about How to Turn a Booty Call Into a Boyfriend, “There is a reason that so many men have children with crazy women. It is because crazy women have crazy sex with their men. And, crazy sex is the best sex. It is the only reason that these women are tolerated.” Replace men with women in those sentences and vice versa and there you have it. Now, don’t be confused. It is almost impossible to turn a booty call into a boyfriend, unless you also want to be a manipulator and are willing to engage in a relationship with high drama. If you want to be a willing participant in a relationship with another willing participant, do what the girls at Get Off the Love Short Bus suggest and move on. Remember, if the sex is crazy good, and that is the bulk of your relationship, you are in a crazy sexual relationship. Period.
3. You pay for everything.
On the off chance you guys do go out — and you probably do sometimes go out because why else would you even wonder if he was boyfriend potential? — you either go Dutch or you pay for everything. Oh sure, once in a while he’ll pay for both of you — just so you can’t totally write him off as a mooch. Remember, narcissists want to hook you so they can continue to get what they want from you. So they will be nice every once in a while so that you become hooked on their kindnesses and explain away their bad behavior just hoping the “good guy” will appear again.
4. He talks about making plans with you but never actually makes those plans.
Nothing sounds more romantic in a post-coital moment than, “I want to take you to the museum someday.” Or, “We should go to the beach together.” But is he actually calling you up and making concrete plans to do these things with you? Or he is begrudgingly doing these things once in a while because you’re calling him out on his offer? Remember, if he is mopey and grumpy and emotionally withholding on the few occasions you go out together, he is not your boyfriend. A person who genuinely likes you will show it genuinely. If you’re unsure of what to believe about his attitude problem, ask yourself, “Would I be friends with someone who acted like this all the time? Or would I get tired of it and stop hanging out with that person?” If you wouldn’t be friends, you should not be lovers.
5. He misses important events that would signify that you have a serious relationship.
Did he miss your birthday party, only to profusely apologize and win you back with some crazy explanation followed by crazy sex? Did he bail on you when he was supposed to be your date at your cousin’s wedding? Did he come to your family Thanksgiving celebration, but only just in time to drink beer and watch football? He is not your boyfriend.
6. He doesn’t know what to do around your kids.
Because I’m a single mother, I have the added challenge of eventually introducing the men I date to my daughter. If your relationship gets to a point where you feel like you need to or want to introduce him to your kid and he doesn’t know what to do, stop. Think about it. He may “play along” because he knows you won’t keep sleeping with someone who won’t incorporate that aspect of your life, but is he really interested in someday being a family man? Trust your gut here, and in all of these instances. Even though narcissists are good at blinding you with their FOG (fear, obligation and guilt), don’t be confused. Your instincts will tell you if he’s full of it or not.
7. You ask one of his friends if he’s full of it.
I kid you not, this actually happened to me in one of my last dating relationships. I observed some crazy behavior that made me think the guy was full of crap, and rather than trust my own instincts, I actually reached out to a mutual friend to ask, “Is this guy full of crap?” If you catch yourself doing stuff like this, news flash – he is full of it. Most people who are drawn to narcissists have issues with trusting their instincts, but your instincts are there for a reason. I’m here to tell you, you do not need external affirmation of your inner-voice! Again, go with your gut. (Also, this full-of-it guy is not your boyfriend.)
8. Is he sleeping with other women? Do you feel like he might be?
Whether or not he is, if you’re even worried that you don’t have his full attention, he is not your boyfriend, obvs.
9. Have you been to his house?
If he comes over late at night to drive you wild but won’t let you in his apartment, he is not your boyfriend. I know how ridiculously obvious that sounds, but I was actually fooled into thinking that this guy just didn’t want me to see what a mess his place was, and he kept promising, “Oh yeah, you can come over, we’ll hang out, watch a movie.” But we never did. Because he was not my boyfriend.
10. Do you actually get along?
Of course you get along in bed, and things are really steamy and intense. You feel all kinds of emotions when you’re with him. It’s as if his manhood is stabbing you right in the heart, puncturing all your defenses and causing your love juice to ooze out. But – when you’re not engaging in that f-word, are you engaging in another? If you fight all the time because he is driving you crazy then trying to blame you for the way he behaves, you are engaged with a narcissist. Shari Schreiber calls these men Casanovas, after the notorious Italian lover. She writes, “Seducing women feeds his narcissism, and fills his core emptiness–it’s his addiction. Since he can’t form solid/healthy attachments, he takes hostages. Make sure you don’t become his next prisoner.” If you’ve found yourself in a lot of relationships like this, I highly recommend looking around her website. Chances are you are a caregiver/dependent type and you keep hoping you can change these men who *almost maybe kinda love you but not really.* You can’t. I know that’s painful, but if you can break the cycle, you’ll be much happier in the end, I promise.