Backburner Babe: 14 Signs You’re Just His Backup Lover

backup relationship lover

We all want to believe that we’re our partner’s dream girl, but sometimes you may have to come to terms with the fact that you’re just his backup.

If you’re a smart person, then you probably know a thing or two about the benefits of having a backup plan. After all, things don’t always go as planned and it’s always nice to have a Plan B on hand if Plan A ever goes awry.

While backup plans are always great to have, it can be a little cruel when it comes to relationships – especially if you’re the one being treated as the backup. No one wants to spend a lot of time and create a huge emotional investment in something that is purely made of thin air.

However, when friends tell you that he is just stringing you along and keeping you on the backburner, you don’t really want to believe it. The truth is, most of us are blinded by the fact that we really do like the guy, so we’re willing to gratefully pick up the crumbs he’s leaving for us. [Read: 22 early warning signs of a bad boyfriend]

14 signs you’re in a backup relationship

But while you won’t listen to your friends, you may have wondered at one point or another if you really are a backup girl. If you want to know for yourself, then read up on these signs to know if you’re his backup lover and see just how far down you are on his dating and commitment leaderboard.

#1 More than friends, but… So you hang out a lot and he calls you all the time. You go watch his favorite team play, he comes over and you cook for him, he lets you take his clothes to the laundry… you do all those things that boyfriends and girlfriends do, but he never really has sex with you. What’s going on?

#2 In his own terms. You ask him to define your relationship *in the most subtle way you can, because heaven forbid you scare him off with your questions!* and all he says is that he’s not ready. The thing with someone who keeps you as a backup lover is that they want things on their own terms without any regard for how you feel about it. So, if he just wants to have you around and hold hands with you, or even have sex with you, he will never consider you his girlfriend. [Read: 9 ways guys control and manipulate the girls the date]

#3 It’s only words. He emails you, Snapchats you, and goes through all of the social media motions of showing his interest in you, but he never really makes time to hang out with you. In fact, he never really does the things he says he’ll do, like take you to dinner or be available when you ask him to hang out. Chances are, he’s just trolling because he’s bored and you’re an easy target.

#4 Facebook official. NOT. Much like the first two signs, he doesn’t really want to define the relationship with you or with the public, for that matter. So even if you are romantically involved, he will not change his Facebook relationship status. These days, your social media status is the gold standard of relationship definition, so if he refuses to change it from “Single” to “In a Relationship” with you, then he just doesn’t want any commitment with you. [Read: 7 most common mixed signals from guys and how to decode them]

#5 Last minute tango. The thing with you being a backup lover is that he knows you’re always available for him. You may often drop everything on your plate when he calls you up for a last minute date. Therefore, he knows that when his other dates have backed out on him, or that ex he clearly still has feelings for doesn’t want to go out with him, he can call you up last minute. After all, he already made a reservation and is wearing his best suit.

#6 Convenience in store. He comes in and out of your life at his own convenience. One minute he’ll call you up just for reassurance that you have feelings for him, but he will not share his feelings for you. Then, he’ll disappear and be unavailable for a while. He will not answer your calls or text you back – that is, until he wants something from you again.

#7 Can’t move on. If you’re his ex, he still keeps you around, which makes you feel in a total limbo as to what you really mean to him. After breaking up with you, he still calls you up and talks to you like he used to do when you were together, but you know he is out on the prowl for a new girlfriend, especially when he tells you about this new girl he’s seeing. [Read: 16 signs your ex wants you back in your life]

#8 Holiday cheer for one. You spend your holidays alone, and each time you try to hint that he should spend a few holidays with you, he always says he has other plans in mind. Worse, you prepare that humongous Thanksgiving turkey, only to be stood up. Guess what – he probably has his Plan A having dinner with his family right at that moment.

#9 Let’s see. After going out for a while, he now has you wrapped around his fingers. And whenever you make any move to talk about any future with him, you always hear “Let’s see” from him, along with phrases like, “Let’s just enjoy the moment,” “Let’s see where this goes,” or “We never know what will happen…” [Read: Complicated relationships – The right way to deal with them]

#10 Ticking time bomb. You find yourself counting the hours and days to when he will ask you out again, come over, communicate, or just be ready to be in a real relationship with you. You ask yourself, “What’s going on?” and you wonder if you’re just wasting time. When you start thinking about this, you probably are, because *let’s face it* one of these days, he’ll find someone he really likes more than you.

#11 “So you’re his…?” He’s got you tucked in an isolated compartment in his life, so not only does his family have no idea you exist – his friends don’t even know you either. You never go out with his friends, and he never introduced you to anyone close to him. So when you both happen to bump into his close office colleague, the guy just gives you a confused look as your supposed “boyfriend” introduces you as “my friend.” [Read: Secret love – Is he building a secret relationship with you?]

#12 Pet problem. He won’t share any responsibility with you at all, let alone a pet. While psychologists say that shared responsibilities and shared material things, such as sharing debts or a place to live, are signs of closeness in a romantic relationship, anything other than that is trouble for you. If he shudders at the thought of owning a dog with you, even if you both love dogs, that’s a pretty obvious signs he doesn’t want to get any closer to you than he already is.

#13 Marriage proposal. That is, 20 years down the road. When he tells you, “If we’re not married by the time we’re 40, let’s just marry each other.” Although it sounds like something out of a romantic and twisted young adult novel, it’s really not as wonderful as you think it is. What he’s telling you is exactly this: He has a few years or so to look for someone he’d really want to commit to, and if all else fails, you’ll be there for him. How convenient. [Read: The tricky mind games men play and how to beat them at it]

#14 Walls up. When your friends call you out for still having the guy in your life, because it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to commit to you and is just leaving you hanging, you defend him. You make excuses to your friends for how he treats you by saying, “He’s not ready and I’m not ready either. We’re just enjoying each other and the moment,” and go on and on explaining why it’s all okay. The thing is, you’re not only defending him, you’re trying to make sense of it all to yourself, because deep inside, you know something’s not right. [Read: 18 emotions you should never feel in a healthy relationship]

So there you have it – an open-your-eyes lowdown on the signs that you are, sadly, just his backup lover.

While the hopeless romantic in you is still holding out hope that he will one day come around, sweep you up in his arms, and shout out to the world that you’re his girlfriend, the reality is this: It may never happen. If the things above check out with your significant other, then you know for sure that you are not on top of his list.

[Read: The 20 kinds of lovers that exist in this world]

And now, it’s up to you whether to stay and keep hoping to someday be the frontrunner instead of a backup babe, or up and run away as fast as you can. The choice is up to you.

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Tiffany Reyes
Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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5 thoughts on “Backburner Babe: 14 Signs You’re Just His Backup Lover”

  1. Stephanie says:

    I would never want to ever consider myself anyone’s after thought. Being considered sloppy seconds instead of the top choice does not sit well with me and is something I would never agree to at least with knowledge of this. I know I am worth more than that consideration. When I have taken my value away from the equation and am living only by his consideration or terms then I am really screwed. Still the choice is mine to make and if I let him decide not only my value but where my desires reside then I am choosing that back up position willingly. There are so many signs that one gives as to the priority assigned to the other in a relationship and it is up to me to see the signs and honor my own.

  2. Shelly says:

    I absolutely hate reading things like it’s just words because it describes my relationship perfectly. Even though I’m happy to give him whatever he wants in terms of pics and whatnot, we’ll set a date and then something will always come up at the last minute. And it’s usually a really lame excuse too: he’s busy in class, he can’t get off work, and things like that. I’m tempted to just cut ties with him altogether but he’s an awesome guy and I don’t want to see him move on. I dunno, what should I say or do?

  3. Hanna says:

    I know many backup babes who were promoted into wives. And I also know many backup babes who rebelled against it and moved on… to a life of solitude. It is always better to leave somebody then to wait to be left, but I think being in a backup relationship is really complicated and sometimes you just cannot win whatever you do. It is really sad to see a smart, successful woman trapped in that situation but there is not an easy way out. If you are sure you are in a backup relationship, it might be good to keep your other options open. People say that it is better to keep your options open than your eyes closed.

  4. geneva says:

    Yeah, if he doesn’t announce you on Facebook, your not his main. In this day in our generation, our lives our mostly reflected online and if he doesn’t make it known that you guys are together, you better believe somethings up. Don’t keep on telling yourself that he’s just mysterious- You just don’t know sh** about him. You just enjoy getting it him up in you. I mean if he’s playing you, you’re in the game and you could always end it. You have mixed signals sent to you naturally by your brain that you just shut down because you like what you’re feeling in the moment.

  5. foreign says:

    Yeah, I’m a side chick but I can’t complain though. I would steal him from his main. He has a really good dick and he uses it well. I like fucking with him so I guess I have to steal him away, right? I’ll just fucking black mail him. LOL. I’m serious though, I ain’t joking bitches. My man’s a man whore for having to bitches at the same time. Who he frontin? ME? Queen B? I’ll fuck the shit outta him and make sure he stays with me. Fuck that bitch he with, she old new. That’s for sure.

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