10 Signs You're In Love With A Layby (AKA A Who Man Strings You Along)

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10 Signs You're In Love With A Layby (A Man Stringing You Along)
Love, Heartbreak

Are you being shelved?

The other day, I had the gross displeasure of sitting next to a man at the bar who had decided that he needed to talk to me about how unhappy he was with his wife. He prattled on and on about how she never loves him and how they never has sex. Yes, I was the poor sap who had to choose a seat right next to a layby.

A layby is a person who is in a relationship and isn’t happy with their relationship. So, they will look to get their needs met outside of their relationship, and possibly dump their current partner for the new one. The way that they pick up the “new model” or the side piece is by keeping their flirting tactics in the “gray area” realm until either the new girl makes a move or he decides he’s ready to split from the girl.

Flirting with a layby is a lot like purchasing a new computer or a fancy dress on layaway: They do all their flirting and attention-giving in installments. When the time comes that they decide to act on it, they assume that you’re cool with it because they paid enough attention to you.

Yes, it’s as dehumanizing as it sounds, and yes, a layby is a form of a cheater.

Not sure if the guy you’re talking to is a layby? Here are the ten most common signs that someone you’re talking to or dating is a layby.

1. He regularly tells you how unhappy he is in his relationship, then gives you “puppy dog” looks.


Nothing good ever comes out of a guy who regularly whines and moans about how much he hates his girl. If you notice him making a point of telling you this, then chances are that he’s a layby or a guy who’s looking for a side chick who can be discreet about it.

2. A lot of his questionable flirtatious moves are done on Facebook or Instagram.

Guys who are in relationships with girls often will go on social media to express interest in other women. Does he like bunches of your photos and leave semi-suggestive comments all the time? Does he have a tendency of following or adding models on his accounts? This is often a subtler sign that he’s a layby, a cheater, or just kind of skeevy altogether.

3. If you’re dating him, you can’t help but feel like he’s cheating, about to cheat, or just not doing right by you — even though you technically can’t find legit proof of it.


Woe is the woman who’s stuck with a layby at home! They are oftentimes the kings of micro-cheating and will often gaslight a girl into thinking that nothing’s wrong. In many cases, girls may feel like there’s reason to believe he’s cheating, even though they can never quite put their finger on why the guy’s female friends make them so uneasy.

4. He seems to have no problem hugging or even flaunting his touchy-feely side when his wife is away.

The reason he’s only okay with it then is because he can explain it away if his wife finds out about it. This keeps it plausibly deniable on his end, which is exactly what he wants to have happen.

5. When he’s talking to you, he makes a point to try to sell you on being a wife-type “when divorce papers are filed.”


Nothing scares a layby more than having to go through a divorce alone or being alone. So, before they walk from their current relationship, they’ll make every effort possible to ensure they will not be alone when they finally cut loose from their ball and chain.

And that means that they’re going to try to convince you to wait for them and be loyal to them in the meantime. If you notice himself really pushing that angle, you need to bail. He’s not a prize.

6. Others have accused him of stringing them along.

If this is a pattern, then you better believe he’ll probably do the same to you. A tiger doesn’t change his stripes!

7. He’s tried to sabotage your relationships, even though he made it clear he wasn’t “ready” to date you himself.


This is a more callous, cruel form of layby behavior that I’ve personally witnessed. They don’t want you, but they also don’t want you to be taken by others. This is the kind of stuff that should make you decide to ghost him, block him on all social media, and also warn dates about him.

8. He’s your ex who claims he wants to be good friends with you, but tends to act jealous if other guys date you.

Yes, this is another type of layby behavior. Usually, guys who do this tend to view the girls they do it with as backup plans... and that’s probably why you dumped him in the first place, right?

9. You’ve been talking to him for a while and he always has an excuse why he hasn’t dumped his girl yet.


Many guys who are laybys will keep girls indefinitely because they don’t want to be the ones who break up with their current partner. Whether it’s due to confrontation avoidance or because they have something to gain from being with them doesn’t matter. What matters is that they’re jerks for this, and you shouldn’t put up with it.  

10. He’s straight up told you that he wants a backup plan, or to “shelf” you.

Yeah, no. This isn’t acceptable. You’re not a jar of marmalade. You don’t belong on a shelf. If he’s smart, he’ll lock it down when he sees you. If he’s not, tell him not to wait up.