10 Feelings You Have Around A Guy When Your Gut Is Trying To Warn You He’s Trouble

Feelings can be annoying—like how you’re inclined to break down over seemingly nothing when you’re PMSing hard—but sometimes they exist to help you make better decisions. Instead of chiding yourself as “too sensitive” and trying to sweep bad vibes under the rug, pay careful attention to these red flags that something isn’t working in your relationship.

  1. You get physical symptoms, and no, it’s not butterflies. We all experience some unexpected feelings when we’re falling hard for a guy but the dizzy, hopeful energy of a crush is different from the cold, hollow discomfort of being with the wrong man. Each body and temperament are different, but you know your signs. Even if your brain hasn’t quite caught the drift, your gut, your heart, and your sweat glands are sending you some intentional signals to warn you off. Never feel silly for heeding the signs.
  2. You’re uncomfortable introducing him to your important people. It’s one thing to be concerned that your ultraconservative parents will give him grief about his spiky Mohawk. It’s another to hide him from your best girlfriends because you’re afraid they might tell you truths you don’t want to hear. Friends and family shouldn’t be the ultimate arbiters of your romantic choices but they do have a knack for recognizing your blind spots. It’s totally legit to avoid loudmouths whose opinions never interested you in the first place. But if you hesitate to make him part of your true inner-circle and let him meet the people you trust the most, that’s a real problem.
  3. You’re embarrassed to be in public with him. We too often accuse one another (and guys) of being superficial when we don’t want to give someone a chance. But which is worse—refusing to date a guy because you think his snorting laugh is dorky or refusing to hit opening night of the latest comedy because you’re afraid strangers will think his goofiness reflects badly on you? If you don’t think he’s good enough to go out with, don’t stay in with him either.
  4. You’re defensive.The person you love (or hell, even the hot guy you go out with when you’re in the mood to) shouldn’t put you in constant self-protection mode. A good date leaves you exhausted because you had a super sexy, breathless make-out session. An awful date zaps all your strength because you’ve had your guard up for two solid hours while he challenged every statement you made.
  5. You’re guilt-ridden. A gaslighter knows how to make his victims believe they’re at fault. He berates you when you stand up to him–if you don’t like his behavior, it’s because you’re “bitchy” or “overbearing.” And you take it to heart. He calls you “crazy” when you express uncertainty about his motives. Soon, you’re so disoriented that you truly start to believe you’ve done something wrong. It’s a terrible cycle and can be nearly impossible to recognize when you’re caught up in it. Once you recognize what’s happening, know that you’re not a fool for becoming trapped in an unhealthy situation: master manipulators put a lot of effort into derailing your confidence. Instead, congratulate yourself for getting out when you did.
  6. You have a sense of unworthiness. You believe he’s on a pedestal and you’re sludge. Even if he’s not actively promoting this story, you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly struggling to be good enough for him. Confidence is not only sexy, it’s also vital to your well-being. Be with the guy who naturally makes you happy to be yourself, the one who reminds you consistently that he values your personality, intelligence, and beauty.
  7. Your mood plunges when he’s not around. In a stable partnership, you can keep it together when your guy makes other plans. You have a life too after all, and it’s fine to each take time for yourselves. In fact, you enjoy having some space to participate in solo activities. When a couple of hours without a text or other reassurance leaves you in a bleak state, consider your foul mood an indication that something’s not right. Obsession stems from uncertainty. Whether he’s actively trying to keep you off kilter or simply trying to establish a life apart from you (completely reasonable), tagging your happiness to his presence is emotionally unhealthy.
  8. You’re wildly jealous of every woman in his life. Envy eats you alive when he focuses on anybody but you. Is it because you have some issues of your own to work on or is it because he flirts shamelessly with every woman who shows him the scantest amount of interest? More important, does it really matter? Regardless of the source, a jealously-riddled relationship never works out well in the end. You don’t necessarily have to ditch him immediately but at very least, you need to have a legit conversation about the situation.  
  9. You resent him. Maybe his political ideals make your blood boil. Maybe you’re tired of going halves on every night out and want him to take care of the bill for once. Maybe the poor guy has done nothing wrong but you want to brutally pick on him every time he’s around because your emotional Lego pieces just don’t match. Love and lust take weird turns, and we all know it, but let’s keep this simple: if you don’t like him, for any reason, don’t date him. You’re not a jerk for bowing out when a relationship doesn’t work for you but you’re a jerk if you treat him like crap while clinging to the relationship for your own security or comfort.
  10. You can tell that you’ve changed… and not for the better. Your usual rainbow vivacity has gone gray, like you’re half asleep and simply trying to make it through another week. Or you’ve adopted a bubbly persona totally at odds with your usual introversion. Whatever is different, your skin doesn’t seem to fit quite right these days, and the only major development in your life is dating your current guy. Don’t become a shape shifter to please him. The right man will make you feel more naturally yourself than ever before. And he’ll love you exactly as you are.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.