12 Guy Behaviors I Used to Put Up With Before I Realized They Were Unacceptable

“Boys will be boys?” It’s time we scrapped that. I’ve realized a lot of the things I thought were normal boyfriend behavior were actually not. In reality, they were signs the guy I was with was toxic or lazy, not “just being a guy.” Here are 12 behaviors that aren’t normal.

  1. He takes a lot of space. He wants to have his own space to do his own thing, hang out with his friends, and whatever else guys do when their girlfriends aren’t around. Well, that’s what I thought. The truth is, while space can be a healthy thing, a guy who takes way too much is usually trying to say he’s not interested in me and not making me a priority.
  2. He doesn’t text on time. My BFFs and I used to laugh and cry over how guys never text the same way that women do. “They’re allergic to texts!” I once declared to them over a table of tequila. That’s a total myth, though, because guys are only allergic to texting a woman when they don’t want to date her.
  3. Guys don’t want to come on too strongly. OMG, I totally believed that a guy who took his sweet time to make a move on me was just shy and didn’t want to come on too strongly. Or—and this is my favorite—he didn’t know how to go about asking me out. It was totally ridiculous.
  4. It’s normal for guys not to define anything. When a guy wouldn’t make things official and exclusive without me prodding him along, I started to believe that it was just a “guy thing.” I thought that guys would show that they wanted something more serious in other ways, like wanting to spend lots of time with me. Obviously, that’s not the case at all because a guy can spend time with you and not want to be committed to you.
  5. I thought he had to be jealous. As someone who’s experienced a few moments of jealousy when I liked someone, I always thought a guy who was dating me had to show some jealousy from time to time. For example, if a guy hit on me at the club, I’d want my BF to be a bit jealous. But the thing is, a guy shouldn’t become green-eyed so quickly. That’s a red flag for a  controlling a-hole right there.
  6. I expected it to hurt. I always thought that love was only real once it hurt. What this really meant was that the guy would treat me badly in order to make me bleed for love. It was like I had to earn it. Can you see how faulty that thinking is?! The truth is that if it hurts, it’s not love. I wish I’d known that earlier.
  7. It was good to be mysterious. I think it formed part of the whole “If he likes me, he’ll play a bit hard to get” strategy I believed guys followed. Newsflash: they don’t follow that strategy! While mystery can seem appealing in movies and books, the truth is that it’s code for lies in the real world.
  8. I thought he wanted to be fixed. I thought that I had to fix a guy who was almost the perfect boyfriend and then he’d fall in love with me and we’d live happily ever after. Vom. The truth is, a guy who’s perfect for me isn’t going to seem like a WIP and if the love is real, I won’t feel like I have to solve all his problems.
  9. I thought he was waiting for my questions. If you’ve ever sent a guy a text and not received an answer, only for your friend to tell you that guys only respond to specific, practical questions, then you’ve been misled just like I was. It’s actually funny to think that guys are sitting waiting for the right type of question before they reply to a text. That’s crazy! Instead of trying to unlock the quiet guy’s texting prowess (which didn’t exist, along with our textual chemistry, clearly), I should’ve texted someone else.
  10. He wouldn’t check his phone because… he’s a guy. Another misconception is that guys never check their phones when they’re out with their friends or even at work. Yup, they’re “that busy.” Ugh. The truth is, a guy who really likes me will check his phone regularly and it’s fine for him to be a bit too busy to text for hours, but not for days. No one’s that busy.
  11. He’s going to take us for a test drive. I used to believe it was OK for a guy to test me to see if we were a good fit or not. Maybe he’d invite me to a camping weekend and see if I was low-maintenance enough to enjoy it or he’d invite me to a group date at the last minute to see if I was flexible. What crap! No one should test the person they’re dating, as though they’re screening them for potential. The guys who did that were toxic. End of.
  12. He’s “off” because of trust issues. Gosh, how many times a guy has claimed to have trust issues for why he couldn’t commit to me and I’ve bought it. It’s crazy. Note to self: a guy doesn’t let himself get bogged down by his past and trust issues, and if he does have some issues he’ll work on them instead of turning them into a dating obstacle.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.