13 Dating Commandments Grown Women Follow To Avoid Toxic Guys

Once you get to a certain point in your life, you realize a few things: carbs are worth every single pound, most things are far more simple that we make them out to be, and toxic guys are a boil on the butt of humanity. Don’t stress about the latter, though—dudes like that are easy to avoid if you follow these commandments.

  1. Just say no to guys who are pushy about sex on the first date. If you want to have sex on the first date, then great—go for it! But if he wants to have sex on the first date and is really pushing for it even when you let him know that’s not your style, stay the hell away. He likely just wants to hit and quit it, so no second date for him.
  2. If three sent texts are ignored in a row, move on. We live in 2017. What does this mean? It means that all of us, unless we’re asleep or dead, have our phones on us at all times. If you send a guy three texts and he doesn’t respond, take your leave. A guy worth your time is going to be decent enough to respond, even if his response is, “Hey! I’m dead right now. I’ll text you later.”
  3. Don’t chase; be chased. Dating is a game. It sucks but it’s true. However, the person who does the chasing is the one who becomes the sucker while the other one gets the ego. Toxic guys like the thrill of being chased because not only does it add to their already inflated ego but it gives them the power. Toxic guys, like everything else toxic, feed off power. Resolve to never chase. Ever.
  4. If he insults women, say goodbye. Unlike most men, women are complicated, emotional, defiant, badass, fearless, and have their act together. This is a fact that some men can’t handle and, because of it, they end up insulting women because of their own insecurities. If he insults any woman – his ex, his sister, his female boss, any woman – cut ties. It means he doesn’t have respect for women, including you.
  5. Don’t stand for backhanded compliments. Once upon a time, when I was far stupider than I am now, a guy I was dating said to me, “I’m surprised you don’t have cellulite for someone your size.” Oh, really? My size? Because I was stupid, I stuck around, but now, as a grown woman, I’d be marching him to the door so quick, he wouldn’t even realize what happened until three days later.
  6. Teach yourself to recognize gaslighting. Although all forms of manipulation are awful, gaslighting, in which you’re forced to question your sanity, is even more so because someone who excels at gaslighting can really get in your brain and mess with you. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, teach yourself to recognize even the earliest sign of manipulation so you can end it as soon as possible. The more involved you get with a manipulator, the harder it is to leave. In other words, if they tell you, even once, you’re crazy, run. You’re not crazy; they’re crazy for trying to make you think you’re crazy. It’s really basic math.
  7. Make sure he has a life outside of you. While it’s fun to feel like you’re the center of someone’s world, realistically, it’s not healthy. If you’re dating a guy who doesn’t have a social life or friends with whom he can spend time when you’re around, that’s a bad sign. It could mean he’s alienated former friends because he can’t balance romantic and platonic relationships, that something is a little off there (people who don’t have at least one friend are, yes, likely dealing with issues), or he has an unhealthy relationship with relationships. Either way, any of these possibilities mean that he’ll do whatever he can to put the kibosh on your social life so he becomes your whole world too. No; life is too short for that crap.
  8. Don’t accept the non-apology. People mess up! It happens! And when people who are a healthy influence on you and have a positive impact on your life screw up, they apologize and apologize sincerely. The toxic guy, however, when told he’s screwed up (because he doesn’t ever believe he’s screwed up), will offer what’s known as the non-apology. For example, “Sorry if you didn’t understand what I meant and your feelings were hurt.” See what I mean? That’s not an apology; that’s BS.
  9. Say no thanks if he talks crap about your friends or family. Whoever you’re dating is under no obligation to like any of your friends or family (although it would make life easier). However, they are under an obligation to not try to turn you against your friends and family. If he tries this, it’s clearly for ulterior motives, as in he’s trying to take control of your life.
  10. Beware of martyrs and victims. To quote Hemingway, “We’re all bitched from the start,” and it’s true. Not everyone can have a perfect, happy-go-lucky existence, but the guy who’s constantly playing the victim or the martyr, blaming everyone else for his problems, is not someone you want around you. It’s not only a total drag, but someone who can’t take responsibility for their screw-ups and shortcomings is completely toxic.
  11. Make sure he understands what respect is. It’s one thing to say you respect someone (just look at Trump “respecting” women), but it’s another to truly understand what respect looks like, means, and should feel like to the person who’s being respected. If you’re with a guy who says he respects you but shows all the signs that he really doesn’t know what respect is, as in he’s not respecting you, end it. Relationships are supposed to be about mutual respect.
  12. Be able to admit when you’re exhausted. While there’s no denying relationships are a lot of work, a relationship with a toxic guy is extra work and will exhaust the hell out of you. From trying to fend off their manipulation to playing into their martyr complex, to fighting against what you know is right – leaving them – toxic guys literally suck the life from us. Once you recognize this and can admit to it, you’ll be moving in the right direction.
  13. Be wary of giving second chances. Yes, some people, in certain situations deserve second chances. But others absolutely don’t. Second chances shouldn’t be handed out like free juice at a blood drive; they should be earned. So while it’s great that you’re optimistic enough to believe that someone is capable of change, it’s important to be picky to whom you give second chances. Life is far too short to spend it with toxic guys, so don’t.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.