Is The Guy You’re Dating Toxic AF?

Have you ever broken up with a guy and thought, “How did I think he was so great?” It happens more often than you might think. That’s because jerks are going to pretend to be wonderful people in order to get you to date them. They will show subtle signs of being jerks, though, when their masks slip. Here are 15 to look out for:

  1. He comments on your life. If he makes comments about things that don’t concern him, like your new haircut and how he feels about it or how he thinks you run your career badly, he’s subtly trying to control and manipulate you.
  2. He tries to change you. When you talk to each other about your dating preferences, he slips in that he likes women who are quite different from you. He might say he likes blondes or women who are voluptuous or anything else that doesn’t apply to you. He’s trying to hint about what he likes and hopes that you’ll change to accommodate his wishes. What a douchebag! This is “negging” and he’s trying to damage your self-confidence. He needs to GTFO!
  3. He tunes out. If you have to keep repeating things to him that he denies ever hearing, the guy’s always tuning out of your conversations because he’s too busy thinking about himself. Ugh, how rude and selfish.
  4. He gets into arguments with your friends. He might say that he just likes having intelligent debates, but it’s weird if he seems like he wants to fight with people all the time and even worse if those people are your loved ones. Ugh. Can’t he just shut up instead of trying to be seen as the Big Man or Mr. Know It All?
  5. He doesn’t cheer you on. He claims to be happy about your new car or promotion at work but he seems to get annoyed or bored when other people congratulate you. Or, he might try to talk about what great achievements he’s had. What gives? He’s jealous of your success but trying to hide the fact that he’s such a man-child.
  6. He always has to be the center of attention. Sure, he’s fun to be around, but sometimes (and especially after five tequilas), the guy starts to become loud and annoying. He wants all the attention all the time when you’re out in public, which can really make you feel uncomfortable. He doesn’t care, though, and is quick to say you’re raining on his parade.
  7. He’s charming but not nice. There’s a big difference between a good person and someone who knows how to charm the pants off you. Just because he’s buying you flowers or taking you away on holiday, it doesn’t mean he’s nice. Look at how he treats other people from whom he won’t be getting great sex. If he’s rude, difficult, or quick to lose his cool with them, he’s not nice at all.
  8. He tries to get you to do what he likes to do. Sure, you want to try his hobbies sometimes to walk out of your comfort zone. It’s also part of compromise. But if he’s always nagging you to go to the gym, bungee-jump with him, or have anal sex even though you hate it, it’s not cool. He needs to know that “no” means “no!” and stop being such a jerk by making you feel there’s something wrong with you for not doing those things.
  9. He’s hot and cold. One minute, he’s showering you with attention and texts. The next, he’s nowhere to be seen. WTF? It’s a clever way to get you to depend on his attention. The more you miss him, the stronger you feel about him. But it’s screwed up because a great boyfriend will give you consistency, not crumbs.
  10. He jokes about you. He’s a playful, funny guy, so it’s no big deal when he calls you something insulting and claims it’s just a joke, right? Wrong! No amount of humor can replace respect. Ever.
  11. He’s got big plans but nothing to back them up with. He wants you to move into a gorgeous new home. He wants to move to a new city with you. He wants to take you to this beautiful new restaurant. It all sounds wonderful, but he’s all talk and no action! He’s using dreams and big talk to get you to stick with him, but then his plans never actually materialize.
  12. He never slips up. When you start dating someone, there are moments you feel awkward or say the wrong thing. It’s normal because you’re running on nerves and the excitement of someone new. But if he’s so smooth you wonder if he’s ever been nervous a day in his life, that’s a bad sign. It could be that he’s trying way too hard to be what he thinks will impress you or he just doesn’t care enough to feel nerves.
  13. Dates happen in his territory. He always wants you to drive to meet him at whatever pub, club or restaurant he wants to go to. He might have excellent taste, but the problem is that he’s always taking the lead. There could also be a manipulative aspect to this: by going to his hangouts, he can feel more confident because he knows more people there and feels like he’s in control.
  14. He hates chivalry. He refuses to do anything chivalrous because he doesn’t see the point of it. So he won’t open car doors for you or let you enter a room first. If he can’t see that chivalry is about basic respect and decency, the guy’s a total jerk.
  15. He’s cruel to pretend to be kind. He’ll try to be super nice to you, but at the expense of others. So, he’ll pick a fight with someone who’s rude to you or he’ll get angry with a waiter who brings you the wrong food. His intentions are good—he doesn’t want people to treat you badly—but honestly, if he’s quick to turn on his rudeness, he’s just trying to act like he’s a tough, amazing guy. He’s not. He’s a total jerk.
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.