When you’re in love, it’s easy to overlook or make excuses for your partner’s negative qualities. After all, no one is perfect and he’s bound to have some traits that are less than desirable. We all do. That’s true enough, but be realistic here — it’s one thing if he’s a beer snob or if he never puts his clothes in the hamper, but it’s entirely another if you’re dating a narcissist who always puts himself first in the relationship. If you think he might be a selfish boyfriend, look out for these warning signs.
Signs of a selfish boyfriend
- He talks about himself so much that he never gets around to asking about you. He never asks about your day or how you’re feeling. I mean, how could he? He’s too busy talking about himself. He has no problem retelling every account of his day, but when you start talking about yours, his eyes glaze over from boredom. He’s not interested and he can’t even fake it. Selfishness at its finest.
- He ignores or downplays your emotions. If his reaction to every single argument/disagreement is to try to de-escalate it as quickly as possible without even solving the issue because he really can’t deal with your feelings, he’s selfish. You’re overreacting, you misunderstood him, you’re PMSing… he’s got every excuse in the book. It’s never his fault, even when it seriously is.
- You’re always the first to apologize. Every time you fight, you’re always the first one to say sorry — even if it wasn’t your fault. You apologize for stuff you didn’t even do because you know that’s the only way to end the argument. You’d literally go without speaking for days or weeks otherwise because he refuses to budge.
- He’d rather hang out by himself/with his bros than with you. There’s nothing wrong with spending quality time alone or with his friends, but he should want to spend time with his girlfriend too. Maybe you’re both busy and your schedules don’t always coincide — that happens, but making time for one another is crucial. If your boyfriend would prefer to spend his one free night playing video games alone or drinking beer and watching sports with the guys, there’s an issue. Bonus points if he cops an attitude when you decide to turn the tables and hang with your girls.
- He has to be in control of every situation. He’s a control freak — it’s as simple as that. Where you guys go to dinner, what time you leave, who you hang out with, the list goes on and on. Granted, he might not be dressing you (ahem, Kanye West) but he definitely wants all the power in the relationship. He tries to act like it’s because he wants to take care of you, but you know that’s not true.
- He never goes out of his way for you. You’re a great girlfriend, always surprising him with little things and going that extra mile to make sure he’s happy. Does he do the same? Nope. He’s never once gone out of his to do something nice for you. And no, that one time he remembered to put the toilet seat down doesn’t count. Honestly, he thinks he treats you like a queen and he has no idea why you don’t see that — that’s the sad part.
- He has ulterior motives for the nice things he does actually do for you. On the off chance that he does surprise you with a gift, it’s only to get back into your good graces. He never gives just to give or because he truly wants to. On Valentine’s Day, he might buy you flowers, but it’s only because he knows he has to if he wants to get laid. He doesn’t want to hear you complain about how crappy a boyfriend he is, so he does the bare minimum in order to avoid that discussion.
- He wants you to be there for him but he doesn’t return the gesture. You’re his emotional support, but he’s definitely not yours. There’s no way he could be — the guy doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise. He’s too busy telling you about his rough day at work or the fight he got into with his friend. But the second you try to unload your emotional stuff on him, he checks out. Suddenly, he’s tired or hungry or whatever other BS excuse he can come up with to not have to listen to you.
- He doesn’t care if you finish. In bed, it’s all about him! If he wants to try something a little different, he expects you to go along with it. He’s made it abundantly clear that his needs are far more important than yours. Once he’s finished, he’s ready to go straight to sleep — he couldn’t care less that you were left unsatisfied. He’s more than a selfish boyfriend, he’s a selfish lover.
- He doesn’t know the meaning of the word “compromise.” Relationships work because two people are willing to compromise, but not this guy. He doesn’t care how much you beg or plead your case, he’s not willing to compromise. If he doesn’t want to do something, he won’t do it. Maybe you think he’s just a little picky and that he’ll change the more his feelings for you grow. Maybe, or maybe he’s just a selfish jerk.
- He refers to himself as “I” instead of “we.” You’re a couple, and while that doesn’t mean you’re not still your own person with your own unique thoughts and feelings, your partner should consider you in the plans they make and the things they do. A selfish boyfriend, however, does whatever works best for him without even thinking about how that will affect you.
How to deal with a selfish boyfriend
If you relate to one too many of these signs, you obviously have a selfish guy on your hands. However, your relationship isn’t necessarily doomed because of it. It’s up to you to decide how to deal with it, but here are some tips to get you started.
- Try to understand where he’s coming from. Chances are, there are things in his past that go a long way toward explaining why he is the way he is. Perhaps he grew up with parents who made him feel like the world revolved around him so he never learned any differently. Conversely, maybe he always felt ignored and that his needs were never met growing up so now he prioritizes himself to the extreme. Delve a little deeper to try and figure out why his selfish behavior is so prominent as this can go a long way towards stopping it.
- Confront him about his behavior and don’t back down. It’s so important that you’re upfront and honest about the fact that his selfish behavior is noticed and is having a negative effect on both you and your relationship as a whole. Maybe he doesn’t even realize what he’s doing and simply pointing it out will be enough to bring him back to reality. If he does know what he’s doing, confronting him about it and letting him know that you won’t put up with it is vital.
- Set some healthy boundaries. Just because he acts a certain way doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. You should absolutely set healthy boundaries when it comes to your relationships for your own protection. Your partner should clearly know what they are and that you plan on sticking to them. Not only that, but he should respect them. A selfish boyfriend who ignores your boundaries and does whatever he wants needs a serious wake-up call.
- Work on prioritizing and loving yourself. If he’s always putting himself first, you should be doing the same for yourself. Don’t neglect your needs or try to pour from an empty cup. Instead, make sure you’re regularly doing things that enrich your life and nurture your soul. “It is easy to lose yourself and your individuality when you are in love with somebody. But it doesn’t have to be that way,” Stefan Allen-Hickey, LMSW, therapist at Downtown Somatic Therapy, tells Bolde. You have to give yourself the same love and attention you are giving to your partner. Pamper yourself and focus on your well-being. If you invest yourself fully in the other person, you will get emotionally drained in the long run.
- If he’s not open to change, walk away. At the end of the day, he can either be receptive to your feedback and confront his own behaviors so that he can change them or he can ignore what you’re saying and lose you. The choice is his. However, it’s also your choice to walk away and hold out for a relationship that honors you and provides you the love, care, and consideration that you deserve. “If your selfish partner is unable to make changes, it may be best to think about whether the relationship is really worth it. It’s likely that the relationship is very one-sided, and it’s unlikely to work out in the long run if your partner isn’t putting in equal effort,” advises clinical psychologist, Dr. Carissa Coulston. “At the very least, you might want to take a short break from the relationship to see whether a little bit of distance can improve the situation or whether it confirms your desire to leave the relationship.”
- Vow to never allow yourself to deal with a selfish partner again. Life is too short to be with someone so self-centered, who thinks they’re the only person who matters in the relationship and who couldn’t care less about your thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires. In the future, vow to be on the lookout for red flags in his behavior early on. This way, you never waste unnecessary time on someone who’s clearly not worthy of you.
How to recognize selfish guys early on
While there’s no foolproof way to avoid selfish men, there are warning signs, and they should be easy to spot.
“He always wants to eat at his favorite places. He’s oblivious to common courtesies like holding your chair while you’re sitting, or opening a door for you, or walking beside you, rather than in front of you. He talks about himself or his interests a lot, but rarely asks about your interests, job, family or dreams,” relationship coach Nancy Landrum explains to Bolde. “If you have a disagreement, he gets nasty unless he gets his way. You ask to go to a concert for your birthday, but he chooses a ballgame instead because you don’t really mind, do you? You invite him to meet your family, but he suddenly has other plans.”
These are all major warning signs that your relationship will be all about him and what he wants. Your needs and desires won’t play a big part. You don’t want to end up with someone like that. So, when you notice the signs of a selfish potential boyfriend, get out. You deserve better. This situation will never change, so don’t even go there. You’ll be much happier without him.