Toxic Male Behaviors That Push Women Away (And How To Fix Them)

Toxic Male Behaviors That Push Women Away (And How To Fix Them)

Attraction is complex, and sadly, “bad boy” stereotypes persist.

Guy in suit and glasses©iStock/g-stockstudio

However, women seeking healthy, lasting partnerships prioritize emotional maturity. The good news is, toxic behaviors are often rooted in insecurities and harmful social conditioning, not innate malice. With self-awareness, men can break destructive patterns, build stronger relationships, and ultimately, become happier, more authentic versions of themselves.

1. Bottling up their emotions

Refusing to express vulnerability comes from the misguided idea that men must always be stoic. Suppressing sadness, fear, etc., erodes intimacy. Women crave a partner they can truly connect with. Fix: Start small. Instead of “I’m fine,” try, “I’m stressed about…” or, “That hurt my feelings.” It feels awkward at first but builds trust.

2. Turning everything into a competition with her

fight couple sad argue

Constant one-upping, always needing to win arguments, turns your partner into an opponent, not a team. This insecurity-driven behavior breeds resentment. Fix: Celebrate her successes! Practice genuine responses like, “That’s awesome!” Let her shine without feeling diminished. A secure man uplifts his woman, boosting the relationship as a whole.

3. Stonewalling

couple fight disagreement argue

Shutting down during conflict instead of seeking resolution feels punishing to women. It often stems from being emotionally overwhelmed, but leaves her feeling abandoned. Fix: Learn to ask for space respectfully: “I’m overwhelmed, can we revisit this in 20 minutes?” Clearly committing to coming back to the issue builds trust she won’t be left hanging.

4. Jealousy masquerading as “protectiveness”

young couple chatting on street

Possessiveness isn’t romantic, it’s controlling. Questioning her every move or friendships signals distrust. It’s more about his insecurity than her actions. Fix: Build self-worth separate from the relationship. Therapy can help unpack the root cause of the jealousy. A secure man trusts his partner and celebrates her having a full life.

5. Minimizing her feelings by claiming she’s “too sensitive”

couple standing against wall sunglassesiStock

Dismissing her emotional reactions, especially during conflict, is incredibly invalidating. It stems from discomfort with emotions – his own, and hers. Fix: Practice active listening. Instead of jumping to fix or defend, try, “I hear you’re feeling hurt — tell me more.” Even if you don’t agree, validating her experience builds a bridge instead of a wall.

6. Expecting her to be the emotional caretaker

Assuming she should soothe his bad days, manage his moods, while her needs go unmet creates an imbalanced dynamic. It’s subtly infantilizing. Fix: Take responsibility for your own emotional well-being! Therapy, journaling, men’s groups – find healthy outlets. She can support you, but can’t fix you.

7. “Locker room talk” as a substitute for intimacy

Crass jokes or constantly sexualizing her reduces a woman to a body, not a whole person. This avoidance of true emotional connection keeps relationships shallow. Fix: Learn to express affection non-sexually. Tell her why you value her beyond the physical. Women crave feeling both desired AND respected.

8. Refusing to help equally with the mental load

Assuming chores, childcare logistics, etc., are inherently “her job” breeds resentment. It’s invisible labor that exhausts women, The New York Times notes. Fix: Proactive is key! Instead of waiting to be asked, ask, “What can I take off your plate today?” Notice the small stuff without prompting. An equitable split makes BOTH partners feel valued.

9. Using “nice guy” as an excuse for entitlement

Being kind shouldn’t be transactional. Expecting dates or sex in exchange for basic decency creates a toxic undercurrent of “she owes me.” Fix: Practice genuine kindness without expectation. Help a friend, volunteer… this builds a giving spirit without strings attached. Women are drawn to authentically good men, not those keeping score.

10. Needing constant validation

Incessant reassurance-seeking (“Do you love me?” on repeat) is draining for women. This insecurity signals he can’t fill his own emotional cup. Fix: Focus on building self-esteem. Pursue hobbies, passions, find self-worth beyond how much a partner fawns over you. Confidence is attractive, clinginess is exhausting.

11. Weaponizing incompetence

man and woman having convo on couch

Intentionally doing chores badly to get out of them is childish. It forces women into a nagging “mom” role, creating resentment. Fix: Own your adulting! Even if you’re not great at something, learn the basics (YouTube is your friend). Being able to pull your weight without whining is a surprisingly sexy life skill. Weaponized incompetence is not hot.

12. Blaming women for rejecting them

That bitter “she only likes jerks” line after a woman says “no” reveals an entitlement issue. It shifts blame instead of taking it as a mismatched situation. Fix: Reframe rejection as non-catastrophic. Not every woman is your match! Respect her decisions, and focus on self-improvement to become the kind of man who attracts the partner you actually want.

13. Seeing apologies as weakness

Refusing to admit fault, even for small stuff, erodes trust. Doubling down on defensiveness makes resolving anything impossible. Fix: Sincere apologies aren’t about losing, they’re about repair. “I messed up, I’m sorry” disarms conflict. Owning mistakes builds respect faster than stubborn pride.

14. Being addicted to watching explicit videos online

This is complex, but unaddressed, it warps expectations and can make physical intimacy with a real woman feel less satisfying. If this is a struggle, seek professional help. Fix: Therapy is vital, as shame keeps this hidden. Honest disclosure with a partner (when appropriate) helps her understand it’s not about her lacking something.

15. Not prioritizing her pleasure

If what goes on in the bedroom is all about him, it becomes selfish, not shared. This lack of consideration makes women feel used. Fix: Educate yourself on female anatomy and pleasure! Ask open-ended questions: “What feels good?” Centering her enjoyment not only makes physical intimacy better for her but heightens his own satisfaction in giving.

16. Refusing to grow and change over time

“This is just how I am” is an excuse for stagnation. We all evolve over a lifetime. Unwillingness to address flaws when they cause a partner pain is hurtful. Fix: Embrace continuous improvement. Read books, attend workshops with her, show a willingness to become a better version of yourself, for the relationship and your own well-being.

17. Thinking a woman’s purpose is to “fix him”

No woman wants a project, they want a partner. While support is important, expecting her to be his therapist/mom/sole source of validation is unfair. Fix: He does the hard work of self-improvement. She benefits from having a healthy, emotionally available partner, but the burden of his transformation rests solely on him.

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Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.
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