20 Traits & Signs of a Toxic Boyfriend that Predict a Painful Relationship

You love him, but something isn’t right. It’s time to learn the signs of a toxic boyfriend and work out whether you’re wasting your time on the wrong guy.

signs of a toxic boyfriend

Relationships have the power to lift you up or drag you down. Unfortunately, the sheer number of toxic relationships far outweigh the healthy ones. As a result, it’s vital that you know when you’re potentially seeing the signs of a toxic boyfriend. Then, you can either work to rectify the situation or, more likely, walk away with your head held high.

When you fall in love, it’s easy to overlook all the negative aspects of the relationship. You put up with a lot because you simply don’t want it to end or you think that perhaps your partner is going to change.

The problem is, a toxic boyfriend is likely to stay a toxic boyfriend unless he sees the error of his ways and changes for the better. He’s not going to do that without a conversation that tells him so, or you decided that enough is enough and finding happiness in yourself, away from him. [Read: What is a toxic relationship? How to understand what it is so you can get out]

The glaring signs of a toxic boyfriend you should never ignore

To help you identify whether or not a change is needed in your relationship, let’s check out the most common signs of a toxic boyfriend.

1. He often speaks down to you

It’s nothing but annoying when someone speaks down to you, regularly uses sarcasm, or acts in a condescending manner. As annoying as it can be from someone you’re not close to, it’s not something you should be dealing with from a boyfriend. If you’ve pointed it out to him before and he’s still doing it, it’s one of the key signs of a toxic boyfriend. [Read: 12 double standards in a relationship that are as toxic AF!]

2. He resorts to gaslighting

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation. It’s also a type of emotional abuse. While we must be careful that we don’t combine toxicity with abuse and think it’s always the exact same thing, but, in some cases, it overlaps.

Gaslighting is when someone makes you question yourself, in most cases, your own sanity. For instance, your boyfriend might say something and when you recall it later, he pretends he never said it. You then doubt whether you heard it or not.

Over time, this form of manipulation can be very damaging. [Read: Understanding gaslighting and how to know if your lover is messing with your mind]

3. He is controlling

One of the main signs of a toxic boyfriend is someone who is regularly controlling. You are a grown adult and have your own mind. You do not need someone else telling you what you can and can’t do. When a man tries to control you, he is bending you to his will. Don’t allow it!

4. Jealousy is a common theme

Let’s be honest, it’s nice when someone is a little jealous occasionally, perhaps when another guy looks at you in a certain way and he puts his arm around you to let the guy know you’re his. However, it’s not nice when it’s a constant, and it stops you from doing anything. There is no place for extreme jealousy in a relationship.

5. You often catch him in a lie

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Lying basically means that you’re deceiving your partner, and it’s one of the biggest signs of a toxic boyfriend. If your guy is always lying about the small things, you don’t know that he’s not lying about the big things either. Lies erode away at trust and make it impossible to believe anything he says. [Read: Emotions you just shouldn’t feel in your relationship]

6. You’re constantly walking on eggshells

It’s no fun when you’re never sure what mood your guy is in, and you have to walk on eggshells around him to avoid a drama. It’s toxic because you can’t relax and can’t be free to allow your relationship to develop.

7. Your needs are never his priority

Your needs are of equal importance to your boyfriend’s, so if his are always met but yours aren’t, you should worry a little. It means you’re never going to be happy and you’re always going to be lacking what you need. It’s one of the definite signs of a toxic boyfriend.

8. He’s generally quite disrespectful

You can be disrespectful to someone in a myriad of ways. It can be not respecting their boundaries, showing off in front of others when they’re around, or not taking what they say seriously.

If you constantly feel disrespected, it’s a big problem that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, it means you’re in a toxic relationship too. [Read: How to deal with a disrespectful boyfriend in the best way possible]

9. He never has your back

Your guy should be your biggest supporter. If he never has your back and never sticks up for you when others talk about you, does he even care? It’s definitely one of the signs of a toxic boyfriend. And it’s something you should view as a red flag. Your guy should defend you at all costs.

10. He flirts with other people in front of you

This is another of those disrespect points, but flirting with other people in front of you is toxic on so many levels. If your guy does this, you should have a serious conversation with him. Also, you should consider whether there is any future to the relationship. [Read: My guy is very flirty… with other women!]

11. He simply refuses to commit

While you shouldn’t expect your boyfriend to commit straightaway, if after a considerable amount of time he simply refuses to commit himself to you, does it mean he’s toxic? In some ways, yes, it could. If after a length of time, he’s not interested in being committed to you, you might wonder whether the relationship is going anywhere.

12. He’s never there when you need him

If you need something, he’s just not there. He either makes an excuse or he just doesn’t answer his phone. It could also be that you just feel there’s not point in asking him, because you know what the answer will be. If that’s the case, you already know that you’ve got a toxic boy on your hands.

13. He’s often only interested in sex

A relationship isn’t just about the physical aspect. Sure, it’s important but it’s not the be all and end all. If he’s only ever interested in sex and he doesn’t really care about what’s going on in your life, you need to ask yourself whether he’s really invested in this relationship or not. The chances are that he’s not. [Read: 15 Signs he just wants sex & is only using you for his enjoyment]

14. He tends to hide your relationship

If you’ve only just got together, this shouldn’t be one of the major signs of a toxic boyfriend alone, however if it’s been a while and you feel like you’re being hidden away from friends and family members, ask yourself why. While there’s no need to shout from the rooftops about a relationship, there’s no need to keep it shrouded in mystery either.

15. He’s never present in the moment

When you’re out together or you’re spending quality time, is he always on his phone? Does he rarely look up when you speak? It’s something we’re all guilty of occasionally but if it’s a common thing, you have to question whether he’s even bothered about hearing what you have to say. Not being present in the moment in any situation is rude, but in a relationship, it’s disrespectful. [Read: How to be present: The guide to find your zone of calm perfection]

16. He doesn’t encourage you

Do you feel like he often holds you back? If so, that’s one of the signs of a toxic boyfriend right there! Your boyfriend is supposed to be your number one supporter, just as you are his. If he tries to dissuade you from going for your dreams or trying anything new every single time, that’s not concern, that’s because he wants to keep you in your little box, away from success and everything you deserve.

17. He borrows money from you all the time

It’s normal to help one another out occasionally but if he’s always borrowing cash from you and never giving it back, ask yourself what’s going on. You’re not his personal cash machine, and he either needs to get off his ass and fix his situation.

18. The relationship is always one sided

Are you always coming up with date ideas or suggestions on things to do, but he never does? Do you often buy small, thoughtful gifts, but it’s never reciprocated? Perhaps you just feel like everything is totally out of balance and you’re the one pushing the relationship along? That’s because he’s not trying and he’s being nothing short of toxic. [Read: 12 Hidden signs of a one-sided relationship we all choose to ignore]

19. He pulls you away from your friends and family members

Be careful of this one because it could be a sign that you’re around a narcissist. This type of toxic personality will isolate you from your friends and family members so that they’re able to control you better, without any outside influences.

20. He’s always with his friends

It’s normal to spend time with friends and actually, it’s healthy. However, there has to be a balance. If you’re never spending quality time together because he’s always partying it up with his buddies, he’s not taking your relationship seriously and he’s seriously disrespecting you. [Read: He won’t commit but won’t let go either – here’s what to do now]

What should you do now?

These signs of a toxic boyfriend are the most obvious red flags you need to look out for. Don’t panic if you only see one sign occasionally. Everyone can be a little thoughtless occasionally, but if you see more than one sign over a considerable length of time, consider this a toxic relationship that you need to escape.

Toxic relationships do nothing but drag you down. They make you feel like you have nothing to fight for, they pull at your self-confidence and force you to question the relationship time and time again. The problem is, one of the most common signs of a toxic boyfriend is that they convince you to stay by being pleasant on other levels. It’s a game of run and chase that is difficult to escape. [Read: Blowing hot and cold – The 3 stages to explain why someone does this]

You have a difficult decision to make

The only advice to give, if you really do feel that you are dealing with a toxic boyfriend, ask yourself whether his behavior can be genuinely changed. Does he know what he’s doing? Does he understand that his behavior is toxic? If so, start a conversation and change the situation. However, if he refuses to see what is going on, think about leaving the relationship behind. [Read: 15 signs of a controlling boyfriend most girls ignore]

A toxic relationship has no future. It’s that simple. You can’t be happy with a toxic boyfriend. He will always make you feel less than you are. You deserve better! By focusing on the positives, you can move away from the toxicity and find someone who will treat you with the love and respect you really do deserve. The big issue, when you are with a toxic guy, you won’t believe that you deserve anything better.

[Read: Should I break up with my boyfriend? The 15 signs it’s time to end a bad relationship]

If you notice these signs of a toxic boyfriend, tread carefully! If you recognize repeated signs over time, sit up and take notice. A toxic relationship is not a relationship you need to be in.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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