12 Tiny Signs The Guy You're Dating Is A Toxic Jerk

Relationship red flags and the signs of a toxic person can be hard to spot sometimes.

Last updated on Jan 26, 2024

Toxic partner in relationship, red flag cottonbro studio | Pexels, Александр Полепкин, CristianFerronato | Canva

Being caught in someone's intense chemistry can leave you feeling wonderful and unquestioning of your judgment, so you don't notice you're already in a toxic relationship.

When you’re with a person, and you feel small, sad, less than, angry, and used, it’s time to let go and leave. Not to be dramatic, but unless they are willing to go through some intensive personal development, they will not change.


RELATED: I Believed You: Why Abusive Partners Don't Always Look Dangerous

Here are 12 tiny signs the guy you're dating is a toxic jerk:

1. He has strong opinions about women

He’s particular about how you dress, how much makeup you wear, whether he wants it to be a little or a lot, your hair color and cut, the length and the color of your nails.

Sure, it’s fine for a man to have preferences. But a healthy man won't be upset if you change your look. He won’t feel slighted, embarrassed, or upset if you don’t have time to get a pedicure, cut three inches off your hair, or wear something other than what he expected for your date.


When a man is emotionally invested in your physical appearance, he is not looking at you as a person but as an object for his pleasure. He looks at you as a possession for him to put on display. To him, you are not an individual with ideas and opinions of your own but an extension of him.



2. He has strong opinions about everything

His strong opinions extend beyond your appearance to what movies you see, where you go out to eat, what you cook at home, or what he cooks for you. He’s unusually uncomfortable doing unfamiliar things and won’t try anything new.

And I don't mean he says, "Hon, I’d rather not go to that French restaurant/art film/ballet/opera/play if it’s alright with you, I’d like to take you to …" I mean he gets angry and upset when you want to do something different.


By some chance, if you do get him to go along with the new thing, he makes sure you know he’s not happy about it the whole time you’re out. This guy has control issues!

3. He’s offended when you want to try something new, sexually

Or even when you want to talk about your sex life. Who doesn’t want to talk about sex with their partner?!

He is deeply insecure or believes sex is something a man does to a woman rather than a shared experience. He also secretly might believe a woman who wants sex is "bad," "dirty," or a slut".

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4. He’s a different person when you’re alone than when you’re out with your friends

We have all dated or have a friend who’s dated this guy she swears is fun, talkative, and sweet. But in social situations, he sits in stony silence and barely talks. When talked to, he acts bored, sullen, angry, and possessive.


This shows he doesn’t want to be in situations where he’s not the center of attention or in control.

couple bad argument crosses the line

Photo: Photographee.eu via Getty

5. He uses derogatory terms towards women

When angry at a woman (store clerk, driver, bartender, your best friend, etc.) he refers to her as a "whore" or a "slut" or makes negative comments about her that are sexual. Not only is this disgusting, but it’s also disrespectful to you.


Misogynists like this are trying to degrade and suppress women as a group. In reality, guys like this feel powerless around women, and it makes them angry. This guy is potentially dangerous and needs to be avoided.

6. He bitterly complains about his mother

He doesn't just criticize her, he has no respect for her. OK, to be fair, who hasn’t complained about their mom? I’m not talking about being annoyed with her for doing mom stuff — I’m talking about straight-up ugly blaming and holding grudges about decades-old childhood stuff.

He calls her a "slut" or a "whore". This is the behavior of a disturbed man.

He was likely abandoned, abused, neglected, or suffered terrible childhood traumas at the hands of his mother or another female figure in his life. While this is very sad, if he hasn’t sought treatment, he will potentially be physically abusive.


I’ve experienced this with a man I dated for a short while. It is chilling to witness.

RELATED: How To Leave An Emotionally Abusive Relationship That You *Know* Must End

7. He monitors your social media

He’s particular about what types of posts you make and wants to approve photos and comments. He’s highly concerned with how the world views him and takes himself too seriously.

A grown man is concerned about a Facebook post his girlfriend makes.

9. He’s easily offended

He feels insulted by any joke and can’t take any kidding around.

This guy is insecure and one who takes himself too seriously.

10. He calls you names and is verbally abusive when you argue

Over time, this only gets worse. It doesn’t always escalate into physical abuse, but statistics show it certainly can. He has serious psychological issues.


I’ve been in plenty of arguments over the years, and I’ve only been called a name by one of my ex-husbands and one of my past boyfriends while arguing. I’ve dated some real winners, so if someone is name-calling and cussing you up and down, it’s time for you to leave.

You can do better — I promise!

11. He yells at you every time you have a disagreement

I’ve had the kind of relationships where yelling was the go-to response to any conflict. Even a hint of confrontation, and he started yelling. Men do this because they are trying to control you with anger.


Since I’m tough and not intimidated in the least by anger, I thought it was OK to be with this kind of man. Now that I’ve grown up, I know men like this are bullies and yell to avoid dealing with their issues!

12. He’s moody all the time

Of course, men can have bad days and be upset by life’s challenges. If you don’t know who he will be one day to the next, that’s not normal.

Men use this to manipulate women into feeling sorry for them so they’ll "behave" and cater to them.

Being a people pleaser and a caretaker, I’ve been here many times! I’ve gone so far as to marry the "lovable loser who is talented and just can’t get a break," not once but twice!


How can you grow and be the highest expression of yourself when you take care of a partner who won't face their issues? This can also be a sign of depression, and he needs to get professional help, not rely on you.

As tempting as it is and as good as it feels to help him, you are not his therapist or coach.

If you are in a new relationship and see your man exhibiting these signs, consider if you want to be involved with someone insecure, controlling, rigid, depressed, angry, and misogynistic.

These behaviors only get worse and more extreme over time if left untreated. High-quality men are looking for someone like you, so why be with a person who is too much work?


Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone you want to change?

Don't ignore the signs of a toxic relationship just because you think there's no one else out there for you.

It doesn't matter who you are. There is someone for you.


At 49 years of age, I was a retired sex worker who had been married and divorced three times. Then, I met the amazing, successful, high-quality man I’m married to now. If I can do it with all of that baggage — you certainly can, too!

Before you can do that, you need to break free from unhealthy relationships — they're holding you back from finding true love.

You don't have to settle.



If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. More than 12 million women and men over the years have suffered from instances of domestic violence and abuse.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.

There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling with domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

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Mary Eriksen is a Master Law of Attraction Coach, meditation instructor, and a #1 bestselling author of How to Keep Your Man Out of My Bed: A Call Girl’s Best Advice for Capturing Your Man's Undying Adoration, Love & Loyalty.