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Am I a Bad Boyfriend? 40 Signs to Know

Am I a Bad Boyfriend? 40 Signs to Know

Updated on Sep 22, 2022 | Published on Sep 13, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Am I a Bad Boyfriend - How to Know If You're a Bad Boyfriend

Every guy, at least once in his life, has asked himself “Am I a bad boyfriend?”. While it’s pretty difficult for you to understand whether or not you keep your girlfriend happy, some signs definitely point toward a bad boyfriend.

Signs such as physical abuse or infidelity are huge red flags. But what about some of the more subtle signs that indicate your shortcomings as a boyfriend? In this think-piece, I’ve enlisted 40 signs that will help you identify if you’re the “bad one” or not.

How to know if you’re a bad boyfriend? – 40 Signs

Look, I know that nobody wants to give themselves the tag of the “evil ex”, but if you think that you have some bad qualities, it’s time to rectify them. But to rectify them, you need to first find them… and you can do that with the help of this list.

1. You keep nagging your girlfriend for sex

Forcing your girlfriend to have sex with you is a serious offence, but begging or constantly nagging for it is also equally horrific. Pestering her or arguing with her over sex can really make you a bad boyfriend.

Many men often think of sex as some sort of transaction, such as a reward for doing something nice. If you feel that your woman is obligated to have sex with you just because you paid for dinner or gifted her a cute dress, it’s time to stop doing that immediately.

The ultimate aim of your kindness should be to make your partner happy, not because you want them to sleep with you.

2. You sulk after every argument

I mean, seriously? Instead of communicating clearly and expressing your thoughts out loud, do you sit and sulk? That’s not only immature but also doesn’t help to resolve the conflict between you and your girlfriend.

Yes, men are proud beasts who don’t like to be vocal about their feelings but when it comes to solving differences of your opinions, you have to stop sulking and behaving like a man-child.

It’s much healthier to tell your girlfriend, “Hey look let’s talk things out” or “I need a little time to think and reach a conclusion”.

3. You don’t call/text her often

Call when you tell her that you’ll call! Or stand on your promise when you’ve told her that you’ll text after your class! Unless there’s an emergency, it makes no sense to skip calling or texting your partner.

For example, if you have a date night planned and you suddenly face an unavoidable circumstance, make sure to tell her that you won’t be able to attend it. Avoiding basic forms of communication like texting or calling makes you insensitive and is also a huge let-down.

Even if you can’t go into a full-length explanation, the least you can do is drop a quick message and a romantic emoji, right?

4. Hey there, attention-seeker!

Let’s be honest – we all love attention. I mean, just think of how many times you scroll through your profile on social media compared to others’ profiles. Loving a bit of attention is cute, but when you overdo it, it makes you a nagging boyfriend.

If your girlfriend always has to spend the entire day trending to you and your needs, you know something is majorly wrong. When you become too attention-seeking, you lose out on the beauty of your relationship.

You have to realize that your girlfriend is an equal partner here and both of you should tend to each other’s needs.

5. You get easily jealous

An insane amount of jealousy looks sexy in movies but is a terrible put-off in real life.

Do you ask your girlfriend a million questions when she goes out with her male friends or posts pictures with them? Let me tell you, that isn’t cute. Not one bit. Even if you don’t like her friends, it’s okay, but never trash them because you have no proper evidence.

Hollywood heroes might say dialogues like, “I’m jealous only because I love you and I want to protect you” but anyone in a healthy relationship knows that jealousy can never be a part of it.

6. You gaslight your girlfriend

Gaslighting is a form of emotional or mental abuse where the abuser invalidates the victim’s pain or trauma and makes them seem insignificant. Have you ever told your girlfriend things like, “You’re making a big deal out of this”, or “I don’t remember” when you do remember everything?

Most relationship coaches feel that a gaslighter usually behaves this way as a result of their own childhood or past emotional trauma.

If you frequently belittle your girlfriend, it’s time to take a step back and correct your mistakes. Start by validating her points and understanding things from her perspective.

7. You don’t hear her out

Both you and your girlfriend can get pretty annoying to each other at times. But unless you walk through the rough patches together, how will you sail smoothly? Did you know that most women felt that they were never heard by their partners?

And when I say heard, I don’t mean mindlessly listening to whatever she is saying and thinking of the upcoming soccer match. You must really listen to what she has to say and figure out how to make her feel loved and respected.

 Remember, listening to her is the first step to winning her heart!

8. You hate everything she likes

You must have heard of the phrase “opposites attract”, isn’t it? Well, it’s true! But if you and your girlfriend are far too different and you reach a point where you just can’t tolerate anything she does, it’s not a good sign.

A good boyfriend respects his girlfriend’s hobbies and passions, even if he doesn’t quite like them himself.

So, the next time your girl says she wants to take up dance classes to enjoy herself, encourage her to do that instead of listing down all the reasons why you think it’s a bad idea. Remember, it’s her wish to do something, not yours.

9. You love criticizing

Positive criticism? Of course, I’m all up for it! But imagine if your girlfriend constantly criticized everything you did, right from the way you button your shirt to the way you mow the lawn. Wouldn’t you feel inferior or insulted? So why would you make her go through the same pain?

Criticizing your girlfriend without any concrete reason is more than enough to land you the “horrible boyfriend” certificate. Being high-heeled and feeling that you’re the only one who can get things done correctly makes you look bad and undesirable.

10. You absolutely love comparing your current to your ex

Ugh, this is another major put-off that so many women face. They constantly keep hearing things like, “You know, she used to dress up way better than you”, or “We had such great chemistry in bed”.

Brother, if you go on comparing your present girlfriend to your ex, it won’t be long until the present becomes another ex of yours! So, stop the comparison now.

Recognize how beautiful and talented your current girlfriend is without making her feel like she has to keep competing against your exes. Understand that everyone is perfect in their own way.

11. You’re way too busy… again!

So, this is the third time this month that your girlfriend has had to cancel your movie date. I understand that work and other commitments are crucial, but so is your girlfriend!

Canceling your girlfriend, or even worse, standing her up all the time makes you a bad boyfriend.

A boyfriend who doesn’t have time to spare for his girlfriend will soon find himself in quite a fix because your girlfriend will definitely call it quits. Come on, man, it isn’t hard to spend a few hours a week with the love of your life!

12. Hygiene? No thanks!

Can you name one woman who would live with an unhygienic boyfriend? Nope. It’s widely believed that men are, in general, dirty and messy.

While being a little disorganized and leaving your clothes here and there is still acceptable, there are some things that no woman in her right mind will tolerate.

Not taking a shower for days, keeping your dirty underwear piled up, and smelling like death- these are all the things that put you on the “bad boyfriend” list. It doesn’t hurt to shower with soap and shampoo now and then, right?

13. You’re not happy about her success

Jealousy can take different forms. Even if you’re not insecure about your partner’s male friends but feel annoyed whenever she wins something big or achieves something, it can be a major sign of jealousy.

Being happy about your girlfriend’s success is the basis of any healthy relationship. If a boyfriend doesn’t feel that happiness, it surely doesn’t make him the boyfriend of the year.

Even though you know your girlfriend’s success means the world to her and you keep trashing her about it or try to make it sound like she’s overreacting, it’s time to change yourself, friend.

14. You’re big on secrets

No, I’m not asking you to share every tiny detail of your day with your partner. But sharing basic things, like how your day went or who you went out with after work is important.

It’s fine to withhold a few secrets from each other but when you keep hiding things from your girlfriend, especially details about other female friends, it is a bad sign. Women often understand pretty early if their man is attracted to someone else.

So, if you’re slowly withdrawing from her or you refuse to be open with her, she’ll understand that her man doesn’t care about her anymore.

15. Another woman hitting on you? Yes, please!

So, you might not openly flirt back when another woman hits on you but you don’t say anything either- that again is a warning sign of a bad boyfriend. You know you like attention. The other woman knows it too.

Unfortunately, your girlfriend is also aware of that. And trust me, excuses like, “I didn’t realize she was flirting with me!” will get you nowhere.

So, the next time you see a woman trying to be all over you (even when your girlfriend isn’t around), you must tell her that you’re committed and under no circumstances will you be led astray.

16. You love hard substances more than food

We all love to get drunk or high occasionally, but what does it say about you when you’re never sober? Imagine your woman taking you to a party filled with her colleagues and important guests and you end up making a fool of yourself.

That won’t reflect very well on her, no matter how well she performs in her workplace. Being drunk or high sometimes is fun but you have to know when to draw the line. Not only will substance addiction ruin your health but your relationship too!

17. You don’t believe in non-sexual physical intimacy

If the phrase “non-sexual physical intimacy” seems foreign to you, we have problems, dear. Does your mind immediately go to sex when your girlfriend holds your hand? Is sex the only form of intimacy that you crave?

Then it’s time you try out other things like simply giving each other a warm hug or letting your woman rest her head on your lap.

While sex is a lot of fun, it’s also important to acknowledge other signs of physical love, like softly pecking your girlfriend’s lips or giving each other an innocent back massage after a bad day at work.

18. Your first love is your phone

You’re in a relationship with your girlfriend, but that’s just in name. If, in reality, you’re always hooked on your phone, it really doesn’t speak well about you.

Spending some quality time with your partner, talking to each other, and loving each other- this is what you must do in a proper relationship.

It’s okay to check your phone once in a while but constantly texting or checking your Instagram feed when you’re on a date can make her feel bad and unheard. The next time you’re out with her, consider keeping your phone far away and look at her face instead of the phone screen!

19. Everything turns into a fight

Fights and arguments are an important part of a relationship. You and your significant other will obviously have different views about many things.

But if the simplest of differences lead to arguments, where you keep yelling at her for no reason at all, you have to change your habits.

Constant yelling and placing the blame on your partner just because she expressed her opinions will never help to solve the argument. Instead of becoming hot-headed, why don’t you try your best to calmly listen to what she has to say?

20. You believe that you’re the only one she needs

Having a boyfriend who cares obsessively is just as bad as someone who doesn’t care at all. Not only do you bash her parents, friends, and family members but you’ve tricked her into believing that you’re the only person worth keeping in her life.

This might seem like a fairy-tale romance to you but in reality, you’re just being plain inconsiderate. Just as you’re important in her life, so are all her loved ones. Keeping her away from them will make you more and more undesirable.

In a healthy relationship, your girlfriend is a major part of your life but never your entire life.

21. Your interests come first. Period.

Compromising is one of the main pillars of a strong relationship. Even if you don’t like doing something, you have to meet your significant other halfway. But if you feel that your interests and your work always come first, much before hers, you’re just being selfish.

Your girlfriend’s interest simply doesn’t matter because well, she should be the one to adjust. Always. Habits like this can easily put you on the bad boyfriend checklist. You have to consider what your partner thinks and feels.

If the adjustment that you need to make is really mild, as compared to her happiness, you must go ahead and do it.

22. Physical appearance is everything (and I mean everything!) to you

There’s nothing wrong with a man who likes admiring himself in the mirror and is particular about how he looks or smells. But turning physical beauty into a full-fledged obsession is deadly.

If you’ve reached the point where your girlfriend has to look like an Instagram model, even when she goes grocery shopping, you need to hit the brakes.

Similarly, women love it when their man looks impeccable. But spending hours and hours on your outfit and feeling dissatisfied with everything that you do to your body is a sure sign that your girlfriend needs to move on from you.

23. Your jokes aren’t really jokes

Pulling each other’s legs is cute. But if your jokes are just another way to conceal your contempt toward your woman, it’s not cute. Laughing with your girlfriend is awesome but laughing at her? Nope, not healthy.

There’s a lot of difference between harmless and toxic jokes and you must understand that. The former helps you both to bond while the latter impacts your girlfriend’s mind negatively.

Some of the common forms of hurting someone by joking is to lightly body-shame the victim or make fun of their insecurities.

24. Sex is all about penetration

Is your motto of sex simply “Wham, bam, bye”? Being a two-minute guy, even though you have no problems with your manhood, indicates that penetration is everything for you.

But did you know that the moments that you spend with your partner right after having sex are perhaps more important? Chasing only after sexual pleasure won’t really make your relationship last in the long-term future.

After some time, your girlfriend will simply lose interest and she’ll move on. If you wish to keep her, you have to pay attention to her even after the hot moments in bed are over.

25. You’re always right

Who doesn’t love to be proven right? But during an argument or discussion, if you see that you’re simply not willing to accept that you’re wrong, it will make you a terrible boyfriend.

The constant urge to be right, no matter what the situation is, will inevitably make your girlfriend feel small, even when she knows that your viewpoints don’t make sense.

Not just this, but in the long term, she will realize that you’re not giving her due importance. Nobody wishes to be treated like they know nothing. So put yourself in your partner’s shoes and see where you can improve.

26. Your go-to solution for everything is a breakup

Most people don’t understand the difference between taking a break and breaking up, which causes so much confusion.

Remember relationships aren’t TV shows where you get to switch it off and go about with your life. Whether you like it or not, telling your girlfriend to break up even at the mildest of inconveniences makes you really hard to be with.

If the argument is especially volatile, you can tell her, “Hey, it’s better to cool off for some time and then discuss this” instead of shouting about how you’ll be better off without her!

27. You’re a feminist but… you’re not a feminist

Have you ever said the following things to your girlfriend- “Leave this work for the man of the house because you won’t be able to do it”, or “I’m happy you got promoted but it’s probably because your boss crushes on you”?

This proves that even though you might believe you respect your girlfriend, you look down on her gender. And that, my friend, won’t do. When in a relationship, you have to let go of the notion that you’re better than your girlfriend simply because you’re a man.

Instead of just proclaiming that you admire women, you should actually take steps to do it, starting with your girlfriend.

28. Her DMs are also your DMs

How many times have you snatched away your partner’s phone to check who’s in her inbox? Even if you have done it once or twice, it’s bad enough.

But if this happens regularly and has reached a point where your girlfriend is afraid to text anyone around you, you must change this attitude.

Giving her the space to talk to others freely without your interference is a basic requirement. Just like you have your own set of friends or acquaintances, she has hers too. Have faith in her and let her make her own life decisions.

29. Her mental health isn’t your concern

Has it ever happened that your significant other has complained of going through a really bad time emotionally or mentally and you’ve plainly told her, “Yeah, get over it”?

If the answer is yes, it symbolizes a big flaw in your personality. Taking care of your girlfriend’s mental health is of utmost importance.

Even if you can’t help her like a doctor can, she expects you to be there for her and hold her hand (both metaphorically and literally). So cut the “not my problem” attitude and start supporting her.

30. You hardly gift her things

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend but even the smallest of gifts from her boyfriend will mean the world to her. Even if you’re running out of good ideas on what to gift your special someone, just go with a bouquet of bouquet flowers and a handwritten note.

All her bad days will light up if only you do something sweet for her. But if you hardly gift her something meaningful or forget about important dates, such as her birthday or your anniversary, then you’re in quite a bit of trouble.

31. You keep putting off serious conversations

Now, this is another serious problem that most bad boyfriends have. Whenever something serious needs to be discussed, such as your future together or your jobs, you tend to put it off for the future.

Running away from your problems has become your superpower because that’s the only way you feel that they’ll disappear. But you must realize that this will only deteriorate your relationship in the long run.

Spending time with your partner and going over the things that matter is a sign of maturity and responsibility. Even if it makes your heart hammer like crazy, you have to prioritize what’s important.

32. Your woman has to do things your way

The coffee in your house has to be prepared exactly the way you want. You both will only go to movies that you like. Your girlfriend can only wear clothes that you approve of.

I mean, it sounds like you’re being more of a school principal than a boyfriend, right? If your girlfriend has to do things your way without thinking of her own preferences, your relationship is soon going to flow down the drain.

It’s now time to know her likes and dislikes and respect them too! Just pay a bit of attention to what she wants and watch how things become better almost immediately.

33. Forgiveness? No, you’re all about revenge!

Forgiveness and healing are essential parts of any relationship. Your girlfriend might have forgiven you for something you’ve done. But when the opposite happens and she makes a mistake, you think of ways to plot revenge.

Teaching her a lesson by being vengeful should never be prioritized over moving on. Don’t try to make her feel guilty any more than she already is.

Yes, you may tell her how hurt or upset you are but making her miserable for your own pleasure? Never! This way, you’ll never heal yourself and you won’t let your partner heal too.

34. Your girlfriend is now your ATM account

Your girlfriend is a living, breathing human. It’s fine to borrow money from her at times (only during serious emergencies) but it’s never ever fine to treat her as your personal ATM account.

Most times, women tend to keep lending money to their boyfriends out of love or because the guy has convinced her pretty well that he’s broke.

So, if you ever borrow money from her, make sure to repay it as soon as possible. Everyone works long hours to earn every single penny and your partner is no exception.

35. “I love you” is just something you say, not show

Saying these three magical words takes barely any effort but proving them? That’s where so many of us fail.

Your idea of love shouldn’t just be bellowing “I love you” to your girlfriend all the time. Instead, understand her mind and body and appreciate her. Make her feel important.

If you think saying that you love her is enough, you’re sadly wrong. Loving someone isn’t only about fancy dinners or expensive holidays. Tiny things like hugging her when she comes back home or buying her a box of chocolates is enough.

36. You don’t just love her; you NEED her!

On the other hand, constantly bombarding your beau with fancy gifts and clinging on to her makes you equally undesirable. Knowing when and where to draw the line between loving someone and obsessing over them is important.

You might keep holding on to her because you fear staying single, but ask yourself, “Is this really a healthy thing to do? Is this one of the reasons I am a bad boyfriend?” Sentences like “needing each other like air or water” only sound great only in movies.

When it comes to real-life relationships, nobody wants to put up with a man who has no boundaries.

37. Your ex is “just” a friend…or is she?

Sit and count the number of times you’ve stuttered to your girlfriend that your ex is “just” a friend and there’s nothing between you both.

Even if you don’t tell me honestly, you know the truth, isn’t it? If you’re still hanging out with your ex much more than you do with your present girlfriend, it smells of something fishy. Even your girlfriend will start feeling insecure.

Spend time with your girlfriend rather than running after someone you left long back. After all, there was a reason why you broke up with your ex, right?

38. Your past is a constant baggage

I’m going to tell you an important secret- a girl doesn’t trust a man who seems to bring up his past every hour of the day.

Even if your past has trauma or pain associated, you have to learn how to overcome them. Your past can’t ever be an excuse for why you treat your girlfriend poorly.

For example, if you were cheated on by your ex, you should tell this to your girlfriend and understand the importance of loyalty instead of doubting her. Learning to remove this baggage is a necessary part of growing up.

39. You’re not ready to show off your sweetheart

If your relationship is relatively new, you might not wish to flaunt your ladylove in public. But if it’s been quite a few months, or even years, and your girlfriend is still a secret, you’re doing something majorly wrong.

If you don’t acknowledge her presence in your life, she will have no time for you anymore. That’s because women today know their worth. They know that a man is supposed to introduce her to his parents and family members, instead of being commitment-phobic.

So, start posting her lovely pictures on your Facebook wall and tell everyone how special she is!

40. The relationship is constantly on-off

Being hot and cold might look nice in the reel world (actually not even then) but in the real world, a relationship that thrives on breakup and patching up and then repeating this cycle over and over won’t ever last.

If you’re constantly breaking up with your girlfriend and then running back to her because you don’t know what else to do, it’ll simply prove the fact that you’re still a baby. Your girlfriend should be your partner, not your babysitter who will monitor you all the time.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

So dear reader, now you must have gotten your answer to the question, “What is a bad boyfriend?”. If you exhibit some, or most of these signs, you know you have to start working very hard on yourself. But don’t lose all hope.

If you truly wish to change and become a better partner, there are always ways to help you out. A therapist or your loved ones will always lend you a helping hand!

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