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The initial stage of a relationship is fragile, which means that it’s more important than ever to be aware of some of the biggest turn offs for men.

This is the stage where we’re always so preoccupied with looking as attractive as possible and being on our best behaviour.

It’s also the stage where we’re the most judgmental of who we’re dating.

Lucky for you, as the relationship progresses and you develop a deeper connection with each other, both partners begin to relax and some of those turn offs become more forgivable.

In the beginning, however, you have to tread lightly if you want a chance at getting past the infatuation stage.

Here are 25 ways women often end up turning guys off without even realizing it!


Turn Offs for Men

1. They’re always on their phone.

When your eyes are constantly glued to that device in your hand, you send the message that you really don’t want to give your guy your full, undivided attention. He’s probably going to think that you’re more concerned about your ego and social media image than seriously getting to know him.


Turn off all your notifications and put your phone on silent when you’re with him.

Smartphones are designed to be addicting, so you really have to exercise self-discipline to break the habit.

Remind yourself that your real life — a.k.a. the guy sitting right in front of you — is way more important than any Instagram notifications or Snapchat messages.

2. They talk about their exes.

Unless a guy directly asks you about an ex or brings up any of your past relationships, you should keep your lips zipped.

The guy you’re dating now doesn’t want to think about or know what you’ve done with another guy before him, and if you bring an ex up more than once, you’re going to make it look like you’re not over it.


Work on noticing any thoughts of your ex pop up in your head before any words exit your mouth. (This should be relatively easy for introverts and harder for extroverts).

Stay focused on him in the present moment — not a guy from your past.

3. They ask about men’s exes.

Ask about his ex

It goes both ways when it comes to exes — keep your lips zipped about your own and avoid prying into his past love life too.

If you don’t, you might come off as insecure or jealous.


Respect the fact that your guy has had past relationships, just like all of us have.

Duh, it’s normal!

More likely than not, his exes have helped him grow into the person he is now.

4. They talk about themselves non-stop.

It’s fine to tell a long-winded story about yourself if it’s interesting and your guy wants to hear it, but if he barely gets a peep out on your date because you can’t stop talking about your day at work, or the time you taught your dog to roll over, or the weird thing that happened at the supermarket — and his eyes begin to glaze over, then you might have a problem. There should be a pretty even balance between who gets to talk.


Ask him more questions so he has a chance to tell you more about himself, then shut up and listen!

If you notice yourself rambling on and on when it’s your turn to talk, try to get back to the important points of the story so you can wrap it up quickly.

5. They ask men a lot of serious personal questions.

Here’s the thing that us women really need to understand: At the very beginning of a relationship, most men don’t want to hear anything about commitment. You’re going to scare him away by asking him when he wants to get married, how many kids he wants, what he wants in a wife, and so on.


If you want to ask any questions regarding the future, ask them casually as part of building upon your conversation — and avoid anything about relationships, at least for a few weeks until you’re more serious.

For instance, if he mentions something about a sport he played or a hobby he had as a kid, you could ask him if he’s ever thought about getting back into that sport or hobby again in the future.

6. They tell men that their biological clock is ticking.

Biological clock

Look, I know all about the reality of running out of time to get married and have all the kids you want, and sure, there’s the possibility that being honest about this early on in the relationship can help cut out guys who aren’t a good match.

But if you bring this up right at the beginning, he’s going to get the impression that you’re only interested in him for your dream of becoming a wife and mom.


Just don’t even mention it. Not yet, anyway.

You have to prove to him first that you are, in fact, interested in him — by going on dates and talking and spending time with him.

After you’ve been dating for a little bit and you’re considering getting serious, then you can bring it up… but do it delicately!

7. They’re impolite (or downright rude) to other people.

The way you treat other people — friends, relatives, coworkers, acquaintances, and even strangers — reveals your true colours. If you’re nice to your guy, but then turn around and act mean, bitchy, or rude to everyone else, he’s going to start wondering if you’ll start acting that way around him too once the relationship gets more serious.


Just be nice to people. It’s not that hard!

Don’t act entitled, don’t act like the world revloves around you, and don’t act like everyone else around you owes you something.

Treat them with respect and kindness, and your guy will surely take notice.

8. They’re a magnet for drama.

Whether you cause unnecessary drama between you and your guy or you have it circulating around you via your social circle, chances are that if it persists for long, your guy is going to see you as an immature and run for the hills. Drama in a relationship is typcically considered any form of manipulation.


Practice letting things be, and lettings things go.

Take responsibility for your own feelings rather than trying to manipulate others so that you can feel a certain way.

9. They wear lots of heavy makeup.

Wearing too much makeup

Of course guys like it when women take care of their appearances, but there’s typically a limit to it.

Guys would prefer to see you enhance your natural beauty rather than cover it up.


Save the heavy makeup for special occasions that ideally aren’t date night.

10. They’re insecure about their body.

Women typically show insecurity about their bodies by wearing less form-fitting clothes, shying away from physical contact, and trying to keep themselves hidden in the dark or under the sheets during sex.

But here’s the thing — if a guy is into you, that means he thinks you’re attractive, and he wants you to think you’re attractive too.

Insecurity is a huge mood killer, and even though it’s not about him, he might see it that way and take it personally — as if you’re rejecting him.


Face your fears and let him touch you.

Let him see you.

Notice how he doesn’t cringe in disgust!

In fact, he might actually smile and get extra flirtatious with you.

This is solid proof that you are indeed hot stuff to him!

11. They never acknowledge the things men do for them.

Most guys will never admit this, but it’s in their very nature to crave recognition admiration for what they do — especially from the woman they’re with. This doesn’t just go for the big, romantic gestures — it goes for the little things too. If he thinks he’s not pleasing you, he’s going to feel like he’s not enough.


Get in the habit of saying, “Thank you for…” and then fill in the blank with whatever he did.

He’ll love hearing that, especially from you.

12. They try to make men jealous.

Making him jealous

Guys are programmed to do the chasing, but they definitely don’t want to find that you’re creating competition for them by flirting with other guys in front of him or talking excessively about other guys you know.

He’s going to get the idea that you really want him to bend over backwards to win you over when he shouldn’t have to go that far.


Make him feel confident that you’re into him by giving him your undivided attention when you’re with him, toning down any flirtatious interactions with other guys who are around, and avoiding any suggestive talk of other guys who are or have been in your life.

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13. They text men round the clock.

Texting has changed the way we date and get to know each other, but just because it’s super convenient doesn’t mean you should be sending him a text every hour of the day.

If you’re constantly blowing up his text messages, he might start to feel like you’re not willing to give him the space that he needs to be himself and live his own life.


There are no official rules for how often you should text when you’re first seeing someone, but you should be able to comfortably go several hours, like 2 to 12 hours (and even as long as a whole day), without feeling the urge to send off a text.

14. They’re indecisive.

Indecisiveness is a sign of low confidence. If your guy asks you where you want to go out for a bite to eat or whether you want to catch a movie at 7:15 or 9:30, and you answer with “I don’t know” or “whatever/whenever,” then you’re sending him the message that you’re insecure about your own decision-making skills.


Remember that not making a decision is also a decision, so you might as well make an actual decision by picking something whenever your guy asks for you opinion on something.

15. They complain a lot.


We all need to vent sometimes, but in the early stages of a relationship, you really need to keep it minimal to none.

No matter who you are, it’s depressing to listen to someone complain about everything from their bad hair day, to the crowded bus they were on.

If your guy senses that your conversations are more negatively charged than positive, it won’t be long before he starts planning his exit strategy.


While it can be totally appropriate to mention a genuinely bad experience to the guy you’re seeing, it’s best to keep it short and avoid exaggeration or long-winded sob stories.

Save the venting for your girlfriends, your mom, or your journal.

16. They nag the men they’re with.

No guy wants to be criticized for what he does, and then told how to do it a different way. By nagging him, you’re essentially telling him that you have no confidence in how he makes his own decisions or how he takes action.


You don’t have to agree with what he decides or how he does something, but in the beginning of a relationship, you do have to work on keeping your opinions about how you think something should be done to yourself and let him do what he wants to do.

17. They’re needy.

Neediness is a subjective trait, so one person who seems needy to another might actually be a perfect match for someone else. Signs of neediness include depending on your guy to make you happy, looking for validation from him, getting upset if he doesn’t act in a certain way, feeling worried when you’re apart that he might leave, feeling jealous when he does things without you, and making him the center of your whole life. Usually, when one partner senses that other is somewhat needy, they start pulling away.


Neediness is a complex topic that goes back to how you were raised as a child and your past experiences in relationships, so depending on your level of neediness, you might require the help of a professional to help you deal with it.

If you’re only mildly needy, you might just need to recognize it and then work on bringing balance back to the other areas of your life through personal development practices.

One of the easiest ways to decrease neediness is by fulfilling yourself through pursuing your own interests and hobbies, plus nurturing your other relationships with friends and family.

18. They try to “mother” their men.

Woman doing laundry

Women are natural nurturers, but sometimes, the balance can shift more toward “mother” status and further away from “girlfriend” status.

Guys don’t want to be treated like little boys — they want to be treated like men who are strong, able, and mature.


In the early days, avoid “taking care” of your guy too much by doing things like cleaning his apartment for him, making his lunches for work, or asking him to run a comb through his hair.

There’s a fine line between being a caring, nurturing girlfriend and a smothering, mother-like figure — and while it’s normal for your behaviour to shift slightly more toward a mother figure years down the line in your relationship, when you’re just getting to know each other, you should treat him like the independent and autonomous man he is.

19. They play hard to get.

You might think that playing hard to get is a good idea because men are designed to love the chase, but the truth is, many guys will bail when they women they’re dating just take it too far by making him work way too hard to impress them. If he senses that you’re just not that into him, he might take that as a sign to move on.


Don’t fake or tone down your level interest in him just to see if you can get him to try harder for you.

Men are actually just as insecure as we are, and they’re wired to seek admiration and acknowledgement from women, so if you genuinely like him and want him to know how impressive he is, then tell him, or show it to him in some way!

Chances are that if he sees that he’s impressed you, that will be enough motivation for him to continue working toward impressing you.

20. They sweat the small stuff.

Your guy doesn’t want to be your personal therapist every time a minor inconvenience occurs.

The truth is, most men prefer a laidback, low-maintenance woman who has a good sense of humour.

If you get uptight or upset often about small things, he might fear getting emotionally exhausted from having to constantly be around your outbursts, and he might feel obligated to reassure you every time something bad happens.


Every time you notice you start to feel a little tense or negative about something, take a deep breath and expand your awareness to the bigger picture.

Ask yourself, is it worth getting upset about it, or is better to just let it go?

Chances are, if it’s small and relatively insignificant, it’s better to let it go.

Bonus points if you can find something funny about it!

21. They start a lot of arguments.

Starting arguments

Although it’s normal and healthy to argue in established relationships, if you find yourself intiating a lot of arguments early on when you’re still just getting to know each other, this could be a telltale sign that you may not be well suited for each other — or for a relationship at all, at this time.

A woman who pick a lot of fights early on in a relationship signifies that she’s struggling with some unresolved personal issues, she has trust issues, or she has control issues.

A smart guy can certainly pick up on this — especially if he notices if there’s a trend in how or when she starts arguments.


Figure out what’s at the root of those arguments and work on resolving it.

Until you do, which could require as little intervention as expanding your level of self-awareness or as much as getting professional help from a therapist, the arguments will probably continue.

22. They hold grudges.

Sometimes it’s not that argument that’s all that bad — it’s the resentment and bitterness that follows, which can slowly eat away at any connection that’s been made. Guys really don’t want to feel like they’re the bad guy and that you’re holding something against them long after you’ve had the argument and claimed to have forgiven and forgotten.


After any argument, it’s always a good idea take some time to calm down, regroup, and then prepare to get vulnerable and open up to your guy to share your honest feelings.

Chances are, if he’s an emotionally stable guy and willing to communicate, he’ll understand where you’re coming from — and you’ll both be able to find common ground so neither one of you has to hold onto any grudges.

23. They expect men to spend less time with their friends.

Guys really don’t want to be forced to pick between you and their friends. In fact, you should be happy that your guy values his friendships, because this is a sign of a well-balanced individual with his own life. If you make a big deal out of your guy choosing his friends over you, he could see that as a sign of being controlling and needy.


Let him have his freedom to spend time with friends, but feel free to let him know that you love spending time with him too.

If he loves spending time with you too, then he will certainly make time to spend with you.

As long as he’s not completely ditching you regularly to spend time with his friends, you have nothing to worry about.

24. They insist on doing everything themselves.

Doing it herself

Here’s a secret that many women don’t know: Men crave to be the hero.

Just because you can do something yourself — like open the door, pay for the movie, put on your own sweater, or whatever else — doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your guy do it.

At the very core of masculinity is giving. Femininity is all about receiving.

If a guy feels like he can never make a gesture for you, he’s going to feel emotionally cut off from you because you’re not open to receiving anything from him.


Let your guard down.

Practice receiving openly and with gratitude — not because you can’t do it yourself, but because you’re in touch with your feminine side of receiving.

You can still be a strong and independent woman while letting your guy make a gesture for you once in a while.

25. They assume men should take the lead on everything.

On the flip side of insisting on doing everything for yourself is wanting him to do everything for you. Although men love to do things their women because they’re the natural leaders of the two sexes, they’ll quickly lose respect for any woman who becomes extra passive and submissive by expecting him to do everything for her.


Never assume that a guy will do something for you or lead you before he actually does it.

As an independent woman, you should continue taking responsibility for your own life — especially in the early stages with everything is so new and the relationship dynamic is still developing.

When he does take the lead, trust in his leadership and follow him with confidence.


Don’t Worry About Being Perfect

It’s one thing to read through this list of turn offs for men, but certainly quite another to become aware of them when you’re out there on a date.

These turn offs generally become deal breakers in a relationship when a guy notices that they start to occur frequently, or with greater intensity.

If you slip up once on any of the above items, but catch yourself and learn from it, chances are he’ll likely forget about it and not think twice about it.

You’re only human, after all!

Now don’t let these turn offs for men stop you from getting out there — go out and have fun on your next date!

Turn Offs for Men

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Elise is a 33 year-old Canadian writer and blogger. After a bad break-up in her early 20s, she spent the next eight years single and feeling hopeless about the prospect of dating and falling in love. She started implementing the Law of Attraction in her late 20s and met her partner at age 30, who she's now happily engaged to.
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