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17 Biggest Turn Offs for Guys That Can End a Relationship Before It Begins

There’s nothing worse than when everything seems like it’s going well with a new guy, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, you can tell that he’s turned off by something you’ve done. And yet…turn offs for guys are still a mystery to you.

Maybe you were texting a man you met on Bumble and he disappeared for no reason…

Maybe you went on a first date you thought went great, but then you never heard from him again…

Maybe things were getting pretty steamy, but then he pulled away…

You’re frustrated because you’re not sure what you did wrong, but clearly, it was something. While every man has different things that annoy him or turn him off, knowing what the general turn offs for guys are can help you avoid them.

Turn Offs for Guys That Can End a Relationship Before It Begins

I know some of the following turn offs for guys may seem like reasonable things to you (what’s wrong with wanting all of his time??), but sometimes when you do them too early in a relationship (or before you’ve even defined that you’re in a relationship), they can scare him off.

1. Talking About the Future Too Soon

I get it. You don’t want to waste your time going out with a guy who is not interested in a long-term relationship. But there’s a difference between asking a guy, “What are you looking for?” and planning an activity or getaway months down the road when you’ve only gone out twice!

Most men I know don’t plan ahead further than tomorrow, so asking him if he wants to take a weekend getaway will probably make his head explode. And this is one of the turn offs for guys that’s so easy to fix! Just don’t get ahead of yourself planning. If there’s an event you’re eyeing that you’d like to take him to (assuming you’re still together), put it in your calendar and ask him closer to that time.

2. Spending More Time on Your Phone Than Talking to Him

Have you heard of sidebarring? It’s the term for being on your phone when you’re supposed to be spending time with other humans, and 71% of us do it.

Are you guilty of sidebarring? Do you check texts, take selfies, or scroll Instagram when you’re with your guy?

AGGGG! That’s one of the major turn offs for guys!

Seriously. What do you think it communicates to the person you’re with if you think your phone is more important than spending quality time with them? It tells them that you don’t value them. And a man who thinks you don’t value him is one who won’t stick around for long.

3. Trying to Make Him Jealous

I would like to assume that because you are over 40 and dating that you’re past jealousy games, but in fact, I know that women sometimes continue these old habits even after they grow up. Maybe you post photos of you with a hot guy (friend) to make another man jealous after he pissed you off. Maybe you’re at a party and you think that by flirting with all the men in the room, you’ll attract the one you really want.

It doesn’t work. Trust me.

When you try to make a man jealous, ask yourself what you’re really after. I’m willing to bet that what you really want is his attention. There are better ways to get it.

4. Talking About Yourself All the Time

You on a first date: “So yea, that’s what I do for a living. What do you do? Oh, you’re a firefighter? My dad’s a firefighter. I seem to date a lot of firefighters. I look good in red, so at least I match the firetruck!”

One of the biggest turn offs for guys is when a woman talks incessantly about herself, never bothering to really be curious about the man she’s with. Maybe you’re doing it because you’re nervous, but ask yourself throughout a date whether you’ve asked as many questions about him as you’ve talked about yourself. Come up for air now and then, girl!

5. Grilling Him on a First Date

Here’s another of the turn offs for guys I see particularly with older women. Again, you don’t want to waste your time, so you’re trying to figure out if this guy is worth it or not as fast as possible, so you ask him a ton of questions:

What do you do?

What are you looking for?

What was your longest relationship?

Do you have or want kids?

Have you ever been married?

If you’re asking all of this, I promise the man you’re asking is screaming inside his head. I understand that you want to see how many of the boxes on your list of qualities you’re looking for he ticks off, but it will take time to get to know him. Enjoy it.

On your first date, focus more on chemistry. How do you feel being around him? Does he make you laugh? Maybe a little nervous (good!)? Do you have butterflies in your stomach? You may think you want a divorced lawyer with no kids (who wants none), who’s into hiking, but if on a first date you let yourself, you might end up falling for an electrician with three adorable kids who loves motocross. You can’t control who you fall in love with!

6. Complaining About Men You’ve Dated in the Past

“The last guy I was with always…”

“Ug. I hated it when my ex-husband…”

“My ex had the most annoying habit…”

You may not even realize you’re bitching about past men until this guy points it out. Or until he disappears. You may have bad feelings about past loves or men you’ve dated, but you’ve got to leave that baggage at the door, lady. The man you’re dating wants to feel like the only guy in the world for you. Sure, he realizes you have a romantic past, but he doesn’t want to hear about it beyond a few highlights (“I was married for 10 years and have been divorced two.”) or specifics he asks about.

First of all, talking negatively about anyone (even if you think they deserve it) is another of the big turn offs for guys. But he’s also thinking, “jeez, what will she say about me after this ends?”

So hold it in, even if it’s hard. Realize that he’s assessing you by everything you say, and bite your tongue whenever a nasty comment rises to your lips.

7. Never Showing Appreciation for Things He Does

He does sweet things for you so often that you come to expect them. And you rarely remember to say thank you or otherwise show appreciation. People like to feel appreciated. If he feels like you don’t feel gratitude for the little things he does, he may stop doing them…or leave altogether.

It doesn’t take much effort to let your guy know that you like those thoughtful things he does for you. A peck on the cheek, a “thank you,” or even you doing something in return is all it takes.

8. Going Overboard with Selfies

Here’s where men and women differ: women are much more likely to take selfies. In a recent survey, it was found that 59% of women took selfies.

Some men are fine with you taking selfies, while others find it a huge turn off, especially the more you take.

If you’re at dinner with him…and take a selfie…

If you’re chilling on the couch with him…and take a selfie…

If you’re alone in the bathtub…and take a selfie…

He may feel like you’re a bit narcissistic and move on to find a woman who’s less self-absorbed. Just be conscious of how often you take selfies and maybe dial it down a little.

9. Demanding All of His Time

You like him…he likes you…why shouldn’t you spend all your time together? You forsake friends to hang out with him and get upset when he doesn’t do the same. Only…you feel like he’s pulling away. What gives?

Naturally, when you start a relationship, you’ll move things around in your life a bit to make room for your new guy. But don’t clear your schedule completely; men like women who have a life outside of spending time with them. You may think he’ll want you more if he spends more time with you, but actually, the opposite is true. The less time you spend together, the more he’ll want you. He’ll wonder what you’re doing, and you’ll have plenty to talk about when you are together.

10. Leaving Things at His House Before He’s Ready

So you’ve been dating a few weeks and you stay at his house occasionally. You decide to slip your toothbrush into the holder next to his without fanfare. You “accidentally” leave a pair of (clean) underwear too.

His response?

“Uh, hey, you accidentally left this. I’m sure you need it at YOUR house.”


This man clearly isn’t ready to cohabitate, so pull back on leaving things at his house. He got the hint, trust me. When he’s ready, he’ll say, “it’d be a lot easier if you left some clothes over here. I even cleared a drawer for you.”

Just to translate: the cleared drawer is the holy grail of dating. It’s a big deal. It means he’s ready to accept you as a permanent fixture in his life. Celebrate. Rejoice. Just don’t rush it.

11. Picking a Fight So He’ll Kiss Your A&&

Maybe you have a fiery temper, and in the past, if you threw a fit, your boyfriends (or even husband) would give in and give you what you want. You like it when a man kisses your butt; it makes you feel in control.

But this guy ain’t playing your games. You try to pick a fight and get him to chase after you to apologize for what you think he did wrong, but he just tells you if you want to leave, that’s your choice.

This is an immature move on your part, I’m sorry to say. I know it’s easy to revert to those dating habits you had when you were in your 20s, but realize that dating after 40 is a completely different animal. You were pretty much a child in your 20s and didn’t have the emotional maturity you have now. So use it! If you’re upset about something, sit down and have a mature conversation about it, explaining your frustration. That way, you’ll resolve the situation and it won’t come back again and again. And you won’t turn him off with your childish antics.

12. Acting Like a 20-Year-Old When You Go Out

Another thing you might have done in your 20s is party. Now, while you probably still go out with friends to drink and cut loose, you (hopefully) do so at a more subdued level than your keg-stand beer-pong days. If not, we may have a  problem.

Maybe you’re nervous around this new guy, and so you drink a bit more than you normally would as a sort of social lubrication. But then you end up wasted and making a fool of yourself. Tell me that wouldn’t be a turn off if a guy did that around you!

Be conscious about how much you drink around a man you’re interested in. If it’s a first date, you might not want to factor in alcohol at all if you can’t stop ordering drinks. If you do drink, order a glass of water and alternate between the adult beverage and the water so that you keep from getting drunk.

13. Saying ‘I Love You’ Waaay Too Soon

Another of the turn offs for guys is when a woman they’re dating says those three words too soon in the relationship (or worse, before the guy even considers that they’re in a relationship!). I recognize that sometimes your feelings hit you hard and fast when you’re dating someone new, especially if you were in a bad marriage before.

But take your time assessing these new feelings. Is it really love, or maybe just infatuation? If it’s the latter, those feelings of euphoria you feel in the first few weeks will gradually fade. If it’s love, it will only grow stronger. Be assured that he feels the same before you tell him you love him.

14. Wanting to Control Him

Has anyone ever told you that you’re a control freak? Dating may be challenging for you. You may feel like having control over what your man does gives you the upper hand, or that it will keep him from leaving, when in reality all it does is make him want to get as far from you as possible.

The illusion about control is that you have it. You can’t make him love you or stay with you. And trying to manipulate his every move won’t make that happen. So let go and just let the relationship be what it was meant to be.

15. Flirting with Other Men

Maybe you got in an argument and now you’re pissed at your man. You’re at a party or bar and decide to flirt with other guys to make him jealous or to get back at him. Again, this is a childish move you should leave back in your 20s. A good man will fall in love with an emotionally mature woman who can handle her feelings, even if they include anger, not one who tries to get revenge by making a fool of herself with every man in the room.

16. Playing Games

I’ve covered a few of the games that women play that are turn offs for guys, but in general, if you’re scheming to get something you want from a man without just asking for it outright, you’re playing games. Games are things like:

  • Waiting exactly 1.5 hours before responding to his text
  • Pretending to be busy when he asks you out to make him want you more
  • Posting photos on social media to show that your life is exciting and men want you

Admit it: you know when you’re playing games. You think it’ll help you accomplish something, but think about it: has that ever worked?

17. Complaining

Sure, sometimes people complain. After a stressful day of work, it’s perfectly okay to vent to your significant other. But your positivity should far outweigh your negativity in life. If you’re constantly bitching about your friends, your family, your life, do you think that’s appealing to a man who’s dating you? People can feel negative energy, and it’s a turn off.

If you’re going through a tough time, it’ll be hard to curb your complaining. Try this instead: journal about it. Talk to yourself. Usually it doesn’t matter who hears your complaint (or doesn’t hear it); you just need to get it out of your system. Better to write it out or say it to thin air than to put it all on your boyfriend.


Whether you’ve been on two dates with a guy or have been with one for two years, be aware of your behavior and his reaction to it. His body language will tell you if what you’re doing is a turn off, even if he doesn’t tell you directly. In my mind, you should constantly be working to improve yourself, and that means being a better partner. Knowing (and avoiding) turn offs for guys can help you be more attractive and desirable to anyone you date.

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