5 Things That Turn Men Off to Relationships post image

5 Things That Turn Men Off to Relationships

Have you ever dated a guy who at first looked at you like you were magic…but then soon after seemed kind of indifferent to you? (Raising my hand to this one!)

Or how about being “ghosted?” That has happened to so many of us that it’s now a part of our common vernacular. Has a guy ever suddenly lost interest when things started out seemingly great? Have you faced the pain and agony of watching his excitement over you steadily extinguish?

I know you have because we all have. It’s painful, and quite frankly, it sucks.

MORE: The Real Reasons Men Pull Away

I want to start off by saying it’s not because you’re bad or unlovable or unworthy. If that’s what you think, then stop!

You, like many women, may just be unaware of subtle things that turn men off. You may have the very best intentions… but it’s not about the intentions. It’s something else.

Whatever the scenario, you’re left with endless questions and want to know what happened and why. Well, that’s why you have me!

I’m going to break down the five biggest reasons men get turned off from being in a relationship with you.

5 Things That Turn Men Off to Relationships

1. When You Have an Agenda


What does it mean to have an agenda? It means being in a relationship is your goal and everything you say and do is in pursuit of that goal.

Having an agenda prevents you from connecting to him as a person because he is really just a means to an end for you.

The courtship phase is supposed to be about getting to know each other. It’s the time to discover if you have chemistry, if you’re compatible, and if you enjoy each other’s company.

If during this discovery phase you both come to realize how much better your life is with the other person, and how much you enjoy having them around, then a relationship will effortlessly and naturally unfold.

MORE: Why Guys Don’t Text Back 

When you mentally jump into a relationship prematurely, you take the fun out of it and instead of things feeling pleasant,  there is an underlying feeling of pressure that your man can definitely pick up on.

Think about it. It’s impossible to enjoy spending time with someone who has an agenda. You just know when someone is trying to get something out of you and it causes you to be cautious and guarded around them.

When you have an agenda, you’re on red alert. You’re anxious and on edge because you have so much at stake. You can’t just be. This is a destructive vibe and a total attraction killer for a man.

MORE: What to Do When He Says He Needs Space

Aside from that, when you’re in agenda mode you kind of cheat yourself out of this very fun and exciting stage of a relationship.

You only get one beginning, and it’s such a short-lived and magical part of the relationship. It’s fun getting to know someone new and spend time with someone you like. It’s exciting to discover this person and to discover things about yourself in the process. You feel exhilarated and electric and almost high.

Rushing into a relationship kills the attraction…and the relationship. Try to enjoy the process without racing to some end goal. Be present. Enjoy the here and now.

MORE: The Real Reason Men Withdraw Emotionally

2. Being Too Needy


It’s natural to want to make the guy you’re dating happy. However, this can quickly translate into being too needy and desperate and this is what turns men off more than anything. Being too available and trying too hard are visceral turn-offs and make you look desperate and insecure, to put it bluntly.

When you bend over backwards to please a guy it sends off a red flag in his mind and he reflexively pulls away.

Here is something very important to understand: men want to feel wanted, not needed. Needing him means you need him to respond to you in a certain way in order to feel OK. If he doesn’t text back or compliment you or become “official,” you feel devastated. (If you think neediness is a problem for you, be sure to read this article.)

If the only thing you have to look forward to these days is hearing from him, then you need to adjust your priorities ASAP.

MORE: When a Guy Withdraws After Sex 

Don’t make him the center of your life. Happiness is something you bring into a relationship, not something you get out of one.

A lot of advice givers will say don’t be too available. This is true to a certain extent but being too available isn’t the problem. The problem is really being too needy and desperate for his approval. It’s a mindset more than a set of beahviors.

3. Settling for What You Don’t Want  (and not really knowing what it is you do want)


You’re dating a guy and he shows you he’s not relationship material. Maybe he even comes right out and tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. But you stay anyway, thinking surely he’ll change his mind.

Sound familiar? I hear variations of this situation all the time…I was even once in a situation just like that (okay, maybe a few!).

MORE: When a Guy Won’t Call You His Girlfriend 

Here is where it becomes a problem. You stay with this guy who can’t give you what you want, but you expect him to act like your boyfriend and then get upset when he doesn’t. You expect to hear from him, you expect him to touch base, you expect certain romantic gestures…but he doesn’t deliver. The thing is, you can’t cast him in the role of the boyfriend when he doesn’t accept the part.

In these situations, the woman often feels resentful towards him for not meeting her needs even though she knew he was incapable of doing so from the start. When these bitter, negative feelings start to emerge, it’s not long before he’s out of there.

You can’t change a man or turn him into what you want him to be. You also can’t force a situation to be what you want it to be. The only person you can control is yourself.

MORE: Why Men Pull Away 

Figure out what you want, give yourself permission to have the relationship you want, don’t settle for what you don’t want and then get upset when your needs aren’t being met.

This essentially comes down to lack of boundaries and lack of boundaries is caused by low self-esteem…just like almost every other relationship problem.

4. Not Being Honest

turn-men-off-from-relationship-4There is no more unattractive woman to a man than a dishonest woman. Trust is everything in a relationship; if you’re dishonest and deceitful, he will end it faster than you can say deceitful.

MORE: Why Men Pull Away When They’re Falling in Love

It’s not just about lying, although this is a major red flag. It’s also about being dishonest with who you are, with what you want, and your intentions.

Don’t tell him you’re a cool go with the flow girl who wants to be his sex-buddy when secretly you’re hoping he falls madly in love with you and proposes.

Don’t tell him you believe certain things just to get him to like you. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. The truth always comes out and then what will you do?

MORE: Why He Lost Interest

Another layer is being emotionally honest. Tell him how you’re feeling, don’t be passive aggressive or shove your feelings aside (they will come back with a vengeance). Yes, sometimes this will require being a little vulnerable — and we’re all terrified of that! — but you have to go there if you ever want a deep, meaningful relationship.

MORE: Why Did He Withdraw? 

What scares men away is neediness and emotionally empty women who rely on a boyfriend to fill them up with happiness and a sense of worth. A woman who expresses her emotions and needs honestly is not scary. On the contrary, she’s endearing.

5. Being Too Me-Centered


In the age of Instagram and Facebook, we all have traces of Narcissus in us (some much more than others). It’s not so much that we’re so obsessed with ourselves as it is a whopping dose of insecurity. Who wouldn’t feel insecure constantly scrolling through filtered images of people at their absolute best? But that’s a separate topic.

Talking too much, bragging, boasting, worrying about your own wants and needs to the point of obsession- these are all major turn-offs for men.

MORE: Signs He’s Pulling Away 

Relationships are about giving, and me-centered people can’t see beyond their own wants and needs. The relationship isn’t a shared experience, it’s their experience and this can lead to a very toxic dynamic.

A lot of women fall into the trap of obsessing over their own wants and needs (and I want to clarify that I’m not saying you shouldn’t have wants or needs, you should! And those wants and needs will hopefully be met. But it goes two ways), and then wonder why a guy is no longer interested. You have to see outside of yourself in order to connect to someone else and this can only happen when you’re in a healthy place emotionally.

MORE: Why Men Disappear

At the same time, being too him-centered is also a problem, as we discussed in the beginning of this article. Both have the same root: insecurity.

MORE: 12 Things You’re Doing That’s Scaring Men Away 

So what’s the solution?

The solution is not to follow a set of rules or play a part. A friend of mine asked me the other day for the “formula” to get a guy to want to commit. She was coming from a truly earnest place. She didn’t buy that it was all random happenstance, surely there must be a strategy!

Well, there is… sort of. The “strategy” is to be your best self. To work on your issues. To find happiness in your life and to find meaning in your life. The solution is not to believe that you will find happiness, self-esteem, and meaning as soon as you have a boyfriend. This mindset is what causes all the off-putting behaviors I’ve discussed in this article.

MORE: Biggest Dating Turnoffs For Guys 

That is really all you can do. You can’t force someone to love you, you just have to make yourself loveable in essence.

I hope this article helped you better understand what turns a man off from a relationship. But there’s more you need to know. There are two defining moments in a relationship that will determine if it lasts or if you get your heart broken. The first is when your guy seems to withdraw and pull away. If it seems like he’s losing interest, pulling away, or acting cold toward you, then you need to read this article right now to find out exactly what to do: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...

The next thing most women are unaware of is what actually inspires a man to commit for life. What makes a woman girlfriend/wife potential? Do you know the answer? If not, you need to read this article right now: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman

Got a question or some feedback? Hit me up in the comments section!

Lots of love,

Sabrina Alexis

In summary…

5 Things That Turn Men Off to Relationships:

  1. When you have an agenda
  2. Being too needy
  3. Settling for what you don’t want
  4. Not being honest
  5. Being too me-centered

Written by Sabrina Alexis

I’m Sabrina Alexis, the co-founder, and co-editor of A New Mode. I love writing relatable, insightful articles that help people understand relationship dynamics and how to get the love they want. I have a degree in psychology and have spent the last 10 years interviewing countless men and reading and studying as much as I can to better understand human psychology and how men operate. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Instagram.

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Nichole Perez

Wow, what an article. It turns me off from wanting to date men, to be honest. This article makes men sound very high maintenance; women bending over backwards to meet men’s needs, while men do nothing for women. One also has to wonder why it’s so hard to date men. Why are they so easily turned off by women who act as if they need something from men emotionally? Sounds like a lot of games and playacting so as not to hurt their feelings. What a waste of time. Also, you seem to be preaching to young women, with no self-esteem. I see a woman in her 50s acting like she’s in high school. Why don’t we ask men to grow up instead of not being ourselves? Isn’t your advice a little stale for the 21st century women? Sad state of affairs.

Reply April 2, 2020, 12:52 pm


spot on for your article! love it! but im a little too late. i’ve made all the mistake that you’ve mentioned and this guy who was interested but did mentioned he is not ready start running back into his “cave” i do feel rejected and do not want to take initiative to ask him out nor text him.

what should i do now? what if he dont take initiative to text? we are facebook friends though. there no way i will see him again if we dont talk.

Reply October 17, 2017, 10:34 am


Is it weird that i’m being in a relationship but i’m seeing these signs? Things were great the first few months then we started to have a bit of emotional distance but we were making effort and we still have strong feelings, later on things went downhill when few people wanted us to break up and then we had to pretend that we are not together so we are in a hidden relationship during that time we both got depression, family issues and bad grades beaide the health issues and we were so distant from each other, i became unintentionally needy by missing the old days and every once and a while i’d bring it up till he exploded and told me to focus on my life my studies and my health and forget about fixing the relationship and it broke my heart to be in a relationship but feel alone and away from my lover
Things stayed like that off and on’s we know about each other we meet up every once and a while (secretly) which made it even harder. It has been 6 months now and we reached to a point that we can’t decide if we are happy together because we’re not as close as we were before and we can’t meet up as often (we meet up once every 2-3months) our anniversary came and he didn’t do anything and he didn’t let me do a thing so he won’t feel bad. At one point a month ago he admitted that he’s going through tough phases in his life and he can’t give me anything he’s giving me a Zero and he can’t call text or make time for us. I said i’ll stay and stick by your side through thin and thick yet sometimes i can’t help being needy although I’m living my life i’ve sorted things out and made good decisions beside winning the battle against depression and stopping the medication, yet he told me yesterday when i tried to have a talk over our relationship and how to fix things he said he misses me sometimes (it hurts to know he doesn’t miss all the time like before) he said he doesn’t know about his feelings and he can’t decide if hes happy or not and that i should focus on my life and live and be happy and stop thinking about him and the relationship which frustrated me and now i’m confused shall i give a chance till we meet up and see if we actually feel happy and comfortable together or not. I need to know if things would be fixed between and if it worth fighting for or shall i just give it up and break up with him and move on. It’s so sad fhat two people would want to be together but other factors in life and interferring people would sabotage that connection and it went slowly the process took months and months i wished if it waa fast instead of being attached to something that we don’t know what’s the end of it

Reply October 14, 2017, 3:31 am


“A lot of advice givers will say don’t be too available. This is true to a certain extent but being too available isn’t the problem. The problem is really being too needy and desperate for his approval. It’s a mindset more than a set of behaviors.” I’m in a position in my life right now that makes me more available to my man then most advice givers would like, so knowing that’s not inherently the problem and that the relationship isn’t doomed by it is such a relief to hear.

Reply October 13, 2017, 7:24 pm


I don’t agree with a lot of things Ive read about how to make a guy “commit” etc. I don’t agree with not calling a guy or not texting a guy to allow him to chase me; maybe “initially”, but once you’ve had a few dates, you need to be able to feel comfortable calling a guy and texting, but just don’t stalk him every day wiih text/phone calls! That screams “controlling”. Shoot, I get pissed off when my sister or mom does that to me. I’ve actually gotten in fights with them about how I don’t have time to call them every other day. So would I expect a guy to be ok with that – NO! But my issue was the guy I’ve been seeing for the last 8 months told me that he didn’t think I was interested in him because I never called him during the week, and I never stopped by to visit if I was in the area. I would only come over if he asked me to come over for a “date”, or dinner, or whatever. He made it clear that he wanted me as his “girl”. I was so worried about not trying to be “needy”, I was actually playing hard to get and i came across as aloof (when we weren’t intimate that is). I’m not aloof at all with sex. This list is prob the best advice I’ve seen so far. You can’t make a guy “commit”. To me, that is playing games. Like her list says, You really have to be yourself, be honest. I WAS confusing being honest my feelings as being “needy”. I was afraid if I showed him how I really felt about him, I’d prematurely scare him off. On the contrary, I almost lost him acting too aloof and he didn’t think I was all that into him. We made up, I went to see him and gave him a big hug and kiss and told him very sincerely that I really missed him. He said he really missed me too. I was trying to be “ms. Cool” Be as affectionate as you want, tell the guy how you feel. If he runs off, then better soon than later, so you can find a guy that is actually ready to “love” you, and not If he doesn’t like who you are, or gets bored with you, fine – keep dating til you find the guy that likes to be with you. But I’m ready to print this list out as a reminder to be myself, and not confuse “neediness” with being affectionate. Guys need to know you want them too. But wanting is not the same as “needing” them to behave exactly like what is on your “expectations”.

Reply October 12, 2017, 11:43 pm


This is all fine and good, but then I get emails every daw from ANM hawking someone’s video telling you they “HAVE THE SECRET FORMULA TO GET HIM TO COMMIT- just pay this “small fee” to find out what it is”. So, what you preach here is then completely undermined by the messages the videos sell. :(

Reply October 12, 2017, 8:43 am


Been seeing guy for 8 mo. We both were married 25 yrs. When met he was fresh out of a 4 yr relationship that turned so badly, his family still has major issues w how it affected him. Good looking, tall, doctor who plays tons and tons if golf and golf trips. I support that because I understand his profession. We have a 5 day trip skdld in mid Nov. Treats me like a queen. I’ve asked 3 diff x in 8 mths what’s going on w us. Each time same answer… he says I wld never want to hold u back, I’m just not where you are right now. Still trying to recover from past baggage. The other day I asked and he said he wasn’t there YET, could I get there possibly, when I just don’t know, i have so much from my past I’m still working thru.
He has 2nd home where all his family is, esp elderly parents, he visits there often, loves his golf club there etc. I probed him and asked if he as girlfriend there he said no. Said he has been out on occasion w other women. Obviously while out of town.
Trust, honesty and communication are HUGE in his wheelhouse.
How do I tell him I’m going to start dating again, he knows I’ve been faithful -all in trying to build trust knowing his past. I’m 50 he’s 57 and I want to be with someone who wants a loving relationship. I must say his positive actions never equal the words he shares about relationship. It’s pull and push. When do i tell him I want to continue seeing him but when asked I will no longer say no. Do i wait until our amazingly fun trip is over?

Reply October 12, 2017, 8:39 am


It doesn’t sound to me like the trip is contingent on whether he and you are exclusive, since he’s not. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do (dating you and others) and you need to be blunt and tell him you are doing the same. He may or may not eventually commit to you but what if you meet someone else great in the meantime who’s ready for that step? Don’t miss out on that opportunity. He’s still looking for something too, by dating others. If he had asked you to be exclusive while waiting for him to work through his issues it would be another story, but he didn’t. Good luck. Take care of yourself, first!

Reply October 12, 2017, 8:52 am


Tess, about 15 years ago I dated a guy that was clearly dating other women. I thought he would drop them for me, but he never did. From my own experience, I believe if a guy actually tells you he’s dating other women, he’s not even going to try to have any type of exclusive relationship with you, or even commit. He likes dating different women and that’s his lifestyle. Aside from this one jerk I dated, I’ve never had a guy after him ever tell me they were dating other women. ANd that’s because they were nice guys and wanted to see if we had a real possibility of seeing where it would go, and that’s when a will quit dating other women if he’s really into you and wants to try have a relationship with you. So what’s the point of dating other men, and hanging on to this guy? Just let this one go, and date other men til you find a guy who wants to be in a relationship. They are out there, if they weren’t no women would be in relationships. Who knows, the next guy you date probably wants to be exclusive with you, but you’ll never find him hanging on to Mr. Player. Don’t confuse rejection for love either. Move on, your hurt because he’s rejecting you. It’s a terrible feeling; I’ve been there, but life will be good again when you date someone else that is more considerate of your feelings too.

Reply October 13, 2017, 12:12 am


Is there a way back, once you realised what you’ve (probably, at least to some extent) have done?

Reply October 12, 2017, 7:07 am


I’ve done some of those things Sabrina had mentioned unknowingly. He ended it. I was hurt. But what I realized is that I have to work on myself and I did and I never felt so much better and happy. I also let go of the hope that we may get back together. I learned from it and moved on. I am now seeing a great guy for the last 6 months. You just learn from it and move on. You’ll meet someone better match for you.

Reply October 12, 2017, 10:30 am

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