So your boyfriend has been acting like a jerk lately, and you’re just about ready to give him the boot. Don’t throw in the towel just yet—there are a few things you can do to try and turn his attitude around before ending the relationship. The truth is, there are reasons why guys suddenly turn mean, and the good news is that his behavior is often fixable. You have the power here to make him realize what he’s doing and put a stop to it. If after trying these tips he’s still being cruel, then you know you gave it your best shot, and it may be time to say goodbye. For now, take a deep breath and get ready to stand up for yourself. You’ve got this, girl!
Define What You Consider “Mean” Behavior
The first step is figuring out what behavior from your boyfriend you consider “mean”. Maybe he makes hurtful comments about your appearance or intelligence. Perhaps he yells at you in anger or ignores you for days when he’s upset. These are emotionally abusive behaviors that no one deserves to put up with.
Once you’ve identified the specific actions that are unacceptable, have an honest conversation with your boyfriend about how those behaviors make you feel. Calmly and clearly explain that his words/actions are hurtful and that you won’t tolerate being treated this way. Give concrete examples of times he was mean so he understands exactly what you’re referring to. Let him know his behavior needs to change if he wants the relationship to continue.
If he gets angry or defensive, stay calm and reiterate your position. Don’t engage or argue – just remove yourself from the situation until you’ve both cooled off. You may need to have this difficult discussion more than once. Be prepared for excuses and empty promises, but stand firm in your conviction that you deserve a healthy relationship where you feel respected.
Consider relationship counseling or therapy. Speaking to a professional counselor – either together or separately – can help uncover the underlying issues and give you strategies for communicating in a healthier way. If he’s unwilling to put in the effort to change, you may need to reevaluate the relationship.
You can’t force your boyfriend to become a kinder person, but you can refuse to accept cruelty and demand to be treated well. Have courage and believe in yourself. You deserve so much more than a mean partner, and the choice is in your hands.
Communicate Your Feelings Clearly and Directly
You need to tell your boyfriend directly how his meanness makes you feel. Sit him down, look him in the eyes, and speak from the heart. Say something like:
“When you insult me or put me down, it really hurts. I feel disrespected and unloved. I don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
Be specific by giving examples of things he said that were hurtful. Help him understand the impact of his words. He may not even realize how damaging his behavior is.
Lay out clearly what you need from him. For example:
- I need you to speak to me with kindness and compassion.
- I need you to express disagreement respectfully without personal attacks.
- I need you to build me up with praise and appreciation as much as you criticize.
Compromise is key. Be open to listening to his perspective too. Try to understand why he acts this way and find a solution you’re both happy with. You might say:
“I want this relationship to work. What do you need from me to be less mean and more supportive?”
With honest communication, you can improve the way you treat each other. But if after trying your best he still can’t change, you deserve a healthy relationship where you’re respected and cared for. Don’t stay with someone who is cruel and refuses to change their hurtful behavior. You’re worth more than that!
With patience and effort, you can build a kinder and more compassionate partnership. I hope these tips help get you there. You’ve got this!
Set Healthy Boundaries and Stick to Them
Setting clear boundaries and consistently enforcing them is key to improving your relationship and getting your boyfriend to stop being mean.
Communicate your expectations
Tell your boyfriend his hurtful behavior is unacceptable and needs to change. Be specific about what he says or does that is mean or disrespectful and how it makes you feel. Explain the kind of relationship you want where you both feel heard, respected and cared for. Ask him if he is willing to work to improve the relationship and agree to treat you with compassion. If not, you may need to reevaluate the relationship.
Don’t engage or make excuses
When your boyfriend is being mean, stay calm and don’t engage in hurtful arguments. Tell him his behavior is unacceptable and walk away if he continues. Don’t make excuses for him or blame yourself. His meanness is his choice and his responsibility to address through self-reflection and change.
Follow through with consequences
If he continues to be mean after you’ve communicated your boundaries, you need to enforce consequences to protect yourself. This could include temporarily limiting contact with him until he apologizes and commits to do better. Be prepared to leave the relationship altogether if his behavior does not improve. You deserve to feel safe and happy.
Seek counseling or mediation (optional)
For some couples, seeking counseling or relationship mediation can help uncover the underlying issues contributing to the meanness and provide strategies for improving communication and building a healthier relationship. However, this will only help if both partners are fully committed to the process. You cannot force your boyfriend to change – you can only decide what is right for you.
With time and consistency, setting boundaries and enforcing consequences when those boundaries are crossed may help make the relationship healthier and happier again. But ultimately, you need to do whatever is in your own best interest. You deserve to be in a supportive, caring relationship where you feel respected and valued.
Suggest Couples Counseling or Therapy
If your boyfriend’s mean or hurtful behavior has become a pattern, it may help to suggest couples counseling or therapy. A counselor can:
- Help uncover the underlying issues fueling the mean comments. Often hurtful words come from a place of insecurity, pain or unhealthy communication patterns. A therapist can help you work through these root causes.
- Teach better communication skills. A counselor will show you how to express yourselves in constructive ways, listen actively and understand each other’s perspectives. These are skills that can benefit any relationship.
- Provide a neutral environment. Speaking with a counselor offers a safe space to share openly and honestly. They can mediate discussions and help keep conversations productive.
- Improve intimacy and connection. Counseling aims to bring couples closer through exercises that build trust, vulnerability and empathy. This can help shift the dynamics of your relationship in a positive direction.
- Offer coping strategies. A therapist will give you tools to better handle mean or hurtful incidents when they happen. They can also suggest ways to establish boundaries and stand up for yourself in a respectful manner.
While counseling requires time, money and commitment, many couples find it invaluable for gaining insight, learning skills to improve the relationship and finding greater happiness together. However, both partners must be willing to openly participate for the best results. If your boyfriend refuses to go or isn’t fully engaged, you may need to reevaluate the relationship. You deserve to be in a healthy partnership where you feel respected and cared for. Counseling could be the turning point to get you there, but you must work as a team. It may be up to you to take that important first step.
Recognize When It’s Time to Walk Away
Sometimes relationships reach a point where you have to recognize when it’s time to walk away. As difficult as it may be, staying in an unhealthy relationship where you’re constantly being put down or made to feel bad about yourself will seriously damage your self-esteem and mental health over time.
Look for the warning signs
There are a few signs that it may be time to end the relationship:
- Your boyfriend frequently insults you, calls you hurtful names or puts you down.
- He tries to control where you go and who you spend time with. He’s jealous and possessive.
- He makes you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells and worries you may upset him.
- He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and always blames you for the problems in the relationship.
- You no longer feel happy when you’re together and dread seeing or talking to him.
Have an honest conversation
Before ending things, have an open and honest conversation with your boyfriend about your concerns. Calmly and clearly explain how his behavior makes you feel and that you won’t tolerate being treated this way anymore. Give him a chance to sincerely apologize and commit to changing, if he’s willing to put in the effort to rebuild your trust. However, also make it clear that if things don’t improve, you will have no choice but to leave the relationship.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve
You deserve to be in a healthy, loving relationship where you feel respected and cared for. Don’t settle for less. As difficult as breaking up may be initially, choosing to walk away from someone who is emotionally abusive or cruel is one of the best things you can do for your own well-being and happiness in the long run. Stay strong, surround yourself with your true supporters, and know that you absolutely can and will find someone who will treat you well.
So there you have it, a few tips to try to make your boyfriend stop being mean and start treating you with kindness and respect. Remember, you deserve to be in a healthy relationship where you feel loved and supported. Don’t settle for less. If talking to him, setting clear boundaries, and spending less time together doesn’t work, you may need to reevaluate the relationship. Stay strong and believe in yourself. You’ve got this! Stand up for what you deserve and if he’s not willing to change, then find someone who will treat you right. You owe it to yourself to be in a relationship where you’re happy and feel good about yourself. Now go out there and do what needs to be done!
We are a team of experts who have struggled as well as found the right solutions to find and fix issues in the relationship and turn it into a lovable and passionate relationship.