Talk to an expert from Relationship Hero for personalized relationship advice

9 reasons you’re being mean to your boyfriend (+ how to stop treating him badly)

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Have you said something unkind to your boyfriend? Does his every action annoy you and leave you aiming harsh words at him?

As frustrated as you might be with him, being mean to your boyfriend is not ok.

The pressures of life can get to us all sometimes and make us say things we don’t really mean. But if this is a regular occurrence in your relationship, something needs to change.

A relationship is made up of two people, both of whom deserve to be happy and feel loved. Otherwise it won’t last.

Being mean to your boyfriend will eventually chip away at his self-confidence, erode the trust you share in the relationship, and cause him to love you a little less.

Whatever the reasons for you lashing out, remember that he’s supposed to be someone you love. He deserves to be treated with respect.

Keep reading to see why you’re being mean to your boyfriend and how to change before it’s too late.

Have you heard of Relationship Hero? It’s exactly what you need in your current situation. It includes regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple) who will give you advice and strategies that are tailored to your unique needs and based on their years of experience and training. They will help you set and smash goals related to communication, conflict, connection, and more. Start your journey now and discover how to deepen and sustain the connection between you and your partner.

1. You’re scared he’s going to leave you.

Love can make us do stupid things. The pressure of wanting someone to stay with you so much could be making you push them away.

But why would you be mean to someone you want to stay with you?

Maybe you’ve been hurt in the past or are scared things aren’t going to work out when you really want them to. You could be so worried about them hurting you or leaving you that you hurt them first.

It’s a way of gaining control of the situation. If you push him away, he can’t blindside you.

There’s no way to tell for sure if this could be your forever relationship, but if you continue as you are, you could ruin the chance of getting exactly what you’re scared of losing.

How to fix this:

Remind yourself that you can’t control everything in your life, not least the people you love. A big part of a relationship is trust, and the more you push your boyfriend to see if they’re going to break it, the more likely it is they will.

You both deserve to be happy in this relationship. Stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong in the future and start enjoying what you have right now.

2. You’re stressed.

Stress can affect us in so many negative ways. You may not realize that it’s affecting those around you too.

When you’re stressed, you’re less tolerant and more emotional. The smallest thing your boyfriend does can cause you to snap and channel some of the pressure you’re feeling onto them by being mean. You feel bad, so you start to make him feel bad too.

How to fix this:

We all get stressed and your boyfriend should be there to support you through tough times. But be conscious of how you’re making him feel.

Hopefully, whatever is causing you to be stressed will eventually pass, but make an effort to tell your boyfriend how much you appreciate them being there for you and try your hardest not to let stressful situations overwhelm you.

Find ways to relax or channel that stress into something productive or creative such as exercise, painting, or gardening. Don’t take it out on your boyfriend.

3. Your self-confidence is low.

Low self-confidence can happen for a number of reasons, and how you feel about yourself can influence how you treat other people.

If you aren’t feeling good about yourself, you could be subconsciously letting your frustrations out by being mean to your boyfriend.

Jealousy could also be clouding your judgment if they are doing well in themselves and you feel left behind.

How to fix this:

If you’ve not been feeling yourself recently, take some time to identify what the problem is. If it’s something you can actively work on, then make an action plan and talk to your partner about how they can support you.

Make sure you keep taking time to practice self-care. As you begin to see your confidence improve, your relationship will improve too.

4. You need some space.

Needing some space doesn’t have to be a negative thing. People often interpret needing space in a relationship as a sign you’re breaking up, but that doesn’t have to be the case at all.

Before you were in this relationship, you had a life where you managed your time how you liked and lived it for yourself.

As great as a relationship can be, there is a lot of compromise that comes with it. You can’t just think about yourself anymore, and your time is always shared.

If you’re spending too much time together, you could start to resent not having your own space. You might take your frustrations out on your boyfriend. It can put a strain on your relationship and stop you enjoying quality time together.

How to fix this:

Making time to have space away from each other for your own activities should still be a priority for you, even in a relationship.

By taking some time out for yourself again, you’ll start to appreciate the time you spend with your boyfriend and look forward to it once more.

5. They aren’t the one for you.

If you can’t stop finding fault with your boyfriend, then it could be a sign that the relationship is just not working.

By being mean to them, you’re gradually pushing them away. Deep down, you know this relationship isn’t something you want and by putting distance between you, it feels like it will make it easier to end things.

How to fix this:

If you realize that this relationship isn’t going to work out, then do the right thing and end it.

It will save more hurt in the long run to end the relationship now, than to let it drag on with both of you being miserable. If you don’t, you could cause long term damage to both your self-confidence and mental health.

6. You’re scared of being vulnerable.

Relationships require you to be vulnerable around someone, and that can be daunting.

If you’re feeling uncomfortable about this, your defense mechanism might be making you say things you don’t mean to stop your boyfriend from getting emotionally close to you.

Opening up about your feelings raises the potential of you getting hurt, and that’s a scary prospect. But the more you push him away to protect yourself, the less he’ll stop trying to get to know you.

How to fix this:

At some point you’re going to have to take the risk and let your guard down. As terrifying as it feels now, it could be the best risk you ever take.

Read our article to help you work on this: 7 Ways To Safely Show Emotional Vulnerability In A Relationship

7. You’re feeling undervalued.

Do you feel as though your boyfriend isn’t putting the same amount of effort into your relationship as you do?

If you do, it can be hard not to take out your frustrations on them by becoming passive aggressive. You bicker with them and start unnecessary arguments over little things just to get their attention.

You want them to appreciate everything you do, but the only time they notice is when you throw it in their face.

How to fix this:

Causing conflict between you isn’t going to solve the problem. If you feel you’re being taken for granted, be upfront and talk to them about it.

Have a conversation about how you’ve been feeling and suggest small things your boyfriend could start doing to redress the balance in your relationship. All it could take is an honest and calm chat for you for your boyfriend to start making a positive change.

Read our article for more detailed advice on this: Boyfriend Taking You For Granted? Here’s What To Do.

8. You have an unresolved argument.

If you’ve had an argument recently, even if you’ve stopped talking about it, it doesn’t mean the issue is fully resolved.

If anything has been left unsaid, or you feel as though your boyfriend hasn’t taken to heart what you’ve been telling him and nothing has changed, then your problems won’t go away.

Having unresolved issues in your relationship will play on your mind and cause you to feel resentful. That resentment can result in you being mean to your boyfriend.

The longer this situation goes on without you both getting closure, the more resentful you’ll become until another argument starts.

How to fix this:

Everyone wants to move on quickly from an argument, but if you don’t feel as though you’ve reached a resolution then the problem won’t go away.

When you’ve both calmed down, try to have conversation without letting it escalate into a fight, focused on finding common ground and solutions.

Sometimes it’s as simple as feeling as though your boyfriend has listened to what you needed to say.

Relationships are full of compromise, and there might not be an easy way to resolve every problem you have. But the least you can do is listen to each other’s point of view and acknowledge how you made them feel. This can help you both reach a happier place in your relationship again.

9. You need to spend some quality time together.

Just because you’ve been around each other, it doesn’t mean the time you’ve been spending together has been quality time.

Living with each other can make having quality time even harder. Even though you see each other all the time, it doesn’t mean you’ve appreciated it. Your boyfriend’s habits start getting on your nerves, you fight over mundane chores, and you start picking on each other when you get irritated.

How to fix this:

It’s time to put the marigolds away and have a date again.

Time spent together is about quality not quantity. However long you’ve been together, you still need to make time for dates.

Plan something fun to do and take a day to just enjoy being in each other’s company. Getting away from your daily routine will remind you of all the things you love about your boyfriend and why it is you choose to be with him.


If you’ve found that you’ve been a bit mean to your boyfriend lately, the first thing you need to do is to work out how you’re feeling.

It sounds simple, but we often don’t spend enough time checking in with ourselves and working out what is going on inside our head. It’s not until we take a minute out of our day to think about this that we realize how stressed, tired, or unhappy we might be.

You being mean to your boyfriend is more to do with how you feel than it is to do with how he is acting. The best way to stop being mean to him is to start taking better care of yourself.

Whatever the cause, you need to apologize to your boyfriend and start showing them some affection again. Whether or not they deserved what you said, and whatever it was that drove you to argue, snap, or become passive aggressive, you still have to acknowledge the fact that you haven’t been nice and may have hurt his feelings in the process.

It’s time to start putting some love back into your relationship and yourself. Once you’ve worked on yourself and found out where your angst is coming from, decide whether your relationship is something worth saving.

If it is, it’s time to start focusing on all the positives that your relationship brings into your life. You don’t have to be together, but you are choosing to be together, so focus on the good stuff and appreciate what you have before you lose it.

Still not sure how to stop being mean to your boyfriend? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.

You may also like: