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10 Bad Habits Women Hate

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You already know you’re supposed to put the toilet seat down, but you may have some other bad habits women hate that are seriously turning off a potential partner or causing serious eye rolls in a long-term one.

We talked to real women to find out what’s bugging them—and a relationship expert to explain why. From there, it’s up to you if you want to tame your bad habit. If not, at least you’ll finally understand why things get a little chilly around there when you do it.

10 Bad Habits Women Hate

1. Coming down with “the man flu“

Some women “just can’t” with males who appear to be overdramatizing a mild illness:

“Men think death is coming for them when they’re the slightest bit sick.” — Sarah

“I’ll be deathbed sick and still get the kids off to school and work from home because shit needs to get done. My husband gets a runny nose and he’s in bed moaning.” — Alyssa

So, what’s really going on? “If she feels he’s acting helpless when he’s really not, it puts strain on the woman who’s already juggling a lot,” says Lisa Arango, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert. But what might be happening at a deeper level, she says, “is that women are used to seeing their man strong, so when they see them weak and sick, that may be hard.”

2. Intimate grooming out in the open

Women, without question, appreciate men who tend to themselves. What they don’t appreciate is having to witness it:

“Clipping toenails in front of me in random areas of the house. It’s the sound and sight. It’s awful.” ­— Amanda

I hate when he baby powder’s his junk every day because I inhale the stuff, which apparently causes cancer and our house is always covered in it.” — Patrice

“My man shaves his balls, body, and back, and pretends to clean up but really his pubes are all over our bathroom.” — Michelle

“I get annoyed every single time my husband asks me to shave his back. Before me he used to go get it waxed. I wish he still took care of that grooming thing on his own.” — Lauren

“He manscapes in the shower—so fast forward to drains that are filled with ball hair. Oh, and the manscaper comes with “Ball Deodorant” and bottle sits on the shelf for me to be reminded 24/7.” — Sara

So, what’s really going on? “It’s nice to get comfortable with somebody, but you also want to keep that spark and mystery alive,” says Arango. “And if men stop keeping the private things private, it signals to the women that they’re not really working on trying on attracting them any more; they’re just taking for granted that they’ll want to be with them.”

3. Getting road ragey

Some men experience a particular personality shift as soon as they slip behind the wheel:

“He’s chill until he gets in the car and then he’s all, ‘Nice job, asshole!’ and tailgating the guy who cut him off, etc. He becomes a different person who I do not like.” — Sam

“All it takes is someone at the stop sign who doesn’t go when they’re supposed to go, and he’s off. We can’t have a single conversation in the car because some other driver always needs yelling at.” — Mila

So, what’s really going on? On her end, “she may not feel safe,” says Arango. And “she may feel embarrassed, as if the man’s behavior is a reflection of both of them.” But it also affects how she sees you. It may appear that you think you’re better than or above others. And “it shows a lack of patience, self-control, and empathy,” says Arango, which are qualities of something with low EQ (emotional intelligence quotient). If that’s not what you’re aiming for, consider reeling in the rage on the road.

4. Leaving your stuff everywhere

A lingering scent of cologne is nice to leave in your wake; a trail of socks is not:

“My husband will open drawers and cupboards and just…leave them open. It always looks like someone’s ransacked our house.” — Eve

“Leaving store bags just empty and floating on the counter for days, and open Amazon boxes in the middle of the room.”  — Aimee

“My guy will put his dish in the sink, but not in the dishwasher even though they’re right next to each other. Or he’ll leave his soda can on the counter literally inches from the recycling bin instead of putting it in the bin.” — Jada

“Socks come off and would stay there for days on the floor if I didn’t pick them up.” — Sophia

“My husband leaves the empty cardboard toilet paper rolls sitting on the floor. Like, you’ve done the right thing and switched it out. Why not finish the job?” — Erin

“The male “made bed” is a travesty. Do men do it poorly on purpose in order to convince us they shouldn’t do it at all? When I asked him about it he said, ‘I don’t understand how to do it. There are just too many pillows.’” — Natalia

So, what’s really going on? “It goes both ways,” says Arango. One partner’s taste for keeping house simply may not match the other’s. But if, say, the woman in your life wants a clean space because she can’t think straight in a messy one, “she wants him to want to do the things that are important to her,” says Arango. “It’s not really about the dish or the bed or the cabinet. It’s about the relationship, and if she feels she matters to you.”

5. Going feral in public

The world is your oyster. It is not, for some women, your sink and urinal:

“Yes, you can stand up to pee. Doesn’t mean I want to see it.” — Michelle

“Taking a piss in a bush whenever they feel like it. Can you imagine if men had to watch us sitting on toilets while they’re walking down the street?! Why can’t they hold it until they find a bathroom like we do? It’s not hard. Just hold it.” — Kim

“Hawking a loogie on the sidewalk. It’s not a dealbreaker but it’s gross.” — Reagan

So, what’s really going on? Some women feel that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. “It can show you’re thinking of what your needs are in that immediate moment rather than what other people might be feeling.” Consider your surroundings and the possibility that the woman you’re with may not be a fan.

6.  Giving her one-word answers

Some women wonder why men offer such underwhelming responses:

“I’ll ask him how his night was and he’ll go. “Good.’ It’s like pulling teeth to get the most basic information.” — Aubrey

“When I tell a story and he doesn’t ask a single question or react to anything the whole time. He’ll just be like, ‘Cool.’ ” —Rachel

So, what’s really going on? “There’s something we call ‘a bid for connection,’ ” explains Arango, which can be telling you a story, asking a question, or reaching for a hand. If she makes a bid for connection and you don’t notice or respond, she says, “she’s going to feel rejected and alone.” But what if her story just wasn’t interesting? “You don’t have to be interested in the story,” says Arango, “you’re interested in your partner. Asking questions about their accounting spreadsheet shows that you care about what they care about.”

7. Napping too much

For women who don’t rest much, they find it grating when a man does:

“He naps every single day. As if there aren’t a million things to get done.” — Liddie

“When the baby naps, he naps. Meanwhile, when the baby naps, I do the laundry, load the dishwasher, and sort out the health insurance.” — Mila

So, what’s really going on? A woman who values productivity may see napping as laziness more than as self-care. And at some level, she may be resentful you are allowing yourself the “luxury” of resting while she feels too guilty to do the same.

8. Not asking for directions or instructions

Life may not come with an instruction booklet, but plenty of things do—and women don’t understand why some men refuse to follow them:

“He refuses to follow directions from Google Maps because he always knows a better route. Last time his route meant we hit roadwork and sat in traffic for forty-five minutes while I seethed quietly in the car.” — Alyssa

“When we get something from IKEA we have to build, he just starts grabbing screws and getting mad they don’t fit.” —Amanda

“I asked the guy I’m dating to grab me some extra frosting and he came home with six. I guess I wasn’t clear I only wanted one, but why didn’t he ask?!” — Taylor

So, what’s really going on? Psychologically, her “reactance level” could be different than yours, explains Arango, “which is how much you like to be told what to do.” Some people love to follow instructions step by step; some like to figure it out on their own—and she may be different than you. Or, she may not understand where you’re coming from. “Many men grow up believing they must be self-reliant and that it’s not okay to ask for help, which could be viewed as a sign of weakness. Or they learned they couldn’t rely on others for help. But if you don’t share that, she says, “it just looks like you’re being stubborn.”

9. Asking her if she’s on her period

For men who think it’s a legitimate way to gauge where you stand: It’s not.

“Uh, no, I’m not on my period. I’m mad at you.” — Kim

So, what’s really going on? It’s likely a knee-jerk question, but “it totally invalidates the woman’s feelings,” explains Arango, who says “you’re basically asking, ‘Are you angry for no reason other than it’s that time of the month?’ It also communicates a lack of responsibility he is willing to take if the reason she’s annoyed or angry is because of something he did.” In short: You can think it. Just don’t say it.

10. Not wanting to make plans

Some women can’t understand why a man balks at making a future plan:

“I can’t get my husband to commit to a single thing. He’s all ‘I don’t know what I’m doing later let alone next weekend.’ Currently, the idea of committing to a fun vacation with our kids five months from now is completely overwhelming him.” — Lauren

“The guy I’m seeing will never make a plan to go out again. Then he texts a week later asking do I want to grab dinner right now. Except I can’t because I have plans. With people who make plans.” — Raegan

So, what’s really going on? Not wanting to commit early in a relationship “could create insecurity about whether you see a future together,” says Arango. Also at play: “Women tend to be the managers of the house with a huge mental load the man is not typically aware of,” she says, “so it may not be that she’s trying to be pushy but that she needs to organize the calendar so she can make it all happen.” And, look, if you can plan for your NFL fantasy draft, you can plan for brunch.

Amy Spencer is a Los Angeles-based writer and author of Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match and Bright Side Up.


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