When it comes to matters of the heart, the unfortunate truth is that love can do more than just blind you. It doesn't matter if you're a staunch feminist or not — you could be completely unaware of the signs you're dating a misogynist. Whether you've had a few bad experiences before or this is the first time something has felt a bit off to you, there's no shame in wondering if your relationship is actually toxic. Even if you've always prided yourself on your excellent rude boy radar, you can still be misled (intentionally or otherwise) in surprisingly subtle ways.
If you're not too sure what a misogynist actually is, there's no need to worry. As philosophy professor Dr. Berit Brogaard told Psychology Today, "misogyny involves hatred toward women or a type of woman for a particular reason." You might be able to spot blatant and offensive sexism from a mile away, but that isn't always the case when it comes to misogyny. I learned the hard way that a person doesn't have to be "anti-woman" to be a misogynist. So if you're concerned that you might be in an unhealthy relationship, then check out these signs that you're dating a misogynist.
1They're Charming In The Beginning
If you think that all misogynists are angry and brooding, you'd be wrong. As Dr. Brogaard told Psychology Today, a misogynist might hope that a woman's "natural defenses may be down because he’s flirtatious, exciting, and charismatic at first." So that fun, charming exterior could just be an act.
2They're Vocally Pro-Women
Again, it's a misconception that misogyny takes the form of being aggressively anti-women all the time. In fact, according to a study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, psychologists Dr. Janet Swim and Dr. Julia Becker found that misogynistic actions are dismissed when the results are positive. For instance, you may think it's sweet when your partner insists on paying for dinner. But if their motivation for doing so is because they think women should let men be in charge of financial decisions, then that seemingly polite act suddenly becomes misogynistic.
3Their Word Choice Is Disarming
It seems that one thing is becoming clear: the worst misogynists act the nicest. Northeastern University recently published a study in Group Processes & Intergroup Relations where researchers Jin X. Goh, Aria Rad, and Judith A. Hall noted that misogynists tend to use emotional and positive words in order to appear non-threatening to women. In a way, that belief itself is sexist because it implies only women respond to emotional cues.
4Their Mood Is Erratic
The most toxic relationships seem truly wonderful in the beginning. As Brogaard told Psychology Today, once you are invested in a relationship with them, a misogynist will have drastic mood changes — going from charismatic and kind to irritable and angry in a second. So be careful if it seems like your partner is playing the role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
5Their Views On Gender Are Absolute
Does your significant other see things in only black and white? According to the American Psychology Association (APA), misogynists hold extreme opinions about men and women. For example, a typical misogynist believes men should be hyper-masculine and women should be submissive and delicate. So, a bold woman or a sensitive man would likely cause a misogynist to verbally or physically lash out.
6They Don't Value Your Time
Because misogynists, at a foundational level, hold men in higher regards than women, their actions will follow suit. "He will be late for appointments and dates with women, but be quite punctual with men," Brogaard said of misogynists to Psychology Today. So if you feel as though your partner doesn't value your time and shows little to no remorse for their actions, misogyny could be the underlying reason.
7They're Always Performing
You know how some people are just always "on" no matter what? As it turns out, the need to maintain a certain appearance or reputation is quite common among misogynists. According to the APA, "desire to win, need for emotional control, and pursuit of status," are misogynistic traits. If losing, appearing vulnerable, or in some way inferior sets off World War III in your relationship, you could be dating a misogynist.