Does your man constantly prioritize his needs?
Is he terrified of change, status erosion, and not being part of the “in crowd?”
If your head is ferociously flicking up and down, you’ve likely landed in a weak man’s web.
Don’t beat yourself up.
In this post, we’re unpacking everything: from definitions to signs to causes of a weak man in a relationship.
So if you think you’ve got a weak guy on your hands, pour something to drink and pull up a seat.
What Is a Weak Man?
To be crystal clear, when we talk about “weak men,” we’re not blasting males who aren’t brawny.
Not everyone can be The Rock. Besides, physicality isn’t everyone’s thing, which is perfectly fine.
In our book, weak men are those who:
- Make cowardly decisions and act on them
- Judge other people without recognizing their own faults
- Are inappropriately selfish
- Fear failure and rejection to a problematic degree
- Lash out over different viewpoints or disagreements
- Like to be the center of attention in their relationships
Ultimately, weak men have malleable, shallow characters, and they’ve yet to learn how to weather life’s storms.
Sometimes, it’s a lack of maturity out of which they’ll grow; other times, pathological laziness and incuriousness stunt emotional and behavioral growth.
Bluntly stated: A weak guy is a man-baby you must mother and carry through life while perpetually stroking his ego.
27 Signs of a Weak Man in a Relationship
We’ve defined the term; now, let’s unpack 27 characteristics of a weak man.
What’s a red flag? What’s not?
Please note, however, that everyone is different, and these indicators don’t constitute a firm diagnosis.
But if your partner exhibits many of these behaviors, you may be dating (or married to) someone who needs to build their self-confidence and character.
The caveats are in place, so let’s dive in.
1. He Doesn’t Love Himself
You’ve heard the cliche that we humans are incapable of loving others if we can’t love ourselves. And while it’s not a foolproof formula, the adage is steeped in the truth.
Dating someone with serious self-esteem issues often leads to explosive fights and inconsistent feedback.
But remember that life is a roller coaster; ups and downs are de rigueur. So try not to confuse a rough patch with an incurable case of self-pity.
2. He Doesn’t Keep His Word
Strong men are more responsible than they are reckless. Conversely, the promises and actions of weak men rarely align. They repeatedly under-deliver and let life live them instead of the other way around.
Things arise. Nobody keeps their word 100% of the time. Life is way too complicated for that level of personal precision. But if you notice that flaking is the norm with the guy you’re seeing, he may not be worth the pursuit.
3. He’s Competitive With You
A pinch of healthy competition between ambitious partners is fine. Fun, even. Setting goals and reaching them? Those are also positive things.
But what happens when someone crosses the line? Does your success bring your man down? How does he react to your good news? Does he have difficulty being genuinely pleased for you?
Hyper-competitive people — (whether friends, colleagues, or romantic partners) — are challenging, in part because it signals a heightened level of insecurity.
They attach so much value to “winning” and “being the best” that they never get to know themselves, ultimately rendering them weak-willed.
4. He Lacks Empathy
Strong men are in touch with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Resultantly, they easily extend compassion and grace to other individuals.
On the other side of the locker room are the weak men clinging to machismo at all costs.
These are the guys who see empathy and sympathy as weaknesses. Males with puny characters also judge harshly and frequently jump to the least generous conclusions.
Beware of blokes who talk a big game about kindness but swan around like arrogant despots. Performative compassion is the opposite of genuine care and concern.
5. He’s Only Intimate During Sex
Does he only care about being intimate during sex? If so, it’s a glaring tell-tale sign that you’re entangled with a weak man.
Anyone who only sees you as a means to an orgasmic end doesn’t deserve you. Intimacy is about a lot more than just sex.
6. He’s a Deadbeat Dad
Divorce is always difficult and often messy. So sure, some people end up with wonky custody and alimony agreements that lead to a rocky adjustment period.
But if your man doesn’t have a relationship with his children and makes no effort to fulfill his financial and emotional obligations, he’s the definition of weak.
7. He Never Considers the Future
If your man is of age (i.e., not in his terrible twenties) and still doesn’t think about the future, you may want to step back and reevaluate the relationship.
Because a guy with no vision is a sign of weakness.
We’re not suggesting that everyone needs to be an aspiring billionaire or best-selling author. Many people’s version of the ideal life doesn’t involve the spotlight or piles of money.
But someone without a clue probably has yet to build a strong character.
8. He’s Overly Concerned With Appearances
If your man is always in the mirror and constantly nitpicking your appearance, it may amount to more than endearing fastidiousness.
There’s zero wrong with looking your best. As a matter of fact, doing so is encouraged if it makes you feel good.
But do you really want to date someone who cares more about looks than kindness, respect, and genuine compatibility?
If he regularly scans you with a snarky eye and scolds, “You’re going to wear that?” you’re dealing with a weak, overly dandified man who may not be worth the price of admission.
9. He’s Too Jealous
We won’t sit here and pretend that jealousy is always a bad thing. Depending on the situation, it can be an effective and powerful emotion in small doses.
But a perpetually suspicious guy stuck in a permanent state of envy is almost always lugging around a weak character.
10. He Expects You To Support Him
Gender expectations aren’t as rigid as they once were. It’s no longer assumed that women stay at home while men make money working. Many couples have found joy in non-traditional fiscal frameworks where females are the primary providers.
So when we say that a guy who expects you to support him is weak, we’re not talking about folks who’ve made a conscious choice. Nor are we addressing couples in which both work and one makes more than the other.
Instead, we’re addressing the clinically lazy dudes who can’t hold a job yet expect you to pay their bills. Doing so amounts to financial exploitation, and it’s the muck of weak men.
11. He’s Pompous Around Your Colleagues
He accompanies you to a work event or happy hour with colleagues and behaves holier than thou. Maybe it’s a matter of insecurity presenting as cockiness; perhaps it’s old-fashioned arrogance.
Regardless, his condescension is embarrassing and a sign you may be dealing with a weak-minded man.
Sure, insecurity often descends when we feel inferior. But if he can’t behave appropriately around your professional contacts, it could signal he’s still got some self-worth issues to wade through.
12. He’s Rude to Servers
Anyone who’s instinctively rude to servers is a giant red flag, and the habit is a common hallmark of feeble men.
People treat servers like crap because they feel powerful over them, rendering the behavior a clear-cut symptom of insecurity.
Also, be careful of unctuously magnanimous guys. So-called “savior behavior” is another “tell” that he’s got deep character flaws.
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13. He’s Passive-Aggressive
A well-placed passive-aggressive comment can sometimes tickle the funny bone (see: Dorothy Parker).
But beyond exercises in clever witticism, passive-aggressive behavior is exhausting and a sign of emotional weakness. Strong, mentally healthy people traffic in clarity.
14. He Blames You for Everything
Granted, many people in their 20s are still trying to find themselves and haven’t mastered the art of acknowledging and addressing their faults.
But if you’re dating someone older who’s allergic to accountability and blames you for every hiccup and misstep, interpret their immaturity as a sign of weakness.
15. He Doesn’t Make You Feel Safe
Again, we’re not talking about a guy’s physical capacity. Safety isn’t all about strength, brawn, or fighting skills. Instead, consider if he keeps you emotionally unsteady. Is he a different person from one day to the next?
Such mercurialness is a form of manipulation common among malleable characters.
16. He Makes Terrible Decisions
Every choice we make won’t be right, and everyone blossoms at different rates. But people well into adulthood who perpetually make reckless, thoughtless decisions may be struggling with immutable immaturity that’s eroding their personal strength.
17. He’s Conflict Avoidant to a Fault
At times, it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. But a partner who runs away from uncomfortable conversations and brushes every issue under the carpet is cause for concern.
It’s a sign they’re not interested in building a firm relationship foundation and are only focused on protecting their own feelings — a symptom of a weak character.
18. He’s a Snobby People Pleaser70
There are two types of people pleasers: vulnerable and status-obsessed. Folks who fall into the former category typically have a strong urge to be accepted, and their motivations are pure.
Sometimes it’s stressful and soul-crushing, but pure nonetheless.
Snobby people pleasers who do it for the clout are a different story. Sucking up for status is a sign of a weak character.
19. He’s a Terrible Listener
Terrible listening skills can be a sign of self-centeredness. People preoccupied with themselves tend not to care about others’ lives, whether they realize it or not.
They have one-track minds, and it’s a sign of weakness. Performative concern is another variation of this fault.
20. He Never Makes Plans
Men with enfeebled characters rarely, if ever, make plans. Instead, they leave it up to their partners. Why? Because they’re not confident in their abilities and have trouble taking the lead.
That said, out of all the signs of weakness in a man, plan paralysis is the least harmful and easiest to overcome. It usually just takes a little confidence engendered by a bit of encouragement.
21. He Doesn’t Defend You
You want to be with someone who sticks up for you, right? Well, weak men won’t. They’re too concerned with how everything makes them look and assume a wishy-washy stance when faced with confrontation.
22. He’s Suspended in a State of “Arrested Development”
Some folks get their act together in their twenties; others find their stride in middle age.
But if you’re dealing with a 35-year-old guy going on 21 who ignores all adulting responsibilities, there’s a better-than-average chance you’ve got a weak man on your hands.
23. He’s Clingy
The early days of any relationship can be all-encompassing and quixotic. That’s fine. But if the relationship never settles down, and your man reveals himself to be oppressively clingy, his behavior may be a red flag.
Is he afraid of being alone? Does he require constant verbal affirmations? It could signify that he’s yet to become his own person.
24. He Expects You To Treat Him Better Than He Treats You
Expecting someone to treat you better than you treat them is a form of narcissism, and extreme narcissism is a glaring indicator of a corrosive character.
For relationships to work, both parties must follow the golden rule and treat their partner like they want to be treated.
25. He Never Gets Angry
Does the guy in your life always “go along for the ride?” Does he always acquiesce? It could signify that he lacks convictions, which can signal that he has yet to form a strong personality.
We’re not suggesting that everyone must be a constantly battling bulldozer. Some people are easygoing — a wonderful trait. But someone who never gets angry may not know themselves.
26. He’s Perpetually Complaining
We all deserve to vent now and again — and yes, that includes complaining. But when whinging becomes a perpetual and prominent part of someone’s personality, it may signal a lack of character. (Be careful, though, not to confuse standing up for one’s rights as “victimhood” of “complaining.”)
27. You’ve Become Someone You Hate
Has the relationship caused you to become someone you don’t like? Has your partner’s behavior mangled you into a frustrated nag?
These types of personality shifts are often the result of dating someone who is pathologically immature or weak-willed.
What Makes a Man Weak?
Weakness of character can be a temporary or permanent situation. And truth be told, we all weather personality, behavioral, and mental health storms.
So how do they come about?
- Mental Health Struggles: Anyone who’s dealt with mental health hurdles knows they can severely impact a person’s outlook, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Essentially, they’re distorting and have the power to erode confidence.
- Fear of Fitting In: One of the top human worries is not fitting in. We’re biologically conditioned to be accepted. Someone living amongst “another tribe” may be freighted with stress, which negatively impacts their character.
- Overindulgent or Traumatic Childhoods: Weak characters can be born from both traumatic and overindulgent childhoods and life events. Notably, however, individuals who suffer hardships in their early years are more likely to overcome challenges through psychological work than those who are merely spoiled.
If you want to air on the side of energetic caution and keep your “karma” straight, it’s vital to remember that everyone must navigate challenging rapids during their lifetimes, and we all have our weak seasons.
But it may be time to reevaluate your current status quo if the situation is draining and your relationship with an emotionally weak man is anything but satisfying.