Men Who May Be Trouble for You: Five Signs of How to Spot Them

How do we know when an attractive person might not be right for us?

Here are some suggestions with visual aids for identifying men to avoid.


The fellow above is up in the air, feet not close to the ground. He believes he possesses many ideas and schemes to make him rich, but few, if any, are realistic.

Such people tend not to take responsibility, instead blaming others for the endless failures of plans whose time never comes. Take special care not to lend these fellows money. The promise of sure-fire success is usually too good to be true.


We live in a world where drugs and alcohol are everywhere. Numerous websites list the signs of alcoholism.

Some alcoholic men are charming, hold down decent jobs, and tell you they can quit at any time. Denial is a hallmark of the condition. Unfortunately, as the old play on words tells us, “Denial is not a river in Egypt.”

The addiction can creep up and overtake life’s every aspect but is challenging to reverse. The ancient Chinese proverb states, “First the man takes the drink, then the drink takes the man.” Women, too.


The sculpture depicts a man who cannot keep his pants on. While a healthy sex life is an evolutionary necessity, I have met ladies who knew the totality of their worth beyond appearance and allure. They also desired respect for their intellect, artistic giftedness, career, sensibility, and kindness.
Once past the honeymoon stage, a relationship must include more than the flesh. You might want to find out early whether the gent considers you more than a plaything unless you conceive of that as an acceptable long-term role.


If you wish your male partner to leave you alone and focus on his career, the chap above is the man for you.

Whether he is interested or capable of offering more than a paycheck remains an open question. Nor will the preoccupied gentleman share in the responsibility and joy of parenting his children.

The sculpture is intended to represent any man standing near and viewing it. The nameplate behind the bronze figure in the right corner of the photo features the following poem by Philip Levine:

They said I had a head for business
They said to get ahead
I had to lose my head.
They said be concrete
& I became
They said,
go, my son,
divide, conquer.
I did my best.

Reading it on site requires a position similar to the one displayed by the incomplete metal man in front of you. The viewer bends over just behind the thing he imitates.


In a well-functioning twosome, we must listen to our lover.

Many people attempt to impress by speaking. More than a few seek to influence another.

Of special value is a rarer person who listens with quiet intensity. Such a one evaluates the moment and what the other needs rather than jumping forward for the next thing he wishes to utter. Slowing the conversation and thinking through what has been said allows him to learn more.

Beware of anyone who talks over (or interrupts you) with regularity. It is a matter of incivility and disrespect in failing to allow you to finish your thought.

Words needn’t collide. In some moments, silence draws us closer. Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosopher, understood there were limits to what speech could communicate by itself. His most famous quote was this:

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.


The top sculpture photo is called Slight Uncertainty by Michael Trpak. It is located in Prague. The picture below it shows Two Friends Enjoying Their Belgian Beer in 1971, sourced from History Daily. The next figure of the Man Who Can’t Keep His Pants On is by Jean-Louis Corby. It is followed by Corporate Head by Terry Allen, at the Ernst and Young Plaza in Los Angeles. Finally, Le Silence (An Homage to Salvidor Dali).Β 

19 thoughts on “Men Who May Be Trouble for You: Five Signs of How to Spot Them

  1. Thanks for another awesome post, Dr. Stein! πŸ™‚

    It’s been a while since I’ve been on WordPress. I’ve been in therapy 2x per week (online only) since 2021, and mostly online 1x per week in 2020. Therapy has been helping a lot, but there are added stressors every day.

    Thankfully, I’m not in a relationship, nor am I looking for one at this time. When I was in my prime, I sort of knew all that you had mentioned. However, I also put on blinders because I thought the man could change, or I thought that I was getting too old and would never be with anyone. Turns out, every single person I had dated in the past were either not a good fit for me (though decent men) or were really toxic. My PTSD didn’t help matters either, so you could write a similar yet different article about women to avoid dating as well (probably myself included, given all of my unresolved issues). But all this to say that I’m happy being alone romantically, though I’d rather fill my time with friends in a completely nonsexual, platonic way. PTSD ruined me that way, though I’m doing the best to manage that – and dissociation.

    I hope you and your family are well, Dr. S!

    I also hope everyone here is doing well, considering all the vitriol and all going on these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now you tell me.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. What a beautiful and helpful post. I love how you intersperse the art with your descriptions – it’s brilliant. I’m keeping this list in my pocket to guide me…. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d switch #4 for this key one: The Man with the Bad Temper. Ladies, look carefully at how quickly he turns to temper over small things. When the temper turns to you, you’ll feel small. You will start second guessing yourself. (Maybe it was my fault?) He may try to keep his anger in check but it always comes out eventually. It’s easy to dismiss at first. He may be fun, loving, responsible in between his rages. He will apologize for β€œlosing it”. Bring you flowers. But the temper can flair before the last petal falls. His clenched fist may never touch your lovely face, but the rage will poison your soul.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hope no such thing happened to you recently, Evelyn. This is not to say that such misfortunes are quickly erased from one’s memory. I will keep a good thought for your safety. Be well, Evelyn.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The most difficult toxic man to spot is the psychopath – not just narcissistic, but psychopathic! He is charming, but then he can become so manipulative. He gaslights, but he’s often very loved by society for some reason. Yet, his closest mate may be harmed in so many psychological ways, such as being cheated on repeatedly, being called names, being forced into religious and political beliefs (sometimes intertwined, as forms of ritual or spiritual abuse), etc. The man need not necessarily be physically violent to make a traumatic dent in a woman.

    And then there’s the narcissist. You can sometimes see the warning signs as you dabble deeper into the relationship. You realize that it’s not self-confidence that he emotes, but rather a lack thereof. He can’t stop talking about himself, and he can care less about your feelings unless it makes himself feel better (such as with benevolent narcissists who simply like to be saviors of the world for their own narcissistic supply). Everything is about him. The 2007 film “Waitress” comes to mind as one example. The narcissist is controlling and manipulative, and the narcissist gaslights. It’s easier to spot a narcissist after some time, when compared to a psychopath (sometimes).

    And then there’s your controlling, physically abusive man. He has grown up with a disorganized or insecure attachment system. He has low self-esteem, but covers it with his own type of narcissism. He uses physical, sexual, and psychological (verbal, financial) abuse to torture his victim. He is not only toxic, but also dangerous. He can be lethal when attempting to leave, so it’s not always easy for his victim to “just leave.” He may seem charming at first, but he becomes more and more dangerous as time goes on.

    I had relationship experiences with the three examples above. The first two weren’t physically dangerous, but they were very emotionally and reputationally dangerous. The last one I had described was very physically dangerous. It took a while for me to leave, but I did so – solely on my own. He wasn’t as bad or controlling as other domestic abusers that I’ve heard about, or else I’d be dead. But he was dangerous enough to threaten my life on numerous occasions.

    There are many danger signs to see in any person, including nonbinary persons and women – not just men. But there have been recent studies on “toxic masculinity” that brings about some toxicity in relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s one that definitely belongs on your list, perhaps could be lumped in with #2 though from my experience needs a number of its own – the chronic gambler. “Trouble for you” is a huge understatement when you’re in a relationship with such a person.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Brewdun. From the stories I’ve heard, I’m sure you are correct. As I said to Brewdun, such knowledge comes at a high cost. I am hoping this awareness remains in the rearview mirror.


  7. A fascinating topic, Dr. Stein. In matters of male/female/gender relationships, we’re never too old to stop learning. We women know better, but we still get caught by the five signs you’ve highlighted. I find #4 of special interest because we often mistakenly believe that financial security makes a prospective male a perfect life-partner. I’ve known a number of women who have lived or continue to live lonely lives while their successful partner is consumed by his work or career.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Indeed, Rosaliene. Their priorities are elsewhere. For some of these men the spouse also serves the man as a trophy. As you say, much unhappiness.

    Liked by 2 people

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