9 Ways Toxic Masculinity Ruins Relationships

Last updated on March 4th, 2024 at 03:13 pm

Harmful masculinity is a damaging phenomenon that can have serious consequences on relationships. Here are ways toxic masculinity ruins relationships.

It is characterized by harmful societal expectations of what it means to be a real man, leading to behaviours that can be controlling, aggressive, and emotionally distant.

In this article, Pyo Merez will quickly discuss nine ways that unhealthy masculinity can negatively impact your relationship and provide insights on how to address these issues.

Table of Contents

Why Masculinity Determines the Shape of a Relationship

Masculine behaviours often determine the course of a relationship because of societal expectations and gender roles.

Men are often expected to be strong, assertive, and dominant in relationships, which can lead to power struggles, communication issues, and a lack of emotional vulnerability.

This can impact the dynamic of the relationship and hinder effective communication and intimacy.

Additionally, traditional ideas of masculinity can limit men’s ability to express their emotions and connect with their partners on a deeper level.

As a result, relationships may suffer from misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional disconnect.

Individuals need to challenge these traditional notions of masculinity and prioritize open communication, empathy, and mutual respect to create healthy and fulfilling relationships.

Related: How to Know If You Have Toxic Masculinity

Ways Toxic Masculinity Ruins Relationships

A man having friction in his relationship because of harmful masculinity

1. Emotional Unavailability

One of the foremost ways toxic masculinity ruins relationships is by being emotionally unavailable.

Negative masculinity discourages men from expressing their emotions, leading to emotional unavailability in relationships.

Men may struggle to communicate their feelings or show vulnerability, which can create a barrier between partners.

This emotional distance can make it difficult for both partners to connect on a deeper level and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

It can further cause resentment and lead to relationship breakdown if something positive is not done.

Related: Build Your Confidence, Become a Real Man

2. Control and Dominance

One of the ways toxic masculinity ruins relationships is by too much control and dominance by you as a man.

This may manifest in behaviours where you as a man seek to exert power and authority over your partner.

This can lead to a lack of mutual respect and compromise in the relationship, as well as feelings of resentment and frustration.

Control and dominance can also create a toxic power dynamic that undermines the equality and autonomy of both partners.

Related: Importance of Healthy Masculinity in Society

3. Aggressive Behaviour

A man who has ruined his relationship with toxic masculinity

The third way toxic masculinity can destroy a relationship is through aggressive behaviour.

As one of the traits of harmful masculinity, aggression is often regarded as a sign of strength and dominance.

This can lead to volatile and abusive behaviour in relationships, where the man uses threats, intimidation, or physical violence to assert control.

Aggressive behaviour can have serious consequences for both partners, leading to fear, trauma, and long-term damage to the relationship.

4. Unhealthy Competition

Unhealthy competition triggered by toxic masculinity can promote a competitive mindset in relationships, where the man feels the need to constantly prove his worth and superiority.

This can create a toxic atmosphere of comparison and judgment, where each partner is vying for validation and recognition.

Unhealthy competition can erode trust and intimacy in the relationship, leading to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

Related: Why Emotionally Intelligent Men Are Real Men

5. Suppression of Authentic Self

Male toxic behaviour can lead to pressure where men would want to conform to rigid gender norms and expectations, stifling their true selves and individuality.

This can lead to a lack of authenticity in the relationship, as one partner may feel compelled to perform a certain role or persona to fit societal expectations.

Suppressing your authentic self can hinder emotional intimacy and connection in the relationship, as you may struggle to truly know and understand each other.

6. Limited Communication

Toxic masculinity often discourages open and honest communication in relationships, promoting silence and avoidance instead.

Men may feel pressured to maintain a stoic facade and avoid discussing their feelings or concerns with their partners.

Limited communication can create misunderstandings and conflicts in the relationship, as important issues go unaddressed and unresolved, causing resentment.

Related: Who is a High-Value Man?

7. Inflexible Gender Roles

A toxic man displaying toxic masculinity behaviour

Harmful masculinity enforces rigid gender roles and stereotypes, dictating how men and women should behave in a relationship.

This can limit the individuality and autonomy of both partners, as they may feel compelled to conform to traditional gender norms.

Inflexible gender roles can restrict personal growth and self-expression in the relationship, leading to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction.

8. Emotional Labour Imbalance

Another way toxic masculinity can ruin relationships is an imbalance of emotional labour.

This occurs when one partner is expected to shoulder the majority of the emotional responsibilities.

This can create feelings of burnout and resentment, as one partner may feel overwhelmed by the emotional demands of the relationship.

An imbalance of emotional labor can strain the partnership and hinder mutual support and understanding.

Related: How Harmful Masculinity Manifests in the Workplace

9: Lack of Empathy and Compassion

Harmful masculinity causes a lack of empathy and compassion. Men could feel to show empathy, but because they feel it makes them appear weak, they ignore it.

He may struggle to understand and validate the emotions and experiences of the other.

This lack of empathy can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings, as the partner may wonder why her partner is this way.

Without empathy and compassion, the relationship may lack emotional connection and intimacy.

Related: Examples Men’s Emasculation

Frequently Asked Questions

How does toxic masculinity ruin relationships?

Toxic masculinity ruins relationships by supporting suppression of emotions, dominance, and aggression, leading to communication breakdowns, lack of trust, and emotional distance.

What issues can toxic masculinity cause?

Issues caused by toxic masculinity include communication barriers, power struggles, controlling behaviors, lack of empathy, and diminished intimacy, ultimately damaging relationship dynamics.

How does toxic masculinity affect communication in relationships?

Toxic masculinity can hinder open communication by promoting suppression of emotions and dominance, leading to misunderstandings, resentment, and lack of intimacy.

Can toxic masculinity impact relationship dynamics?

Yes, toxic masculinity can foster controlling behaviors, power struggles, and a lack of mutual respect, ultimately damaging trust, empathy, and the overall health of the relationship.

Final Word from Gentsways

Toxic masculinity can have detrimental effects on relationships, leading to emotional unavailability, control and dominance, aggressive behaviour, unhealthy competition, suppression of authentic self, limited communication, inflexible gender roles, emotional labour imbalance, and lack of empathy and compassion.

Men need to challenge and unlearn toxic masculinity to create healthy, respectful, and fulfilling relationships.

By recognizing and addressing these harmful behaviours, partners can sustain trust, communication, and mutual support in their relationship.

Remember, it’s never too late to seek help and make positive changes for the betterment of your relationship.


  1. https://www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/how-toxic-masculinity-and-femininity-can-affect-a-relationship-marriage/
  2. https://patient.info/news-and-features/what-is-toxic-masculinity-and-how-does-it-affect-men