The Difference Between A Strong Masculine Man And An Abusive One

A strong masculine man and an abusive man might seem to have similar traits, but there are some telling signs you should be aware of.

By Juliana Stewart3 min read
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When you first start dating a man, it can be hard to determine whether he’s a good, strong, masculine man or if he’ll end up being abusive. Both often have similar traits and can appear to be strong, well put together, charming, attentive, sweet, kind, and aggressive in their pursuit.

Mix that in with sexual attraction and the rush you get from being with a new person, and it’s easy to see how some women get caught up in unhealthy and abusive relationships. 

So, how do you determine what kind of man he is? What are some early signs a man might show that he could potentially have abusive tendencies? 

Be Alert When You’re Dating

Before going into their different characteristics, it’s important to mention that before entering a relationship, a woman should know what her standards and boundaries are. Once you establish these, you’ll have a much better understanding of the kind of behavior you will and won’t tolerate from a man. Your standards and boundaries protect you from unpleasant behavior.

Your standards and boundaries protect you from unpleasant behavior.

You also have to your wits about you. Observe a man’s behavior and lean on your intuition to make wiser decisions. If he does things that make you feel honored and happy — great, you want more of that. If he does something that feels off or pushes your boundaries, don’t suppress the feeling. That’s your gut instinct trying to tell you something. Don’t be afraid to listen to it and cut him off if need be.

True Masculinity

True masculinity is a powerful and positive force. Yes, a masculine man can be charming and do all those other things to impress a woman, but his true nature lies in his strength, courage, mastery, and honor. 

  • He has the strength to protect the people he loves. He defends them in a conflict and doesn’t harm them. He is in control of his emotions. He has the self-control to respect boundaries and other people.

  • He has the courage to do hard things. Whether that’s in his professional life or personal life, he isn’t afraid of a challenge. He dares to face problems head-on instead of burying his head in the sand.

  • Mastery means he doesn't quit when the going gets tough. Instead, he grinds and puts in the blood, sweat, and tears to achieve his goals and purpose in life. He is control of his life, and he masters it.

  • Honor matters to him. He knows living an honorable life makes him a better man, and he keeps his word. He does whatever he can to protect and honor his legacy.  

He knows living an honorable life makes him a better man, and he keeps his word.

Abusive Men

Abusive men can have similar masculine traits as per above, but one big thing they lack is honor. Abusive men don’t do things honorably. They’re destructive and don’t care about who they take down with them.

They also lack social cues and don’t respect people’s boundaries. They will use your insecurities to manipulate you into getting what they want — for the fun of it or to gain control and power. It comes from a dark place, and it’s toxic behavior.

What are some behaviors a man displays that could potentially turn into abuse?


When a man is emotionally immature and can’t handle feelings of jealousy, he will project his insecurities onto you. For example, he might accuse you of flirting with other men or call you derogatory names. He might even make you feel guilty for spending time with friends and family because he can’t bear the thought of sharing you with others. This is not coming from a place of movie-romance but from a place of fear.

Hot and Cold, Push-Pull

One minute he is really into you, the next minute he is distant. Some men will use this push and pull method to make a woman feel anxious and confused about where she stands with him. It's used as a weapon to keep a woman in check and to gain control over her. This behavior between being treated well and being treated badly can feel like a rollercoaster. If continued over a prolonged period, it will wreak havoc with your emotional and mental wellbeing.

This push and pull method is used as a weapon to keep a woman in check and to gain control over her. 

Controlling Behavior

A man who takes control can be sexy because it shows he has great leadership skills and take initiative. But a man who tries to control a woman's behavior violates her free agency. There’s a big difference. If he starts dictating what you can and can’t do, or tries to take over your finances without your trust and consent, be wary of him. This behavior could worsen over time, and before you know it, all your freedom will be taken away without you realizing it.


This is when a man deliberately tries to drive a wedge between you and your family and friends. He’ll start to criticize and badmouth them to try and turn you against them. This is an attempt to break down your resources so he can get you alone and have you all to himself.

Threats of Violence

This will look like verbal abuse at the beginning of a relationship. He will say things to you that are hurtful, cruel, and even degrading to test the waters. If the behavior progresses, it could turn into outbursts of rage, yelling, threats, and then full-on physical violence.  

He will say things to you that are hurtful, cruel, and even degrading to test the waters.

If a man showcases any of these behaviors, tread lightly and do not ignore it. If you ignore these behaviors, he will think you’re a pushover and the bad treatment will worsen over time. End the relationship before it gets that far.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a huge difference between these two kinds of men. A good strong masculine man doesn’t need to use force in the forms of manipulation, ultimatums, or threats to feel like he’s in control. Abusive people and bullies do this.

A good strong masculine man is always cautious not to cause their partner any harm. He commands respect in an honorable way, and therefore people naturally admire and respect him. The strength he shows is to protect you, whereas an abusive man uses his strength to protect himself.