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What He Means When He Says You Deserve Better (15 Things He May Be Saying)

by Sonya Schwartz

When a guy says that you deserve better, he doesn’t always mean that as a compliment. He might say that you deserve better, but he could also be thinking of several other things. In fact, this has turned into a cop-out phrase that people simply say when they’re breaking up with you. He could be trying to say quite a few different things. 

He’s Trying To Say This When He Says You Deserve Better

This is one of the most puzzling things to figure out. Some men actually think that you deserve better. Others seem like they’re hiding something and just telling you this. When he says you deserve better, he really means one of these things.

1. You deserve better

Guys with low self-esteem might actually think that they don’t deserve you. They mean that you can find someone much better than them. In reality, this could be due to various things. Perhaps they don’t think they are cute. Maybe they don’t feel that they have enough money or nice things. 

Whatever the cause of their low self-image is, that’s more than likely why he says that you deserve better. Talk to him about his feelings to determine what that reason is. 

It’s important to remember that he might be saying this because he doesn’t want to change. A person can start to feel better about themselves. However, that doesn’t mean that he’s willing to put in the work to do that. He has to want to change in order for it to happen. 

2. He’s going to break your heart

he's going to break your heart

When he says that you deserve better, he might actually mean that you deserve better than what he’s got on his mind. One guy told me that I deserved better, and I made the mistake of taking this as a compliment

Back in reality, he meant that he was planning on just using me for sex, which is why he thought I deserved better. If you want a serious relationship with someone, pay attention when he says that you deserve better. 

3. He’s pretty sure that he’s going to hurt you

Maybe he isn’t planning on using you for sex as my ex did. However, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to crush your heart. He could have a mental illness or fear of intimacy. He could be simply being honest. 

If you’re not sure whether this is what he means, consider asking him. Men that genuinely feel that they don’t deserve you are more likely to be honest about how they are feeling. 

4. He can’t give you what you need in a relationship

This may apply to various needs. For example, you have higher attention needs and his schedule doesn’t allow him the time to give you the attention that you need. He may also want to give you more attention than you prefer. Maybe you need your space and he’s the clingy type. 

What he’s trying to say is that he thinks the relationship will ultimately be a disaster if the two of you try to make it work. 

5. He doesn’t think the two of you have a future

He may just not see you in his future. In this situation, this is a nice way of breaking up with you. Instead of telling you that he doesn’t want to spend a long period of his life with you, he’s using this phrase to make it sound nice. Honestly, he just doesn’t want to stay with you and sees his life is better without you in it. 

6. He’s not ready to put in the time or effort

Sometimes, a guy isn’t going to give you what you deserve. Maybe he’s still hurt from his past. Perhaps he’s angry over a previous relationship. Instead of giving you false hope or using you, he’s letting you know that he is not going to go all out to chase you. He might not even treat you right. Instead of giving yourself hope that things will change, take what he says literally and walk away. 

7. Your boyfriend thinks it’s what you want to hear

When he says you deserve better, he actually means it as a compliment. It’s his way of trying to tell you that he thinks very highly of you. When men say you deserve better, they think that you deserve the world. You’ll usually hear this after you’ve established a relationship. 

Men that are in love with you will always say you deserve better because they think that you deserve the best of everything. 

8. Stop wasting your time

It’s his way of telling you that he thinks you’re great but he doesn’t want anything with you. Instead of telling you the truth in a blunt manner, he’s giving you a heads up to just walk away. If you hear a man say you deserve better in the beginning, consider it a warning of what to expect if you keep pursuing him. 

9. He thinks you’re stuck up

It’s a polite way of saying that you’re on a different level than him, complete with attitude and all. This could be because you have a better job or make more money. Usually, it pertains to a person’s attitude, though. This is another reason you should listen to what he’s saying and just walk away. 

10. He’s simply done with the relationship

he's simply done with the relationship

Maybe he found someone else. Perhaps he doesn’t want to tell you that he’s been cheating on you for months on end. Whatever the reason, he’s done with the relationship and doesn’t want to tell you the truth. 

When your boyfriend says this during a breakup, just take it for what it is. He can’t bring himself to be honest. He’s also trying to cushion the blow for you. 

11. Attention seeking behavior

Instead of breaking up with you, he wants validation. Your boyfriend might do this for various reasons. He wants to know that you are thinking about how great he is. Some people make comments like this because they want you to stroke their ego. 

If you’ve noticed other attention-seeking behavior or that your boyfriend seems to need constant validation, this could be the culprit. 

12. He thinks you’re going to be disappointed in your life with him

He doesn’t think that he can give you the relationship or life that you’re accustomed to. For example, maybe you’re used to going on vacation to the beach and he simply can’t afford that. Perhaps you’re used to a man that can fix things but he always has to call a professional. Whatever the case, he’s not the right person for you. 

13. His life will bring more stress into yours

A man that says this knows that you have a nice, relaxed life. He’s also well aware that his life is going to bring yours down a level or two. For example, maybe his kids are heathens and they’re going to break all of your nice stuff. Perhaps his family is full of drama and he knows that it will spill over into your life. 

14. He wants to make sure that you’ll settle for him

They say that in every relationship one person reaches and one person settles. He feels like he’s the person reaching, and wants to make sure that you’re willing to settle. It’s his way of making you decide what you want. 

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

However, you need to make that decision very carefully. This is especially important if you are still in the beginning stages of dating and you don’t know him as well. 

15. The boy doesn’t live a normal life

While some men work and then go home to their families, there are always exceptions. You’ll also have the guy that is slowly becoming a criminal as a career and will wind up in prison for his entire life. Then there’s the workaholic that simply knows he can’t give you the time of day. 

Or perhaps the guy that is constantly traveling for work. Those long business trips can take a toll on any relationship. When he says you deserve a normal life, listen to him. 

What Should You Do When He Says You Deserve Better

Men that claim they are not good enough often want a certain reaction. Don’t fall for it. Instead, you should listen to them. There are quite a few reasons that you should heed this warning. 

1. He is not willing to be completely truthful

Instead of telling you about a mental illness or low self-image, he’s chosen this cliche phrase. It leaves you wondering. Overall, it’s an effort to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. That is a selfish thing to do, and it shows a lot about his character. Healthy, truthful communication involves discussing those issues. If you stay, you’re not going to get that. 

2. He won’t be working on himself

If he says that, it means that he has no intention of putting in the work on himself. Whatever is going on, don’t expect him to fix it. Or bother trying. When the relationship is total crap, he can revert back to this saying again. He might even tell you that he told you so. 

3. You never know why he is warning you

you never know why he is warning you

I think that this is the thing that bothers me most about this particular phrase. While you might want to convince him that this relationship is right for you, in reality, it’s not a good idea. You have no clue what he means by this. 

While you might think it’s low self-esteem, which is one of the main reasons that females convince their man that they are great when they say this, it could be because he’s a sociopath. Maybe he knows that he’s going to be abusive or cheat. There are so many things this could be a warning for, it’s not wise to stick around and find out. 


How do you respond to “you deserve better?”

You want to say that he’s perfect, that he’s the one that you want. Don’t. Instead, ask him why he feels that way. He might try to say how great you are but turn the conversation around to him. This will help you identify why he’s saying it, and you can get the truth that you deserve. 

What does it mean when a man says “I don't deserve you?”

He thinks he’s crap for one reason or another. Maybe he doesn’t have a great job or have his life together. Low self-esteem can make him think you deserve better. Cheaters might say this to a girl if they know that they are going to break her heart. He has some issues. Just believe it and walk away. 

What does it mean when a guy says you can do better?

This is the same as when a boy says you deserve better. He says you deserve better because he thinks that there are better guys out there for you. Perhaps he doesn’t have the time to give you. Maybe he doesn’t think that he looks very nice or is aware of issues he has that will ruin a future relationship

Why do guys say you're too good for them?

Because they think that you are amazing, and, for whatever reason, they are not. On top of that, he’s not ready to put in the time and effort that it takes to fix parts of himself. He feels that you deserve better than what he can give you, and he’s not willing to be that better person. Instead, he’d rather you walk away. 

What does it mean to deserve someone?

When someone feels that they deserve someone, it means that they think they are a certain type of person and they should be with a certain person because of that. Typically, people that say this have healthy self-esteem. They feel that they deserve certain things, such as someone that is respectful and honest. 


When he says that you deserve better, you should listen to him. However, that doesn’t always happen. What would you do in this situation?

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

One comment on “What He Means When He Says You Deserve Better (15 Things He May Be Saying)”

  1. When your bf or gf says "you deserve better" - YOU DO! Walk away on the spot and DO NOT LOOK BACK. They are 100% incapable of a mutually loving relationship. If they tell you they are "damaged goods" - THEY ARE and YOU CANNOT FIX THEM. Walk away on the spot and DO NOT LOOK BACK. If they aren't already, they will end up abusive, arrogant, controlling, manipulative masters of gaslighting and projection, likely with personality disorders (borderline or narcissism) or even sociopathy. They cannot love and are incapable of receiving love. WALK AWAY!!!

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