Why Women Date Bad Boys, According to Psychologists
Every woman had a friend who dated a guy who was clearly bad news, but she just couldn’t resist. Maybe that “friend” was you. And yet, despite all the warnings and the red flags, the lure to go out with a “bad boy” was just too strong. So even with all the signs that sorrow is on the horizon, why do we always find bad boys so attractive?
It may not be politically correct to admit it, but these macho and moody men can be overwhelmingly attractive, with their downright alluring boastfulness. We contacted experts to find out why this pace is able to take over our rational thoughts.
First of all, what is a “bad boy” anyway?
Evolutionary biologists would call hypermasculine “bad boys,” says Michael R. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor and psychologist at the University of Louisville. “These men ooze testosterone, which leads to daring and is associated with exaggerated sexuality,” he says. They can also be rebellious or emotionally unavailable, says Madeleine A. Fugère, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University and author, Social psychology of attraction and romantic relationships.
In the most extreme and negative interpretation, the bad guys display the qualities of the so-called psychological black triad, according to relationship researcher and coach Marisa T. Cohen, Ph.D., CPLC. Basically, they can be narcissistic (with a sense of entitlement and a grandiose view of themselves), Machiavellian (insensitive and prone to exploit others) and psychopathic (displaying antisocial and impulsive behavior). And yet sometimes we just can’t leave them.
Apparently we want their sperm – but not necessarily their partnership.
Science, especially evolutionary biology, partly explains why bad boys can be so compelling. Dr. Fugère says research shows that women are more attracted to male men in the middle of their menstrual cycle, when they are most fertile. “Men with very masculine traits may have better genes, so it might be attractive to women at an unconscious level of evolution,” she notes.
That said, when asked what they are looking for in an ideal partner, women tend to cite traits of nice guys, such as honesty, reliability and respect. “In fact, they generally say that they would actively avoid partners who are rude, disrespectful or physically aggressive,” she adds. “So on a conscious level, I think most women recognize that bad boys don’t do good long-term partners.”
The “bad boys” release us from the pressure of being “good girls”.
“Girls have a range of traits, such as rebellion,” says Robyn McKay, Ph.D., psychologist and co-author of Smart girls in the 21st century. “These traits are generally suppressed during childhood, because women are socialized to be compliant and pleasant. If a girl’s inner life is not expressed, she may be attracted to a bad boy as a means of proxy proxy for her own inner rebel.“
Basically, “we are drawn to the qualities in others that we wish for ourselves,” says clinical sociologist and sexologist Sarah Melancon, Ph.D. “A” good girl “can admire the bad boy’s sense of freedom. Despite the fact that this quality makes him an unsuitable long-term partner, it can make him so attractive that it seems worth the associated potential penalty. “
Dr. Cunningham adds: “If women don’t feel strong and independent, they might want someone like this in their lives.”
Norhanie Pangulima, Hernorm Content Ambassador, can relate. She had a “protected education” and fell in love with an adventurous person. “Sometimes I would lie to my mom to hang out with him, which made me feel a little sore, but free,” she says. Similarly, April J. Lisbon, Ed.D., autism coach strategist, says that she felt trapped while growing up with a strict parent and that she went through a phase of meetings with drug traffickers. “Living on the dangerous side of life was attractive to this church girl who was a nerd,” she reveals. “I wanted to lose my image of a” good girl “and define my own freedom.”
They are exciting, different and “forbidden”.
“Bad boys can be a welcome change from the usual types of partners,” says Dr. Fugère. Especially if women are bored, adds Dr. McKay, these men can seem “exciting and fun” – but dating them can also have huge drawbacks, such as painful feelings, fights, or even addictions and criminal records. .
For example, hypnotherapist Jennifer Schlueter got involved with a bad boy from another country and another culture. “The energy between us was explosive, which resulted in incredible sex and adventure, but also in fighting,” she shared.
Why Women Date Bad Boys
Bad boys can seem taboo, which adds to their appeal. “When we want something we can’t or shouldn’t have, our desire for it grows exponentially”, adds Dr. Melancon, who fell in love with a bad boy herself. “He ran his own fetish film business in the adult film industry, and I was in graduate school to study human sexuality. Because he was someone I shouldn’t be with, the chemistry was unlike anything I had experienced before! Several people in my life have asked what I was doing with him, which is Romeo and Juliet in a way, only reinforced my appeal. “But we all know how it ended for Romeo and Juliet.
We think they will protect us.
Women who feel besieged by threats often fall for badass, with their disregard for social norms and their desire to quickly raise frustration to hostility, threats and aggression, explains psychologist Forrest. Talley, Ph.D. “They want to have someone in their life who is tough enough to take on the world and fight back if necessary,” he says.
“It is likely that some women feel more protected by the tough guy and his ease with aggression”, recognizes Marni Feuerman, Psy.D., certified psychotherapist and author of Ghost and breadcrumbs: stop falling in love with unavailable men and adopt healthy relationships. Of course, there is no one to act as a buffer if this aggression turns around and comes your way.
Bad boys are projects …
Women are often fixers, says Dr. Cunningham, “or interesting projects that use a lot of their skills, charm and persuasiveness.”
According to psychiatrist Dr. Margaret Seide, M.D., bad boys are not inclined to settle down so easily in monogamy. “If you can convince someone to commit, it may seem like an accomplishment,” she said.You think if you can get one, you have to be pretty, funny and smart enough to win this award. Unfortunately, due to societal pressures, women are often in an eternal quest for validation and this elusive feeling of being sufficient. Chasing bad boys is just another example. “
Falling for these types of men “happens to the most caring and stimulating people,” says Dr. Feuerman. “They want to see the best in others and have a hard time believing that someone can be really bad.”
Unfortunately, as Dr. Talley points out, this can be a trap. “These men rarely allow someone else’s belief not to precipitate positive change,” he says. “If they did, it would mean they would become submissive.”
… and when we try to convert the bad boys, we repeat the old patterns.
According to Nina Savelle-Rocklin, Psy.D., psychoanalyst and psychotherapist, women whose parents are distant or distant or other close family members could be attracted to bad boys. “We do not go beyond our wish to convert this person into a loving and welcoming person”, she says. “Instead, we subconsciously transfer this wish to new figures in our lives, hoping to get from this new person what we never got from the original person, as if it would heal the original wound. Unfortunately, it never works because rejecting people doesn’t suddenly become accepting. We continue to play the same drama, putting new people in old roles. “
Conclusion: proceed with caution.
Experts agree that men who don’t want to change in most cases won’t. For example, research shows that men who cheated are also more likely to be unfaithful in their future relationships, says Dr. Fugère.
“The testosterone that makes them bold, adventurous and rebellious will make them less willing to follow the rules of dating, relationships and marriage,” adds Dr. Cunningham. Instead, “they are in the conquests and are looking for new victims.”
As Jennifer Schlueter discovered from her own relationship with a bad boy, “I was hoping my love would ‘fix’ him, but he taught me that I couldn’t change anyone who didn’t want to change for him. -even.”
“Converting” a bad boy is usually impossible, says Dr. Melancon. “If a woman managed to change him, he would no longer be the bad boy she finds so irresistible,” she says. That said, there are exceptions: Dr. Melancon’s bad boy treated her so well that, “He wasn’t a” real “bad boy so to speak, which is why the relationship led to marriage. “