Friday, 14 September 2012

Bad boys: why do they appeal?

Unfortunately most of us ladies will have had experience of a bad relationship with a ‘bad boy’, or if not definitely know someone who has. If you’re even more unlucky you’ll have had more than one encounter of this kind.

If like me, you’ll have watched from afar as you see your girlfriends treated appallingly – spoken to like rubbish, emotionally blackmailed, had mind games played with or even physically abused – and said ‘I’d never let them happen to me’. You question why people stand for it? Worse still they stay with the person and go back for more.

Never you, right?


I am pretty sure that once in a woman’s life she will experience a bad boy. I hate to wish this on anyone, but I reckon I’m right. Regardless of how strong a female you believe yourself to be, when you fall for this type of guy you fall big time and don’t recognise yourself at the end of it.

But why? What is it about us girls that makes us so attracted to bad boys?

Have you ever noticed they’ve always got a charm about them? Even if they’re not super attractive, they have something in their personality or their aura even that pulls you in and makes them likeable.

I think there are four main things that make up a bad boy – everyone likes them (they seem to be the cool friend in a group), their personality that pulls you in, the excitement of being with someone a bit ‘dangerous’ and last but not least generally they seem to be very good in bed…

But then what is it about them that once you realise actually they’re a bit of an a*****le, you still can’t let go? How do they have this hold over you?

New research [] has suggested the initial attraction – how you get stuck with these wastes of space – is down to our hormones. At certain times we’re drawn to men who seem a bit bad and our hormones signal to us they’ll make good fathers.

Other studies suggest it is how we have evolved as humans – rather than learning bad boys are bad (like we thought in the past [], where the media plays up the ‘rogue’ as the attractive character us ladies have changed our mind and got the wrong impression.

Or we can be told the guy that’s no good for you pulls you in as they offer something fresh and different [].

Whilst researcher Peter Jonason [] argues women who don’t like to feel deep emotion and prefer to keep an emotional distance are actually most prone to going for the bad guy.

This just seems like madness at first – the ones who are trying to stop themselves from getting hurt are the ones who go to the man who is most likely to hurt them. However, if you think about it for a minute those of us who think we’re strong are probably the ones likely to hold back like Jonason suggests.
The worrying thing though is that surely that means you are destined to keep dating bad boys as once you’ve been hurt you’ll be even more cautious with your emotion?

In a relationship now for seven years with someone who isn’t a nasty person I can safely tell you it doesn’t have to be a pattern! There are good guys out there, but you do need to learn to trust.

After being with someone for over three years I eventually got rid and learnt my lesson, but why did I stay there so long? I decided to see if good old Google could help provide some suggestions…

To be honest I couldn’t see a lot – certainly nothing other than common sense answers I could give myself. When you’re in these relationships a lot of it is about mind games. And this is a popular answer people give – it’s an emotional thing. You feel comfortable being in that relationship and get stuck in a rut, you are fearful you won’t meet someone else, your confidence is knocked and you think this is as good as it gets, you forgive too easily and make excuses.

As cliché as it sounds, I was once told by a relative of mine – who herself had been in a bad relationship (in fact she was married to him), that when you meet these bad boys and it all goes wrong you put up with things. A lot. But then one day something snaps and enough is enough. You stop putting up with it.

Then starts the long old process of getting over it and becoming that strong woman again.

My advice? Obviously you would think avoid the bad boys. Yes of course. But you know what, sometimes there is one benefit of being with a bad boy. Like everything in life you shouldn’t have regrets I feel and after being with someone like that you sure as hell learn from it and know what you will never ever put up with again – meaning future relationships are stronger, healthier and more successful.

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