Among the frustrating patterns that we can experience is the allure of the infamous bad boy.
So why do we like them?
What’s so freaking attractive about the bad boy that keeps us coming back for more?
First, let’s talk about the reasons bad boys suck us in in the first place, then I’ll go over how to quit attracting them.
8 reasons bad boys are so addictive:
1. The bad boy is confident. One of the reasons that bad boys are so attractive in the first place is that they exude magnetic confidence. The bad boy doesn’t give a toss what we think is exactly why we’re drawn in. Confidence is ALWAYS the main factor in attractiveness and bad boys usually have it in spades.
2. Sexual attraction. Usually sex with bad boys is hot since they’re so confident. Also, we wouldn’t get hooked on them so easily if there wasn’t a chemical bond aspect of the whole thing.
3. Broken wing syndrome. The bad boys song and dance about his damaged past makes us want to get closer and heal that deep well of pain somehow “with our love.” This isn’t possible, it’s actually a codependent and a maladaptive pattern, but often we still want to try anyway.
4. Law of intermittent rewards. I’ve talked about the law of intermittent rewards before since it has a lot to do with what we do in relationships— working to screw us over in the background. Basically, we will keep doing something if we’re only rewarded some of the time without any discernible pattern.
When it comes to the bad boy, sometimes when we contact him or hang out, we’re rewarded. Sometimes not. The unpredictability of it makes us want to keep trying since things are so fun and amazing when the bad boy makes an effort.
5. He says what we want to hear. Because they do whatever they darn well please, often we’re sucked in by lies, half truths and straight faced statements like “oh no, I’m not dating anyone else, but babe why do you want to label it, let’s just enjoy ourselves.” This kind of crap just rolls off his tongue and often it’s exactly what we want to hear.
6. He feels like a challenge. At our most masochistic, getting the bad boy to turn good becomes a challenge that we’ll undertake for the simple possibility that just MAYBE we can be the woman he “changes for.” Getting a bad boy to hang up his badness and change “for us” seems like a way he’ll be proving his love to us.
7. Since he comes close and pulls away, it makes us want to push harder to make the relationship work. Human beings want what is denied to them. The bad boy shows us how great it COULD be with him, then invariably snatches it away, making us want to push to get him back. When we’re off balance and striving this way, it distracts from the fact that he’s really just acting like a withholding jerk who will never actually meet our needs. But he hints that he will, so the cycle of push and pull continues.
8. Dating drama is addictive. Sometimes when we court relationships with a lot of conflict because conflict is distracting. Conflict eats up so much of our time and energy that we’re temporarily exempt from worrying about the future. Drama provides a temporary refuge from real life.
Instead of focusing on what we really want, drama lets us stall. Drama is creative life fulfillment procrastination. The bad boy plays right into this— since he can be relied on to provide heaps of upheaval and potential devastation– derailing our true plans and ambitions.
So How Do You Stop Attracting Bad Boys?
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we keep attracting the same kind of guy over and over. This usually happens until we put in firm boundaries that disqualify people who show signs of being bad for us.
So how do you disqualify the bad boy instead of getting tangled up with one?
Sharpen Your Bullsh*t Detector
If you continually find yourself with these characters, there were likely red flags flying in the beginning that you blew right past. If you sense that Mr. Sex Bomb is a player, listen to your intuition. Watch for grandiose stories and large gestures meant to win you over.
Choose Compatibility Over Chemistry
Chemistry can grow as you get to know someone better. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll actually become more compatible with someone over time. Bad boys usually provide a GLIMPSE of something that we want and then snatch it away. Real compatibility— i.e. wanting the same things as someone else— doesn’t wane. It simply is.
Get Excited About Your Own Life
When women complain of always attracting bad boys, one thing they mention to me over and over is that they “get bored” with regular men so these firecracker disaster guys seem so attractive and different.
Prevent this by getting passionate about creating an awesome life of your own. When you’re passionately interested in your own life, the bad boy will represent a hazard rather than a creative way to stave off boredom. Stop writing off stable men as boring.
Absorb The Mantra, “Love Does Not Equal Drama and Pain”
Okay, repeat after me: “love does not equal drama and pain.” Tattoo it on your arm if you have to. If you’re experiencing drama and pain, this does not mean that you’re “suffering for love” it means something is wrong. When you feel bad, this is a sign that things aren’t going well— not that you need to try harder.
Look For Patterns
Does everyone you date treat you the same way in the beginning?
Do you always act on “butterflies” or “sparks” or something else?
If you look at what’s alike about the guys you date, sometimes a really clear pattern will emerge. If you go against this pattern or feel yourself getting sucked in by the same tactics, take a step back. The bad boy will try to move things along at his own pace— so slow way down.
Take a Wait and See Approach
Don’t commit, jump into anything, or declare any dude “The One” in the first few months of being together. Bad boys (and psychos) will either be totally glib about commitment and refuse to take it seriously OR they’ll push for it right away to tie you down and obligate you to stick around. Obviously, neither is a recipe for success.
Time is your ally. You’ll learn everything you need to know if you sit back and pay attention without doing anything permanent.