Why is it that many sensible and responsible women are attracted to “bad boys?” What do otherwise conscientious and even conservative women see in rebels and rabble-rousers?
First, understand that bad boys come in many variations and degrees. There are the seriously bad apples who have regular run-ins with the law, habitually use drugs, and get arrested for violent acts. Then there’s the milder variety—mischief-makers who enjoy breaking rules just because they’re there. These guys have unusually high testosterone, and they haven’t learned to channel all that aggression in a constructive way. So they drive too fast, engage in risky behaviors, and seek out danger. Other guys adopt a bad boy image because it gives them an identity, acceptance in their peer group, or attention from their parents and other adults.
There are typically four reasons good girls fall for guys like these:
1. The impulse to perpetuate what’s familiar.
Many women attracted to rogues had a father who was a little wild and rebellious. Because many girls idealize their father, they may seek a partner with similar traits. This usually isn’t a conscious decision; much of the allure happens below the level of awareness. Girls may also choose these boys on the assumption that Dad will be impressed.
2. The urge to redo the father-daughter relationship.
The motivation is an attempt to revise a troubled or distant relationship with their dad. Often, attraction is fueled by unmet childhood needs from the opposite-sex parent. So if a woman chooses someone reminiscent of her father, her motivation may be to remedy childhood hurts.
3. The drive to rehabilitate or “save” a wayward man.
Simply put, many women are rescuers. It’s a challenge for them to reform an incorrigible man. These women think, Sure, he gets into trouble, but I can change him! Ego is involved as well. It’s inflating when a woman feels like she is the only one who can transform a man.
4. The appetite for adventure.
Other women like the excitement, thrills, and sense of danger bad boys bring. This is especially true for those who have been “good girls” all their lives. Perhaps they grew up in a family that demanded conformity and compliance with rules. So they’re intrigued with men who scoff at rules and shrug off responsibility.
How do these relationships usually turn out? In a word, poorly. That’s because bad boys won’t change unless they want to—no matter how long-suffering their partner might be. Further, despite initial attraction, most women get tired of bailing a man out of jail, wondering if he’ll make it home from a party, or catching him with another woman. Women who sign on with bad boys enlist for endless conflict and turmoil. Ironically, the very thing that draws good girls and bad boys together is usually their undoing. Many women have learned the hard way that bad boys make bad dating partners–and even worse spouses.