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Why women are attracted to bad boys (and how to break away)

Posted April 12
Updated April 13

Are you drawn to bad boys? Do you keep going back to the same guy over and over even though you know it's not going to work out? Here's why you are attracted to them and how to break away. (Deseret Photo)

What is it that makes bad boys so attractive? Why do some women keep going back to those guys who they already know are wrong for them? If you’re one of those girls, it’s not too late for you to break away. Here are some reason you may keep going back to those guys — and how to stop yourself before you do it again.

They are irresistible

Whether it’s the way they dress, what car (or in a lot of cases motorcycles) they drive, how they act or what they do, there are certain behaviors that are attractive to women. Their confidence and masculinity is something women love. Unfortunately, bad boys are often self-centered and narcissistic and tend to break hearts instead of staying around for long-term relationships.

To break this attraction, distinguish what qualities you love about the overall bad boy and separate it from the person. There are a lot of guys that are confident, without being a jerk. Lots of guys ride motorcycles that don’t also leave without a trace. Keep that in mind when you’re on the hunt.

They are exciting

Let’s face it, bad boys are exciting. They tend to do things last-minute, move around a lot, do dangerous activities and have a "devil-may-care" attitude. While this is exciting for a while, it will wear off. A year or so from now, you'll want to stay in on a Friday night to just cuddle and watch a movie. A bad boy will not stick around long if that’s how you spend your weekends.

When looking for a potential boyfriend, ask yourself how much energy you really have. It doesn’t mean you will stay home every night (regular nice guys like to go out) but they know how to chill as well. Not so much with your bad boy.

Women want to save everyone

Sometimes the appeal of a bad boy is the fact that they have the potential to be “saved”. Women often feel the need to correct behavior, help someone who is lost and nurture. A guy who seems a little dangerous is the perfect project. Being able to correct that behavior and straighten them out is a huge challenge and accomplishment for a woman, especially one who likes a project.

It's important to ask yourself if you really want to date (and potentially marry) a project. Sure, we all have imperfections and need a little work, but a complete remodel is different than a few touch ups. Shouldn’t you marry someone who brings out the best in you and lifts you up rather than someone you feel you need to fix? Marry an almost-finished-masterpiece instead of a total work in process.

They bring out your inner bad girl

The biggest appeal of a bad boy can be that they bring out your inner bad girl. The bad boy makes you feel exciting and dangerous. They give you a thrill, an excuse to be bad. This can be really fun for a while, but when reality settles in, you’ll soon realize it’s hard to live this life. You need a job and a steady income. You need to be responsible, have goals, and a life plan. Living in the moment, as bad boys often do, can be hard to do in the real world.

When dating, try to imagine your life with this person in 5, 10, even 50 years from now. Do you see a future with them? Is it the future you want? This can help you steer clear of the guy ride off into the sunset with, and instead pick the one who you can see yourself spending several sunsets with.

Bad boys definitely have an excitement and appeal that gets our heart beating a bit faster, but the feelings don’t always last. The real gems are the gentlemen, the men who have a stable job and who treat you like a lady. It doesn’t make them weak, but rather a true catch.

Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. She lives in Orange County, CA and is a mother of twins. Contact her at Meganshauri@gmail.com

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