Being attracted to “bad boys” could be linked to “good genes” selection theory | StaceyNHerrera

**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

As a young woman, I had no idea who I was or what I needed. I hadn’t had enough life experience to trust my instincts or recognize when someone or something wasn’t good for me. That’s how I fell in love with him.

We met under mysterious circumstances — a pager, a wrong number, and a lost answering machine message. But it felt meant to be. And when we finally met face-to-face, the attraction was electric. He was everything I thought I wanted: tall, dark, and handsome with a rough edge that made him all the more appealing.

He was also screwed up, really screwed up, but I didn’t see it then. I only saw what I wanted to see: a bad boy who needed me to save him.

It took me a long time to realize that I couldn’t change him and that he would never change for me. No matter how much I loved him or how much I tried, he would always be the same person.

I admit that I am highly attracted to emotionally unavailable men. I know they are not suitable for me, but something about them makes me weak in the knees. Is it their aloofness? Their mystery? Their challenge?

I think it might be a combination of all of those things. There is always an air of mystery and excitement with an emotionally unavailable bad boy. They are never quite fully present, making them all the more intriguing. They are also usually very confident and sure of themselves, which is a major turn-on.

But what is it about “bad boys” that make women like me lose their minds?

I think it might have something to do with the fact that they feel just out of reach.

There is always an element of uncertainty with bad boys, which can be very intoxicating. There is also the fact that they usually exude power and control in their lives. They are the ones who are always in charge, and that can be very appealing to women who want to feel protected and cared for.

These types of men also tend to create drama and chaos, even if by default. They are usually very selfish and sometimes manipulative and controlling.

So why do women like me keep going back to them, even though we know that they are bad for us?

Hormones. That’s right; Hormones play a huge factor in the type of people that women are attracted to. Research indicates that females are attracted to “males with traits associated with fit genes that they can pass on to their offspring, according to Martie Haselton, PhD. This phenomenon is also known as the “good genes” mate selection theory.

But from a practical standpoint, I think pursuing bad boys makes us feel alive. They are exciting and dangerous, which can be a very addicting feeling. We also tend to idealize them and put them on a pedestal. We see them as these larger-than-life figures who are just out of our reach. And that can be very appealing.

Insecurity can be a magnet

I also believe that insecurity plays a significant role in unhealthy attraction. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we attract people who can affirm those beliefs.

And when we don’t feel good enough, we don’t know when enough is enough. So we pursue unhealthy connections with people who may never be available in the ways we need them to be.

Bad boys make us appreciate good men.

Sometimes it takes experiencing the bad to appreciate the good. And that might be one of the silver linings of pursuing emotionally unavailable men.

Through them, we learn what we don’t want and what we deserve. We learn about our strengths and weaknesses. We learn how to set boundaries. And most importantly, we learn to love.

But this isn’t about needing to be treated poorly to recognize goodness. It’s just nature. Contrasting experiences are how the universe is designed.

I could argue that being attracted to emotionally unavailable bad boys is just nature’s way of helping us evolve.

If you’re in a relationship with a bad boy, you might think you can change him. You might think you can help him get his life from him together and that he’ll finally be the man you’ve always wanted him to be. Trust me; it’s probably not going to happen.

But if you should happen to be the exception, instead of the rule like the rest of us, then more power to you. Maybe you’ve broken the cycle.

Have you been in a relationship with a bad boy or girl? Did it work out? Why or why not?

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