Have you ever been asked, “Why the hell are you with that guy? He’s such a jerk!” Maybe you felt embarrassed because knew the person was right. That is, until your toxic guy called you up, desperate to see you and charming your pants off… literally. What gives? Why do toxic guys, bad boys and unavailable men have such a hold on good women?
They’re a temporary cure for being bored AF. Sometimes when you’re bored with your life or having a dry spell, you need to make like Stella and get your groove back. What do you reach for? Not the stable guy but the unpredictable, wild one. Of course, to people watching you, it seems crazy to get with a guy just ’cause he’s amazing in the sack or makes you feel special for a limited time only before he leaves. But you’re living in the moment and relishing every inch of excitement. Soon, the excitement will turn into disappointment or heartbreak. Maybe next time you’re keen to spice things up, go on a road trip or take a dance class, m’kay?
You fear something real. The nice, stable guys are the picture of committed relationships — but if you’re not looking for that right now you’re going to turn away from them and go for something different, like the guy who would rather pierce his own eyebrow than be exclusive. You feel you can leave your heart at the bedroom door and have some fun without risking pain. You might even say, “Hell, I don’t want a relationship with him or anyone, so this setup works for me!” But does it really? Could you perhaps be secretly pining for him to become boyfriend material. Which brings up the next point…
You want to be the one to tame him. You might not like nice guys, but have a secret passion for the bad boy who’ll turn nice for you. So you choose a toxic guy and decide you’ll be the one to change him, make him see the light, decide to commit, and love you forever for it. Plot twist: guys like that rarely change, so save your grand makeover skills for your beauty box.
You’ve got something to prove. Bad guys can help you prove to yourself that you’re worthy and lovable. Yes, even though all those other guys in your past treated you badly or your dad wasn’t around to love you, this bad boy has changed all that and will validate you. Um, any second now… okay, maybe by next week. The danger is that bringing more bad boys into your life just puts you at risk of further rejection. It’s only your fault because you keep opening the door for them when you should be slamming it in their faces. Screw needing validation from anyone! You can give it to yourself for free.
You think there are no good guys left. Good guys sometimes feel like they’re on the endangered species list, so love in the time of a male shortage means that you’ll stick with the guy who leaves you hanging, keeps pissing you off or cheats on you. You reckon that this is as good as it’ll get. Until you dump his ass and see that you can actually do way better than him!
You’re caught in an attraction-frustration cycle. When a guy gives you loads of attention and makes you feel special, your brain squirts dopamine, a feel-good hormone that surprisingly flows more when there’s erratic reinforcement from the guy. When a toxic guy is all over you one minute and then going AWOL the next, you’re pining for him to return so you can get that hormone hit instead of getting away from him as you should. This is similar to how you’d behave if you were a drug addict in need of your next fix. Time to go cold turkey on the tool, no?
You’re tempted by the forbidden. You could partly blame Fifty Shades for this one. Bad boys are like devilish chocolate cake you choose to eat instead of going to the gym. They’re deliciously forbidden because you know that they’re bad for you, but you can’t help but have some. In the same way you might push aside calorie concerns, you’ll sweep away your intuition that’s telling you to back away from the bad boy so your heart doesn’t get hurt. But it will, so stop after one bite.
You want hot sex. A study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that you’re not mistaken when you associate that bad boy giving you the eye at the bar with loads of fun in the sack. When researchers asked college-aged women what they thought about nice guys, they found that although women like going on dates with nice guys, they turn to the bad boys for mind-blowing sex. Guess it has something to do with those tattoos and can-do attitudes, huh?
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