I Used To Have Terrible Taste In Men — Here’s How I Got My Act Together

I used to love bad boys and always chose them over the genuine nice guys without fail. I also got hurt without fail, so I decided I had to stop dating them once and for all. Here are 13 ways I got over my bad taste and started raising my standards:

  1. I stopped believing the lies. Bad boys are glamorized a heck of a lot in books, ads and movies. They’re portrayed as mysterious, interesting and adventurous, but when I stopped and really looked at the bad boys I’d dated, I realized they were just commitment-phobes and immature or aggressive guys. That’s so not hot.
  2. I put my needs first. The problem with bad boys is that it’s all about them and what they want. I was always trying to fit in with them to be loved. It was such BS because they didn’t care about me—they only cared about their egos. When I put my needs first for a change, I saw that the bad boys weren’t meeting them at all. Why would I want them? Hell no.
  3. I remembered the pain. Sure, it was exciting to get with a bad boy, but only for a few weeks. Then the pain would start, whether it was because he’d go AWOL or start to look for other women he could have on the side. I decided to pay attention to the pain instead of the fun I’d experienced with bad boys, and that kept me away from them.
  4. I saw beyond what they offered. Bad boys are usually handsome with confidence and charm to spare. They used to dazzle me with these qualities but now I recognize and question these traits instead of just falling over guys for having them. For instance, when a guy’s very charming, I think, “Is he faking this? Why is he coming on so strong? What’s his hidden agenda?” I won’t be conned or waste my time again.
  5. I tried a different typeI used to ignore a lot of nice guys in favor of the bad boys, and it left me alone and unhappy. I started giving those nice guys a chance and I realized they made me so much happier. What took me so long?
  6. I paid attention. I listened to what my loved ones would say about guys I dated. In the past, I’d just roll my eyes when they expressed disliking my latest bad boy, but they could obviously see what was going on better than I could because they were outside of the situation. They could see when a guy just didn’t seem genuine because they weren’t distracted by attraction for him and they could tell I was unhappy. Their insights proved valuable.
  7. I was tired. I was so, so tired of going through all those toxic relationships. I didn’t want more drama in my life and I knew that bad boys were just magnets for that sort of thing. I didn’t need that, so I paid attention to how guys made me feel when I dated them. If they were making me feel drained and uncertain instead of energized and happy, I moved on ASAP.
  8. I learned my lesson the hard way. It wasn’t like I made the change from bad boys to good guys smoothly. It took a lot of pain to make me realize I was only hurting myself by sticking with the bad boys. I got cheated on, my heart got broken, and one bad boy almost hit me. That really woke me up and made me wonder WTF I was doing with such losers. I realized I could do better and deserved much more.
  9. I refused to repeat the same mistakes. I’m not to blame for how bad boys treated me, but I am to blame for sticking around when I knew things weren’t right. Although I don’t regret the experiences because they taught me a lot and made me stronger, I sure as hell don’t want to repeat them. Once I learned the lesson, I turned the page and moved on.
  10. I stopped being what they needed. One of the things that used to attract bad boys to me was that I was so nice, accommodating and eager to help them sort out their problems. Ugh. It just made me a doormat, really. Once I stopped being that person, bad boys weren’t interested in me. They could sense that they were barking up the wrong tree.
  11. I looked for the signs. After dating quite a few bad boys, I learned to spot the early signs that they were bad news. For instance, a guy I met once got irritated with me for taking too long to choose a table in a restaurant. Another bad boy hinted at being a heavy drinker and not believing in AA. Um, no thanks. Those little signs started to help me on the dating scene by steering me away from guys with rage, booze or other issues.
  12. I brought my head to dates. Bad boys are sexy AF, which made me focus more on how tingly they made me feel and less on what they were really like in reality and out of the bedroom. I would totally lose myself and get swept away, so I started making my head my wingman, bringing a cool and logical side to me on dates so I could properly see them and suss out if they were bringing real value to my life or not. Disclaimer: they weren’t.
  13. I stopped craving what was out of reach. I used to love a challenge and chase, but it started to become a problem when the bad boy I was chasing wasn’t slowing down or chasing me back. It was so messed up. I realized that wanting a man who was unavailable wasn’t healthy for me and I just got my heart broken. I started to notice the men who made a real effort and showed me what they were feeling. This was so much nicer than dealing with commitment-phobes and lazy AF guys. I could finally be with the type of man who deserved my love and attention. Adios, bad boys!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.