Why Are So Many Incredible Women Dating Terrible, Toxic Men?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met an incredible woman — I’m talking funny, quick, smart, hot; essentially the whole package — only to discover that her boyfriend, husband or guy she thinks she’s dating but totally isn’t is a dud. It’s a depressing and frustrating theme that’s all too common among my generation. So why do ladies who are killing it in all other aspects of their life settle for such BS in their love lives?

  1. Fear of missing out I’m probably going to repeat this in a hundred different ways, but fear is the basis for this awful phenomena. Women have been told their entire lives that one day we’ll get married, have a bunch of kiddies and live happily ever after. We’ve come to expect that if he likes it, then he’ll put a ring on. So when you reach your late 20s and realize that there’s no one around who could potentially put a ring on it, you freak. Even if licensed monogamy wasn’t on your 2017 resolutions list, you start feeling like there’s some big boat you missed hopping on. Then you settle.
  2. Fear of not finding someone “in time” I don’t know who wrote this timeline everyone seems to think they need to follow to have a successful life, but it needs to stop. People have kids in their 30s and even in their 40s. Some women raise kids on their own. Some people want to live the lone wolf life until they find their soulmate at 65. Some people are high school sweethearts. There’s no expiration date on the big moments like getting married and having kids. Despite what your uppity friends from high school might tell you, you have plenty of time.
  3. Fear that something’s wrong with them If you’ve have yet to experience what it’s like to be in a good relationship, this will always be a kicker. Rejection is a bitch, and if you’re feeling stuck in a constant cycle of unanswered texts and booty calls, you’re probably starting to worry if they’re the problem. Well, that’s a whole other issue, but insecurity makes you more likely to latch on to anyone (and I mean anyone) who acts like they want to be with you. And that’s a dangerous place to be.
  4. Fear that they won’t get the kind of person they want We all have this idea in our heads of the guy we’re going to end up with. Over time, as you start going on more and more bad Tinder dates, the list of qualities he needs to possess gets longer and a lot more specific. Sometimes we can get so fixated on this list that we forget to look for the qualities that just make someone a decent person. Yes, it would be great if your dream guy came with a six-figure gig and beach house, but is that even worth it if he’s mean to his mom?
  5. Fear that people will judge them for being single This one is totally your fault. For some reason, all couples seem to want to do is set up their single friends. It’s endearing and done with all the right intentions, I’m sure, but only ever wanting to talk about a person’s love life makes them feel like that’s all that’s worth talking about. Women stay in relationships because they don’t want to come off as a party girl or someone who can’t get a boyfriend. It’s a messed up way of thinking, and the only way to really stop it is to stop giving a damn. Still, that’s easier said than done.
  6. Fear of the loneliness that can come with being single Unless you have a solid group of single girls egging on your independence, making that move can be a difficult decision. There will be times in your life where it’s just you, sitting on your couch alone watching Netflix. There will also be times when you come home a little drunk from a night out and feel sad because you don’t have anyone to cuddle with. If you fill your life with things and people you love, you’ll have plenty of reminders that you’re not really alone and there’s no need to wallow in it.
  7. Fear that their current guy is the best they’re going to get If you’ve lived in the same town your whole life or you’ve got a habit of dating the same kind of guys over and over again, you’re probably close to thinking, “This is it.” Relationships are complicated, and there are a lot of obstacles that people have to overcome to be together, but if you’re with someone who makes you constantly question why you’re with them, then you don’t need to be with them. There really are other fish in the sea.
  8. Fear of dating again Ugh, dating. The idea of meeting a stranger for drinks to get to know each other sounds exhausting, but you can make it more fun if you put in a little effort. You could have guys you talk to on dating apps meet you out with your friends first before committing to a one-on-one. You could make a list of all the kinds of guys you haven’t dated yet and see what happens when you do. You could stop being such a sourpuss about it because when you do find someone, you’ll look back at this time in your life and realize that you should have had more fun with it.
  9. Fear of not having enough confidence. It’s easy to tell yourself you can’t do something and to settle for what you have, but is what you have really what you want? You don’t have to feel like the kind of person who can take life by the balls to do it. You just do it.
  10. Just straight up fear. Whatever form of fear you’re focusing on that’s keeping you with a guy who we both know is no good, I challenge you to confront it. Tackle it head on and do whatever needs to be done to show yourself that you’re not going to be controlled by fear anymore. You’ve got this.
Emily is a writer, dog mom, and occasional narcissist living in what her mom refers to as “a bubble.” Geographically speaking, it’s more like Daytona Beach, Florida. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, she is a community editor for a local newspaper and spends most of her time trying to convince her dog to cuddle.