You Know He’s Wrong For You, So Why Do You Want Him So Much?

Why is it that even the smartest women are so drawn to guys who are terrible for us—so much so that even when we breakup with them, we go running back for more? If you’re one of those women and you can’t figure out why you can’t let go, here are some explanations.

  1. You think he’ll change. When it comes to guys who are wrong for us, we always want—or rather need—to believe that they’ll change. We place all our bets on the hope that these guys who are so wrong for us will magically become so right for us. That’s not how life works. Like, ever.
  2. You think you can change him. On the other hand, there are those who don’t believe in magic as much as they believe in their own power to change others. Again, not to be the bearer of bad news, but this is also a difficult one to pull off. You’d need not just magic but a frontal lobotomy to get anyone, especially someone who’s bad for you, to change.
  3. You secretly like the challenge. Sort of like how people always want what they can’t have, you like the challenge of being up against someone so completely wrong for you. In fact, you find the challenge so intoxicating that it just drives your desire for him.
  4. You like the familiarity of it all. If you’ve been with this guy who’s wrong for you long enough, the reason you might want him so badly could simply be because it’s what you know best. When we’re comfortable in a situation, even if it’s not an ideal situation, we don’t usually feel compelled to rock the boat. We tend to just stick around, often longer than we should. Which brings us to…
  5. You don’t want to go back to dating. It’s so easy to convince ourselves we want something that’s bad for us in order to avoid getting out there and dating again. While there are those who love to date and meet new people, for others, it’s unbearable! Your wanting him could be steeped in the fact that he’s better than having to get back out there and in the dating saddle again.
  6. You’re addicted to the drama. When someone is wrong for us, you better believe it’s going to include a ton of drama. That’s just how things roll whenever we find ourselves either pining for someone we shouldn’t or in a relationship with someone we need to dump. Just as a challenge can be intoxicating for some, so can drama. Some people just can’t get enough of it and it makes them want the wrong guy even more.
  7. You like the thrill of getting away with something. One of the reasons people cheat is because there’s a thrill in getting away with something “bad.” This feeling is similar to the one people have when they pursue or date someone who’s wrong for them. There’s this inherent feeling that makes one feel alive, like they’re doing something naughty and maybe even taboo and getting away with it. Granted, this isn’t exactly healthy and a relationship can’t stand on this thrill alone, but it still exists and can be blamed for why you want him so much.
  8. You’re in denial. Denial can be a tricky thing when it comes to someone who’s wrong for us. You have moments of clarity where you can see that he’s for you, but then there are other times where you can convince yourself otherwise and wrap yourself up in a blanket of complete and utter denial. Denial is a very strong manipulator that can make even the most level-headed person lose their footing and forget what end is up.
  9. We always want the forbidden fruit. Fun fact about life: we’re actually programmed to want what we shouldn’t. Religion will blame Adam and Eve for this, but psychology has actually come up with a “forbidden fruit hypothesis,” that explains that the more we’re told we shouldn’t have something or we try to avoid that something, the more we want it. This is most especially the case if we have outside sources like friends or family telling us someone is wrong for us. I mean, if there was ever a way to have someone running into the arms of a toxic man, all you have to do is tell them that the man is off limits and they’ll go running to him with open arms.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.