We all have that friend who just looooves those bad boys, right? Maybe it’s you who loves those bad boys. There’s just something about a bad boy, right? That slightly dangerous, reckless, IDGAF attitude is dead sexy, in a dark Russell Brand-esque kind of way.
BUT… There comes a tipping point where a bad boy is a bad apple. There’s a difference between edgy and assh*le, and we probably have that person in our life who is yoked to someone who treats them like crap. Unless we’ve been that person, we might shake our head and wonder why someone puts up with it, but when we peel back a layer, the appeal isn’t that hard to understand.
Here’s why so many women fall in love with men who treat them like crap.
1. You seek a rebound man after ending a relationship.
Rebound Boyfriend may not be chosen with “serious relationship material” in mind. We might latch on to someone in a weak moment. We might feel we “need” to hop from one person to another. We might fear being alone and not be as choosy as we ought to be.
Hopefully, once the dust settles from the breakup, we’ll feel less vulnerable and rebound man will lose his appeal. We’ll be able to flip our hair and haughtily say “Buh-bye, bad boy” and move on to someone worthy, or at least be secure in the knowledge that we are enough and we don’t need a man to complete us.
2. You have incredibly low self-esteem.
A guy who treats you like crap is going to be able to sniff out insecurity like a champion bloodhound. If you don’t recognize yourself as the badass female you are then you’re prime pickings for someone who’s going to treat you like a second-class citizen.
3. You socially isolate yourself.
If you don’t have a circle of besties looking out for you then you may be more susceptible to falling prey to someone who won’t treat you as you deserve to be treated. You won’t have anyone nudging you in the ribs or kicking you under the table saying “Girl, no” with her non-verbals.
A guy who isn’t interested in treating you like you’re the best thing since salted caramel might find you extra desirable if you don’t have a tribe surrounding you. If you don’t have a close-knit posse, use some extra caution when these bad boys come around.
4. You think you can fix him.
“I know he treats me like sh*t now but I can change him.”
This is like trying to convince yourself that you can turn a fire-breathing dragon into a tame puppy with your love and affection. Uh… no.
If you go into a relationship thinking you can mold the other person into what you want them to be, you’re almost always going to be disappointed. If you want a fixer upper, flip a house. If you want a partner who will treat you well, don’t date someone who treats you like crap hoping they’ll change. They won’t.
5. You enjoy the thrill of the bad boy.
I get it. I really do. I’ve succumbed to the lure of the bad boy more times than I care to admit. They’re sexy. They’re unpredictable. They bring excitement and adventure to the table (and to the bedroom, and living room rug if you know what I mean), but they also bring uncertainty and stress.
The emotional rollercoaster of being with a bad boy might be fun for a little while. You might gush that your stomach does little summersaults when the phone rings, but then you figure out that your stomach is doing summersaults because you’re never sure when he’s going to call. Hint: it’s never when he says he will.
Hopefully, any thrills you get in exchange for putting up with someone treating you like garbage are short-lived. More power to you if you’re an adrenaline junkie, but that probably shouldn’t be the basis of your love relationship.
6. You love a good challenge.
If you need a challenge, try training for a half marathon or make it your goal to visit all 50 states before you’re 40. While relationships are often challenging, that shouldn’t be the draw. Enough said.
7. You’re used to dating someone who treats you poorly.
If you date someone who treats you like garbage then you’ll be able to appreciate a functional relationship. Maybe this is a stretch as far as motivation to date someone who is sh*tty to you but hopefully, it’s at least an unintended positive side-effect.
Being able to enjoy someone who treats you like the dazzling creature you are (you are!) after being with someone who treats you like his human doormat kind of assumes that you’ve left the relationship with someone who treats you like his human doormat.
If you see yourself in this, take a look in the mirror and repeat after me: “You’re a motherf*cking goddess and you deserve better.”
If you see someone you care about in this, build them up. Maybe it’s a bad boy phase or maybe there’s something deeper going on. Either way, don’t jump in line to treat her like crap. Be their tribe. Don’t judge. Be present.