Why Nice Women Love Bad Boys

Why We Can’t Force Ourselves to Fall for Nice Guys-MainPhoto

It’s the classic scenario. Nice Woman dates Bad Boy—or a few of them—while Nice Guy patiently waits offstage, biding his time until she is ready to give up the Bad Boy drama and realize that Nice Guy is the one she should be with. Except Nice Woman only realizes once it’s too late; after Bad Boy has broken her heart for the final time she looks for Nice Guy, but he’s already married and has a couple of kids and a nice house in the suburbs. Nice Woman curses her poor choices, right before she heads out the door to meet a sexy musician for drinks, which she’ll end up buying. Although this Bad Boy is a known womanizer, she’s sure can turn him around and make him fall for her. And we don’t need a crystal ball to see that this one is going to end badlyagain.

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Sound familiar? For so many Nice Women and the Nice Guys who admire them, this cycle plays out over and over again. Yet we women—no matter how smart we are—often have a hard time falling for a Nice Guy, even when we know he’s the best choice. But why? Why do we sabotage our love lives by chasing after Bad Boys, and what can decent men do to avoid the Nice Guy Curse?

Here are a few theories on why women choose Bad Boys:

  • We crave a little mystery and danger. There’s an old expression: life is sweetened by risk. And while “sweet” might not describe our relationship with Bad Boy, there’s an undeniable rush that comes from being with a guy who is slightly unpredictable.

  • We want to save Bad Boy. After all, he had a rough childhood. Or he’s a tortured artist seeking his muse (us, of course) to rescue him. Nice Guys don’t need saving, which makes them less of a challenge.

  • We mistake intensity for intimacy. Drama is not the same thing as love, but sometimes, we Nice Women have a hard time telling the two apart. If our fights, breakups and makeups with Bad Boy are this intense, it must be the real thing, right?

  • We’re scared of the real thing. Being in an honest, secure, emotionally fulfilling relationship means you have to bring a lot to the table, and do more than just wait for Bad Boy to throw you a bone. Many Nice Women are scared of what real intimacy means—true emotional vulnerability and shared responsibility.

  • Bad Boys are more assertive. And that’s sexy. Women need to feel lusted after, and Bad Boys aren’t afraid to lock eyes, dance a little too close, and let their desires be known. The fact that they’re letting several different women know their desires at the same time is lost on us. Nice Guys can be a little too polite sometimes, so sparks don’t fly.

  • It’s all about the Alpha Male. Maybe we Nice Women just can’t fight our animal instincts. In nature, it’s all about reproducing and staying alive. And maybe human nature isn’t so different. Female animals are drawn to the Alpha Male—the one who is most likely to sire offspring, hunt for prey and aggressively fend off threats. Bad Boys usually have that Alpha Male thing going on; the problem is they’re trying to sire offspring (or at least practice siring offspring) with an entire pack of females.

It sounds kind of hopeless for all the Nice Guys out there, but chin up. There are several things a nice guy can do—or not do—to box out the Bad Boy and win Nice Girl’s heart:

  • Be nice, but don’t be a pushover. Being nice does not equate with being a doormat. A woman will not respect a man she can push around. And she’s not going to want to sleep with a man she doesn’t respect.

  • Be adventurous. Remember part of Bad Boy’s appeal is that he’s interesting and a bit unique. So instead of asking Nice Woman out for dinner, suggest a morning hike or bike ride, followed by lunch. Or ask her to check out the French Film Festival downtown, the Farmer’s Market, or a new art gallery.

  • Avoid Drama Queens. Some of the reasons Nice Women are attracted to Bad Boys are the exact same reasons Nice Guys are drawn to Drama Queens. They want to rescue her, or they, too, are afraid of the commitment of real intimacy. So Nice Guy, before you curse your luck and complain that all the Nice Women only want Bad Boys, examine your own choices: You might look around and find there’s a Nice Woman waiting in the wings, wondering when you’re going to wise up and stop chasing the Drama Queen!