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Why women prefer bad boys to good guys


The boy within. AP Photo/Mark Duncan

A female friend from Topanga recently said that she’d like to find a guy with a little bit of a backbone. She’s tired of being around men who don’t stand up for themselves and all of the excess pleasing of her whims has worn thin. She doesn’t exactly want a jerk, mind you—just somebody who doesn’t bore her to tears.
Men seem to put themselves into one of two categories when they are little boys trying to please their mother—either they are rebels who get her attention through acting out in some way, or they are mama’s boys who receive her respect through doing what they think she wants them to do. The boys who have grown into men seem to come into relationships from one of these two places and so they are either good guys or bad boys. The nice guy often thinks he finishes last with women—he can’t understand why a gal would throw herself at a man who doesn’t call, who flirts or cheats, or who dumps her for no reason. In the good guy’s head he is the knight in shining armor set to rescue the helpless woman from herself, and he can’t understand why she doesn’t see it that way.
It’s not that women like bad boys for relationships, but they can’t respect a man who doesn’t stand up for himself. Having a good guy around can be like having a lap dog or a yes man—no matter what you do as a woman, he adores you. He will bend like a sideshow contortionist to please you and will alienate everybody he knows to defend you. He thinks that somehow he’ll finally get mama’s love back if he just bows to your whims enough, but the truth is he’s like a hamster on a treadmill. You lose more respect for him as he complies with your increasingly far flung demands. Eventually you may become the statistic that leads to his bitterness as you leave him to find a bad boy who doesn’t even notice you, much less try to please you.      
Most women don’t want either a good guy or a bad boy—both of those molds indicate that the little boy hasn’t grown up yet, and might be looking for a replacement mother. A bad boy is great in that he says what is on his mind—that he doesn’t think the dress looks good on you, that he’s checking out a woman on the sidewalk, or that he just doesn’t want to hear you drone on about your day at work. The problem is most bad boys go the extreme, being unfaithful, disrespectful, abusive, callous, or downright nasty. Besides periods when a woman is rebounding from one type of guy or another, she’s generally looking for a man who can speak his mind without ignoring her opinion. Normally she’s just looking for a little boy who has grown past needing mama’s love and approval, who doesn’t want to be labeled as either a nice guy or a jerk.


  • kallen 5 years ago

    so right, and it seems so obvious yet rarely do women see it so clearly! thanks

  • Victor--Seattle Singles Scene 5 years ago

    Well said Genevieve! Most movies and TV shows and magazines and internet sites direct men to be one of the other. But most women don't want one or the other. They want both. They want a man who adores and respects them. But they don't want a man who's "whipped." They want a man who exudes power. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." A man who adores and respects you and looks like he's in control of himself and the world around him is a turn on. Yes?

  • Faust 5 years ago

    It sounds like another "What Women Want" scenario. They want it all yet prefer the bad boys. Let them have the abuse and the cruelty. The nice guys may finish last but at least they get to keep their car, house, money and their freedom.