Why We Like The Bad Boys

Why We Like The Bad Boys

Last update: 09 January, 2016

We know they’re not good, they’re going to hurt us, but a sort of masochistic instinct is unleashed every time we see a bad boy, and we find him totally irresistible.

There’s risk, intensity, danger, and excitement. It is a cocktail that is completely intoxicating.

And when our bad boy — who of course we will have tried to change — disappears, we cry and cry for days lamenting about how stupid we were.

What attracts us to the bad boys

We find them interesting, risky, dangerous, and different. We know that they’ll disappear overnight without saying anything to be with someone else, but we like them.

What is so attractive about a bad boy?

They’re “forbidden”

We all feel great satisfaction in breaking the rules. Being with a bad boy that your parents have forbidden or who your friends disapprove of can really be a pleasure.

This is what experts call “conscious fear” that is not painful but rewarding. The English psychologist Michael Belint, says the “dark side” is fun because we are responsible for that attraction and can control it.

But we don’t all feel the same desire for what’s forbidden, since cultural, environmental, genetic factors influence what builds and shapes this desire.

falling in love with a bad boy-2

The desire to be “chosen”

When a bad boy looks at you or pays attention to you, you want to be his one and only. Even if it’s only for just a moment or a few hours. You want to be the one talking to him, the who he looks at, the girl he wants…

Although we know it will be something brief, we want him because he makes us feel good. For a moment we will be the only one.

The idea that we can “change” him

In the initial phase of blindness to a bad boy, we deceive ourselves thinking that we can change him. That we will succeed in making him a better person who will admire and love us like crazy.

He’s fun, a lot of fun

Even though we await his call or message for hours, even though we know he will disappear, even though we are aware that it will not last, we know it will be fun and will be until the end, whenever that may be.

But all these ideas are the result of romantic love movies. It is a love that is incomplete.

Scientific studies on the “dark triad”

Peter Jonason, of New Mexico State University (USA), conducted a study with 200 students from the city to show that women prefer the bad boys, but marry the good guys.

Jonason classified men according to three personality traits he called the “dark triad of psychological traits”


In the bad boys, narcissism is related to short-term mating, which occurs in men who compete with their own sex to get a partner, then reject their partners after intercourse.


Psychopathy is often manifested by a lack of sensitivity and lack of empathy. In short-term relationships psychopathic tendencies can even be helpful, because psychopaths have a false charm that is completely superficial.

The exploitative and manipulative nature of Machiavelli

Machiavellianism is related to insincerity, duplicity and manipulation.

Jonason’s study found that men who possessed more of these “dark” character traits tended to have more partners and short-term relationships.

the power of bad boys

Hope for the good guys

In the long term, the choice of women has changed.

Dr. Gayle Brewer, doctor of developmental psychology at the University of Central Lancashire (UK), argues that women choose bad boys for short relationships, but for long-term relationships women prefer good and loving guys who transmit safety, empathy, and companionship.

“In the impossible love, hope is the first thing to lose”

-Walter Riso-

Walter Riso, Argentine psychologist, in his book  Manual to Avoid Dying of Love says:

“You have been taught that hope is the last thing you should lose, and this may possibly be true in some circumstances. But in impossible love or heartbreak that is declared and demonstrated, hopelessness is a remedy. If you do not love, do not expect anything and don’t anticipate anything positive: an intelligent pessimist is better than a misinformed optimist.”

Therefore, when the bad boy disappears, no longer seeks us or has simply exchanged us for another, we need to give up our false hope as soon as possible and regain our self-esteem. But how?

Riso proposes several techniques that will improve your self-esteem after a breakup or a relationship that does not work, which are:

  • Remove from your vocabulary phrases like: “I’m unable” and “I can’t”.
  • Do not be pessimistic. If you have too many negative thoughts about the future, take time and check to see if they are realistic.
  • Do not be a fatalist. You create your destiny.
  • Don’t just remember the bad. For a few moments a day, activate your positive memory.  Think about the positive things you’ve done in your life.
  • Review your goals and see if you can go further by using your strengths.
  • Challenge yourself and take a chance. Define a realistic goal and go for it.

“I fell in love with life, it’s the only one who will not leave me without me doing it first”

-Pablo Neruda-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.