The Bad Boy Syndrome - Why do Some Women like Bad Boys?

Guys who make a date and then fail to show up, with no phone call or message to explain. Or those who never seem to have any money when you are out. Guys who are always getting into skirmishes with the law. Do these instances seem to ring a bell?

Then you are probably one of those women who always seem to be attracted by the bad boys, in other words, boys who treat women poorly and take much much more than they give to a relationship. Most women who have been into relationships with such guys know that they are not worth trusting and yet seem to find them irresistible. Here a few thought on why some women fall for the bad boys, again and again.

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An illusion of power

Bad boys are brash, unpredictable and couldn’t care less for what is ‘proper’. A woman might find this hugely appealing because she wants to ‘tame’ the bad boy by drawing him into a relationship. If she is successful, no matter for how short a period of time, then it gives her an illusion of power, a feeling that she has been able to ‘control’ him. Unfortunately this doesn’t prove anything. The bad boy will go back to being what he is and she will find that it just an illusion of power and she never had any real control, either over the rogue or over the relationship.

Attraction of opposites

If a woman has had a sheltered, secluded existence throughout and had to suppress her feelings and emotions always, she is bound to be attracted to all that is wild, untamed and adventurous. The rebellious kind of guy is always testing the boundaries of what is socially and morally acceptable and is insanely attractive to a woman who has been subdued by those very norms; such a relationship gives an illusion of freedom and excitement. Once she crosses the fence however she will find out that it is no fun being always on the run and if you are constantly living on the edge, you are likely to fall off someday.

Her own level of self-esteem

If a woman values herself, she will seek out a relationship where she feels equally cherished and respected. She will not allow anyone to undermine her own sense of self-worth. If on the other hand she suffers from a sense of low-esteem, she will be attracted to guys who reinforce her negative self-perceptions. Such a woman will believe that she is just not worthy enough to be treated nicely and thus deserves no more than what she is getting from the bad boy.

Other roles she has lived

If a woman has been in the midst of healthy relationships since childhood, she will seek out a partner with whom she can continue the equal interaction of give and take. If on the other hand, she has been too long in the role of a caregiver, a rescuer or a self-sacrificing martyr, then this will probably the kind of role she will be attracted to in her adult relationships with men. She will get involved with men who will always take more than they give to her and after taking, invariably move on.

The prospect of a challenge

There are some women who love to take up a challenge. Bad boys who don’t give a damn and are over-confident that they don’t need anybody provide a tempting opportunity for such women to prove them wrong and subdue them, as it were. This is the thrill of the joust that some women find impossible to pass over and to which they are drawn, again and again.

A woman’s capacity of intimacy

If a woman is capable of true intimacy, she will look forward to emotional and physical availability in a partner. This is because she will want him to be an active and full contributor to the relationship. If on the other hand, intimacy is difficult for a woman, she will be drawn to someone who is emotionally distant, difficult to connect with and never present when a partner might need him.

There are several instances among today’s male Hollywood stars who have been in and out of trouble with the law but remain coveted by women. Someone who instantly spring to mind while talking of Hollywood bad boys is Hugh Grant. The British-born actor’s boyish charm and ready wit are irresistible to many women who are not daunted by his several brushes with the law, the most notorious of which was his arrest in 1995 for lewd behavior in public. Despite being caught making out with a Hollywood prostitute in a car and subsequently arrested, Grant has remained popular with his female fans and lady friends. Robert Downey Jr is yet another male star whose repeated offences with drugs and substance abuse finally led to a three-year prison sentence in 1999. He was released early from his probation after he convinced the judge that he had stayed sober for over a year. However Robert Downey Jr’s debonair charm remains undimmed and he continues to score points with female friends. Current Hollywood heartthrob Colin Farrell in fact seems to revel in his image of the drinking, smoking and smooching bad boy. Till yesterday his biggest claim to fame was the reported hook-up with Britney Spears but stupendous openings of The Recruit, Phone Booth, S.W.A.T and Miami Vice have skyrocketed his ratings at the market and with women. Never mind his battles with recreational and prescription drugs and his involvement in a sex-tape scandal, this “lusty leprechaun” is sure to have many more exploits up his sleeve.

Women who fall for bad boys often do so fully aware of the consequences. When asked what makes them do it, such women reply that they love the unpredictability, the excitement, the masculinity and the devil-may-care attitude that these rogues exude. Whether the guys actually possess these qualities is another matter, but the reason why some women are attracted to the bad boys may have more to do with some kind of need that the rakes fulfill, a sort of vicarious living which helps women to live out their own fantasies of freedom, power or passion.