My GF likes “bad boys”--what's up with that?it'

It’s one big part of why, perhaps, we’re not such a good couple—I’ve detailed at length some of our issues here before, and we’re more of a quasi-couple than a real one, to my mind, mainly because she’s agreed to “be” GF and BF, which to her means sleeping exclusively with me, and spending some pleasant time together (having dinner, long conversations, daily phone check-ins, movies, afternoon walks holding hands, etc.) while avoiding what I’d label as “real intimacy”: spending the night or (perish forfend!) the entire weekend in one person’s apartment or the other’s, agreeing to commit to a monogamous relationship for longer than the next few days or so, and agreeing to resist the temptation to date other people. (This last one is weird: we’re dating each other exclusively but only and explicitly “for now”. She’s made a condition of dating me that she –and I—may go out on dates with other people, and we will stay sexually exclusive while these other, theoretical dates go on, but the sexual exclusivity, and our sexual relationship, will end whenever one of us decides to go to bed with one of these new –and so far, purely theoretical—dating partners.) IOW, she’s just not that into me, but since she’s the best thing I have going, I’m in no condition to object very strongly to any of these conditions.

In conversation recently, she told me that she’s categorically attracted to “bad boys” (we’re each in our fifties, so “boys” is metaphorical), and I clearly don’t qualify as such. I strive to treat her (or any GF) with consideration, with attentiveness to her needs, with respect, which I gather is the diametric opposite of what she seeks in a “bad boy.” I’ve jokingly offered to lie to her, to cheat on her, to stand her up now and then, to leave her phone messages unanswered etc., and she’s jokingly told me “No, thanks.” I suppose the weird part of this to my rational brain, apart from seeing the attraction in being mistreated (which is what I take the whole “bad boys” thing to be about) is that in a rational mode, mistreatment from men in her past is her principal complaint. On our first dates, she would tell me harrowing stories of her exes abusing her verbally, emotionally, a little bit physically, and she complained bitterly about feeling controlled and dominated throughout her long marriage, and I’d sit there and say “You poor thing! How on earth could someone mistreat YOU?” and think “I could be so good for her—I’d be so happy to treat her as precious and worthy of respect.”
But in reality, she seems not to value very highly my respect or consideration. She doesn’t resent it openly, but I don’t get a lot of “Thank you”s for such things as working around her somewhat chaotic work-schedule, or being open to last-minute changes in plans, or other stuff like that, stuff where I could easily assert contrary views or display annoyance but instead find ways to work things out without undue conflicts. She’s made semi-jokes about “When will we have our first fight?” and I respond, “I hope, never,” but I sometimes think she wants to have a fight about something, just for the sheer pleasure of fighting. More likely, she’s developed habits of conflict with men in her past that associate being in a relationship with tempestuous behavior. This latest assertion, that she’s attracted to “bad boys,” just makes me sad, because if that’s the case, and it seems to be, I’m not going to be able to meet this basic need of hers.

Am I misunderstanding something about an attraction to “bad boys”? Is it, as I’m supposing, just a strain of masochism? I think life with me is filled with conflicts but they’re mostly polite conflicts (or I strive for that as an ideal) that I can eventually resolve, but I don’t get the sort of routine mistreatment that she seems to be saying she enjoys from a man she’s comfortable with. If I am understanding her correctly, this is a sign to me that this relationship will not get any better over time, and as it wears on will only leave her feeling less and less satisfied with who I am and how I behave with her. Am I getting the whole “attraction to bad boys” thing correctly?

To me it sounds like you’re putting in all the work to woo her and make her respectable. IMHO, she doesn’t want to be respectable, she want’s a douche-bag that doesn’t treat her right. Girls like bad boys because they exude confidence and charisma. What they don’t see is that they’re also small time con men that use their charisma to get what they want without coming by it honestly. If she was in an abusive marriage then it’s probably all that she knows. Nice guys can seem wimpy and stuffed into the Friend Zone.

Ever hear that Weird Al song “Good enough for now”? It sounds like that’s what’s going on here, but with you. I think you should dump her, but you know what free advice is worth.

As far as I’ve been able to tell over the past couple of years, it’s just, and only, about attraction. People who are drawn to this kind of guy need that badness in order to be attracted, and are prepared to put up with the downsides. Women who are attracted to this kind of guy and aren’t prepared to put up with the downsides end up ‘settling’ for people who are good to them. I’m not even going to speculate as to why - it’s probably not the subject of this thread.

Similar example: my (female, 30-yr-old) roomie has told me I am the nicest, kindest man she knows, that I’m her raison d’etre, the person who understands her best in the world, her best friend, and that she loves me and will follow me wherever I go. But she isn’t attracted to me*: she consistently has relationships with hulking great meatheads who treat her like shit. If they suddenly start treating her well, as the current one is doing, she loses attraction.

Most other women are no doubt attracted to good people, but they probably stay in long and happy relationships, so aren’t dating later in life unless they’re very unlucky.

EvilTOJ - would you say a good role model here is “Big” out of SaTC? He’s respectable and bad and exudes confidence all at the same time.

*Which doesn’t bother me: though I find her physically attractive, she’s kinda crazy and I wouldn’t ever consider a relationship. She told me she’d considered me but decided it was a bad idea due to the landlord/tenant relationship; I rejected the thought of a quickie for the same reason.

If I may speculate, it could be that she is drawn to someone who leaves her wondering “Does he love me?” all the time. It keeps her feeling on her toes and stimulated. Guys who dote on her leave her bored and unfulfilled because there is no challenge or drama. No intrigue.

The nice guys are dog types, while she is drawn to cat types: aloof, unpredictable, and independent. Dogs give affection to anyone with a face; cats are more discriminating, more finicky. She’s not looking for unconditional affection. She’s looking for something more edgier: Validation that she feels she has earned.

If she’s in her 50’s and talking this talk, it doesn’t sound like she’s seriously looking for a long-term relationship anytime soon. I recall you saying in the past that she just came out of a divorce. “I want a bad boy” could just be a temporary phase she’s going through right now, but she won’t be coming out of it unless she gets a taste of the wild side and realizes (or remembers) the downsides to it.

It’s not that she wants to be mistreated. But she wants to feel that gut-level, shaky in the knees, wet in the panties attraction.

A bad boy doesn’t care. He doesn’t suck up to women, and he doesn’t care about society’s rules. He’s on his own path and nothing can shake him from it. That’s a very masculine trait, and it brings out the feminine in her. He makes it safe for her to dance naked in the moonlight. She can count on his strength. A nice guy who obeys her every whim doesn’t have that strength. He has no masculinity, so he doesn’t excite her femininity.

Seriously, wouldn’t you trust this guy to have your back when the shit goes down?


I’m not sure I know who that is, but someone who’s respectable and bad and exudes confidence all at the same time is a good role model for people who want to be more assertive.

IMHO you are in major trouble with her, and if you continue this way you will find yourself walking around on eggshells around her, unable to please her, afraid to upset her, and just withdraw waiting for any affection from her if and when she gets back from one of her ‘dates’ and feels like it.

Too many guys (including me for most of my life) think that what women want the the sensitive/caring/considerate guy; and most of them kind of do. But the truth is that most women are also very attracted to strong men, a group which includes (but is not limited to) bad boys. And especially when you’re talking about a LTR, what most of them REALLY want is for a guy to be strong AND sensitive/caring/considerate.

This is not an inherent contradiction; “strong” doesn’t mean an unfeeling lug. It does mean that they know that when trouble comes down the pike, you’ll be tough enough to handle it, or at the very least willing to try. (And by “trouble,” I mean anything from a violent attack to financial woes to dealing with a drug-addicted son to killing a spider.) Some of the more ardent feminists probably have a problem with this, but a few decades of cultural shift do not outweigh milennia of biology: women expect men to be at least as strong as they are, if not stronger, in handling threats, especially outside ones.

On some likely subconscious level, your gf has asked herself what you would do if one of those abusive exes came bursting in the door with hate in his eyes. If the answer is not “PRR would do anything he could to fight for me,” she’s going to have a very hard time investing in the relationship.

I have read no posts in this thread but I can assure you that if my romantic relationship required me to whine about it on the internet, it would be over.

There are some women who are just attracted to jerks. Most women have a “type” or a common thread among the men that they date and some want to have a bad boy.

For example, my personal type is the funny guy. I have dated men of pretty much every race and religion from all walks of life (rich, poor, fat, thin, tall, short, liberal, conservative, etc.) and none of that mattered much as long as he could make me laugh. The guy I’m getting married to next year is hilarious. He is also sweet, kind, gentle, and all those other wonderful things, but the thing that makes me weak in the knees is the humor. There are lots of women out there like me. There are also lots of women out there who don’t care about jokes as long as you look damn good in a leather jacket. Find out what your big strengths are and find a woman to whom that appeals. Don’t sell yourself short for a few rolls in the hay with a woman who ignores you. Unless, of course, you are into that sort of thing.

Right, and when she meets a “bad boy”, you think she’s going to sit you down for a nice chat, delicately explain that it just isn’t working any more, thank you for your time, then give this “bad boy” a ring? No, she’s going to fuck him, then leave you holding the bag. I hope you’re OK with this, because it is exactly how this situation is going to unfold. You’re not “exclusive”, she’s waiting for something better to come along.

Random guesses: She’s been raised or conditioned to believe that extreme jealousy or even violence is a sign of passion (‘I just couldn’t help myself, baby!’ 'He hit me and it felt like a kiss). Being overly nice to her makes her feel guilty that she can’t measure up, or she feels she doesn’t deserve it. Despite her past, her definition of ‘bad boy’ and yours may not measure up. For some reason guys always think it means an alpha male jerk, but more often I’ve seen it play out as the broke-ass artist who leeches off her while cheating with groupies.

My theory about bad boys is that, aside from masochism, it’s all about living vicariously. A hold over from a time (which some might argue still exists) when men could get away with things and behavior women couldn’t. Driving fast, drinking too much, casual sex, blowing all their savings. By going out with a bad boy, a girl or woman could pass along some of the blame and possibly save her reputation, while at the same time experiencing what it’s like to be someone impulsive and in a position of (generic male) power who throws it all away, at least second-hand.

Random advice: Be a sweetheart while out and about and a demon in the sack.

PRR? DTMFA. It sounds like being with this chick is causing you pain more often than it’s bringing you joy. That’s a sure sign that it’s time to wind things up.

I think there is another dynamic to the OP’s situation. I think that since the OP’s GF has a history of being with “Bad Boys” that is all she is used to, so when she has a nice guy like the OP, it makes her feel uncomfortable because all she’s known in any relationship she’s had up to now is that guys treat her like crap.

To support this, the OP mentions that she avoids “real intimacy” with him and doesn’t want to spend more time than one evening with him.

She is psychologically damaged and doesn’t know what a normal relationship is. If the OP really wants to stay in a relationship with her, she needs counseling at the very least, but it sounds like she would resist that.

If I were you, I would just keep going out on theoretical dates with other women until you found someone you are more interested in than your current GF, bang her, and then let the old GF know you are no longer exclusive.

He would hit them with his moobs.

She might, actually, though of course I’m ready for just about anything. She’s actually a very considerate, decent person, and concerned about hurting my feelings, but of course that might take second-place to a sudden case of the hots, I understand (all too well).

Pretty good advice in this thread, BTW, except for Don’t Ask (and I didn’t, not for advice on whether The SD is an appropriate place for clarification) --I’m totally aware that this is a relationship that could end any day now, and for all I know could have ended this morning and I just haven’t been notified as yet. I’m enjoying it while I can, and actively looking for other women to ask out, because I have no assurance that she isn’t doing the same, and some assurance that she is. (She complains–to me!!!—quite a bit about how tough it is for women in their 50s to find a guy who can get it up regularly, who’s not married, not gay, not emotionally unavailable, etc., and how easy guys in their 50s have it, so if she’s right, she may be having a hard time finding men to whom she’s drawn.) When I find someone worth dating, I’ll break it off with her–this is a little nerve-wracking, though the relationship is fun and fine on a day-to-day basis. All I need is a good place to land, and I’m out the door before I get it slammed in my face. Maybe she’ll realize what she lost when I’m gone, but much more likely, she’ll just hook up with some guy who gives her the mistreatment she seems to want, and have zero regrets about losing me. For now, I’m just trying to understand her thinking about the kind of guy she wants, and these responses have helped me understand it a little bit better. Thanks.

If it is, in fact, a ‘bad boy’ thing, dump her. Then watch her throw herself at you. Then dump her again. It’s a win-win, as well as a good experimental design.

Once again, I don’t think she’s looking for mistreatment. She’s looking for alpha masculinity. She’s looking for someone who can lead her through an emotionally exciting experience.