Ask Me Anything

“Why Do Women Go for ‘Bad Boys’?”

With this new series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.)

And in that spirit, I’ve agreed that once a week I will answer – honestly – any question my husband puts to me.

So, here’s what hubby has come up with for me this week…

HubbyOne of the lads at work came up with a good question for you this week: Why is it that you crazy women say you want a Bad Boy, because ‘they’re exciting’ – but then complain when you’re treated badly?! Gents can be practically queuing up to take a lady out, and it seems all we need to do to actually bag a date is behave like a total muppet. Why? WHY?!

MeHum, this is – embarrassingly – true for many women, isn’t it? In fact, I think I’ve told you before that I had your number wrong. Not literally – I mean I thought I had you worked out when I agreed to a date. But I was wrong, thankfully.

I was so sure I’d found myself an attractive Bad Boy (yes, you know I found find you attractive – stop strutting!); and without a doubt, I’d have been far less interested had I known what a soppy, chivalrous gent you actually are. In fairness, you thought I was going to be quite different to the person I am too.

Luckily, I did see you again (albeit for the wrong reasons), and over time I started to understand what I needed, as opposed to what I *thought* I wanted.

So what on earth was that all about? I feel like a broken record, because once again, it comes back to the same things I seem to speak about on an almost weekly basis: confidence; self-esteem; security. Or, lack thereof.


Why Do Women Go for Bad Boys?

This is how the dance of the teenage romance works:

  • (Bad) Boy meets girl.
  • Girl mistakes arrogance for confidence (something she craves to have herself).
  • Boy sees prey, girl sees someone paying her (her!) attention.
  • Boy chases, girl surrenders; boy loses interest, girl chases…
  • Boy runs, girl has heart broken.
  • Boy looks for next target to have fun with; girl tells herself she’s not worthy of boy, beats herself up, then convinces self she only wants to have fun anyway and thus she wants an exciting bad boy…
  • Repeat. (Repeat; repeat; repeat…)

That may be a little over-simplified, but I’d say it’s reasonably accurate as the template for young relationships. (You may wish to add in the other type of relationship the girl may or may not have between Bad Boys:

  • Girl has heart broken and looks for polar opposite in next relationship. (Needy) boy meets girl.
  • Girl sees a broken, vulnerable, kindred spirit and decides to make a go of it because she knows this boy won’t destroy her.

  • Boy is too clingy and suffocating; girl is, over time, repulsed, and doesn’t need to try very hard to convince herself she only wants to have fun with an exciting Bad Boy…)

So basically, it’s ridiculous; and sadly, it’s almost inevitable… The only way to swerve this whole silly, damaging waltz is to find someone who is both respectful and fun. It happens, of course it does – if you find the right person and don’t just go for the first lad to show you some interest.

Once again, our job is to ensure our daughter is happy enough in her life as a single young woman that she does not crave the attentions of a boy. That is where things go wrong. If she waits until she finds somebody with whom she genuinely clicks, she should hopefully avoid destructive relationships.

There, easy. Aha. If only…

Sometimes, as I write these posts, I find myself becoming quite anxious at the thought of what lies ahead and the task before us. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, I have to remind myself to just focus on trying to give our family a nice life, day by day.

That strategy feels so futile and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, as though it won’t address the huge, potentially devastating consequences of getting it wrong.

But actually, it’s everything.

Happiness and contentment are found in the simple things, and those qualities are what will help our children feel satisfied with their lot, and – theoretically – only wish to partner up with someone who they happen to fall in love with.

And that, quite simply, is the trick: to fall in love first.

Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.


  1. Fran Back With A Bump

    March 28, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This was me when I was younger. I’d get bored of the nice blokes who’d want to take me out for dinner and instead be more interested in the ones who had secret kids or drug addictions (I kid you not!). Thank God I saw sense and found my prince after kissing a few scabby frogs! #bigpinklink

    1. Kate

      March 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      I believe it! I didn’t have the exact same issues with exes, but I certainly had my share of toads!

  2. justsayingmum

    March 28, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Oh I absolutely love this post! Well done for writing it … as well as my son I have 2 daughters and I am trying to teach them to be happy with themselves first before going out and finding that bad boy for all the reasons you’ve mentioned above … in turn I’m hoping that by discussing this with my girls my son will learn not to be a bad boy! aww but the bad boys were always so attractive weren’t they?! #bigpinklink

    1. Kate

      March 28, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks so much! I don’t have a boy (yet, anyway!), but I’d certainly plan to instil these values in a boy too if I did/do have one. It’s about teaching both the proper ways to behave, and what to expect in return, isn’t it?

      Alas, yes, they were! I’m lucky with my hubby too though! ?

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment x

  3. Sarah

    March 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I think an issue as well is that little girls are told, when boys are cruel to them, that it means “they must secretly like you!” along with all the treat em mean keep em keen garbage. #bigpinklink

    1. Kate

      March 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      YES! Good point! It’s up to us to show them the subtle differences between the two…

  4. Pink Pear Bear

    March 28, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    All so true! There are of course, the occasions where someone has managed to actually tame a bad boy and convert him into a sweet and sensitive soul, and I think that can give false hope that it is possible!! Thanks for linking up again! #bigpinklink

    1. Kate

      March 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Haha! Yes, that’s true! I think it’s more about him being ready to settle than her taming him myself, but that’s another conversation! ?

  5. Emma

    March 30, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Oh this was me when I was younger *hangs head in shame* but I was in a pattern for falling for bad boys as I didn’t want to get to close to anyone I think, after coming out of a long term relationship with a very bad boy! Like you say I did meet a nice boy but he scared me off by being too clingy. However, I think when you are ready to fall in love you are ready to love a nice boy as I did with Mr C. Although I would say he is a nice balance of bad and nice boy and knew to make me work for it at first! It worked! #bloggersclubuk

    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Hahaha, I think you illustrate my template perfectly! ?

  6. Charlene

    March 30, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I went for a drink with a friend recently and she’s just started to date someone. I asked about him and he ticked all the boxes – job, flat, nice friends etc but she had this unsure look in her eye. He sounds perfect, I said, why do you look so concerned. She sighed and said, the thing is…he’s just so nice. #bloggerclubuk

    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      So sad but so true – why do we do this?!

  7. Fiona

    March 30, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Oh yes this is me – I definitely bagged myself a bad boy, hopefully he’s tamed now though 😉 #TheBloggerClubUK

    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Haha, I hope so!

  8. Shoebox of Memories

    March 30, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    There’s a line here around the bad boy thing that needs to be very carefully handled.

    It’s something I was guilty of as a teen and it’s only now I know more I realise the danger of the ‘nice guy’ fallacy.

    It’s one I will teach my son about so he never falls into the trap of thinking he *deserves* (and therefore is entitled to) a girl’s love, affection or desire simply by being ‘nice’ and treating women with respect.

    “you don’t get a cookie for meeting what are minimum requirements for decent behavior.”

    Dr Nerdlove deals with it in more detail and is worth a read.


    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      For what it’s worth, there’s a bit of an oxymoron there in my opinion; in that treating a woman with respect would mean they’d never make that assumption, which is in itself disrespectful.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Sassy

    March 31, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    This is a great post, and a great question! I think when I was younger I liked the handsome boys, and if they liked me back, or just where particularly nice, I’d swoon all over them… I didn’t really Get much attention from boys until I was 16/17 I have always ended up with the nice guys, which mainly turned out well… I think I saw too many of my friends go for the bad boys, they broke their heart, and it infuriated me. xxx #BloggerClubUK

    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      I wish I could have been as sensible! Unfortunately if swoon and then have my heart broken! I’m so glad I’m married now. Xx

  10. John Adams

    April 1, 2016 at 7:02 am

    What a concise post that shed light on one of the most puzzling aspects of human relationships! I’ve long puzzled over this myself. needless to say, married now, but at one time it was a cause of great angst to me; “she’s going out with HIM??? SERIOUSLY???” You’ve answered many questions and it was a great question to ask. #TheList

    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks so much John, I hope it rings true for you!

  11. Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope)

    April 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Bad boys seemed to be the one who can protect me from other bad boys? Danger can be fun and fun is not boring. Until the bad boy starts hurting you!


    1. Kate

      April 1, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Yes, quite! And therein lies the problem…

  12. Mudpie Fridays

    April 2, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Ha ha this made me laugh as I was that teenage girl and dated a lot of bad boys expecting a different outcome each time? WHY? When I met my husband I didnt want to date at the time so it took him some time to convince me. We moved in 9 months later! (12 years ago) Thank you for joining me at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

    1. Kate

      April 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Eek, I think most of us were that teenage girl!

      All’s well that ends well, thank goodness!

  13. Amy @ Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

    April 7, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Now what do you think, are you describing me too?! I have always gone for the ‘bad boy’ I am afraid, some turned out to be really bad but my hubby I guess you could describe him as a ‘bad boy’ in his younger days, he was a bit of a charmer and a bit of a rogue but he is kind and a gent with a heart of gold really.Fab post, as always. Man you’re good 😉 xxx

    1. Kate

      April 8, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Aw, he sounds just like my hubby! ?

      Thanks sweetie, your compliments mean the world because I love your writing so much! Xxx

  14. Morgan Prince

    April 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Love this! I remember those teenage years well and you’re so right! I don’t have daughters so won’t have to deal with this, however I do have two ‘nice’ boys…
    Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo – I’m slowly catching up!

    1. Kate

      April 13, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Well you’re doing your bit for the girls of their generation in that case! ?

Leave a Reply