This is the series in which I promise to honestly answer any question my husband puts to me about women (I wrote about it in more detail here). This time, he asks: why do girls like bad boys?

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?!

Me: Hum, 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.

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Why Do Girls Like 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.



An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.


  1. Fran Back With A Bump Reply

    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

    • Kate Reply

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

  2. justsayingmum Reply

    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

    • Kate Reply

      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. 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

    • Kate Reply

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

  4. Kate Reply

    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. Kate Reply

    Hahaha, I think you illustrate my template perfectly! ?

  6. Kate Reply

    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.

  7. Kate Reply

    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

  8. Kate Reply

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

    All’s well that ends well, thank goodness!

  9. Amy @ Mr and Mrs T Plus Three Reply

    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

    • Kate Reply

      Aw, he sounds just like my hubby! ?

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

  10. Kate Reply

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

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