Dr. Wes: I’ve always pondered one of the great puzzles of adolescence — why nice, respectable girls seek out “bad boys” as dating partners, instead of all those sweet fellows walking the path to sainthood. I know those great boys are out there because I see them too, lamenting their bad luck at being “too nice” to date, always finding themselves with plenty of friends that are girls and no girlfriends.
Whenever I catch a reality check from my contacts on such matters, I’m told I’ve put way too much thought into this. It’s pretty simple and I need to move on. Dating nice boys is like dating one’s brother, or as one young woman put it a few years back, “Bad boys = adrenaline rush.” Bad boys act in ways that are unfamiliar and therefore exciting to nice girls, stretching their limits and introducing them to new things.
That won’t help any “nice girl” parents sleep well on a Saturday night, will it?
I have good news, however, for those beleaguered parents and all the nice boys waiting in the wings, though you’ll have to wait a few years to take advantage of it. By their early 20s, most girls have learned that bad boys are a lot like the Mamba at Worlds of Fun — nice to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there, and after too many trips you start to feel a little dizzy and sick. After that, the score starts to even up. In the meantime, it’s much easier for nice boys to learn to be charming and a little mysterious, and include all those friend-girls in their social network to help them improve their shot at love.
For nice girls who haven’t gotten the memo by age 21, however, it might be time to drop in on the therapist and see if their dating life might be reprocessing a big bag of family issues. Often, we gravitate toward dating partners we think might help us heal the sorrows of childhood. We’ve all heard the cliché of the “father-figure.” You can guess what those nice girls are trying to fix by dating a bad boy — and in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t usually work out very well.
Miranda: Your parents hate him and he couldn’t care less: the typical bad boy. You know you shouldn’t talk to him, but there’s just something about him that good girls love.
Society has a tendency to classify a bad boy as the kid “from the wrong side of the tracks,” but I see him as someone who doesn’t treat a girl right. It doesn’t matter who he hangs out with at school or where he comes from — if a guy calls when he says he will and is respectful toward you and your parents, then he may be worth keeping around.
For many of the good girls, life isn’t always that exciting. They get good grades, baby-sit when their parents ask, don’t stay out too late and maybe even eat their vegetables. Days come and go, and while these girls may enjoy themselves, they always know what’s happening next. But a bad boy? His life is so unscripted and unpredictable. Hanging out with him can turn a typical day into an adventure, and time spent with him is thrilling.
Certain girls may try endlessly to fix bad boys. Some do this unconsciously as Wes describes, while others see someone who has emotional baggage and just know they want to repair that person. While it’s admirable to be there for someone, make sure you don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position in doing so.
Other girls just love the chase, enjoying all that roller-coaster drama. Not knowing when a guy will give her the honesty or the amount of time she deserves is part of the excitement, and it makes his attention that much more special.
If you’re pursuing any guy, make sure he’s a good person, which sounds simple and rarely is. Trust your instincts. Just because a guy puts you though the emotional ringer on a daily basis doesn’t mean he’s your soul mate. You may like him, but that doesn’t mean he’s good for you.