Kick the Bad Boy Habit

Kick the Bad Boy Habit

For the young, bad boys have a toxic appeal. Who wants to date a guy your parents approve of? For some women though, bad boys are more than a rite of passage. When, ten years' later, you're still going after rogues, when the addiction's as hard to kick as heroin.. you've got a problem.

You know the drill. You go out, you meet great guys. Guys who take you to dinner and make sure you get home safely at the end of the night. Guys who aren't afraid to hold your hand. Guys who treat you like a queen. Yet when the bad boy calls, you go running.

Why do you keep falling for the bad boy? What is it about the dark personality, the dominance, the sheer loss of control you feel when you're with him, that you find so alluring? You may believe that you're caught up in some insane chemical attraction but, the truth is, the appeal's more psychological than physical. Here's how to break the bad boy habit.

Fight Your Inner Cave Woman

Are you really in love with your bad boy? Probably not - though you are predisposed to find him attractive.

A recent study led by Gregory Louis Carter of the University of Durham in the U.K. asked female undergraduates to rate the attractiveness of two distinct male personality types: Dark Triads - encompassing the traits found in your archetypal bad boy - narcissism, callousness and opportunism - and controls. The control group matched the bad boy description, but with the dark personality traits such as a desire for attention, manipulation, exploitation, cynicism and a lack of conscience taken out.

What did the study find? Women found the Dark Triad personality more attractive than the control. The researchers put the result down to sexual conflict. In caveman terms, the charmers and manipulators win the short-term mating game. This isn't the Stone Age though, is it? You don't want a short-term mate who'll liberally sow his seed through any number of indiscretions. You want an evolved relationship with a committed guy that will last. Stop working hard to save him and see him for the anachronism he really is.

Date For Your Future

Where do you want your career to be in your 20s, 30s, 40s or further? Do you picture yourself at the top of the corporate ladder, a mentor, financially secure, an expert in your field? What are you doing to achieve those goals? Building your technical chops, no doubt. Honing your talents. Methodically and painstakingly working your way to success. Crucially, learning from your mistakes.

Now ask yourself, where do you want to be in your personal life? With a guy who's kind to you, who's your rock, who may be a responsible father? If so, you should be laying the foundations now. You're personal life is every bit as important as your career, so plan for it.

See His Strengths for the Weaknesses They Really Are

Grab the dictionary and read up: drama and excitement are not the same thing. Bad boy drama is a cheap thrill. It's that stomach churning, heart thudding, flying without wings feeling of the rollercoaster G-force. It's butterflies and breathlessness and an insane rush. It's also completely and irrevocably temporary.

Sooner or later, strong women leave the bad boy. They leave him because the thrill of the final drop doesn't make up for all the jerks she gets along the way. Here's the thing with the bad boy - he's not strong, he's weak. He's possessive and controlling, not because you're utterly bewitching to other men, but because he's fundamentally insecure. He'll never trust you, because trust requires a level of intimacy and empathy this guy does not possess. Once you are able to differentiate real love from a short-term thrill, he'll quickly lose his appeal.

Go With Your Intuition

Your gut feeling is usually right, so learn to trust it. If your guy has a penchant for fast cars and even faster women, run, before the psychological effects of variable interval reward system set in.

This psychological disaster takes your bad boy's sporadic cycles of affection, attention and love and mixes them up with his far longer cycles of heartlessness and neglect. When you're deprived of the former, you'll crave it. You'll even put up with long periods of mistreatment for the slug of dopamine that comes when he does something nice. What makes this cycle so devious is that you don't know when the next hit is coming. Just like playing the slot machines, you win just enough of the time to keep you interested.

The problem is, by the time you're in the midst of the variable interval reward system, you're already addicted. So do yourself a favor and get out now, before it's too late.

Inform Yourself About the Alternative

The world is not split into Dark Triads and controls. You have more options than the stereotypical "nice guy" and the bad boy alternative. Your fifty shades of gray exists between those two extremes and somewhere in that gap you'll find a courageous, confident, sexy and good man who's perfect for you.

As with all addictions, the key to breaking your bad boy habit is not willpower, it's programming. Just as you wouldn't try to kick an alcohol addiction in a bar, so you must set your life up for success by changing the places you go for fun and whom you hang out with. The best way to kick an addiction is to not have access to it. Try something new, meet new people, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what (and who) you find.

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