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Why do women date the bad boys but marry the nice guys?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Dating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (24 May 2011) 16 Answers - (Newest, 30 May 2011)
A male United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Dear cupid, i was wondering why women date and sleep with bad boys through out there youth but run to marry nice guys in there 30's when there less attractive and are looking for stability and safety for a guy who has worked hard, being dumped for being nice to women. Why should the nice guys settle for less of what they deserve?

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (30 May 2011):

Bad boy can say what he thinks and doesn't care what the girl thinks of him. He doesn't give a crap. A good guy will try and think of the right thing to say all the time, Doesn't try to be sexual with the girl. Bad boy is always trying to be sexual with the girl if he get turned down HE DOESN'T GIVE A CRAP.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (27 May 2011):

Almost any guy who can have sex with a lot of different women will do so. These guys are relatively rare. There just aren't that many guys out there who can pull this off consistently. Typically, a guy like this isn't going to settle down because it's more fun to screw a lot of different women. As others have pointed out, men are wired for this.

Women tend to label a guy who can and does screw a lot of women as being a bad boy. They aren't really attracted to him because he's a bad boy, but they call him a bad boy, a "jerk", a "womanizer" etc. because he screwed them and then moved on (after they decided to hop in the sack with him)

But, there are only so many of these guys out there. At some point, biology kicks in and women start wanting to settle down and reproduce. But, again, there are very few men who are highly attractive to women sexually, so the vast majority of women have little choice but to settle with someone who isn't so attractive sexually sexy when they decide to settle down.

Personally, I think a very high percentage of women would settle down with a so-called bad boy if they could. It's just that the "bad boys" are relatively rare, and they don't want to settle down because they'd prefer to just keep screwing lots of different women without having to support them.

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A male reader, Odds United States +, writes (25 May 2011):

Odds agony auntI think the real source of arguably justifiable bitterness here for a lot of men is not "now she's all used up," it's "she and others like her did not appreciate me when I was younger." I'll leave my views on promiscuity aside completely for this post and just focus on the other part.

Whether it's a phase, or just simple mistakes, for some reason many women (not all, maybe not even a majority, but enough to have a definite effect on the love lives of many nice guys) spend the twelve or fifteen years between puberty and wanting to get married going from one bad guy to another, hardly giving the time of day to nice guys. Rather than learning quickly, they conveniently grow out of the phase right around the time their biological clock starts ticking, or around the time they realize how expensive it is to be a single mother.

It's certinaly not a small percentage, at least in the U.S., either. The illegitimacy rate is about 40% right now. "Nice guys" seem a bit less likely to father children out of wedlock; I couldn't put a nubmer to it, for obvious reasons, but I'd be willing to bet it's negligible.

Some guys have plenty of success with women when they're young. A lot don't. Whether it's because they aren't assertive or exciting enough doesn't matter. The net effect is getting rejected over and over, until right around the time women start *needing* a nice guy to fulfill their wishes for motherhood. Then, suddenly, they grow up and want reliable, provider-type guys. Can you see how that would bother so many of those provider-types? It's easy to feel used that way. I imagine it's similar to the way girls feel in their early twenties when none of the bad boys would commit to them - feeling like you're simply being used to fulfill a purpose, rather than being loved for who you are.

Net effect: bad boys use girls, some of those girls go on to use nice guys, and nice guys just kinda get used.

One can make all the derogatory comments one wants about nice guys in their twenties - "They're boring, they're not assertive, they're seceretly not really nice at all..." - and most of it's probably true, but that's just an excuse. It's not the real reason, it's just a rationalization.

The only reason girls do it is because hitting their late twenties and early thirties tends to force girls to realize that marrying a nice guy isn't "settling" at all - it's when the girl finally realizes her standards were higher than she could realistically achieve. If their bioloigcal clock wasn't ticking, or they weren't in dire financial straights, or if they hadn't let themselves get emotionally worked over by their previous bad choices, they would still be trying to get a bad boy to commit.

For the same reason many women (again, not all, probably not even a majority) don't give up on bad boys after the first, second, or third time they get burned, they would keep chasing if they could. Reality just has a way of setting in.

Getting upset and bitter is understandable. I went through that phase myself. But while everyone is entitled to spending some time moping about life when it deals an unfair hand, it doesn't solve anything. Neither does sitting around as a lonely nice guy, waiting for the women around you to age into their senses. Nice guys want women, women want bad boys who will commit and do the necessary nice guy things.

The solution is for nice guys to take on more bad boy traits. Take guys who are already decent and willing to commit, but We have to teach young men to act that way, that the way to a girl's heart isn't through being a nice guy. Be assertive. Be overly confident. Be willing to disagree, to argue, to offend. Be willing to walk away if your needs aren't being met. When you find the right girl (who won't be perfect, because *no one* is), treat her like a princess, but don't treat any girl like a princess just because she happened to be born without a Y chromosome. Teach young men that a girl is special after you've dated for a while and built up some shared memories, not just because she's cute and smiled at you once.

Short version: girls who do this are just trying to find happiness. They're failing at it, hard, but they're trying. Guys who wait and get bitter about it are complaining rather than implementing the obvious solution. It's one of those problems that looks like it's caused by female behavior, and where the pain many guys feel is understandable, but ultimately it's nice guys who need to face reality and adjust their behavior to match. Why complain about what other people want and do when you can simply change to work with reality, rather than against it?

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A female reader, Tyedyedturtle United States +, writes (25 May 2011):

Tyedyedturtle agony auntFrankly, often these proclaimed "nice guys" are overly nice and creepy, in my experience, at least. Often these "nice guys" are meek, incredibly shy, and socially awkward. They come off as desperate, low in standards, but bizarrely unaware as to how to handle a relationship. Again, this is my experience.

I'm not saying every guy needs to strut around with the "swagger" of an Abercrombie model or Hollywood actor. However, a bit of confidence never hurts. I actually am more attracted to reserved, quiet guys, but they still can carry themselves in such a way that they seem sure of themselves and remotely confident with girls. However, I do love guys with a darker, more mysterious image. So, maybe they are sort of "bad boys", but that is just the style and personality I like. Notice the adjectives of mysterious and dark and how "bad boy" did not and does not signify jerk off with little manners, treats me like crap, can't pay bills, does drugs and drinks. 99% of girls don't like true "bad boys". We just like a little bit of confidence and mystery from time to time.

You sound bitter and like you have been dumped on a bit. Assess your confidence levels and attitude and you will discover the answer you need. There is a nice girl out there for a nice guy like you. Don't worry.

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A female reader, HoneyEyedLatina United States +, writes (24 May 2011):

HoneyEyedLatina agony auntWomen don't necessarily look for nice guys or nerdy guys or push over guys when they are ready to settle down. It's not like we are trying to get something out of our system before we grow up and get married. Honestly, were not even thinking that far ahead. We are only enjoying the present.

When a woman is ready for a serious relationship they will start looking for a guy that is honest, faithful, respectful and is willing to have a committed relationship. Period. If a bad boy was actually capable of all this then he too is marriage material. I know a lot of bad boys who matured and prospered into respectful good men.

Just because a lot of women date bad boys during their youth doesn't necessarily mean that they are not good enough to be considered marriage material. Let me explain something to you. I dated good and bad boys when I was younger. As I hit my 20's I decided to date guys my age that were more serious. I am an absolute great catch as I have a career, going to law school and good looking. Plus I'm actually engaged to a good guy who used to be bad. If any guy thought that marrying me was settling for less just because of foolish mistakes during my youth, his ass would be out the door.

In all honesty who cares who your boyfriend/girlfriend dated before you. What if your girlfriend didn't want to marry you because of certain girls that you dated? You shouldn't judge someone on their dating history when you weren't even involved with them at the time.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (24 May 2011):

chigirl agony auntOh hebejeses, Im a bad girl too then since guys fall for me. Or should we twist this and say "why do good guys only go for the pretty women instead of the good girls, and only go for the good girls when the pretty don't want them any more?"

I'd be just as silly.

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A male reader, a-g55 United Kingdom +, writes (24 May 2011):

a-g55 agony auntits scientific. its because the front cortex of the brain is undeveloped until about 20. then starts to mature from 20 to about 25ish varying with some women...

this part of the brain appears under a brain scan as bight yellow or orange which represents activity and heat... in late 20's it appears purple.

its the risk assessment factory of the brain. it doesnt mature til the 20s because nature wants us to take risks and adventures and open ourselves up to dangers when we are young.... put a 14 year old in a forumula 1 car or nascar and put him amongst old drivers. he would brake later and take tighter corners and take more dangerous passes than the rest...

the bad boys are usually alpha males and young girls are attracted to leaders of other men and protector men and hunter gathers.... in later life when money becomes the currency of love women start to see more intelligent secure well brought up men as more attractive because those qualities will bring her the most social status in years to come...

its like in school. because it doesnt matter to much about money. the smart kids get a hard time because social status is the currency at play... in later life the bad kids are in prison and on welfare and they essentially get bullied by the smart kids who are now in government!

funny world

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A male reader, I want it all United States +, writes (24 May 2011):

I want it all agony auntNever settle! Never! Always go after what you want (both men and women) no matter what your age is... LIfe shows us all what we want and don't in a partner. This may be why women like the 'bad boy' earlier in life, but realize they rarely are marriage material. We adapt our thoughts, ideas, and live and learn as we go along... No need to judge a woman on her past(unless you want her to do the same for you)

Heck, I'm in my late 30's and dating what i believe to be the most amazing and beautiful woman I've ever dated, who is in her early 30's. We have both been ran through the ringer in our past relationships, but feel we are 'soul mates' who needed the time it took us to meet to go through all of our early life changes, challenges, and loves lost, so we know what we really want and need in a lasting, loving relationship...

All you can do is be the best you can be, and judge not of anyones past or age. Life is as good as you want to make it with anyone you choose! And what does someones past have to do with anything except that it led them to you!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 May 2011):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Its the truth,i grew up with the badboy image during my youth i'd see women falling me but turning down good guys. I broke alot of hearts, but now am different.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 May 2011):

Not all women do this. Some women do it because they want some fun and excitement whilst being young, knowing full well these 'bad boys' aren't appropriate to settle down with. Then of course, once they get older and want to settle down, they want a lovely nice man to settle down with.

But again, not all women do this and you could say the exact same about men, a lot of men like to choose the 'slutty' girls whilst being young, then find the nice, mature women once they're older and are ready to settle down.

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A male reader, Wheeler United States +, writes (24 May 2011):

Wheeler agony auntI sense some bitterness here!

It's okay, this matter has been one for debate for eons. Here is my take:

When you are younger you are learning a lot about who you are, and who you want to be with. You can only really learn through experience.

One enormous difference in the experiences of men and women is that women have men always chasing them. I don't remember who said it, but I remember a saying among women that there is always another guy waiting in line.

Men are on the opposite side of that equation. We are generally doing the chasing (of course there are exceptions to everything).

Now, add the fact that we all generally desire that which we can't have over that which we can have (and that is absolutely true for men as well), and "nice guys" really are at a disadvantage.

Nice guys are much more likely to make themselves immediately available, or tell a girl they have feelings as soon as they have feelings. And buy flowers, and open the car doors, etc.

Nine times out of ten, I would guess, the bad boys will do the opposite. We could probably say of the bad boys that they often do not remain exclusive, make themselves emotionally available. In other words, they are hard to get.

So, the woman has all of these guys throwing themselves at her, and she will probably more often be interested in the guy that isn't available.

If you think back on your own life, how many times did you have an incredibly sweet, intelligent girl that was less attractive who made herself available to you. Who told you or at least displayed her attraction to you. Was there ever a time when you were fixated on some hot, unattainable chick and never even considered the "other" woman? I would guess it has happened without you even realizing it.

Fact is, we all do it. Guys too, just in a different way.

And one more thing, which may or may not be directly related to the question: What is often implied by being a "nice guy" is that they are more passive, less likely to stand up for themselves, more likely to put up with things they don't like.

These are traits women desire less. Would you ladies agree with that statement?

As a former "nice guy" who has now become just a guy who treats women with respect yet stands up for what I want and speaks my mind, I can tell you that many of the nice guys need to go through some rejections and grow some testicular fortitude. That would be a good thing.

A lot of nice guys treat selfish and manipulative women with more respect than they deserve.

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A female reader, chigirl Norway + , writes (24 May 2011):

chigirl agony auntStereotyping. This isn't whats happening in the real world, this is just some story you are telling yourself.

Women date nice guys. Women marry nice guys. Nice guy date bad girls. Nice guys marry bad girls. Nice girls marry bad guys... It really is a two way street, and in the end we're all just looking for someone who makes us happy.

Don't turn into a grumpy old man. Take people for who they are instead of trying to put them in boxes or rate them to see who deserves what. Unless you know them real good, you have no idea if they are bad or good, or what they deserve. And... unless you know them real good, how would you know if they are a "nice guy" or a "bad guy"? I guess that's what the whole point of dating is about.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 May 2011):

"Why do woman date bad boys" well it works the other way too.

They are exciting, talkative, confident, funny and usually tend to be very attractive. During our days of youthful naivety this is all it takes for a young woman to be attracted to a guy, many, many of us don't see the bigger picture, usually takes a couple of heartaches to see the pattern. It also works this way for most guys at that age, they are more attracted to confident, funny, attractive, flirty girls.

However as time goes on we realise these traits are not enough to hold down a long term serious relationship, because these relationships are usually about the fun, but as we get older, life tries and tests us and we realise we need something more secure and start to look deeper for other traits.

But your question "why do women date the bad boys, but marry the nice guys" that also goes for guys too.

After a certain age men and woman realise that sex alone is not enough to sustain a good lasting relationship, and also, the game playing that the bad guys and girls do just becomes played out. So I suppose its just part of human nature, but dont thing for a second that it just happens the nice guys, because it happens the nice girls too :)

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (24 May 2011):

Genetics. Evolution. Bad boys have the best genes and nice guys make the best fathers.

Women switch up to "nice guys" when they get older because Charles Darwin encourages it. They are shopping to give their kids the best of both worlds. Even though a modern women may not have kids in her youth it is still biological urges making her prefer different men at different ages. Nature hasn't adjusted for birth control.

First a woman screws a lot of jerks in her youth. Even if she can't have a relationship with them, getting their sperm is what nature cares most about. She doesn't have to demand a healthy relationship when she can let herself be used for a FWB sex toy or something by a really sexy guy. He might be out of her reach if she demanded good treatment so very often she won't demand good treatment yet at this age. (Besides, there will be nice guys later to help her with the long term emotional problems that this period usually causes her.)

Eventually women change their tune in their mid 20s or 30s. Now it's time for a "nice guy" to provide and raise the kids they've got with the bad boys. Bad boys don't make good fathers and they wouldn't be willing to be fathers for many of these women anyway.

Women usually say they have gained maturity or outgrown their bad boy phase. Or they have learned to demand respect, etc. But the bottom line is their personal growth pattern matches what is best for reproduction at any age. Furthermore, the "bad boy phase" tends to resurface during those times of the month that she is most fertile or when she is on vacation in a foreign place or something like that. Bad boys are only "outgrown" during the times in a woman's life when they are not useful for sperm donation.

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A male reader, Drew21 Canada +, writes (24 May 2011):

Drew21 agony auntWomen are attracted to confidence, and say what you will about the bad boys, but they are always incredibly confident.

Also, i've always found women are not so much into BAD guys, as they are people who are true to themselves and know who they are.

I used to try to be the nicest, most polite person i could be. And women wanted nothing to do with me.

Was that the real me? To be quite honest I don't think it was. I think the real me is actually a bit of a selfish jerk. Sure i can be nice and polite, but when you get right down to it i have my moments of being a real ass.

Once i started just being ME, and letting that jerkiness show through sometimes, suddenly WHAM i had women interested.

Just be you, be comfortable with who you are. There'll be woman out there who become interested.

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A male reader, Yos Netherlands +, writes (24 May 2011):

Yos agony aunt"Why should the nice guys settle for less of what they deserve?"

Are you saying that a woman who dates / sleeps with 'bad boys' is now 'less than someone deserves'?

I think that may be where your issue is coming from. That you feel these women are now worth less than before. If you let go of that belief you may find your relationships with women in their thirties and above improve.

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