5 Ways To (Finally) Stop Falling For The Bad Boy

bad boy

We've all heard the reasons why you are chasing the emotionally unavailable bad boys; "you want to save them" or "you think you can fix them."

Your therapist tells you that you're trying to resolve something from your childhood like an absent or negligent parent, which your friends translate to, "oh, you have daddy (or mommy) issues."

And you've chalked it all up to understanding these, but it still continues to happen.

The truth of the matter is you don't have mommy or daddy issues in the same sense that we all do in some form or other have issues tied to our upbringing.

Sure, some of use that to act out more, but in the end these reasons are not really going to help you stop.

I say there is another component to this. It's the fantasy component. It's the wanting what we can't have. It's believing something isn't real, and also believing we don't deserve it even if it was.

The more we believe something can't happen, the more we create a fantasy around it—about who they are, about being their type and about what the relationship could be like if it were to really work out.

And then, mix in the fact that because this person is real, in flesh and blood, maybe not in the way we want or think but visually seen, the lines between fantasy and reality get blurred.

This is where fantasy becomes obsession, and like an addiction, it becomes something we need, something we crave. The only thing that can break this pattern, to stopping it dead in its tracks, is a good dose of reality.

Even the unanswered calls, or the late night hook-ups are not enough to jolt one out of fantasy and into reality.

The other aspect of this fantasy is that you're having mind-blowing sex. Or maybe you are not, but if you are, remember it's not based on truth, honesty, admiration and respect. It's based on fantasy. So how great is the sex, really?

See, there is a major breakdown here. How is the sex mind-blowing when you don't even love yourself enough to see that this is all a huge fallacy? The whole thing is a lie, and the worst part is that you are in charge of facilitating this lie, thus you're lying to yourself. 

The key to having the best sex requires that you get the heck out of fantasy la-la land, start dating a guy who is present and into you, and start treating yourself like you have self-worth and deserve some-respect.

The reality is that you might seal the deal; if you hang in there long enough, he may buy the bait, and you'll hook, line and sink him. It's not that hard.

You've convinced yourself it's the real deal. What's to say he is not going to follow suit? Pretty soon you will be in a relationship together, one, which started out in fantasyland.

If he was emotionally unattached then, even if he commits, he is not going to become this present, admiring, respecting dude overnight. Commitment does not love make. News flash: Mr. Big didn't become a doting, warm and cuddly partner. Ever.

The red flags were there to begin with, and in the relationship, the tables may turn. Ah redemption, right? No. Your therapist will say, you attracted each other because of your family of origin patterns. 

This may be true, but the reality is you chose to ignore the red flags because you didn't value yourself and thought this amazing-looking guy was going to make you prettier, cooler, more popular, or whatever you felt was lacking in your life. This can all be changed with a little shifting of your self-worth.

Here's how to recover from "Bad Boy Syndrome":

  1. Wake up from the fantasy before it's too late: Are you satisfied with the way things are going? If not, make an inventory of why not. Those things that make you unhappy, anxious or needy are unlikely to change just because he takes his vows.
  2. What is so great about this guy? Be honest. "He's cute and he is sexy and we would have such an amazing wedding" does not a long-term partner make. 
  3. Why don't you deserve better? Make a list of all the ways in which you devalue yourself. You may be surprised at how long this list is.
  4. Recognize this pattern of chasing the bad boy. Choosing unemotional, unavailable men has everything to do with your lack of self-worth. Admit it—you want to look cool.
  5. Recognize that developing a stronger sense of self-worth won't happen overnight, but it starts with the first step. Say no to late night hookups if you want more for yourself. Say no to lack of response when you text him and he doesn't text back. Don't accept it anymore. Walk away. You may not know that you deserve better today, but do it anyway.


Moushumi Ghose is a sex therapist, dating and relationship coach.

This is an excerpt from her latest book Love, Lust and Lube: A Guide to Being sex Positive, available on Amazon.

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