Many people who have escaped from a bad relationship have looked back on it and realized there were red flags along the way that they should have heeded. Perhaps the warning signs were present from the beginning or maybe they appeared as the relationship progressed. Although the “bad” person in a relationship may be of either gender, the phrase “why good girls like bad boys” is well-known.
What is it that attracts a woman to a man with an obvious wild side?
A girl who grew up with an emotionally unavailable father or a father who was absent may unconsciously create a similar circumstance of emotional distance so she can now make it right and “fix” this man in her life. It takes life experience to realize that if he is to change, he alone is responsible for doing so, and most likely he doesn’t want to change anyway.
Perhaps a role model such as a father or uncle was a “bad boy,” and the emotional traits are recognized even though that person may not have been either a good husband or father. When the novelty of the bad boy traits has worn off, there is nothing of substance left with which to form a healthy, happy relationship.
A man who is predictable, kind and caring may be perceived as boring, and a woman may think someone with a different personality may be challenging even though risky. If he is adventurous and unpredictable, what initially may have seemed exciting can quickly become stressful and worrying.
He may have had a troubled childhood resulting in bouts of anger, rage or even violence. The good girl views this as something she can help him get over. The fact is that changing a personality is impossible unless the person identifies the problem and is willing to seek treatment and make a change.
Challenge is a good thing when climbing a mountain, but not so good in relationships. It’s helpful to keep a mental list of what attributes make a good relationship, such as kindness, caring for others, a sense of humor, responsibility and good family ties. Does he ask any questions about you or talk about himself all evening?
Observe what happens in good relationships, watch committed or married couples who are happy and take note of the interaction between them. It’s nice to have a chair pulled out in a restaurant or a car door chivalrously opened, but some guys show their thoughtfulness by changing the oil in your car or fixing your clogged sink; not necessarily romantic but very thoughtful, caring and practical. Someone who offers to take care of your dog while you’re away overnight could be a keeper.
A person’s friends tend to be objective. If you have rejected someone and your friends think you should give him a chance, go for it. The guy you thought not right for you may turn out to be a terrific person.
Sovereign Health of Florida is a behavioral treatment provider. We emphasize the importance of healthy relationships to our patients as an essential aspect of general well-being. If you would like further information, please call our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer
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