WTF Wednesday: Why do all my single mom friends and I date a-holes?

single mom advice


Dear Emma, 

WTF?  Why do so many of my divorced mom girlfriends and I engage in unhealthy relationships? We're all professionally successful, smart, good parents — but have a taste for crappy dudes. In my case, I suffer from a lifelong attraction to cowboy-types/emotionally and logistically unavailable men/jerks (whatever you want to call them) — though I've found this habit intensified since my divorce. 

The jerk who I've been dating — and with whom I seem to be in the midst of a breakup right now — refused to say we were boyfriend and girlfriend, although we were dating for 7 months. Now he seems to be disappearing with nary a text message, although he owes me $500 for a weekend trip we were planning to New York next month. Oh well… I know it's for the best, but I get down on myself for putting up with something like that for 7 months. What was I thinking? It was fun, and we were definitely compatible, but it certainly wasn't healthy or mutual. And the red flags, including clear lies, were there from the beginning. I can't even say he wasn't my type and a fling, since he definitely was (foreign-born but Americanized, educated, energetic, well-traveled). I wonder sometimes why I've never managed to fall for a nice Jewish boy (I've tried), and I also wonder if I'll ever be able to find someone who attracts and interests me but who isn't a jerk or a cowboy, so to speak. So, Emma, what wisdom do you have to shine here, particularly related to the fact that I'm about 3 years out from my separation and 1-1/2 years past my official divorce?

–Beating my head in Bethesda 


Dear Beating,

First, congratulations for acknowledging a) that you have a problem, and b) taking responsibility for your relationships. I hear from so many women who are angry at men, without recognizing that they chose the douches by hand.

To drill down into your situation. You are attracted to unavailable men for any number of the following reasons:

1. You are afraid of true intimacy, so (unconsciously) seek out partners who are not available for intimacy.

2. You are angry at yourself for choosing all the losers in the past, and are punishing yourself by choosing more.

3. You don't believe that a really great man can really, really love the shit out of you in a true way.

4. You're afraid that if you do connect with a wonderful man, you will be so unbelievably, giddily ecstatic. And you're afraid that he will then leave, destroying your one true happiness.

5. You fear that when you do meet that awesome, loving, committed guy – he will make the the previous three decades of your love life seem even more pathetic than you already judge it to be. And that will suck.

6. You're afraid of change. People, by nature, are. You have an old, nasty habit of selecting bad boyfriends. It can seem easier to keep repeating bad habits than do the work required to create new ones.

I can go on and on, so I'll stop now. But now let's turn this show around. What can you do to break the cycle? Here is my recipe for breaking the douche-bag spell:

Start dating nice guys. Now, I will warn you. You will not be attracted to them at first. You must muscle through. This is how it will go:

Seek out these guys — mutual friends, online dating sites, temple, whatever. Flirt your ass off and allow them to pursue you. You know how to do that.

What you don't know how to do is to be patient. And keep an open mind.

So far you have been looking for romantic men who are exciting people in the world (I know, because that is my jam, too). You have not been looking for commitment and intellect and compassion. You don't appreciate their geeky passion for coding or Celtic literature or bicycle racing. You don't hear how he lights up when talking about his kids or the pride he takes in building an amazing business. But now you will patiently listen as he shares these parts of himself with you. And you will patiently, quietly consider all these wonderful parts of these men that you would have previously, patently rejected.

Then at the very first inkling of attraction you must act. Quickly before it flees. And you will sleep with some of these men. What you will find is that some of them — many, if my research is valid — are fabulous lovers. And instead of grabbing the bedsheet around your naked, ravished body and fleeing at the first glimmer of connection, you will lay in there in that bed and you will be with him and stay until morning.


About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour,, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list. Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Miss Independent on August 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I’ve been a jerk-dater in the past (for reason #3 and others), but now I find I’m like a mama cat. Whenever I go in heat again, I hear my kittens’ cries and I’m back before I can do any damage.

    I may still have the attraction, but I now put my child’s needs first and my dating decisions are made by commitee (child and me).

    I keep the end game in mind. Would this man be a good role model for my son? Would I want my son to grow up to be like him? If the answers are “No,” then I don’t even bother.

    My son comes first and we have a good connection. I don’t want to jeopardize that. He’s already been delivered a wound beyond my control. I have to mitigate that wound and build up my son and protect him from unnecessary harm.

    My romantic self-actualization can wait.

    • Emma on August 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Miss, and I admire how you learned to spot and curb your bad taste in men.

      However, I challenge this: “my dating decisions are made by committee (child and me).” It is not a child’s job to help parents manage their personal lives. That puts the kid at risk of feeling like a parent’s romantic partner, which is already a huge risk in single-parent families. I wrote about it here:

  2. Dr. Leah on August 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    When people repeatedly engage in behaviors – dating a-holes, for example, that hurt them, simplistic reasoning is no solution. EVERYONE who experiences divorce can benefit from therapy. If you’re repeatedly drawn to men – or women – who are clearly inappropriate or just plain hurtful, it’s time to pull out of the dating scene and get some real help. The right therapist – and it’s not one size fits all – brings objectivity, compassion, insight and NO judgment. Making the effort to find out why you’re punishing yourself by making these poor choices is critically important — for you AND your kids.

    • Emma on August 13, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Leah – thanks for chiming in. I know therapy has helped many, many people. But there is no way to say that EVERYONE who divorces benefits. I know plenty of people who spend years and years in therapy — whether by choice, pressure from a spouse or court order — and they are simply not open to change or do not jibe with therapy. I for one can say that I have been to therapists on and off throughout my life and have never had a remarkable experience. Great friends who challenge me and writing have been my most useful tools for catharsis. Others find their own way.

  3. st on August 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I would take a gander that there’s a large portion of divorced women who fall into reason #3. After my separation & then divorce, I dated a man for years who was seriously incompatible with me and my life, and yet I persisted. He wasn’t a bad man, he truly loved me, and we had a very intense connection – but as we broke up time & again – my friends (and I, internally) kept asking “WHY?! Why do you keep going back?”. A large part of that reason was found in #3. I didn’t think that man truly existed (or if he did that he was single ;o)) who was so ridiculously amazing & so very right for me & could really really love the shit out of me; so even though I told myself I wasn’t settling…I settled.
    But there was a deeper piece to it. WHY did I prescribe to reason #3? WHY did I choose to settle? Like the rest of your stories, by the grace of God, I have plenty of reason to choose confidently. Through a variety of venues – supportive, honest friends who challenge me; therapy; reading & digging into the difficult-to-face parts of myself; and more – I finally figured out the actual full root underneath. We can clearly see what makes the person incompatible on the surface – all the things women list (“he’s emotionally unavailable”, “his temper is out of control”, the list goes on) – but why would we pick those guys over & over by choice?? It’s not *just* that we believe “that amazing guy” doesn’t exist, it’s also that we’re then going to the opposite extreme & from that false belief making the choice to choose *clearly* wrong men. We’re smart women – why are we sabotaging ourselves to this degree – over & over?! In my case, when I thought about something that kept me drawn in to the men I stuck to most – they presented (to me) with a certain air of confidence that I found irresistible. Turns out, every time, those men were actually trying to mask anger and low-self esteem with an air that I somehow read as confidence at the start. But by then I was drawn in & then the cascade would start its course over time – before long, I saw what was really underneath, but I was already attached, hence further cascade. Clearly, there was also more to the puzzle as I dug deeper – not only was I picking men for what I thought was confidence & competence but actually turned out to be anger & low self-esteem, but I also had my own self-esteem issues to deal with. Ever heard the saying that we create our own price tag? It’s true. As I studied, I further came to realize I had some major co-dependency issues, and much of this was rooted in my entire past, childhood forward. I fought against that so hard – I abhor hearing someone seemingly excusing their adulthood because of their childhood. But there is a difference between excusing it and learning about it so that you can make informed decisions about how to handle your life, choices, and relationships. And you know what? It makes it that much better for the next generation – we help our kids through learning about ourselves and taking healthy action! :o) I’m not suggesting that everyone who identifies with these issues is co-dependent, but for those of you who may be, I highly recommend The Language of Letting Go, Leaving the Enchanted Forest, and Co-Dependent No More.
    So there I had it – I was choosing men that I thought were confident, but they were actually angry & had low-self esteem and trying to cover it. I had my own self-esteem issues & was lowering my own price-tag. And I had major co-dependency issues. Awesome. Now – how to move past all that knowledge to active life solutions.
    I don’t disagree that trying to date some “nice”, “appropriate” men is a good tactic. I would challenge you first, however, to spend some time being comfortable alone – what do you need to figure out about your root self underneath? It takes time & space & self-reflection. Maybe you’re afraid to be alone and that is another piece of the root cause of this whole cycle. It was for me. Get comfortable with you. Get to know yourself. THEN try to tackle the rest. And I also challenge you to try not looking for that nice, appropriate, right guy to date. Once you’re comfortable with yourself, just be you and do what you enjoy – go live YOUR LIFE – and when you’re there, when you’re out there emotionally healthy yourself, and living your own life in your own comfort & joy, and doing those things you enjoy – that right, amazing, unicorn of a guy will appear and prove that he really really can love the shit out of you and not make you feel like you’re settling in any way – he really does exist. He’s just waiting for you to breathe & figure out your piece so you’re ready for all the awesomeness he’ll bring to your lives together :o).

  4. DarthW on August 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Wow. This is the best “WTF Wednesday” ever! Her letter simply affirms what so many guys are only now learning.

    It sounds like “Bethesda” recognizes her own attraction to the typical “bad boy”, and at least is honest about it. Several studies have proven women continually are mesmerized and magnetized to “jerks” and “a-holes”. Nothing new there.

    I also question the value of a therapist, and that’s after giving a couple an honest try for a few months.

    Why did I see a therapist years ago? Because I was once one of those “nice guys” that women whine don’t exist – whilst they run after the bad boys endlessly. The therapists – one male, one female – didn’t do shiznitz for me. Rather I found the real answer from laymen male perspectives on dating as I did some serious reading and research. It is much more rewarding to become the “bad boy”. I did. I’m happier for it, and I get more dates (and sex) than ever.

    What have I learned since becoming that shiftless jerk? That all I have to do is buy a couple drinks, maybe pay for an appetizer, treat her so-so, ignore most of her texts and calls, and she just keeps on coming back for more. Dating as a “jerk” is much less expensive, more fruitful for me (in terms of sex and fun), and we bad guys can be a lot more lazy in our efforts.

    Bethesda admits and you concur that sometimes a woman has to get “revved up” and really work at trying to find something of interest in that “nice guy” – let’s call him “Poindexter” – yet women see “connection”, “chemistry”, and a general hot attraction for the jerk. It appears Poindexter will usually get friendzoned being nice. Thanks for choking up some effort to give a shit about him.

    What does Poindexter get out of dating when he’s a nice guy? If he decides he’s willing to commit to that long-term relationship??
    1. If she’s a single mom, Poindexter gets to be last on the priority list behind kiddos, even often behind the ex in priority. It doesn’t matter what “Poindy” does to work around her and her kids schedule to show he’s being accommodating, he always comes last. And she reminds him of it if he asks for any of her time or attention (after she’s suckered commitment out of him.)
    2. Poindexter gets to pay for most of the dates, and if he ever – finally – gets accepted by her (when she’s tired of chasing the jerks … at least for now) he marries her and gets to pay most of the mortgage for a larger house he doesn’t need, bills for kids that aren’t his, and debts incurred in her marriage with the bad boy she found – and still finds – so attractive.
    3. While Poindy’s wallet must stay perpetually accessible by her, he gets no benefit from the declining state of their sexual relations as she is “too tired” caring for kids that aren’t his, or “too upset” dealing with her bad boy ex-husband.
    4. As things progress, Poindy is reminded regularly that he isn’t her kid’s dad, and he can be “disinvited” from her “family” at any point because he is, and always has been, an outsider – even the ex/baby daddy is more of an “insider” than Poindy. Poindexter’s wallet, however, is always invited even though it’s also, technically, an outsider as it can “buy” its way into the inner circle.
    5. Eventually, she wonders what she ever saw in Poindexter, because he’s so “beta” and “nice”, that she starts chasing after the bad boy(s) again. Poindexter finds himself divorced in 70% of the cases, because it’s her second marriage. And if he’s a bigger fool, he’s even “nice” trying to get through the divorce.
    6. And the drama never, ends. Ever.

    Thanks to social media, nice guys are becoming ever more aware that there is NOTHING to be gained being a nice guy, and far less to be gained being a nice guy in a long-term, committed relationship, especially if she has kids. (I actually had this conversation with my 17 year old nephew just the other day, whom I am trying to curb proceeding down the “nice guy” path.)

    Harsh for women, especially single moms? It surely is, but no more harsh than being that “nice guy” who always finishes last. I suspect my words will ring true for you single moms with sons, when your own son – who you are trying to raise as a nice guy – gets taken advantage of by one woman after another in his relationships. Don’t worry, in high school and college the nice guy will be rejected, ignored, and – at best – friendzoned by women to whom he’s attracted while they chase thugs and jerks, but after those women have married, divorced, and had a couple kids with those jerks, they’ll come back around looking for nice guys again to rescue themselves from messes.

    Reminds me of a ridiculous blog titled “Dear Nice Guy, I Wasn’t Ready for You Before – But I Am Now!” where the young author admits that after so long chasing bad boys, NOW she’s ready to date a nice guy. She wants him to be there for her when she’s weak, and put up with her at her worst. Further translated, she also wants him to pay for everything…and later her bills, as the bad boys would not do. After a trainload of bad boys, she FINALLY realizes she really wants “Poindexter”. Then, Poindexter wises up and asks, “Why do I get to put up with her at her worst? Why should I have to be her strength when she is weak? Why should I have to put up with all the drama and financial mess? Why should I have to pay for the wedding and a diamond I can’t afford? The bad boys didn’t have to be all that, but she still gave them what they – and I – wanted : sex and a good time.” If Poindexter is wise, he becomes a bad boy.

    ……And so nice guys get more difficult to find. Bad boys live happily ever after.

    As a post script, I wouldn’t put myself in a place where I owed a woman, like “Bethesda”, whom I was dating, $500 for a trip, then walk away to leave the debt owed. Some of we “jerks” do try to have a level of integrity and limited class. Maybe that’s a part of my own “nice guy” persona I could not purge.

    • Emma on August 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Darth, wow, you really outdid yourself this time. Admitedly I did not make it to the end of your very long screed against women, and single moms in particular, but I am sure it is poignant (not to be confused with Poindy) as ever. The depths of your hurt at the hands of single moms knows now end.

      Idea: If one of these dating reality shows that are always contacting me ever plays out, you and I should go on a blind date. No end to the hilarity that would no doubt ensue …

      And this made me laugh aloud: “Thanks for choking up some effort to give a shit about him.”

      • DarthW on August 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm

        LOL. I liked that line best out of the whole rant as well. So fun, and yet so true!

    • Le petite Princess on October 2, 2014 at 2:20 am

      Sounds like you’re just as bad chasing the Bad Girls. Maybe you have some co-dependent issues to work on like the rest of the people here. Male or Female, we all want what’s hard to get. It builds passion and resentment where as likable people are just that, likeable. They make good friends but not much more. Your behaviour is showing you have spine but these women like you because you’re acting like a jerk but you’re still a sweetheart, that sort of takes you to the middle of the spectrum and that’s what every woman is looking for, THAT BALANCE.

  5. HarryBosch on August 14, 2014 at 11:50 am

    The letter writer is at least being honest that she likes bad boys. But she’s unlikely to change because clearly, a bad boy is still occupying a lot of real estate in her head. Look at how she mentions the $500 debt and then basically says, “Oh well…” It’s obvious she’d take bad boy back in a New York minute if he came around again.

    If she wants to break the pattern, she needs a mission in life. I’m sure her kids are important to her, but that’s apparently not enough – she needs some additional, constructive sense of purpose that will make it hard for her to continue to be an adrenaline junkie (which is what she basically is).

  6. HarryBosch on August 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I should probably clarify my last post, as “adrenaline junkie” is kind of a loaded term…

    Instead of looking to some guy for her sense of adventure, maybe the letter writer would do better to find adventure in some more constructive fashion. I’m betting she’s easily bored when there’s not a guy on the scene who causes drama and who she thinks she needs to “fix.” She’ll have to figure out for herself where to find that sense of adventure, as it’s rather subjective.

    She also needs to ask herself whether she really has any business dating anyone until she gets her head on a bit straighter. I can see her following the advice to start dating “nice guys,” she starts trying to fix them just like she does the charity case bad boys, and them some poor sap isn’t going to know what hit him when she blows him out of the water. Maybe she needs a self-imposed 6 month moratorium on dating to show herself the world won’t end.

    • Emma on August 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks for these comments, Harry (haven’t seen you in a while). Good insight re: replacing her thrill-seeking dating with bunjee cord jumping or something. But I will push back on the idea she “isn’t ready to date.” I think she should date, just not dicks, and not just for serious relationship. instead, try going on dates for fun, friendship or sex. Figure your stuff out before committing (or exchanging money), but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have romantic needs now.

      • DarthW on August 14, 2014 at 11:43 pm

        This is the crap I hate in dating. If the guy is interested in just some sex and fun without exchanging a lot of money (for dates, trips, to live together, etc.), he’s a “paranoid, jerkified, commitment-phobic dick.” If a woman seeks out the same, she’s just got “romantic needs now”. If I don’t want to support her kids, deal with the drama of her ex, be last priority, and pay her debts, nor risk being her second divorce I’m supposedly “damaged by single moms”. If she doesn’t want to do that she is “figuring her stuff out before committing.”

        Women are so lucky. They get to diminish men’s needs in a relationship as buffoonery, and excuse their own buffoonery as legitimate needs.

        Every single mom I’ve dated told me they preferred dating men without children because they didn’t like dealing with the very messes they had created in their own lives. Oh, but it was OK for them because they were single moms…..apparently because they squeezed kiddos out their vaj it made them above the law and superheroic by default. Apparently, it’s only a problem when men just want to come around for a while to get our “romantic needs met”, while things are carefree and fun , and don’t want to be your 2nd (or 3rd) choice (after kids and the ex) in a serious commitment while dealing with and paying for all the mess from your 1st choice (your ex). When women don’t want to be the 2nd choice, we men are supposed to be believe she’s entitled to all our attention, while we’re supposed to settle for 2nd or 3rd place.

        • Emma on August 15, 2014 at 8:14 am

          Wow – this is really compelling: “Women are so lucky. They get to diminish men’s needs in a relationship as buffoonery, and excuse their own buffoonery as legitimate needs.”

          • DarthW on August 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm

            Is that all you have in response to my arguments regarding nice guys and committed relationships? Surely you can do better than that? Unless…… I’m right.

        • Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:33 pm


          You, sir, live in a place called reality. You may not always be popular, but you might end up being happy. It’s hard to walk around knowing how things really work, but I applaud you for not being sucked into the cybernetic group-think.

          Now, the trick is this: How do we get around all that crap and figure out how to have somewhat functional relationships with these modern-day feminist single-mothers? How do we deal with their blatant double standards as you have pointed out so eloquently?

          My belief is that you have to have a “good guy” interior and have your sh1t together but know how to exude a bad-boy exterior. Neediness in any form is suicide. She has to be complaining to her friends about you on a regular basis. If one of her girlfriends isn’t asking “So why are you even WITH this guy?” you’re doing it wrong. As soon as things are going “Good, Things with Insidious are going… Good…” she will turn into a basic resource parasite for her and her kids and just suck time, energy and money out of you until the first exciting d1ck swings her way.

          Women “want” the “great guy” who’s all the things on the lists on the internet. What they need is a guy who can make them, well, wet. And satisfy them on a very very deep level. He’s not a BAD person, he’s not cruel or abusive. But he’s rough around the edges, and somewhat unpredictable. He’s not perfect by any means, and he’s not the kind of guy who reads “15 things women need in a man” on the internet. He’s too busy being a man. Trust me, Darth I know this because I am the safe, good, predictable, consistent, reliable, giving and BORING AS HELL NICE GUY who lost my wife to a fun and exciting emotionally unavailable guy with a skinny body and a slightly larger penis. There I said it. I can hate this guy (and her) for the rest of time, but he is giving her not what she wants, but what she needs and as I husband I failed to do this. This sh1t is on me. Never again. If I ever try to get into a relationship again, I know exactly what to do: scare myself. Get yelled at for that night of drinking. Or gambling that money that was supposed to be for paying the credit card. Not being a total b@stard, but being just enough of a sh1t. I know it makes women sound as superficial as men when it comes to love and sex but oops, they are. They are no less slaves to the needs of their own biology than we men are. They are just in perfect denial of it, and keep harping about these “ideal men” that exist somewhere who have all of the qualities on these internet lists yet still somehow manage to excite them. The real deal? These men don’t exist.

  7. HarryBosch on August 14, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Emma, I figured you would push back on the idea of the moratorium. The problem with the casual dating, friendship idea is Bethesda seems to be a person of extremes. In her world, there are serious jerks, nice guys, and pretty much nothing in between.

    While she sorts all that out, perhaps she could do something for somebody she’s not trying to rope-a-dope into marrying her. Maybe she could volunteer at a homeless shelter or at a group home for kids with severe developmental disabilities. Probably not the same kind of adrenaline fix as Billy Bad Ass or bungee jumping, but I bet she forgets about her problems for a few minutes while she does something of value.

  8. Emma on August 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    I agree 100%. But she needs sex, too. People just do.

  9. Peter Bowerman on August 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    The notion of women chasing “bad boys” passed cliché status a long time ago – it’s that common. And when I see anything as entrenched in our culture as something like that, and as intractable as that, it strikes me as being less of a “women-making-bad-decisions” issue, and more indicative of simple human nature.

    Bottom line, we all want what we can’t have. And it works both ways. Men’s version are women who could be charitably called “hot flakes.” Very attractive, but real messes/basket cases. Why would men go out with a woman who is flaky, crazy, unreliable and irresponsible? Because she’s hot, and being hot can make up for wealth of shortcomings.

    And both genders will hang out with these less-than-ideal dating partners until the point when the pleasure of doing so is outweighed by the pain of doing so. And not a minute sooner. And all of the new-age-y “you-deserve-better” admonitions in the world won’t make a damn bit of difference until that person’s ready to make a change.

    My own theory as to why women seem to chronically pursue bad boys is simply this: Because They Can. Meaning, if we go back 50 years or so, young women were also attracted to the bad boys then (think Fonzie), but they only indulged that flight of fancy until it came time to get married and settle down.

    In a time when most women didn’t work, their only real chance of economic security was with the stable, gainfully employed guy, and so, by necessity, the bad boys got kicked to the curb (or, they had affairs with them after tying the knot with the nice guy).

    Now of course, they no longer need to rely on a man to provide for them, since they can make their own money, thank you very much. As such, they can indulge their taste for bad boys that much longer. All the while wondering why they do. When, in fact, it’s obvious why they do it: those kinds of guys are just more exciting. And with no financial wolves at the door forcing them to make more “sensible” choices in mates, they can keep going back to the “bad-boy” well.

    P.S. While DarthW’s comment may be a bit of a screed, there’s also a lot of truth in what he says. Perhaps his extrapolation gets a bit extreme, but the fact is, while our society pays a whole lot of lip service to the notion of the real value of a “nice guy,” such quaint sentiments are buried under a veritable tsunami of cultural messages to the contrary (i.e. the enduring appeal of the rogue). And to pretend otherwise is far more about PC thinking than honest observation. Though, you (Emma) are one of the least PC types out there – which, of course, is at the heart of your appeal… ;)

    • Emma on August 15, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Peter – really fantastic points. Bad boys are the sweet luxury feminism has afforded women. Must think more on that!

    • DarthW on August 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks Peter. The extrapolation in my rant is somewhat extreme to emphasize. Your comments do zone in on the reality without so much rant.

    • Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      @ P.B.

      “My own theory as to why women seem to chronically pursue bad boys is simply this: Because They Can. ”

      I can drink gasoline for breakfast. I don’t though.

      Women pursue bad boys because they are biologically wired to do so, and it gives them emotional and sexual pleasure. Women like romantic and relationships and sexual pleasure every bit as much as men. This does not align with their need to be mature and sensible and good caregivers and nurturers of children. They know logically what their children need – good men, who work hard and are resourceful, and reliable and consistent. They are projecting female qualities onto men, because they want the men to share the qualities THEY have that they KNOW are good for children. This gets filed away neatly under “What women want”. What women NEED are men who 1) excite them and intrigue them and fulfill them emotionally and sexually and 2) don’t make too big of a mess of their lives.

      Part of (1) is some conflict. “Nice guys” avoid conflict and are catering and submissive and pander to women. Women asked for this, it must be what they want right? It is what they want, or what they say they want. It’s not what they need.

      Yeah, I’ll be the immature guy at the party this weekend. Mid forties, lighting shooters on the counter top and cranking the hard rock and saying “F*ck the neighbours! YEAH!” and people will say “Oh, how immature. Oh dear. Oh my. ” and like last weekend, I won’t be going home again. I won’t say the “L” word and I won’t call her or ask if “she’s okay” and I won’t respond to her texts without at least a 4 hour delay. And I’ll have lots of social activities on the go entitled “just stuff, ya know, with friends” and yes I WILL call her (drunk) at 1:00am to see what she’s doing (not because I want to but because bad boys always call drunk at 1:00am) and she’ll say, well, you can come over for an hour but you’re NOT staying over! Right, because I am a bad-boy recovering nice-guy and you’re a GOOD GIRL who doesn’t bring a stud with booze on his breath over to service you at 1:00am. No no no. Nice girls don’t DO that. What will the neighbors say? What will her girlfriends say? GASP! They’ll cackle in their little hen group and talk about these internet lists and quizzes and things he’s doing wrong and what SHE needs to DO to CHANGE HIM and then after the all girl slumber party is over, her best friend will ask her quitely… “So? Does he rock your world or WHAT?” and she will giggle like she is twelve and say “Oh. My. God. He is SOOOOOOOO amazing.”

      Bad boy all the way guys. Even if you need to take a class. Don’t be abusive or treat her like total crap. Just treat her nice sometimes and a bit crappy other times. The key: if she’s not guessing what your next move will be her next move will be a more “intriguing” guy.

  10. Peter Bowerman on August 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

    “Bad boys are the sweet luxury feminism has afforded women.” Couldn’t have said it better myself… ;)

    • Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Good guys are what women want, or say they want.
      Bad boys are what women need.
      How can giving women what they need be a bad thing?
      It’s natural.

      • Emma on August 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

        I don’t disagree. But can all these traits be possessed in a single man? After all, I am totally butch in my career and professional life, but find I prefer to be feminine in my home and with my lover. Men can be complex and nuanced, too.

        • Insidious_Sid on June 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm

          Emma said “I don’t disagree. But can all these traits be possessed in a single man?”

          This has been the subject of 1000 rom coms and the downfall of millions of women.
          Whether you’re trying to civilize a bad-boy to get “both men in one” or just trying to find one who is both already, you’re not going to succeed.

          A lot of guys *think* they are married alpha/beta hybrid bad boys. They are not. Once you concede to marriage, the wedding, the white picket fence, the mortgage, you’ve handed all of the power in the relationship over to her. She controls the sex, the money and basically the man. In many cases sex becomes this dog treat she doles out when he “behaves properly” aka give in without a fight.

          A real alpha/bad boy will never commit. Women who “can’t get men to commit” are dating men naturally incapable of making a romantic commitment to a woman.

          There are tonnes of beta-men who have stable jobs and who are *NICE GUYS* (don’t everyone barf at once, right?) But, women don’t pursue these men – they settle for them, and the lifestyle they afford them. When a man says “I do” he’s instantly less attractive to her, even though she believes these magic words are the key to “happily ever after”. Once she has power over you, she can’t respect you.

          The kind of man women turn men into, they can’t respect.

          Men thought letting her change you was the way into her heart. It is.
          But it’s also the most direct path to divorce court.

          Riddle me this: why do we see more and more decent guys getting divorced for no apparent (real) reason yet the abusive a$$holes… they’re never single!

  11. Doc Watson on August 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Here’s a thought, many us of nice guys were used up, taken advantage of, and dumped after *years* of dutiful, faithful, dedicated, unyielding, and honest service to our wives and families; we worked our asses off to provide for women who would only in the end discard us like trash when they decided that we’d gotten too old, too slow, too ugly and wrinkly, a little too overweight, or that they were ‘just unhappy’ and wanted to quit, trade us in, and then make us keep paying for the lifestyle they’d grown accustomed to. We got all the bills but none of the benefits and debts that we won’t ever be able to pay off in our lifetime. Meanwhile, another guy enjoys every moment of a life that we worked our hearts and lives out for with the woman that we loved, cared for, provided, and would have died for in an instant.

    If some of us are assholes, it’s because we’ve been abused, taken advantage of, reduced to basic poverty, punished for marrying someone we loved who threw us out like last week’s trash, and are just burned out and struggling to trust that we won’t be brutally screwed again.

    Yes, the guys who do it are wrong for doing it but there’s more to the story in a culture where marriages – and men – are considered disposable.


    • DarthW on August 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I agree Doc, although to be fair at least some women have been taken advantage of similarly in committed relationships. Still the far majority of the time it is wives who file for divorce – sometimes justified sometimes petty – but then many of the ex-wives pursue the man for all his earnings beyond reasonable child support for revenge, simple comfort, or more shoes. They often weren’t at his job earning the pay during the marriage, then they want to live off him after they kicked him to the curb. Finally, they go on seeking another man to, if not fully support them whilst the SAHM with exes kids, they want the new guy to partially support the whole brood as well as fleece the first hubby.

      Men on the other hand don’t often have these financial options. And men aren’t usually the ones who asked for the divorce anyway.

      Women may have a man take advantage of them while in the relationship and break their heart, but they don’t have to keep paying the heartbreaker for years after as men do. There is the distinct difference.

      Women “marry in minutes what it took a man a lifetime to earn” then the ex wife leaves the marriage and thinks it should all be hers.

      • Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm


        Provider males do just that. Provide. They’re nice and stable and resourceful… but…
        The Bad Boys get the girl. They can be unemployed drummers…

        But that’s okay. Child-support and alimony laws are still changing to favor women. A man can now be on the hook for other men’s children because of precident, and common law is the same as marriage practically. Women can shack up with the “good guys” and build equity then flutter off and get with the bad boys they REALLY NEED.

        A handsome exciting bad boy who makes lots of coin? He’s the ultimate.

        She doesn’t need a resource provider waiting in the wings when she’s with this guy.

        • DarthW on August 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

          You are exactly correct Insidious Sid. That’s why I only date for sex. No woman lives with me, nor will ever get me to matrimony.

    • Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Don’t worry Doc. If you were used and abused enough like I was, you’ll finally realize it’s okay to treat women like they NEED to be treated (not WANT, NEED). You’re really making them happy when you’re filling their need for a bad boy. Chick flicks and internet memes and tropes will tell you different, but the truth is, they don’t want bad boys, they need them. Their internal “juice making machine” doesn’t turn on for good (provider) males for very long. Women come for the resources. They stay for the intrigue and fun. If you’re all about bills and money and stability and consistency you’re great for the kids but really crappy for her juice machine.

      Don’t worry about the kids. She’ll get them what they need one way or another. Get her juice machine making lots of juice. And every other month gamble half of a paycheck away and come home shit faced drunk and have a massive fight. Then vow to never to do it again, and leave her wondering who you’re always texting with and why you’re hiding your phone from her. Even though you’re texting with your brother. You don’t need to be a heartbreaker to get her juice machine going. But you sure as h3ll need to seem like one.

    • Insidious_Sid on June 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      Doc Watson said: “Here’s a thought, many us of nice guys were used up, taken advantage of, and dumped after *years* of dutiful, faithful, dedicated, unyielding, and honest service to our wives and families; we worked our asses off to provide for women who would only in the end discard us like trash when they decided that we’d gotten too old, too slow, too ugly and wrinkly, a little too overweight, or that they were ‘just unhappy’ and wanted to quit, trade us in, and then make us keep paying for the lifestyle they’d grown accustomed to.”


      So so many men feel this way. Some have watched their fathers, cousins or brothers go through this, and some of us first hand. When my wife left people could not believe that I “failed her”. Sorry, but risking everything that can be lost if one day she becomes “unhaaaaaaapy”…. totally not worth the time or effort and most certainly not worth the risk.

  12. Insidious_Sid on August 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    It’s this simple: Women like intrigue, fun, excitement, a man who is a challenge and even a bit of danger and conflict. Women hate boring, predictable, safe and consistent. You can be the “perfect good/nice/whatever guy” based on every “good guy list” ever written by all women over the course of time, and watch as guys you perceive to be the “jerks” and “bad/boys”. The truth is, not all “bad boys” are as bad as they are purported to be, and are not as “mean spirited” to women as they are made out to be. Also, the “nice guys” are not as, well, as nice to women as THEY are purported to be. In fact, some are very bitter and lonely people, with little to offer because they’re very afraid and sheltered people. The secret is this: women like men who excite them and get their juices flowing. Have you ever had a woman whisper into your ear at a party, “I’m wet, let’s get out of here.” No? It’s precedes the best sex you’re ever going to have in your life. The sex where the buttons are ripped off your shirt, your back is covered in scratches and your hip bones are raw from the rigorous pounding. The trouble is that men are tricked into thinking that women go with the guys who meet the criterion of the culmination of every “perfect guy” list on the internet. That’s fine. But it’s not what women need, and women – for the life of them – can’t figure out that, much like men, they are chained to their biology and simply need what they need. Feminism is prove positive that women can just “wish away” biology and do things like emasculate otherwise perfectly good men, or put off having a family until they are 40 only to find out that many men are not in a hurry to marry and impregnate a corporate cougar. So, drink the blue kool-aide above or drink my red kool-aide above. Leave her hanging just enough. Leave her wanting just enough. Make her excited just enough. Don’t get arrested – but maybe do something you could get arrested for. Don’t get into a fight, but maybe say something that could get you into one. Don’t be sober all night, have a couple of drinks and drive anyways. Don’t dote on her all night, but talk to other men and women in the room, and be seen having interesting conversations will all kinds of different people. Show you are diverse, and can handle being out of your own comfort zones. My list? 1. Throw the other lists out and 2. Make her guess what your next move will be.

  13. HONEST AND DECENT on August 20, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    Honestly in all reality it’s because you and your friends are dumb. If you eat ice cream for a month it will make you fat unhealthy and feel like s*** but every once in awhile it’s great. You continue to go out with these assholes you know you’re making the wrong decision but you can’t help it it’s the same thing as eating ice cream all month long you know you shouldn’t do it but you can do it.
    Also stupid because a stupid person doesn’t change their actions when they know the outcome will continually be the same. I am giving online dating a chance and find it very frustrating and very annoyed actually that I find I get a lot of messages from beautiful single moms who I could guarantee wouldn’t of given me a Second Glance before they were single with a kid. They are half your age and if we realize that they need to make a change out of all of them I can guarantee that’s the case and I have asked them on video chat so I can tell if they’re lying or not if they would have given me a chance before they were single with a kid.
    Keep in mind nine out of ten of these women have never been married they dated some jerk got knocked up in hopes that it would make the guy commit and the dude bailed. Why will you women not get it through your heads to stop dating the a****** and start going for a nice guy I don’t care how hot a girl is if she’s smoking hot but a b**** or just dumb or not fun to be around I don’t care how hot she is I’m not going to stick around but all you women think you can change guys.being a guy trust me they’re not going to change. Only you can make the right decision

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