It’s Not You: Why Women Are So Attracted To The Men Who Hurt Them

by Lauren Martin

If dating in general is difficult, then dating in your twenties is damn near impossible.

Dating in your twenties as a woman is like trying to catch a fish without a rod. It’s like sitting on a boat, praying and hoping some stupid bass will willingly jump out of the water and into your limp net. You’re looking for a miracle and a complete reworking of a fish's mentality.

But why? Why is it so damn hard to find a good guy? Why is it so hard to get back that relationship that came so easily in high school and college?

Why didn’t anyone tell us dating would be a constant stream of almost-boyfriends and sh*t-head men who will say anything to get us in bed? Is it us? Are we just not hot enough? Not chill enough? Not perfect enough?

According to research, ladies, it’s not you; it’s the men you’re picking, or rather -- the men you’re letting jump into your net.

So who are these guys we keep catching? If your friends say you have a knack for bad boys, they wouldn’t be wrong, but they would also be categorizing a larger group of men than they thought.

Because bad boys aren’t few and far between -- they're the characteristics present in most males.

According to research reported in Psychology Today, more men than women possess the Dark Triad personality trait, which includes narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.

It’s this narcissism that advances the short-term mating style men have taken up, which includes “a willingness and ability to compete with one’s own sex, and to repel mates shortly after intercourse.”

It’s this narcissism that promotes the short-term mating approach women see every day: courting until captured, then thrown away and left on the side of the road to bleed out.

It’s this psychopathic personality trait that makes for their irresistible charm, and complete and utter lack of empathy or remorse after a failed relationship or hurtful one-night stand. And it’s this Machiavellianism that makes them such damn good manipulators.

We have all the signs of a "Dexter"-like serial killer -- and many of them aren’t half as hot. So, what gives?

Why do we keep going after men who clearly are in no mental state to give us what we want? Why do we keep going after the guy with the knife and the Saran wrap?

Gregory Louis Carter of the University of Durham investigated this question using 128 female undergraduates.

Presenting two types of men, one with the Dark Triad personality traits, and the other, a control group, Carter found that the women found the Dark Triad personality more attractive than the control.

But why is this? Why do we like it?

According to Carter, it may be a product of sexual selection, which means that because most men possess the Dark Triad, women are inherently attracted to it for mating reasons; however, I have other reasons why we love men who hurt us.

There’s that thrill

We’ve all been guilty of passing on the guy who was "too easy." The guy who texted us every morning, called us for dinner and made sure we knew his intentions. We were bored with that guy. We were young and alive and thought we needed a little danger.

Well, now we’ve got that danger, and all we want is the safety of a man who isn’t going to get us in bed and stab us 15 times in the heart before getting out before dawn.

We'd rather be hurt than numb

The saying is "it's better to feel something than to feel nothing," but when it comes to bad boys and assh*les, you usually always end up crying in bed wishing you could just be numb again.

Before he hurt you, however, you were so damn desperate to feel something that you willingly jumped into the pit of piranhas, thinking you were ready to take on whatever. Oh, how wrong you were.

We're deluded by our own fantasies

If we're being honest here, let's be real and say that most guys we meet aren't sized up and down for who they are as people, but for how good they'll look in our Instagram pics. We don't look at men and see them for who they are and how they will treat us; we see them for the chance we have at making them ours.

We chug down these fantasies and grandiose notions before we realize that we're drinking poison.

We want to be "that girl"

Every woman wants to be "that woman" who changes the bad boy. If you haven't already figured it out, here's a hint: The bad boy never changes, the women he dates just get more stupid. His wife, "the one who changed him" isn't living with a converted saint, but a man who is most likely going behind her back.

There's no prize in being "that girl," but most likely a few consolation prizes that include a stab in the back.

We don't actually want boyfriends

This may be a stretch, but I think women choose the wrong guys because they unconsciously don't want -- or aren't ready -- for real relationships.

Relationships are intense; they require complete self-confidence and a good amount of time. Women in their twenties are just coming into their own. We're finding out who we are, what we love and how we will define ourselves.

Having a boyfriend is another job and facet of ourselves we're not always ready to explore. Sometimes it's easier to choose the guy who won't be our boyfriend than to just admit we'd rather be alone.