It's the struggle that every single woman over the age of 25 has gone through, at one point or another: the inevitable soft curve of the nice guy in favor of the bad boy. It's not that women are crazy, in fact, there's scientific evidence to support why women are biologically attracted to f*ckboys. But before we get all scientific, I want to get clear on the word f*ckboy. If you've ever encountered one in real life, I'm sure you have concluded what that word means to you, but for those who have not, allow me to give you a brief description.
What Is a F*ckboy & Why am I Attracted to Them?
Urban Dictionary has many definitions of the word, but let's sum it up with the all-encompassing description of "a boy who plays with a girl's feelings and doesn't really like them but would do or say anything a girl wants to hear to have sex with them or to get something they want." I will also introduce three categories of f*ckboys: the Narcissist, the Machiavellian and the Psychopath, which make up a sector known as The Dark Triad.
I can point to a number of reasons for an attraction to this type of guy. For starters, there's the perceived thrill of the chase or the potential risk of dating a "forbidden fruit" which also seems thrilling. It's like when we want something we know we shouldn't want, it makes us want it even more. Nonetheless, for the intent of this article, I want to stick to the facts, the scientific proof, in order to answer the age-old question: why do we find people that we know are bad for us so damn attractive? The answer lies in a number of scientific studies:
Women are drawn toward men who possess desirable traits to pass on to their offspring.
If you've ever heard of the phrase "alpha male," it dates back to evolutionary theories of mate selection in which individuals observe the characteristics of a potential mate before engaging in a relationship. This idea supports the aptly named "good genes theory" which hypothesizes women as more likely to choose a mate with strong qualities, such as physical fitness, because they are more likely to increase the reproductive success of her offspring.
Hormonal changes cause women to be attracted to certain types of men, especially "bad boys."
Specifically, during certain times of a woman's cycle, typically when she is ovulating, she's more likely to be drawn to sexually attractive qualities, such as specific facial features and dominant behaviors, according to a 2012 study by Kristina Durante. There is, however, research to the contrary, thank the Lord. Martie Haselton, Ph.D, describes in her book that outside of ovulation, women are better judges of character and may opt for a man who's more responsible, nurturing and attentive to her needs. However, the temptation to satisfy our cravings still exists...and when given the options of a slice of cheese and a slice of cheese pizza, we tend to choose the one that will best satisfy our appetites.
The Thrill of the Chase
This metaphor refers to what psychologists and communication theorists call attachment theory. Attachment theory seeks to explain the link between behaviors in child-parent relationships and adult romantic relationships. While there are four "attachment styles," the anxious-avoidant combination best describes some women's attraction to bad boys. In these instances, the avoidant personality type sends mixed signals to their (anxious) partner. For example, he takes hours, even days, to respond to your text messages, even if it's something as simple as "Wyd".
Or, he enjoys spending time with you, as long as it's late at night and inside the house, but never out in public. Each time you engage in an interaction with him, your "attachment system" is activated and you are only comforted when your lover employs a mediocre act of affection to assure you that he cares and re-establishes your trust. However, this exercise is the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a war wound as this is only a quick fix. Over time, you become fixated on the burst of emotions associated with your partner's run-of-the-mill actions. Meanwhile, your brain equates these anxiety-induced feelings with chemistry, passion and love.
The Dark Triad of Personality: The Narcissist, the Machiavellian & the Psychopathic
I'm sure you've heard your fair share of narcissistic lovers, but have you heard of Machiavellianism and psychopathic traits? This charming cluster makes up what is known as the Dark Triad. In short, the Narcissist is known for their grandiose behavior, while Machiavellian personalities are considered to be master manipulators and psychopaths are characterized as being empathy-deficient.
Typically, individuals in this group prefer short-term flings rather than serious relationships, thus, their initial efforts to attract a mate may seem extremely attractive, as they'll pull out all the stops in the beginning. Additionally, and this may not even be fair, research maintains that individuals who possess dark triad personality traits also possess physical features that make them more attractive.
Most narcissists can be spotted by behavioral features such as grandiosity, a need for admiration and an inflated self-image. According to Dr. Gregory Carter, a psychologist who specializes in Narcissistic personality disorders, narcissists, in particular exhibit charisma, charm and tend to be well-dressed. Moreover, these individuals indulge in efforts to make themselves more appealing, using these strengths to the object of their affection's weaknesses. The good news is that our attraction to people with dark triad characteristics is often short-lived once the nature of their true identity is revealed.
In regards to attachment styles, the Machiavellian scores high on the dismissive-avoidant scale. Studies have revealed these individuals as skilled liars, egocentric lovers and very successful in manipulative behaviors. As far as romantic relationships go, these individuals score low in emotional attachments, thus making it hard for them to invest in their partners.
OK, moment of transparency, here. In my mind, whenever I thought of the word "psychopath", I heard full-on background music from The Twilight Zone, but that's far from the reality of what it means to be diagnosed as a psychopath. While I am not a medical doctor or licensed to diagnose or treat anyone with a mental or medical illness, I hold a Master's degree in Applied Communication and my educational pursuits have led me to research characteristics of these individuals at great length. And what I can tell you is that people on this spectrum lack the ability to care about others. They react favorably to high impulses, being in control and are thrill-seekers, according to studies I've read. This can be equated to risky behavior when it comes to "dating and mating", as these individuals often behave erratically in sexual matters.
The Reason You're Attracting & Attracted to F*ckboys
The irony in dating a bad boy is the perception that he'll be strong enough to keep us safe. We've seen this idea of the "tough guy" in movies or adopted this fantasy from our favorite music artists and we hope it will apply to us. The sad reality is that these men aren't equipped to protect us because they are the ones causing us harm. Perhaps the most damning reason for our flawed attraction to f*ckboys is that our picker needs a tuneup. Say what now?
Hear me out…
I'm suggesting you may be more interested in a project than a partner. If I'm correct, then this would explain why we continue to carry on with men when we know they are bad for us...even when we know how it's going to end, we still hold out hope.
Sometimes, even when we see the bright red flags, we proceed, granted with caution, down a dangerous road in hopes that it will be a smooth ride. I once saw a meme that said, "She was the type of woman that makes an unprepared man ask God to prepare him", and I think that's an unrealistic idea to begin with.
At the same time, I believe that some women secretly hold on to this notion. When dating these emotionally unavailable men, we realize that the odds are against us, but we feel like if we can get them to commit, it feels rewarding to us. Moreover, if we can get them to change their f*ckboys ways, it in some way validates the power of our womanhood. The tragic end to this idea is how it substantiates our worst fears when he doesn't choose us and we end up feeling like we are not enough.
How to Break the Cycle of Attracting F*ckboys
Learning to curb this attraction is going to take time. Remember when I mentioned that your attachment system becomes activated by the drama of going back and forth with your lover? This happens over the course of weeks, months and in some cases, years, so don't expect your desires to disappear overnight. One of the first things you'll need to do is recognize when your attachment triggers are at play. Get clear about what it is you're feeling. Oftentimes, we get so accustomed to dysfunction in relationships that it seems normal. It's not. And might I interject that we should NOT normalize this behavior.
In the same way that certain activities activate your attachment system, there are also deactivating strategies that can help turn your attention away from a person. Instead of focusing on how good the sex is, replace those thoughts with how bad the communication is. When you're tempted to meet up for a "Netflix & Chill" session, remember how bad you felt the last time they ghosted you for days after you hooked up. Learn to employ these strategies so that you can outgrow your attraction to boys and finally get a man.
Be advised, the same way you're learning to break the cycle of this relationship, the f*ckboy is also taking notes, learning which strategies are most effective to lure you back in and continue with his f*ckboy behavior, so stay woke.
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Also known as The Real Black Carrie Bradshaw for her relentless love of shoes and emotionally unavailable men, DeJa K. Johnson is unapologetic in her pursuits to find love, happiness, and orgasms. A graduate of UA Little Rock, DeJa earned a Master's degree in Applied Communication with an emphasis on Interpersonal & Romantic relationships. She is also the founder of TheBreakupSpace.com, a safe space for men and women who need help getting over the loss of a romantic relationship. To connect, you can find her on all social media @TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw or send her an email to love@TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw.com.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you are looking to bring a little spice into your life, dating a fire sign is the way to do it. These bold lovers are confident enough to take the lead but may surprise you with how generous they are as well. Fire signs are the heat, the passion, the charisma, and the heart of the zodiac. They are often the initiators in love, and don’t mind making the first move. The three fire signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, love uniquely in their own way, but all have a lasting impact on those they meet.
You can feel a fire sign’s energy from a mile away, and getting close to them on a romantic level is a whole other type of heat.
Fire Signs in Love: What Is It Like To Date a Fire Sign?
Dating a fire sign is exciting, heartfelt, intense, and sexy. Fire signs are some of the most independent of the zodiac signs, yet they are also some of the most loyal. Their inner fire will warm your heart, but treat them badly, and it can just as easily burn. Due to fire signs' nature of feeling everything a little more heightened, they make empathic lovers, but they can also let their feelings overwhelm them and become easily irrational or agitated.
Fire signs can get heated quickly, and dating an unevolved one can get messy as they love to put on a show. They need a partner who is a good balance to their fierce nature, but someone who isn’t going to put out their inner fire in the process.
When it comes to who fire signs are looking to date, they look for partners who can love just as passionately as they can, and expect an unwavering type of loyalty. They are also looking for confident lovers, as they aren’t one to play games or beat around the bush. They are the type of partner to be your biggest cheerleader and will support you in all your endeavors, building up your self-esteem in the process.
These lovers are ready to risk it all when it comes to their relationships and love, and dating them is a fun adventure, to say the least. These are creative, confident, romantic, and heart-warming souls, and dating a fire sign is inspiring.
Dating an Aries
Aries are independent lovers. They are free spirits that are a little hard to settle down with, as most fire signs are, yet you will know how much they are willing to give and put into the relationship through their efforts. You have to be going at the same pace as them in life, and they need to see you as someone who can keep up with them to gain their respect and commitment. Aries have a vision when it comes to their life and love, and are looking for a partner that aligns with their plans or goals that they have for themselves.
Aries, at their best, are loyal and exciting; at their worst, they are competitive and brash.
When it comes to dating an Aries, they want to do things that keep their energy moving and stimulate them. They are fun lovers and are constantly doing things as a young soul does, fueling their spirit. Aries doesn’t want to feel restricted or limited in any way and seek relationships where there is a certain amount of freedom, which in turn sometimes leads them into emotionally unavailable relationships. An evolved Aries seeks their balance and finds themselves in long-lasting partnerships where they can still feel authentically themselves.
Dating an Aries is a compelling adventure.
Learn how an Aries pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Leo
Dating a Leo is like entering a rom-com movie. Leos are bold, outspoken, and dramatic lovers. They tend to prefer a spotlight on them, but when it comes to love, they are usually willing to share the stage. Leos want a grand love. They are all about outrageous romantic gestures, complete and utter loyalty, and a little spice. Leos want to be adored, and when you are dating one, they want all of your attention to be on them. Evolved Leos understand they cannot be the center of everyone's world, but Leo’s still going through their love journey may find themselves entertaining drama and controlling the scenario.
Leo’s, at their best, are playful and loving; at their worst, they are irrational and disruptive.
All in all, however, Leos can make some of the best partners to date as they rule the 5th house, the house of romance, dating, love, and flirtation. They are fun partners and are often the ones planning the dates or outings, and creating an atmosphere that is happy and inviting. They are the type to create an uplifting energy in their relationships, and you can expect a lot of laughs in this pairing. Leos don’t hold back when it comes to most things in life, including love. They will express their love and admiration for you often and will expect the same respect in turn.
Dating a Leo is a statement.
Learn how a Leo pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Sagittarius
Sagittariuses are hard to grasp, but if they decide to let you into their world, you’ll find a space of wonder, adventure, and magic. There are many different stages a Sagittarius moves through in love, and as much as they like to do things quickly in all other aspects of their lives, when it comes to dating, they tend to take it more slowly. They are not the type to be in a rush to define the relationship and take their time when opening their heart. You will feel their love, their personality, and their attention, but getting to know their deepest selves, their goals, and their dreams is going to take time for Sagittarius, and they prefer to have some fun with you while they get there.
Sagittarius, at their best, are warm and hopeful; at their worst, they are harsh and disingenuous.
Being ruled by abundant Jupiter, Sagittarius lives larger than life. They want a love that feels like it was destined by the stars, and it needs to make sense and fall into place for them with ease. They are looking for all types of synchronicities and signs when dating you, and once you make it past this stage, they truly have their eyes open to you. Sagittarius wants to go on adventures, learn, travel, and explore the world and you while dating. This is a spontaneous sign, and if you can match their energy of passion and wanderlust, then this is a good match for you when it comes to love.
Dating a Sagittarius is a journey.
Learn how a Sagittarius pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
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