Why Do Good Girls Date Bad Boys?
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Cindy was smitten with her new boyfriend, Evan. They met at church, and he possessed many of the qualities that she had dreamed of in a man—except for his reputation of being the “life of the party.” Evan liked to visit a local sports bar and relax with his old college buddies. Cindy didn’t mind him hanging out with his friends. However, Evan occasionally went overboard and wound up intoxicated.
Whenever Cindy brought up the subject of his drinking, Evan agreed with her concerns, promised to quit, and told her not to worry about it. Yet, instead of distancing herself from Evan, Cindy dove deeper into their relationship, hoping that her affection might give him the incentive to change. She envisioned that she could help Evan mature into a better man. As they dated, she prayed for his improvement, gave him motivational tapes, and urged him to think of God and their future when faced with the temptation to drink.
Evan appreciated Cindy’s support, and after ten months of dating, he asked her to marry him. He still had occasional setbacks with alcohol, but they were less frequent than before. Cindy joyfully concluded that her influence was effective and her love would change him forever.
Soon after their engagement, however, Evan’s real estate business began to falter. Under stress, he started to work longer hours, and stopped by the sports bar on his way home. He swore to Cindy that he was just talking with his friends. Until one night, she received a call from the police. Evan was arrested for drunk driving. Cindy was devastated by his relapse. She thought Evan would change for her. Instead, his unresolved habits resurfaced and shattered her heart.
Cindy’s story represents a common occurrence among Christian single women of all ages. The problem happens when sincere Christian women ignore the nice Christian guys and pursue relationships with men known as “bad boys.” Worse, some ladies find themselves unable to break free from an attraction to men of ill repute. Since this situation is more widespread than many realize, let’s examine why this phenomenon occurs. First, how do you define a “bad boy.”
A bad boy is a man who seems outwardly attractive, but is unwilling to offer sacrificial love in a relationship. He is too immature and preoccupied with himself to share genuine compassion, concern, or acceptance. A bad boy lacks character and might exhibit the following behavior: lying, aloofness, irresponsible dreaming, fear of commitment, sexual promiscuity, addiction to substances or pornography, selfishness, hunger for power, disinterest in surrendering to God, etc.
In addition, a bad boy is not interested in true love, because real love requires consistent sacrifice. A bad boy will only sacrifice for someone if it’s convenient for him or if he gets something in return. He expects the woman to do most of the giving, while he ignores her needs or takes advantage of her. Yet, why do some Christian women find themselves attracted to bad boys?
Three key beliefs can contribute to this problem:
Reason #1 – He can be fixed.
Just like Cindy believed that she could change Evan, some women allow their “nurturing instinct” to affect whom they choose to date. In other words, a nice girl may view a bad boy as a “project” or someone whom she can help “fix.” This incident occurs when a woman acknowledges that her boyfriend has character flaws, yet believes she can help him mature or overcome his problems. Helping a man to “grow up” can play into a woman’s sense of significance.
Also, if a woman was abused or ignored by her father, she may not know how to identify character or real love. Worse, she may subconsciously think that her past pain can be erased by marrying a bad boy and making everything work out right.
The fallacy of this belief is that it’s impossible to make a man improve his character. He may fake integrity over the short-term, but a man will only mature when he makes the decision himself. All too often, a woman reasons that a bad boy’s character flaws will not harm her. She believes that she is insulated from the consequences of his dishonesty, addictions, or immaturity. Sadly, the girlfriend is usually the person who winds up suffering the most hurt. She hangs onto the relationship thinking her sacrifice will encourage him to improve. Months later, his abusive behavior destroys her self-esteem and drains the life out of her.
Reason #2 – He pursued me.
Bad boys tend to be more assertive than nice guys when it comes to initiating a dating relationship. Since most women want a man to pursue them, this aggressive approach can feel appealing. In addition, a bad boy may seem driven to make something out of himself. Women usually prefer a man who seems to have purpose in life. For example, some single Christian women complain that “Christian men are too passive or non-adventurous.” In other words, “nice guys” wait too long to initiate relationships or don’t seem to be going anywhere in life.
This criticism is a valid issue that Christian men should consider. For instance, do you know men who are too scared of rejection to ask a woman for a date? Are they too nervous to follow their dreams or the desires that God has placed in their heart? In his book, Wild at Heart, John Eldridge says, “When all is said and done, I think most men in the church believe that God put them on earth to be a good boy…That’s what we hold up as models of Christian maturity: Really Nice Guys. The answer is simply this: We have not invited a man to live from his deep heart.” One lesson that nice guys can learn from bad boys is to follow those inner desires that make them come alive.
Good girls date bad boys, however, when they lower their standards and accept any assertive invitation that they receive. Remember, you cannot spin gold from a pile of straw. Dating a guy with poor character, even if he pursues you, will still equal a poor relationship.
Ladies, this does not mean that you should date a man who is boring. On the contrary, date a guy who captivates you. However, take the time to discern that man’s character before you give him your heart.
Reason #3 – He’s so exciting.
Our society glamorizes the bad boy attitude–just look at who we consider the most popular singers and actors (Eminem, P. Diddy, Ashton Kutcher, Jack Nicholson, etc.). Bad boys draw attention to themselves, and their popularity or playful personality can be very attractive. The notoriety of dating a bad boy can touch a woman’s need for acceptance and significance. What some women don’t realize, however, is that their personal reputation can be tarnished by associating with a notorious person. If people don’t respect your boyfriend, they will have a hard time respecting you.
Bad boys may be fun, but the party never lasts. Vain pleasure always wears off over time. Thus, good girls beware. A bad boy may shower you with compliments, attention, and excitement, but the moment you cease to keep him happy–he will lose interest in you. Soon, he’s off looking for another woman to indulge his selfish heart.
Break the bad boy cycle
How can a “good girl” avoid dating a bad boy? The key lies in understanding your identity in Jesus Christ. Don’t define yourself by whether or not you have a boyfriend, because Jesus is the only Person who offers the unconditional acceptance that your heart craves. Your true identity is a beautiful, celebrated, daughter of God (Isaiah 62:3-4).
On the other hand, the affection of a bad boy is always performance-based. Jesus, however, sacrificed His life to love you without expecting anything in return. Your desire to feel cherished and complete can only be met by Christ (Colossians 2:10). If you do not learn to get your need for love met in Him, then your heart can be vulnerable to a bad boy’s charisma.
In addition, human relationships only experience intimacy when both parties sacrifice for each other. By definition, a bad boy is unwilling to offer you sacrificial love. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are immune to his lack of integrity. You must be willing to walk away from a man who is unwilling to sacrifice for your needs.
Also, don’t attempt to fix a bad boy’s character flaws. Only Jesus Christ can change a man, and it generally takes years to see real improvement. Change is possible, but a man must be willing to surrender himself to God and take action. First John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” This verse reveals that a man’s ability to love a woman is only found in the life that Jesus offers to live through him. A real man knows that he can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). Therefore, ladies, reserve your heart for a guy who will rely upon Christ to love you.
Bad boys may be more common than men with character, but waiting for a man with integrity is worth it. So kiss the bad boys goodbye, and say hello to true love in Christ!
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