Being Attracted to the Bad Boy

Being Attracted to the Bad Boy by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist (FREE LDS online dating site)

So, what is it about the "bad boy"? How is it that such guys are often so attractive to so many women, both in and out of the church? Knowing that they are "trouble", how is it that so many still seem to command so much attention and attraction? What is so exciting about troubled men, when other often nicer and more respectful men are deemed too "boring", "nice", or deemed "just friends"? How is this so, especially with the church's emphasis on women choosing good, high quality men of the highest character and morals?

The Attraction to the Bad Boy

Bad boys are generally guys that are troubled or have notable problems in life--not long term commitment potential. Dating them or even marrying them will predictably lead to hurt and heartache. Often such guys look for nice, nurturing, giving, accommodating women that they can try to convince, manipulate, and control. Such guys are often highly charming, convincing, exciting, and stimulating. They are often emotionally expressive and good at selling themselves. Compared to nice, respectable, civil men, the bad boy can seem more intoxicating, more complex, more exciting. They command a lot of attention and often create a lot of infatuation in the women around them. Therefore, unfortunately, bad boys can sometimes win out the affections of women over the nice, stable man, who can often seem rather boring in comparison. There are many types of bad boys, but the following are the two most dangerous to watch out for in LDS dating circles (and in general)--those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Guys with narcissistic personality disorder generally believe that the world revolves around them. This condition is characterized by a lack of ability to empathize with others and a desire to keep the focus on themselves at all times.
Bad boys with Narcissistic Personality Disorder with display many if not all of the following criteria:

--Reacts to criticism with anger, shame or humiliation
--Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
--Exaggerates own importance
--Exaggerates achievements and talents
--Entertains unrealistic fantasies about success, power, beauty, intelligence or romance
--Has unreasonable expectation of favorable treatment
--Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
--Is easily jealous
--Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
--Has obsessive self-interest
--Pursues mainly selfish goals


Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is a very serious disorder describing individuals who tend to disregard and violate the rights of others around them. People with antisocial personality disorder often use alcohol and other drugs, which can exacerbate symptoms of the disorder. Symptoms include:

--Disregard for society's laws
--Violation of the physical or emotional rights of others
--Lack of stability in job and home life
--Lack of remorse
--Superficial wit and charm
--Recklessness, impulsivity


Beware, and Choose Wisely

Even though many bad boys may not have enough of these traits to have the full personality disorder, the more of those traits they possess, the more concerning and even dangerous it will be to date or marry such a person. Both conditions include low empathy, self-absorption, and a tendency to manipulate, use, and hurt their partners. Such individuals tend to be emotionally unavailable and rather unable to conduct themselves in a stable, committed relationship over time.

Instead, I recommend that you search for the "nice guy"--the guy who acts consistently considerate, giving, empathetic, respectful, and kind. Someone who allows for and encourages the focus to be on her, and her wants, needs, and feelings. If you are trying to choose a nice guy, but don't yet feel attracted enough to such individuals, I suggest staying single and working on yourself for a while until you are ready, interested, and willing to be with such a person. This may entail getting some personal psychotherapy with a qualified licensed clinical psychologist. Other ideas include reading some quality self help materials (such as the book Emotional Unavailability by Bryn Collins), and meeting with your bishop and getting some spiritual direction.

Be careful who you choose to date and even more careful with who you marry. The stakes are high, and who you pick will determine so much of your future happiness both in this life and the next. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G
**To readers: to submit a question to Dr. G for a future Q and A column, please send your questions to Also, please register for a free account at for access to previous and future Dr. G articles.

2016-10-10 Randy Gilchrist Understanding men, Understanding women, Dating, Healthy relationships

Previous article Next article

About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to