Moment Of Clarity

Why Are Bad Boys So Irresistible?

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We understand.  Sometimes, problems with romantic relationships,  friendships, career or family life get you down. And we want to help. That’s why JET is working with therapist, Jinnie Cristerna, who will take your questions and offer some sage, sanity-restoring advice and insight every Tuesday.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

SCENARIO: A good girl is attracted to a “hoodlum” who is unemployed, a high-school dropout, in trouble with the law, and rests his head wherever there is a pillow. She knows she can’t keep up with his lifestyle and that he’s not good for her; however, she’s drawn to him like a moth to a fire. The question is, “Why?”

This is a timeless topic and many a hearts have been broken over it. I see so many patients and clients struggle with understanding why they are attracted to people who hurt them and are not stable. While in time their hearts heal, they are never, truly the same again.

Although I could give you the standard, “You feel undeserving of real love and commitment” or “You are living vicariously through others”  … blah, blah, blah, I’m going to cut to the quick and tell you what may be hard to hear: Bad boys remind us of how we are failing to live a full life–our life.

Based on the work I’ve done over the last 20 years as a therapist, advocate, and consultant, the following are the top four reasons both men and women find bad boys irresistible:

1) They’re exciting. Bad boys are exciting, if they’re nothing else. In fact, excitement is what makes us feel alive: What’s going to happen? Will we get caught? Will I make it? etc.  Often times, our lives are pretty mundane and predictable so whenever we meet someone whose life is anything but, we feel a sense of exhilaration and that feeling can be addictive. This can be a good thing, but it also comes at a price because we can lose our sense of right and wrong, boundaries, and safety.

2) They’re free. Bad boys don’t seem to be obligated to anyone or anything; they live on the edge, create their own rules, and live their own lives without restraint–or so it seems. How often have you wished to rid yourself of obligation and rules? While, you may be unable to do so on your own, being with a bad boy may give you the boost you need to be carefree–or careless. However, over time, being with someone who lives like this can be crazy making because the rules change or there are no rules. Stability is gone and a healthy mind and body can only take so much before it falls apart.

3) They’re confident. Bad boys seem to be courageous and self-assured in their behavior and flippedness toward the world. They embrace being an outsider and outcast, which makes them seem cool to those who want to fit in … or get out. The issue here is that it’s difficult to tell if they have false confidence or if they are defending against being rejected. In other words, some may act as if they don’t care what other people think, when in fact they do. So, in an effort to avoid rejection, they reject the rejector–so to speak.

4) They’re fearless. Fear stops us from living a full life and confines us to fantasies or “if-onlys.”  For example, we may fear losing things such as our house, job, security, status, or family and envy those who put it all on the line because we wish we could. Whenever we are around people who are fearless, it stirs up our imagination of how we, too, could live a more fearless life.

Ultimately, bad boys remind us of our hopes, dreams, and desires and how we have failed to honor them.

In the end, both men and women are attracted to bad boys because they live life on their own terms and are not attached to things, people or places.  Some say that bad boys are disconnected from themselves and deep down feel dead, unworthy, or lack a sense of who they are; and, as a result they cope with rejection and these negative feelings by embracing and magnifying what they most dislike about themselves.

This could all be true, but when you are around a bad boy, you have to admit that they stand out and don’t we all wish we could?

I challenge each of you to find a way to use the traits of a bad boy to stand out and live the life you want in a healthy and responsible way. At the end of our journey, the last thing we want to do is look back and regret not living a life that left a smile on OUR face.

Do you have any additions to the list of why bad boys are irresistible? If you do, please add them in the comments section below. Or, if you have ever dated or hung out with a bad boy and it changed your life, for the better or worse, share those lessons with us, too!

With love and light, pleasant journeys …


Do you have a question for Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. You can also learn more about our “Moment of Clarity” JET therapist via:

Her site at International High Achievers.

Twitter: @intlachievers

Facebook: Like Jinnie’s Page!

You can also subscribe to her High Achievers email list here!