Back when I was first looking for love, I often heard a lot of dating advice that made me feel uncomfortable. I always heard that “nice guys finish last” and that in order to be attractive you needed to act like a jerk or an “alpha”. Supposedly, women secretly love men who mistreat them even if they tell you otherwise. To get her attention, you should “neg” her by giving her an insult disguised as a compliment. And then after the first date you should wait…um, how long was it…three days before you call her? That way she won’t think you’re needy and she’ll start to miss you. Or something like that.
Hearing this really terrified me. I did not want to act that way in order to make myself more attractive. I could never intentionally act in a way to hurt someone else. And I was scared because I was afraid that that was the type of person I would have to become if I wanted to find love.
It’s not true, is it? Do women really prefer to date jerks? Do nice guys finish last?
Self-proclaimed nice guys tend not to actually be nice
You might hear men complain “I’m a nice guy but women don’t like me because they prefer to date jerks.” The reality is that self-proclaimed nice guys tend to not actually be very nice. Nobody thinks that they’re not a nice person. If you were to ask 10 random people on the street whether or not they considered themselves nice, they would all probably say yes. However, someone who is genuinely nice doesn’t need to go around telling people that. If someone calls themselves “nice” then you ought to take that with a grain of salt.
What’s does it really mean when someone proclaims that they are nice? They see themselves as heroes and think that life is like a video game, where if you do a certain set of actions then you will always get a certain result. If you hit the “?” Blocks in Super Mario Bros. then you’ll always get a coin or a mushroom because that’s pow the game is programmed, and if you defeat Bowser in the final level then the Princess Peach is going to give you a kiss. Similarly, they think that if they pander to her every whim then eventually she should give herself to him and that he deserves to have her as a reward. And then if she doesn’t, then he complains that he’s in the “friend zone” and that women prefer to date jerks. Because he’s a nice guy. Or, at least he thinks he is.
Of course, relationships don’t really work that way. Just because you’re friends with a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s eventually going to be interested in you romantically. If you do find yourself falling for someone that you’re close to, let her know! Hopefully she’ll reciprocate, but you should be open to the possibility that she won’t and be strong enough to accept that.
She might not be looking for anything long-term
If you’re looking for a relationship, you probably have some qualities that you hope to find in your ideal match. For example, Brenda Knowles wrote that her ideal partner would be intelligent, have a willingness to help and support, be respectful and validating, have deep emotional intimacy, understand the need for space and connection, and be both sensual and kind. Those are all great qualities for someone that you’re hoping to be in a long-term relationship with.
On the other hand, how much of that matters if you’re just looking for someone to have a one night stand with or a casual fling? None of it! It wouldn’t matter whether or not she can connect with you emotionally or be willing to support you. It doesn’t matter how kind or sensual she is. Really, all that matters is whether or not both the two of you feel like doing it with each other.
Imagine that you are a man who’s just looking for a one-night romance. That scantily-clad woman at the bar who’s flirting with all the other guys there might catch your eye. Now imagine that you’re looking for a girlfriend or a lifetime partner. Does she still seem like the kind of woman you’d want to introduce to your mom and dad? Probably not.
For women, it’s actually pretty similar. If she’s just looking for a hookup or short term fling then she might be into that aloof guy at the bar who acts dominant toward all the other men there and seems full of himself. However, if she’s looking for someone who’s boyfriend-material or husband-material then those same characteristics might be a turn-off.
She might have issues
Finally, there actually are some women who will go for jerks. I used to have a female acquaintance who was just like that. Even though she wanted a boyfriend, she mostly went out with jerks or “bad boys” who end up treating her poorly. Invariably, she ends up getting hurt and eventually breaks it off with him only to find another jerk to go out with. What gives??
As the saying goes, “water seeks its own level.” The people she surrounds herself with reflect her own personality flaws, and the men that she dated were usually just as self-centered as she was. She wasn’t self-aware enough to realize that she can be very self-centered, nor is she able to see this in the men she goes out with until after they end up hurting her.
Some women do seem to prefer dating jerks. Maybe she enjoys having drama in her relationships. Maybe she believes that she can make him change. Or, maybe she reads too much into fiction such as Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey and she believes that’s how relationships actually work. If she does enjoy dating jerks then she’s not coming from a place of feeling whole or grounded within. In other words, she’s not worth your time or energy (or heartbreak).
Women who truly love and respect themselves won’t put up with men who don’t treat them well. Don’t worry about those people who only date others who mistreat them. Instead, look for someone who loves you for the type of person you truly are.