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Why Women (Sometimes) Date Jerks

Posing in the gymThis was originally posted on my Getting Inside a Woman Blog; I recently added to the article and posted the updated version below:

This is probably one of the most common questions I get from men: why do women like jerks? The saying goes that nice guys finish last, but is that true? Many women will tell you that they don’t like jerks. Most women don’t like jerks.

…But, most women end up dating jerks anyway (Almost every woman I know has at least one story about an asshole ex). Why do we do this? Because, for the most park, jerks are sexier than the tame guys who would actually be a caring boyfriend. Because of this, many women either end up dating a constant stream of jerks, or yo-yoing between jerks and nice guys.

However, as a man, you DO NOT need to be a jerk to attract women. You don’t have to choose between becoming a jerk/asshole/douchebag, or living a life of solitude. It’s possible to be the nice guy who finishes first.

When you understand why women like jerks, then you can attract women without being one. And the good news is that if you are the nice guy who also has these “supposed jerk” behaviors, then you will be the total package–the nice MAN that every woman is looking for.

And women, by learning why you keep ending up in the arms of Mr. Douchebag, you can finally break the cycle and find a good man.

Here are five major reasons why a woman might be drawn to a jerk like a moth to light:

 

1. She Has Low Self-Esteem

Most people have low self-esteem; therefore most women have low self-esteem. That includes women with incredibly hot bodies. Even if men put her on a pedestal, chances are she does NOT put herself there.

Women might say that they want to be treated well, but what most women want even more than that is to be completely and totally understood by a man. If, deep down, she thinks of herself as garbage, she will feel understood by a guy who treats her like garbage, and she will feel like the guy who treats her well “just doesn’t get it.”

Jung said that “we marry our unconscious mind.” We attract those that reflect our deepest unconscious beliefs back to us. In other words, if a woman has a low opinion of herself, she will be more attracted to men who also have a low opinion of her.

Women who have high self-esteem are not attracted to jerks for the same reason. Therefore, if you respect women and treat them well, seek out women who respect themselves and treat themselves well. You can tell the difference by how healthy she is, how happy she is, and how well she sets boundaries in her life.

 

2. She’s Ms. Fix-it

Some people restore old cars. Some people restore great works of art. And some women (try to) restore jerks and bad boys into nice, well-behaved men.

This process doesn’t work, but that doesn’t stop these avid hobbyists from trying. And hobby is the correct term, because the motivation is very similar. Someone who has a hobby of restoring old cars gets much more satisfaction from their finished product than if they went and bought that car off a lot (even if the cars on the lot are safer and better designed)!

So it is with the women who fix men. This kind of woman is not looking for a man who is ready for a relationship. She doesn’t want one that’s already put together; she wants to build him up herself.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being a Ms. Fix-it–this is really an instinct to grow and improve things. Better to turn that instinct inward, though, and work on yourself.

 

3. She Doesn’t See It

You might see a jerk, but she might not. It’s a cliche to say, “I just see a side of him that you don’t see,” but in some cases, this is true.

Different people have different points of view (shocking, I know). Our nervous system is bombarded with much more sensory information than we can handle (about 2 million bits of information per second), so our unconscious mind filters out what we don’t need before we ever become aware of it. After the filtering process, we are left with 126 bits of information. That’s 126 out of a possible 2 million!

What gets filtered out is determined by our values, beliefs, memories and other aspects of our unconscious. In other words, whatever beliefs you have, you will find “evidence” to support it, because your unconscious will choose the relevant 126. Someone else with an opposing belief will also find evidence, because their unconscious will filter out a different 126.

If you are seeing a world where women only like jerks, you are, quite literally, missing out.

Now it’s possible that he is a jerk and she doesn’t see it. Or it’s possible that he is not a jerk, but you see a jerk anyway because of something that’s inside of you. Either way, you are the only one you can change, and it’s possible that “women like jerks” is just a belief that you need to let go of.

Of course, if that’s true, you’ll probably think that this one is the “least useful” of the 5 things listed here.

 

4. She’s a Drama Addict

The Drama Addict thrives on drama, not the stability of a healthy relationship. As a recovering drama addict myself, I know this one particularly well.

Drama is interesting; it’s entertaining! And it makes us feel important when we are in the middle of it!

Jerks create more drama than nice guys. Even if a drama addict is attracted to a nice guy initially, it’s likely because he is different than the last three jerks she dated. And different means a new storyline in her life!

Have you ever noticed that on TV shows they will rarely have couples stay together happily, or if they do, those couples’ story lines go to the background of the show, leaving more air time for the drama of the single and unhappy folks? My favorite example of this is “The Office” (American version). In earlier seasons of “The Office,” the will-they-won’t-they sexual tension of Jim and Pam was one of the major story lines. Once they got together–and especially once they were married with a family–their characters’ storyline got much less screen time. That is, until the final season where they were in conflict and in danger of breaking up–then suddenly they became a major focus again.

Same with the drama addict. She is not looking for her life to be good, she’s looking for her life to be entertaining (Like I said, I speak from experience). She is constantly scripting her life for maximum entertainment, and if you become too boring and stable, she will bring in a new character to shake things up.

Underneath the surface, a drama addict is really someone who craves a passionate relationship with a good polarity. Learning how to be the nice guy who creates sexual tension that keeps this woman on her toes is the secret to making it last (withOUT drama!).

 

5. She’s Turned On By His Perceived Strength

Jerks often appear stronger than nice guys, and women crave strength. Note the word appear, though, as I believe jerk behavior is actually a sign of weakness and narcissism.

If a woman dates a guy who waves money around or makes a scene so he doesn’t have to wait for a table, then the man who waits in line like everyone else might seem weak in comparison.

Again, she might not see him as a jerk–her 126 might give her the experience of a strong, powerful and results-oriented man. I know I’ve fallen for this. I’ve dated a few jerks who were great at masculine qualities like making money, solving problems and getting things done.

The key here is masculinity. Jerks are a constant show of masculine energy. Women see this and think they ARE masculine.

However, jerks show a lot of outward masculine bravado because often they lack true masculinity inside (a *real man* doesn’t act like a jerk because he doesn’t need to). A jerk is like a green leaf. Leaves absorb light waves, but they don’t absorb the green light waves, so they reflect the green back out. So the leaf looks green to us, but that’s because there is NOT any green inside.

Developing your masculinity is the key to attracting women without being a jerk. There are many facets to doing this; however, the first and most important is to know your life purpose and to live it. Women will often prefer a purposeful jerk to a purposeless nice guy, but most of all, we want a nice, purposeful man.

Happy Flirting!



9 Comments
  1. It’s always a muscle-bound guy that represents the “jerk,” lol.

    I like what you said that most women don’t like jerks. But what is interesting is that we can want to fuck someone, without necessarily liking them. The stereotypical jerk does have a lot of those masculine qualities that attract women and arouse them as you mentioned. So it’s a sexual attraction, rather than a relationship attraction.

    When women are asked “what do you like in a man” they always respond based on their idea of a “boyfriend” or a “husband” and what that means to them. But the relationship guy is very different from the sexual guy. Rarely do they overlap.

    It’s the same thing for men. You can be very sexually attracted to a woman with a perfect body and beautiful face, even though she has a horrible personality, self-centered, and high-maintenance. The sexual desire is what makes her so attractive. As a wife, she would not be very pleasant.

  2. Liz,

    I think one other thing to add is the clear place of looks here. For example, the guy on the right hand side of this pic:

    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/190381_364004107018753_1905714783_n.jpg

    has zero shot of becoming a “viable” jerk. meaning, he can treat women like crap all he wants, but his looks is clearly preventing him from being the “perceived strength” jerk that women gravitate to.

    I think you’ve shown this point, subtly, by the choice of picture

    I once had a girl say “I like the badboy look, not the behavior” and I said, umm you can’t really separate the two. in a ways its like a uniform, it signals to the outside world “this is the type of person I am” That’s like saying, I like the information on my screen, but dont like the cpu. It’s the cpu that drives what you see on the screen.

    “Of course, if that’s true, you’ll probably think that this one is the “least useful” of the 5 things listed here. ”

    Well, personally, I found the entire post to be more geared towards women anyway. The only way women will stop dating jerks is if they change [en masse] their own dating choices, then jerks will stop acting like jerks because it won’t yield success anymore. It’s like when people complain that TV sucks because there’s too much fluff news coverage, or too much reality tv. But they studios are just responding to ratings, and if no one watches , then guess what, they wont make shows like that any more.

    “Different people have different points of view (shocking, I know). ”

    Of course- but there’s something called peer review. Like you say, a woman can ignore what other people say, but if enough people that the person holds credible, gives contravening data, then it’s harder to “filter” For example lets say someone the girl respects highly (or someone who has experience dating jerks) says, “I was where you were…” its harder to filter out.

    So, indeed 2.6 million gets filtered to 126, but a big portion of that 2.6 million is largely irrelevant to the decision making process at hand. If a girl is deciding whether a guy is a jerk, the fact that it’s raining in Topeka, KS or the grape she just ate was sour is kicked out and deemed irrelevant pretty quick. So the question is.. how much *relevant* data is being “filtered” out? My guess is probably not very much.

    1. Looks do matter in dating, and sometimes a woman will definitely overlook jerk behavior because the guy is soooo good-looking. The opposite is also true, that men will overlook bitchy behavior when the girl is super hot.

      That said, don’t confuse this correlation with causation. The guy in that picture you linked to can totally end up being a jerk. Being good-looking, or not, has nothing to do with how you will end up treating women. I dated a couple of “nerdy” guys who ended up treated me badly. One guy worked as a computer engineer and had a similar glasses, haircut, and style to the pic you posted. He turned out to be a total jerk (slept with me, then stood me up and wouldn’t return my calls). I’ve also had very good-looking men treat me well (case and point: my current fiance!).

      It’s dangerous to hold the belief that a nerdy-looking guy could never be a jerk. I used to hold that belief, and that’s why so many nerdy guys ended up breaking my heart. For a guy who holds this belief, and perceives himself as a nerd (or less good-looking, or less desirable), he will probably be one of the biggest jerks of all, because he will never stop to examine his behavior with women.

      There was a study done (can’t find the link now, grrrr…anyone know which one I’m talking about?) where good-looking people did have certain advantages over less good-looking people, but the one place where the “uglies” excelled was in getting people to trust them not to commit a crime (or pull of a scam). The theory was that good-looking people are more likely to be perceived as con artists who are “up to something.” whereas people thought that the less good-looking people couldn’t possibly get away with doing something nefarious.

      Point being, don’t fall into that psychological trap. A person’s behavior, not their looks, is the judge of whether or not they are a jerk.

      1. “Point being, don’t fall into that psychological trap. A person’s behavior, not their looks, is the judge of whether or not they are a jerk.”

        Oh absolutely.

        but like it or not, people’s behavior absent any other knowledge – (especially in this jerk/non jerk relationship manner) IS judged mostly by their looks. When you have nothing else to judge by, people judge by looks.

        My point was the guy I posted likely wouldn’t trigger anyones “jerk-attraction” mechanism.

        Assuming he even gets the opportunity to date/fuck a girl, he might become a jerk, he might not, it’s necessary/sufficient reasoning, looks aren’t sufficient, but are very necessary to trigger “jerk attraction”

        My guess is the nerdy guys you mention caught your attention because you felt they wouldn’t behave in such a way that good looking jerk guys would? and your idea of “how good looking guys behave” came from actually being with them – right?

        They only *became* jerks afterwards (which like you say, is entirely possible) but in order for a guy to attract a girl *via* the jerk mechanism – certain good looks are required (not even necessarly “good looks”, for ex, JFK Jr probably wouldn’t attract through the jerk mechanism)

        I once went to a beauty and the geek dating event and one of the girls there said she came there because she wanted to be with guys that didn’t have the experience of being with beautiful women, and would “appreciate” it more, hence, not be jerks.

        “There was a study done (can’t find the link now, grrrr…anyone know which one I’m talking about?) where good-looking people did have certain advantages over less good-looking people, but the one place where the “uglies” excelled was in getting people to trust them not to commit a crime (or pull of a scam). The theory was that good-looking people are more likely to be perceived as con artists who are “up to something.” whereas people thought that the less good-looking people couldn’t possibly get away with doing something nefarious.”

        Oh hmm.. well scamming is not exactly the same as sexual attraction. In a scam only one person benefits, the other person loses out. in a one night stand, both gain (both have sex with people they deem attractive) I think what happens is women clearly know, depending on context and looks what they’re getting from an interaction, they just dont say it. I knew a very good looking guy that went out on dates he met with women, and so many of them ended in one night stands, did those women say “im here for a ONS” no, in fact many of them said, “I want somethign deeper bla bla bla” but in their mind they knew this was just a one night fuck, and they internally wanted that, and got it.

        I mean, why else did you use that picture of a muscle head, attractive guy flexing as representation of “jerk” ?

        “For a guy who holds this belief, and perceives himself as a nerd (or less good-looking, or less desirable), he will probably be one of the biggest jerks of all, because he will never stop to examine his behavior with women.”

        Probably, but rightfully so, because this guy has been on the receiving end of rejection by being nice and polite, he feels the only way to hold and keep a woman is to be a jerk (so when that happens, however it happens, that’s what he does)

        Basically, good/”badboy” looks doesn’t guarantee you a successful dating life or relationship, but it puts you squarely in the competitive space where you’re on the playing field. You don’t simply get pushed out to the sidelines over and over again.

        Plus, I’d need to see pictures of your “nerds” to see how nerdy they really were.

  3. ” Jerks are a constant show of masculine energy. Women see this and think they ARE masculine.”

    This line is confusing, if someone is a show of masculine energy, doesn’t that mean they are actually masculine?

    (This doesn’t mean they *MUST* be a show, but if they are a show of [genuine] masculine energy, aren’t they masculine?)

    1. The difference is someone acting like something to cover up their insecurities inside. An analogy would be the homophobe who is a closeted homosexual. On the outside, he *must* be straight because he appears to dislike gay men so much, but this is not the case. Compare this to a straight man who is not threatened by the idea of homosexuality because he is secure in his own sexuality. The jerk acts like an asshole because he thinks that this demonstrates strength; the truly masculine man has no need to act like this, or project hate onto others, because he is secure in who he is, inside and out. Does that help clarify?

      1. “The jerk acts like an asshole because he thinks that this demonstrates strength; the truly masculine man has no need to act like this, or project hate onto others, because he is secure in who he is, inside and out. Does that help clarify?”

        Well , sort of, the issue was whether women perceive it as strength or not, and from the original post you’re saying (it seems) that women do see this jerk/asshole behavior as demonstrating strength, and obviously the jerk/asshole also sees it at demonstrating strength, so if both see it as strength… how is it not strength? (at least it is for the two people relevant in the interaction – a more enlightened person might see it for true weakness or whatever)

        In the homophobe/homosexual example, it’s not necessary that the homophobe be a closeted homosexual (this is something I think that gay people do to piss off homophobes, nothing is more irksome to someone uncomfortable with gay people than being accused of being gay himself – which is only possible because being gay is not visually identifiable, i.e you cant accuse a KKK member of being a closet black guy – which is why this is so damn funny: http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/7nnosh/chappelle-s-show-frontline—clayton-bigsby

  4. “The only way women will stop dating jerks is if they change [en masse] their own dating choices, then jerks will stop acting like jerks because it won’t yield success anymore.”

    Personal preferences for sexual things and “looks” aside, I’ve never met a woman or a man who thinks: “do you know what would be fun today? Going to find a romantic partner who’s going to treat me like crap”. Jerks tend to be very good at manipulation They tend to be good at messing with people’s heads and abusing people emotionally as well as physically. It’s not up to women to change their dating choices since they’re not actively out their seeking jerks or abusers. Women, like men, are people and victim blaming is a nonsense.

    Surely, as someone who got bullied and mocked, you recognize the folly of victim blaming?

    “It’s like when people complain that TV sucks because there’s too much fluff news coverage, or too much reality tv. But they studios are just responding to ratings, and if no one watches , then guess what, they wont make shows like that any more.”

    No, it’s not like that. Because women, like men, are not to blame for occasionally ending up with people who abuse and hurt them.

    It’s never the stereotypical muscle bound bully you need to worry about. I’ve met abusers and jerks and some pretty horrible people and spent a lot of time undoing stuff abusers have done to their victims. The jerks you really need to worry about are the passive aggression, lacking in empathy and compassion, psychopathic jerks with a strong command of the skill of persuasion.

    It’s not up to women to change their dating choices. It’s up to people to treat others with empathy and compassion and not be jerks.

  5. There’s a little irony also, that a very similar picture was used for a post on masculinity in the previous blog:

    http://www.gettinginsideawoman.com/true-source-of-masculine-power/

    In a way, the jerk picture and the masculine picture could’ve been interchangeable, to me it shows a very fine line between the two.

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