WHY ARE WE DRAWN TO BAD BOYS?
If they were your friends, you wouldn't put up with it. But there's a reason why we're drawn to dangerous partnersé
Another day, another TOWIE girl is linked to scandal. From blazing rows to cheating claims to revelations of their partners’ criminal pasts, there’s a constant theme that keeps coming up. And it’s not just reality stars – from the date who’ll only text you back after midnight to the one who’ll cancel on you 10 minutes before you’re due to meet, why are we drawn to ‘bad’ partners?
Research shows a definitive pattern and says we’re drawn to the danger element of certain people. But there are different levels of ‘bad boy’. The first is the ‘amateur’ – he’s confident, smart and floors you with ‘that look’. He doesn’t message you back on Whatsapp and avoids your calls, yet ‘breadcrumbs’ you by reaching out every now and then.
The second usually comes with a dark and dodgy past. On paper, we’d probably run a mile at the prospect of dating him. But when it comes to reality, statistics prove otherwise. According to a 2016 study by researchers at the University of Graz, Austria, men with the ‘Dark Triad’ personality traits – narcissism, Machiavellianism (cold, immoral) and psychopathy – actually won more dates during a speed dating experiment of 18-32-year-olds.
Meanwhile, a separate study, published in the journal of Evolution And Human Behaviour, asked over 2,000 women to look at photos of two men’s faces side by side. The results revealed that the majority were attracted to features associated with the ‘Dark Triad’.
TOWIE’S Lauren Goodger, whose partner is currently in jail, admits she’s drawn to them. ‘It’s exciting and I think that’s what I like,’ she admits. So why are narcissistic, Machiavellian psychopaths bagging dates over Mr Nice Guy? ‘Some women are drawn to those who’ve committed serious crimes because they’re perceived as dominant and have traits that suggest they’ll defend and provide,’ says celeb psychologist Arthur Cassidy. And while we acknowledge that some women may not realise that their partner has those character traits, Arthur’s words are food for thought.
So can we change our mindset? ‘As we age, we become more selective,’ Arthur adds. ‘We’re more likely to look for less risky people and instead consider how well-rounded a person’s character is.’
Lauren Goodger’s boyfriend is currently in prison