She treats him poorly, repels his friends, exhausts his bank account, and plays him like a fiddle. Why, for heaven’s sake, is he still with her?

We all have that special guy in our lives that we think is just the greatest.  He could be the cool guy on campus we watch from afar, the brother or cousin we love to hang out with, the friend we always want to run into, or the coworker we meet and admire everyday.  These are the guys who have it all-personality, style, humor, looks…and awful women.  Watching the men we adore with women who aren’t their equal is tortuous because it is so baffling.  What could he see in this girl?  How could a man with so much depth be so shallow?  What drives him to commit to a woman who makes him miserable most of the time and/or repels his friends?  I’ve set out to find answers to just these questions by interviewing some of my favorite cool guys who are or have been notorious for falling for horrible females.

Why He’s Attracted To Her

While every guy’s experience with dating a bitch is different, it always starts in a similar fashion- enticement.   Most of the time the appeal is physical, although sometimes reputation, wealth, or loneliness plays a part.  My subjects dug a little deeper to examine what could have sparked their desire to pursue these women.

He just doesn’t know better. One subject, who we will call John, says that inexperience accounts for his decision to date a bitch.  “She was my first (girlfriend). I didn’t know better. She just manipulated me…”  Now he says that he can recognize girls he wants to stay away from because of that relationship.   Another guy, Keith, said of a girl he spent over a year with, “I thought she was so nice, but then I got to know her, and she wasn’t so nice.”

Is Mom to blame? Another guy, “Mark”, believes men are attracted to girls with volatile personalities because they reflect aspects of their mothers.  He believes that when a guy is accustomed to conflict in his relationship with his mother, he looks for the same type of relationship with women he dates, merely out of habit.  He is comfortable being stepped on.  At least Mark believes this is the case for him.  He credits his mother with his phase of dating low-quality, high-maintenance women.

Drama-holic Keith says that although he goes for nice girls, he thinks the reason some guys habitually are attracted to bitchy girls is that those guys like drama.  This could be the case for all those athletes, pilots, and fire-fighters who like to live on the edge.  One source said he was, at one point, drawn to mean girls because of their aggression.  I remember wondering in college why the best athletes who could have any girl they wanted paired themselves with the craziest girls.  A constant need for excitement may be the key.

Why He Stays With Her

It seems ridiculous that anyone could mistake this for a healthy relationship. She feeds him attitude, and he eats out of the palm of her hand.

This is the confusing part.  This is the part that absolutely drives me nuts.  He is unhappy most of the time and seems not to even like being with her.  She cheats and he knows. He is isolated from his friends.  Any or all of these are the symptoms of a bad relationship, and the cure is obvious.  So why doesn’t he leave?

There are some Benefits… Something entails him to stay.  Mark says this could simply be the comfort of having a relationship.  John gave examples of sex and money.  It seems like guys are pretty easy to convince of benefits that would make them stay.  It could be as simple as access to an HD big screen.

Too Close to Call. Some guys don’t realize that they are being pulled and manipulated while it’s going on.  The women we hate our guys to be with are many times just plain mean.  They enjoy stringing men along and have developed impressive skills at doing so.  John said that while he and his girlfriend fought a lot, he didn’t realize how bad his relationship was until it was over.  He thinks he could have easily married her had an opportunity to move away not come up. Keith, said that though there were signs that his girlfriend was not a nice person throughout the relationship, he didn’t really see it until after they broke up.  She left him for a guy she met briefly at a bar.  It was then that he finally acknowledged her true colors.  In retrospect he saw that she wasn’t nice to others and that his friends didn’t like her.

No relationship is perfect. Some guys had a pretty good idea who they were dating.  Friends would tell them or be driven away.  Keith said his friends’ uncharacteristic lack of comments about his girlfriend probably should have tipped him off that they didn’t care for her.  Mark said he knew what she was like.  However, most men said that even if or when friends would say something about her, they wouldn’t necessarily break up with a girl.  Friends may just not know her well enough, they reasoned.  The guys said that lack of friends’ support for a girl bothered them, but they rationalized by saying that every relationship will come at some cost.  Any time you date a girl you are available less time to hang out with your other friends.  Every relationship has some conflict.  Who’s to say this relationship is worse than any one else’s?

Well, he’s gone this far… We are talking about good guys here, and they come with a certain amount of expectations.  They want to be seen as a good guy so they stay with a girl to uphold their reputation, to save her feelings, or to honor a commitment he’s made (i.e. concert tickets, pets, lease, marriage, relationship in general).  “I had a vested interest in this girl.  I wanted to make it work,” Keith said.  Most others shared similar sentiments. In short, they feel obligated.  John explains situations like this,When you’re  in a relationship, it blinds you to your situation. As time goes by, it gets harder and harder to see yourself in another surrounding and by yourself, so some people can’t handle escaping that.”

Why He May Leave 

There is a breaking point for most guys.  Nearly every guy interviewed said that the moment he realized his girlfriend was a bitch came shortly after moving in with her, but this was not enough to end the relationship.  If any or all of the reasons he stays is shattered, he may wise up.  When Keith’s girlfriend tried to take him back, he had none of it.  “No way in HELL I was going back.”  Many of the guys I spoke to have seen the light and broken the habit of dating bitches.

They have words of wisdom to offer any guy in the type of relationships they’ve escaped from.  “Be aware of how she treats other people.  Everyone’s nice in the beginning, but eventually she’ll treat you like she treats everyone else,” Keith says.  He also warns to whether or not your friends like her once they’ve come to know her. While they offer this advice anonymously to my readers, they most likely would keep their mouths shut if the situation were close to home.  Most of the time, they would let friends find out for themselves that their girl is a bitch, or they assume he already knows.

Guys, incidentally, feel the same way about us when we make bad relationship choices.  Every guy I spoke with agrees with the statement that good girls go for bad guys, and they have a general belief that nice guys finish last.  John said, “Nice guys are boring. If I put myself in the shoes of a girl and see a nice guy and bad guy, I’m obviously going to have more fun with the bad guy.”  He went on to concede that nice guys may sometimes get a girl who wants to settle down.

Mark, however, explains that sometimes there can be confusion in classification of bad boys, “Confident guys come across as ‘bad.’ Nice guys are ‘nice’ because they lack self esteem to take what they want.”  He clarified that he considers bad guys to be those who break the law or disrespect people. Almost everyone listed confidence as a characteristic of what they think women want, which of course is true.  They accredited this to our biological need to nest and our desire to be protected.

So what can we do?

Mainly we can understand where these guys are coming from (because face it, we’ve been there too) and let them know in general that we think they deserve the best.   You want him to see the light, but according to all of these guys, he won’t appreciate it unless he finds it himself.

We do have a decent indirect option of seed planting.  This is a great tool for anytime it’s no good to be the messenger, but a message needs to be relayed.  Maybe we heard someone else is attracted to him.  Maybe being single is SO great. Maybe you just had a friend from home who finally broke up with his horrible girlfriend or saw a news story about a crazy, manipulative girlfriend who murdered her boyfriend.   This method isn’t sure to work, but it is the most you should do, and it is something.

For anyone on the inside of a relationship with a jerk, there’s a whole lot to do.  Take a step back, look at how people you respect react to your girlfriend.  Think about how she makes you feel.  Ask yourself what is making you stay and tell yourself that anything is better than you sacrificing your life to someone you don’t really like.

On the other side of things, don’t  be a mean girlfriend.  Talking with these guys I felt like I was Skeeter writing The Help.  Sources, of course, had to be anonymous, and every story and piece of advise was filled with a depth that had to have come from some awful experiences (though sometimes they were really funny).  Their relationships had a big effect on them.  It’s obvious that being a bad girl is not the answer.  Relationships built on a foundation of control and mistreatment are sure to crumble one way or another.

Instead, we need guys to know that they have some viable options coming from respectable girls.  Just like we don’t want to have to choose between a nice guy and a confident one, men shouldn’t have to choose between respectable girls and enticing ones.  You can look at your dedication to the upkeep of your appearance, attitude, and mental and physical fitness as a way to help all those unfortunate guys around.  You can be a beacon, a reminder to men everywhere, that the women they want to be with are the same as the ones they like to be with.