Why So Many Women Fall For Damaged Men
It doesn’t seem logical that so many women for damaged men.
I mean we are smart, we are wise, we are self-confident, we should know better. Right?
However, for a variety of reasons, when it comes to certain men, all of those strengths can melt away and we are left at the mercy of men who can suck us dry.
Knowing why we tend to fall for damaged men is the key to understanding why we do it so that we can stop doing it! NOW.
#1 – Father issues.
Did you know that women who have a healthy relationship with their fathers tend to grow into healthier, happier and stronger women? Unfortunately, for many of us, those healthy relationships just weren’t established over the course of our lives.
If you are one of the lucky ones, I am guessing that you might not be reading this article. If you are one of the rest, like me, then you know what I mean.
For me, my father was absent. He was one of those dads who worked a lot and left the child care to my mother. He was around but not present. And when he was present, he was very sarcastic. Whenever I told him a goal or accomplishment, he put me down – saying I wouldn’t be able to do it.
My parents divorced when I was 13 and he found a new wife, who hated me, and moved to Australia. Since then, he has repeatedly chosen his wife over me which, in combination with the sarcasm, left me feeling abandoned and unloved. It was the same for my sister.
Since then, my sister and I both have been in a series of relationships with unhealthy men. We are drawn to men, like our father, ones who we believe can ‘fix’ and hopefully make up for the pain that our dad caused to our psyche.
For me, in particular, I have a habit of choosing men who lie. They lie about anything – literally. As a result, I can never trust them and that leads to a downward spiral in the relationship that always left me heartbroken. I did this over and over until I finally accepted that my relationship with my dad was what it was and that I didn’t have to bring that baggage into my relationships.
So, how is your relationship with your father? If it isn’t a good one, it might explain why you fall for damaged men.
#2 – Make believe.
Think about to every rom-com you have ever watched. You know the ones where the girl and the guy find each other in the end, all set to live happily ever after.
Now, how many of those movies involve a damaged guy getting the girl in the end? Every one, right?
Think of Dirty Dancing – good girl Baby falls for the smooth, bad boy Johnny. In The Breakfast Club, Claire falls for the rebel Johnny. In Grease, Sandy falls for Danny. In Lost, Kate for Sawyer. The list goes on and on.
As we all know, we are strongly influenced by what we see on TV and in the movies. From a very young age we are exposed to relationships that are idealized and performative but not necessarily attainable. As a result, we are constantly seeking out something that doesn’t exist.
In these movies, we see the good girl meeting the damaged, ‘bad’ boy, reforming him and making him fall in love with her as a result. How romantic!
Unfortunately, this story is just movies and TV. Women so want to fix their men but you can’t fix someone unless they want to be fixed. So, women are left there, holding on to their damaged man, believing that if they just love them enough, everything will work out. And it doesn’t, most often.
So, do you use TV and movies as a model of what you believe your relationships can look like? If yes, then you might be turning towards damaged men in an effort to mirror what you see in media.
#3 – The challenge.
I don’t know what it is about human beings but we always need to be challenged, especially in relationships!
Be honest. How many times have you been in a relationship with a guy and said that he was ‘too nice,’ or that he ‘was boring’ or that he didn’t ‘challenge you?’ And how many of those relationships are you still in?
The thing about bad guys is that they are a challenge. We see them as damaged puppies who just need the love of a good woman to make them whole. And we women love to take on challenges like that.
I can’t tell you how many of my clients reach out to me because they are in toxic relationships that they can’t get out of. Without exception, as they tell me their story, they indicate that their person came to them with some issues, some red flags, that they ignored because they wanted to believe that this person was their person and that, with enough love, they could fix them.
As a result of ignoring those issues, my clients are stuck in relationships with damaged men who can become emotionally absent and/or abusive. People who have unprocessed issues can be prone to anger and violence and, unfortunately, the person who is often on the receiving end of that anger and violence is the partner.
So, take a look at your inclination to pursue damaged guys. Is it because of the challenge that he might present to you, the drama that might make things spicy?
I know that you just want a healthy relationship and that you don’t want to play games. And I get that and totally agree. But a healthy relationship is found in the balance between bad boys and boring. A healthy relationship is one where you feel challenged but you also feel good about yourself.
That person is out there for you – that perfectly balanced guy who can love you in a healthy way.
#4 – Low self-esteem.
Unfortunately, many women fall for damaged men are often women who don’t feel very good about themselves.
I have a client who has spent her entire life struggling. She was raped when she was in high school, got addicted to drugs and was homeless. She let herself be abused by everybody in her life in her hopes of being loved.
She did eventually pull her life together and started a successful business. But, in spite of her success, she still didn’t feel good about herself. She didn’t believe that she deserved anyone other than a damaged man. Why would a healthy man want to be with her, after all?
As a result, she found herself in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. She would continue to degrade herself, trying to get her partner to love her and to treat her well. Unfortunately, so many of the men who she attracted because of her insecurities were also deeply damaged and incapable of making any woman feel good about themselves.
So, my poor client was repeatedly going down this rabbit hole of falling for damaged men because she just didn’t believe that she deserved any better.
It is only once she started taking a good look at herself and who she was in the world that she started to see her self-worth and make wiser choices when it came to men!
#5 – Fear of being alone.
So many of my clients live in mortal fear that they will never find their person. That they will be left alone and childless and that they will be miserable.
As a result, my clients aren’t picky about who they chose to love and thus they fall in love with unhealthy guys. They figure that some guy is better than no guy and that, at least, they won’t be alone.
Unfortunately, what my clients discover is that being in a relationship with a damaged man is very often worse than being alone. They do have a partner at their side at social events and they might have children but the reality of their lives is much different.
Perhaps their person is abusive. Or perhaps their person suffers from a mental health condition that makes him unable to care of his family. Or perhaps they have trust issues from a past relationship. No matter what the issue, big or small, an issue can have a disastrous effect on a relationship.
So, consider this next time you are leaning towards falling for a damaged man. Are you doing so because of the man in front of you or are you doing it because you are scared of being alone?
It really is amazing how many women fall for damaged men.
Whether it’s because of their past issues with their fathers, the influence of media on their understanding of relationships, their need to be challenged or their fear of being alone, women who choose, and stay with, damaged men are destined for a relationship that will not be an easy one.
So, take a good look at the perspectives that you have about relationships – do you need a challenge? Do you want to fix someone? Do you need to find your Danny Zuko to be happy?
Understanding what you think you want vs. what you do want is a good way to find the healthy relationship that you seek so that you can be happy, once and for all!