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HOW TO STOP DATING BAD BOYS

OK…I admit it and I am not proud.

I used to really like Bad Boys.

No, I am not a huge fan of tattoos.  I am pretty accident-prone, so motorcycles scare the heck out of me.  I think black leather is a bit cheesy.  And piercings?  All I can say is OUCH!

However, for years, I had this image in my head of what a bad boy looks like (probably from the movie Grease when I was 5) and because I never dated anyone who looked like the above description I thought I wasn’t dating bad boys.

Boy, was I totally and completely wrong.

It turns out, bad boys are everywhere and you probably aren’t recognizing the because they may be disguising themselves as normal guys you work with and hang out with every day.  They could be cute co-workers, guys you volunteer with, soulful musicians, accountants, passionate artists and even the adorable nerds that make you want to understand advanced math.

Wait, what are you saying?  If even the adorable nerdy guys can be bad boys, is there any hope?

Why yes, yes there is.

Gather round…let me share a personal story.

My flavor of “bad boy” was disguised as the passionate, creative, wicked smart, super funny, cute guys.  10 extra points if they had a good accent.

Witty banter flowed like boxed wine and I always got a little stumbly when they would go into their 10 minute soliloquy on what they were really passionate about–usually music.  They made me laugh, think and smile.  They led me through some of the most romantic and swooning moments of my life.

You are probably thinking….wait!  I like that kind of  guy too.

I mean, who doesn’t?

What I am forgetting to mention (and loved to completely ignore) is that along with these fun qualities they also were brooding, narcissistic, passive-aggressive, non-communicators, completely emotionally unavailable and honestly…a little lost.

But don’t worry ladies…I could save them!  And kept trying over and over, thinking I was the exception–just like every Rom-Com told me.  I had exactly what they needed to realize their full potential. I was the one who could change them.

I would love them until they loved themselves!  

le sigh.

But in between the rare swooning moments, they took me on the constant roller coaster ride of wondering where we stood and how they felt. One moment we were all about each other, the next I didn’t hear from them for days.  Always left feeling sad, confused, frustrated and lonely.

I wanted to give up.  

But there was always a charming “bad boy” around the corner ready to take me on the roller coaster ride.

It took years of crying in my cornflakes, exhausting my friendships as they were forced to listen to conversation after conversation of confusion and frustration, that I finally had to get real with myself.

If I was riding on this dating roller coaster, I had to admit to myself that I was the one buying the ticket and I was going have to be the one to stop the ride.

It started by admitting that these so-called “bad boys” are not actually that bad.

At the end of the day, they were truly great guys who I don’t think ever meant to hurt me or lead me on.  They just hadn’t worked out their own crap to be able to be great for me and create a relationship.  Somewhere along the way they were not set-up for dating and relationship success.  They probably were not raised in a positive environment where it was ok to share their feelings.  They weren’t taught dating and relationship skills and overall, they didn’t even know what to do to be in a successful relationship.

Most of us don’t.

I couldn’t ignore that they also wanted to connect and feel love.  We all do.  They just weren’t in a place to do that successfully.

Funniest part is, many of them even warned me that they were not looking for a relationship for exactly these reasons.  However, I didn’t care….I believed that “Love Conquers All!!!”

LOVE would save the day!

All we needed was LOVE!

Um…..so heads up.  That is BS.

Because when I didn’t set up healthy boundaries, ask for what I needed, watch for signs of unhealthy behavior and walk away when it was not working…love couldn’t grow or even show up.

Blaming them just kept me in a place where I could be the perfect victim in the world of my own creation.  If it was all their fault, it wasn’t on me and that meant I wasn’t broken…right?

But playing the victim kept me in that sad, frustrated, unhappy place where nothing changed.  And if nothing changed I still didn’t get love.

It was on me to step back and look at my role in the situations.  If I wanted the situation to change, I had to change.

I needed to: 

Dig in on why I was getting into these situations.  Because what I was attracted to was obviously not working.

Figure out why I kept pushing away the guys who really liked me an would show up consistently. Because I did that. 

Find out what I needed to actually feel good in a relationship.  Because it is different for everyone.

Have the confidence to ask for what I needed.  Because I would hide my needs when I liked someone and it left me feeling lost and empty.

Most importantly, I needed to slow down, watch for unhealthy signs and be able to walk away if it isn’t working.

Because love and dating are not so scary if you know how to choose the right people and walk away if they aren’t ready to be great for you.  

Once I did that, I was able to spot the “great guy” who was available and ready to create an amazing relationship with me.  One where I wake up every day knowing I am totally and completely loved for who I am.

Are you ready to get off the roller coaster and break up with bad boys?  How can I help?

-K

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