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I’d Rather Be Played By A Bad Guy

Dating & Relationships / October 19, 2013

The dating question always on the table regardless of race, culture, or class is why do good girls like bad guys? This has started many a discussion—and sometimes even arguments—amongst brown brothers and sisters of all age brackets. Sisters supposedly complain about the lack of good men but only pursue the triflin’ ones. And good brothers allegedly end up feeling rejected or getting hurt by the baggage sisters carry over from these bad men. Most of us have heard this story a thousand and one different ways. So allow me to put a new twist on it.

My first real boyfriend was a cute nerd. He had the mind of a scholar, the body of an athlete, and the upbringing of a good, wholesome boy. He took me out and treated me like a queen. Overall, I think he was and still is a great young man. But I still remember he kissed another girl twice while we dated and that really broke my heart. I forgave him. But then, when he went away to college (I was a year behind him in school), he would tell me stories of a girl pursuing him. wrong guy 1And finally on April Fool’s day he called me and said he cheated on me with her. Then he said he was kidding. Then he said he wasn’t. Hurt and confused, I just broke it off right then. He wasn’t a player or a dog; he was just a young man trying to find himself in college while he had a girlfriend back in high school.  But the pain felt the same to me—if not worse—because I expected more from him.

I’m going to be absolutely real right now and say what most women won’t: I’d rather be played by a bad guy! As I’ve looked back over my life, I’ve dated all kinds of men. Nerds. Athletes. Street pharmacists. Artists. Religious guys. Non-black guys. And I’ve kept an even more diverse group of men as friends. Through discussions with my men friends and experiences with suitors, I concluded many men play many of the same games at various points in their lives because they’re human. But I think most women expect certain types of behavior from certain types of men. When a woman dates a bad man, she expects him to lie, to cheat, and to pretty much dog her out in one way or another.wrong guy 2 So she’s mentally prepared for it. And when it happens she can always say, “He wasn’t no good anyways. What was I thinking?” But when a woman dates a good man, she expects him to be honest, faithful, and treat her right. And a good man will mostly follow through with that. But every once in a while, like my nerdy boyfriend, he may not live up to that. So understanding that both kinds of men can and probably will hurt a woman at some point, a younger version of myself reasoned I’d rather be played by a bad guy because at least I’d see it coming!

Many women still walk around with this “better the devil you do know than the devil you don’t” mentality and make poor choices, ironically enough, to protect their hearts.

What do yall think? Have you seen this dynamic play out in your own life?

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Passion Rutledge
Ms. Not-Right-Now is a 20-something relationship blogger helping women, and herself, navigate the in-betweens of new age philosophies and good ole tradition in a 21st century dating context. She lives and writes in P.G. County, Maryland with her lover Mr. Right-For-Now. She can be reached at msnotrightnow

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on March 27, 2013

[…] Always on the dating discussion roundtable is a question near and dear to my heart. Why do good girls like bad guys/thugs/playas? Whatever the wording, the question asks why women with good heads on their shoulders choose men that’d rather toy with womens’ hearts than give anything that even somewhat resembles real commitment. Admittedly enough, I started this blog because I’d made a few poor dating choices myself. Mr. Lies-About-Everything-But-His-Name, Mr. Too-Cheap-To-Pay-Attention, and Mr. Please-Lock-Him-Under-The-Jail, just to name a few.  I meet a lot of different men–good men–that complain they were raised to treat women with care and respect but most of us going around here singing “I love my Mr. Wrong” like a hero anthem. And as I mentioned before, I’m not exempt. And from what I’ve seen over the years from sisterfriends, many of us ladies follow the good girl bad guy rule. Women settle for and settle down with men that aren’t any good leaving the Mr. Rights bitter, rejected, or friendzoned. And then we complain there aren’t any good men left. But why though? Mind boggling, right fellas? Well, like always, I have a theory! Check out the real reason why she passed you over for that smooth-talking athlete or the street-witted thug on a guest piece I wrote for The Sexy Single Mommy blog: I’d Rather Be Played By A Bad Guy. […]

on March 27, 2013

I really believe that if you go into a relationship expecting to get played you are going into it with the wrong idea. Why not increase your odds of have a great relationship by looking for good man. Then if the worse happens it happens, but at least you did the best you could. Women deserve better, but it will only happen if they demand better.

    on March 27, 2013

    So do you disagree that even the most well meaning brothers do women wrong at times? Relationships, the real long-lasting kind, require both people to take a helluva risk. Because essentially you’re giving one person the power to hurt you more than any other human being can. And they absolutely will! That pain can’t be avoided. I’m with a good brother right now and it ain’t no cake walk. So I can’t say that I blame women who aren’t ready to deal with that kind of pain yet because it’s heavy and takes a lot of maturity to handle. I’m not at this place anymore. But I was here so I understand why these women do what they do and why they accept what they accept. Even good Love hurts at times.

      on March 27, 2013

      I completely understand what you are saying and if it was just a lil “innocent” fun then I might agree. The problem is that many times these “bad boys” come with all their drama. Other women that want to fight, disease, fatherless homes, etc. The list goes on and on. If I had a dime for every woman that just thought she was going to play with this bad boy and got caught up, I could hang out with Bill Gates and buy him dinner.

      Ladies, please understand like mama said, if you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas. Avoid the drama.

on March 27, 2013

I have heard this from many women about good guys being boring. Maybe this is just for the women that do not want a serious relationship, but I cannot understand why someone would ever knowingly date someone that they know will not be good for them. I just do not get it.

on March 27, 2013

Yes. I have been through something similar and I can relate. It’s like we hold good men up to another standard especially when they proclaim to be different. With a dog, there are no surprises. What you see is what you get.

on March 27, 2013

What you’re saying is sad but true. We do sometimes associate good with boring and bad in bed. But I still think you know in your mind to only go so far with a thug. You not necessarily trying to marry him or bring him home to momma. And that’s why I say dating a good guy can hurt more because you get more invested . He hangs out with your friends, meets the family, and takes your kids out lol. That’s hard to say goodbye to.

    on March 27, 2013

    It maybe hard to say good bye to, but you are believing that the end of every relationship is good bye. Sometimes if both people are good, not perfect, they will work through tough times. Bad boys waste time and too many women get caught playing house. Dont waste your time or good years on bad boys.

on March 27, 2013

Ummmm I think EVERYONE has the tendency to cheat! Women, men, good girls, bad guys. Were products of the world we live in that constantly floods our thoughts with constant gratification. #onlythestrongsurvive

on March 27, 2013

I think that to many expectations are put on PEOPLE in general. A good guy will is a good guy, but he is still human as well. The same goes for women. I think that what separates the good people from the bad is that the good will be honest!

    on March 27, 2013

    Solid point. So if a man’s honest about his shortcomings, does that make him a keeper?

      on March 28, 2013

      I would say that depends on each individual. Different people have different deal breakers. What may be a deal breaker for one person another person would let it go by. I am still trying to wrap my head around why someone would knowingly date someone they know would not be good for them?

      To me that is like saying let me watch as I slam this door on my hand because it would be better than if it took me by surprise. I just do not get it.

        on March 28, 2013

        Because they are more attractive @shawn, so they can get away with more & held to a different (lower) standard.

        There is no need to over think this, again, if this is what women go for,

        I think men need to adjust to the type of men women truly like.

        Get off that honest, dutiful, faithful BS.

        And do what works.

on March 27, 2013

As you already know, I’m not encouraging men to stop being good. I’m just explaining some of the subconscious things at play when women choose their mates. It is not intentional, it’s a defense mechanism. Both men and women have defense mechanisms. It’s like we’re all raised to believe Love really is a battlefield lol and we put our guards up. Once a woman stops trying so hard to protect herself, she can accept that men are human and Love’s gonna hurt regardless. As @Shawn pointed out earlier, some couples even get through the tough times. Because a keeper will ensure more good days than bad ones.

    on March 27, 2013


    With all due respect,

    I am just letting you know the kind of men you are creating, based on past actions.

    If you want good men, you have to reward men for being good. Subconscious, unintentional or not.

    If the ladies cannot do that, then you got the men you asked for.

    And therefore any complaints about men are invalid & rightfully continue to fall on deaf ears

    Goodnight Irene

      on March 27, 2013

      I’m not making excuses for this behavior. It is not wise for women to date bad men. But at the same time, I won’t hold women accountable for men’s actions. Just like I won’t hold men accountable for women’s. Women aren’t creating any kind of men. Because if we really had that power, many of these so called bad brothers that women have tried to save would be good by now. If it works in the negative way, it should work in the positive but it doesn’t.

        on March 27, 2013

        See, MSNRN,

        This is about who you lay up with.

        Once you lay with a dude, all his behavior that got you into bed, is validated.

        So the reason why trying to turn a bad guy good is a fruitless pursuit, is because you are already sleeping together. There is no incentive to change as a man to be better, if you are already getting what you want.

        Where as if you are a good guy, and you are getting overlooked because you refuse to emulate the behavior of the men who mostly successful as getting women into bed (mostly bad guys) then eventually if you want to get laid, (which is usually a prelude to some kind of ongoing s*x relationship)

        Your behavior will change. Because the incentive is there.

        I know there is no easy answer in all this, and I just love to entertain you, for my personal growth.

        But IMO, this is about women want to date how they please as they are young, and then expect the marriage minded dudes to wait.

        And if I have a say in this, that won’t happen.

        Good men deserve better women, even if they have to become “bad guys” to get it…..

on March 27, 2013


I haven’t dated much. But, I’ve crushed and been foolish with a lot of the “bad guys.” I guess it is easier to deal with emotionally when the person you expect to mess up messes up because you’re preparing all along (whether you want to admit it or not) for them to mess up. So, with all my bad guys, I kinda knew nothing was ever gonna happen.

I think this past summer I was blindsided by a really human guy (I don’t want to label him good or bad because I don’t think he really fits either. And I was more than just hurt, I think I was emotionally traumatized because I really didn’t see our “relationship” going the way it did. And so, I wasn’t prepared to be hurt the way I was.

Now that I think about it, I think it’s a control issue. When something unexpected happens, I’m out of my element because I’m no longer in control. I’d rather be in control of something bad then out of control of someone good.

    on March 28, 2013

    Ooooohhhh “control”. I think you uttered the magic word. I think that’s the driving force behind all of this madness.

    And I like how you called him a really “human” guy. So true. When it gets down to it, the man doesn’t usually fit so tightly in the box you want to put him in.

on March 28, 2013

Yeah, Seen it happen too many times. Been at the receiving end a few more than I care to admit. Sad reality. Getting tired of being a good guy. Getting tired of looking for a woman that’s not looking for an asshole. Going sleep. good night. well morning all.

    on March 28, 2013

    Don’t lose faith!! Women grow out of this. Especially if they realize what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I surely did. And when I had a choice between the good man and the asshole, I didn’t make the same mistake twice.

    on March 28, 2013

    Hang in there. Do not be something that you are not. Keep looking and you will find plenty of women that will apprecaite you being a good guy.

on March 28, 2013

I think you wrote a really good article that has certainly led to plenty of discussion. If women go into a relationship expecting to get played, guess what? They will get played. If they go into the relationship not expecting to get played they will, but with making intelligent choices they will lessen their chance of getting played.

It is sad that so many women have lowered their standards, but there is still hope if more women refuse to date these bad guys. if they do date them then they get what they deserve.

on March 28, 2013

I have dated good guys and bad boys. There was a point in my life I thought I had tI o have that kind of fun and excitement only a bad boy can bring in not to mention I was/am always up for a challenge -beating out the other women (foolish thinking), the call of the”streets” (blank chick idea) and whatever else he bought into “my world.” But when I started digging deeper on why I was dealing with a bad boy and accepting all the crap he had to offer, I began to understand it was more about me than him and now that I have two sons; I know better. As a woman, I know I deserve better and if you don’t demand respect, settle for bullshit and allow a bad boy to do whatever he wants with you and to you only YOU will end up with the short end of the stick. As a mother of two boys, I have to show them how a woman should be treated, cared for, respected and honored. I have to demonstrate to them the type of woman they should have in their lives instead of being a “bad boy” – hell, that’s the easy route for some “men” to take and with so many women willing to succumb to whatever foolishness they are willing to dish out its not hard for them to be that way. However, I want to raise my sons to be great men and choose a good WOMAN! I am their example.

    on March 28, 2013

    There it is right there, Nicole! Well said!

    on March 29, 2013

    Great reply Ms. Nix. I hope more women take your attitude about this important subject.

on October 19, 2013

I actually never looked at it quite that way but once you mentioned it, I took a serious look at my past relationships. And you were right! Sadly, I just exited a relationship with a man that I thought was”good and honest.” To put it simply, we weren’t on the same page but as it would turn out we weren’t even on the same planet.

In all honesty, I think that breakup stung worse than any other breakup I’ve ever had. At 35, I’ve been through many breakups and they certainly aren’t fun. However, I think this one stung a bit more because I was unprepared and didn’t see it coming.

I thought he was a “good guy.” In the end, he may be a good guy, he’s just not MY good guy.

Excellent post!

on October 19, 2013

Interesting piece Passion. I can understand the point you’re making. From my perspective, it just seems that women prefer predictable. They assume a good guy is one way and a bad guy is one way. Therefore, it would seem they know how to approach each situation from the onset. However, the beauty of people is that they are complex.

    on June 7, 2015

    I think you hit the nail on the head Jay. In early relationships, women want to be able to control the relationship and the results. So a predictable partner is preferential–whether he’s “good” or “bad”. But live and date long enough and you’ll realize the last part, that human complexity that ensures none of us ever really fit a category to the T.

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