Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly: The Psychology

If you’re interested in a woman, there are certain characteristics that will either work in your favour or be a detriment when you try to improve the attraction. When you’re considered to be ‘too nice’ you might find it difficult to keep a connection. This type of behaviour might cause you to question why do girls like guys who treat them badly.

A guy who comes across as too available will be seen with less value by a girl as opposed to a guy who withholds his attention. This is because a woman equates longing with love.

When a girl grows up with parents who are unresponsive, she can be more drawn to boys with a poor attitude. Psychotherapist Nina Savelle-Rocklin advises this is because she will subconsciously move the hope from her original care-giver onto a new relationship in her life.

In this article, we’ll expand on why do girls like guys who treat them badly. We’ll delve into the psychology behind what pushes a woman to pursue a bad boy instead of a guy that may be too nice.

Why do girls like guys who treat them badly?

Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly
Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly

When a girl has a low self esteem, she will gravitate towards guys that treat her badly, as opposed to the one’s that will tend to her needs and wants with care. This will be due to her own belief that she deserves a guy to treat her in a certain way.

A woman who possesses poor value and worth for herself, will tolerate behaviour from a guy that matches how she feels about herself. This can stem on an unconscious level of feeling unworthy.

From the early stages of childhood, humans need to feel a connection with others. This begins with our parents/carers, and will transition into our relationships in adulthood.

If, during childhood, we don’t receive the necessary emotional connections that make us feel worthy of love and support, it can later affect how we respond to romantic relationships.

This can cause a person to experience cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is a term that we use to describe conflicting thoughts that occur at the same time. These will generally occur when a girl is in a relationship with a guy who treats her badly.

She will experience emotions of love and care for him, but when his behaviour is negative towards her, her feelings will clash. A person’s heart will still feel love, while their thoughts will associate with the circumstances.

Why do nice guys never get the girl?

Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly
Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly

Nice guys seemingly never get the girl because to women, they can come across as too ‘needy’ or ‘keen’. Because of this, a girl will feel as though she does not need to make an effort to get the guy’s attention. This will result in her to lose attraction for him.

Once you make yourself easy to attain, you’ll be seen as low value. There’ll be no chase involved, and she won’t see you as ‘a catch.’

(Did you know; being in a relationship can indirectly improve neuroticism in an individual. Researchers found that partners would become more cheerful and self-assured after a period of time.) 

A nice guy will constantly supply a girl with attention. She will accustom herself to this, and her brain will no longer release dopamine, which is known the ‘feel good’ hormone. The more a person chases someone, and succeeds, higher levels of this neurotransmitter will occur in the body.

This is why you might find the girl you like keeps going after the ‘bad boy’ type, or the guy that will ignore, or be less attentive towards her.

What makes a bad boy attractive?

Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly
Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly

One of the most leading attractive traits that a bad boy possesses is independence. With this confidence, he’ll come across to women as though he does not need anybody, nor will he think he has anything to lose with anyone. 

In evolutionary biology, a woman may find a bad guy more attractive then a nice guy because during her menstrual cycle, the guy who treats her badly becomes more compelling. On a subconscious level, a girl will see masculine traits as the better genetics to reproduce.

Additional to this, because a bad boy is not easily attainable, a woman’s desire to get the man increases. This is also fueled by the veracity that women equate longing with love. She wants to wonder whether or not she will receive a message from you.

Females want to be able to figure out whether or not you like them. When they get the opportunity to analyze a guys behaviour, it will cause you to become more attractive compared to the boy who has her undivided attention.

On our trusted forum, GirlsAskGuys, we asked the question; what makes a bad boy attractive. The leading comment left by an anonymous user, aged 25 – 29 was;

  • ‘Bad boys are hard to get and make themselves scarce. When something is scarce our instincts kick in to want to hoard it. Because, we don’t know when it will be available again. It’s like addiction. If you are aware of this and don’t let the hard to get thing fool you then it stops being attractive.’

Psychologist, Dr. Cunningham advises that women can be attracted to the bad guy if she lacks independence within herself. She’ll look for someone who possesses the qualities that she might want. Not only this, a bad boy can help relieve the pressure a lady feels to be ‘good’.

Robyn McKay, a psychologist and co-author of the book Smart Girls In The 21st Century, advises that during a girls childhood, certain traits like rebelliousness and argumentativeness can get repressed because women are taught to be quiet and complaisant.

She will then be more drawn to the guy that treats her badly. She will see him as a way to express her suppressed characteristics in an indirect way.

Why is it so difficult to let go of someone who treats you bad?

Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly
Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly

When you’re in a relationship with someone who consistently treats you bad, you might form a trauma bond with that person. Once this occurs, you may find it too difficult to remove them from your life. This type of attachment is a psychological reaction that occurs in our brain.

A trauma bond will form when there is a frequent cycle of bad behaviour followed by positive reinforcement. It causes a person to have an unhealthy attachment for their partner. Even though a guy may treat his girlfriend badly, he will later proclaim his love for her.

This can cause a woman to feel extremely conflicted when it comes to thinking about letting a boyfriend go.

Not only this, if a girl has been with her significant other for a while, she might possess the fear that she may end up alone, and never meet someone else again.

Relationships require investment. To make the decision to leave your partner even though they treat you badly will cause you to think about how much you’ve put in the relationship. This can sometimes stagnate a woman to make her final decision to end a relationship.


What are the top 5 things a woman looks for in a man?

A lot of the time, men think women are only concerned about a guys physical appearance. However, leading experts have found that this is not the case. A guy’s aesthetics will be the first sign of compatibility. However, if he doesn’t possess one the following leading characteristics, women can find it difficult to progress into a relationship.

These are; confidence, humour, compassion, trustworthiness and kindness. 

Do girls like nice guys?

In a study posted by ScienceDirect, they found that a guys non-physical attributes had a drastic influence on who women perceive as ‘attractive’. When asked what they’re looking for in a male, the predominant answer is respect and comfortability.


When a girl likes a guy who treats her badly, there are numerous different reasons why she may be drawn to poor behaviour. She might find that he excites her, or, she feels as though the tough guy is going to protect her more so than the nice guy.

Women are drawn to the guys that make them feel unsure of whether or not they like them. They crave the uncertainty. Once a man becomes too easy to attain, his value will decrease. She will no longer feel attraction towards him.

Although this behaviour is what women might chase in the moment, in the long-term, they’re aware that a bad boy may not be the most suitable partner to build a life with.

(Quiz question; do relationships affect people who are neurotic?) Send us your answer through the reply box below.

Why Do Girls Like Guys Who Treat Them Badly: The Psychology

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