It's been the subject of many bad romance movies, trashy romance novels and perhaps countless women's diaries: Bad Boy Syndrome, that tendency to be attracted to the boys your mother warned you about.

The fact that some women are indeed attracted to men they know are likely to hurt them was made official by Harlequin publishers in their survey of nearly 1,000 U.S.women. They found that:
  • 21 percent of women 35 and older would rather take a chance with a bad boy than date someone slow and steady
  • 31 percent of women with children younger than 18 would take a chance with a bad boy (compared with 16 percent of women without kids)


Anecdotally, at least, many say the reason bad boys are so attractive is their outward shows of confidence, independence and masculinity, which some women find desirable.

At least one study has also proven that ovulating women say dominant men smell better, which may suggest that preferring a dominant, bad-boy type may have something to do with producing healthy, strong offspring.

Bad boy syndrome could also be popular because dating a bad boy can give a woman a taste of the riskier side of life, without actually having to delve in too deeply herself. In that way it’s a falsely “safe” way to take a risk.

No matter what the reason, of course, being attracted to a bad boy is only a “bad” thing if it drives you to be hurt in the end.

“Women and men are often attracted to the people that they know intellectually are not right for them,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. “We allow our emotions, based on past experiences, to dictate our responses.”

“This happens partially because we say to ourselves, ‘I will never date this type of person again.’ Yet the mind can only create what you picture and it cannot picture never, not or don’t,” he continues. “So when you are saying to yourself ‘I’ll never do this again,’ your mind pictures you doing it again and again.”

Further, people are creatures of habit, and if you’re used to dating a certain type of person, chances are you’ll gravitate toward that type again.

“We tend to cling to the familiar rather than open ourselves to something new, based on a false sense of security,” Dwoskin says. “Lastly, if we don’t feel like we are enough within ourselves, we attract partners who reflect that back to us.”

How to Break the “Bad Boy Syndrome” Cycle

Most women would describe the typical “bad boy” as having confidence that borders on cockiness, arrogance or machismo. Yet, these are far from the qualities that most women would say they are looking for in along-term partner. (Harlequin's international survey actually found that honor goes to sense of humor, for both men and women.)

So, if you know you are someone who has bad boy syndrome -- who has a tendency to be attracted to men or women that are not looking out for your best interests -- how do you break the cycle?

Get to know the principles of The Sedona Method, and use them to release, a lot.

“The best way to break this cycle is to release,” Dwoskin says. “Release your past hurts and disappointments. Release your negative expectations. And release any feelings that are telling you that you are not enough or can't have the right partner for you.”

As you release, you'll find that you don't need any certain type of mate, you are simply whole and free as you are. From there, you'll be able to let go of the insecurities and past expectations that have been leading you to choose the wrong type of person for you.

“This will naturally allow you to attract Mr. or Mrs. Right,” Dwoskin says.

Best of all, the more you learn to let go, the more self-confidence you’ll feel and the easier, and more fun, dating will be. You will also become more in-tune with who YOU are, and that is ultimately what most women want.

The Harlequin survey found that only 3 percent of women felt that finding "Mr. Right" was more important than finding themselves.