The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Why nice guys actually do finish last

Do women really want bad boys, or is dependability a more attractive trait?

By Kristin Wong Apr 30, 2013 5:17PM

As the loving girlfriend of a classic nice guy, I've never quite understood the complaint that they finish last. "Girls always want bad boys," my male friends often lament. "I feel like I should be a jerk just to get dates."

Photo: Guy helping girl up tree / Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images Admittedly, the stats support their claim. A 2012 University of Texas study found that ovulating women view bad boys as better mating partners. In 2011, researchers from Notre Dame and Cornell found a link between "agreeableness" and low earnings for men. And a poll from that same year found that women do indeed have a thing for broody boys.

More on MSN Living: Funniest save the dates from Pinterest

So what's the deal? Why do some women fall for rebellious dudes and not their nice, dependable counterparts? 

Dating and relationship expert Lucia says there are two main reasons. She tells MSN Living’s The Heart Beat:

“Nice guys don't set boundaries. They let women get away with everything and agree with anything they say or want to do. Women don't respect men who behave like doormats and can't be attracted to men they don't respect.”
She adds, “Nice guys don’t appear to be as confident as ‘bad boys.’” Confidence is a crucial trait when it comes to attractiveness, Lucia says.
In an article for YourTango.com, she also says that being too nice can be counterproductive: “No one can always be that nice unless they're a saint. They are busy being nice instead of being real, and women instinctually don't trust that."

More on MSN Living: Funniest wedding invitations from Pinterest

Nice guys will argue that women simply crave excitement. Lucia doesn't disagree.

"Women are attracted to bad boys for a multitude of reasons, only one of which is challenge.  The type of women who are interested in the challenge are generally younger, have a low self-esteem and/or are afraid of intimacy and don't want a real relationship.”

But there's hope yet. Researchers Geoffrey Urbaniak and Peter Kilmann authored "Physical Attractiveness and the 'Nice Guy Paradox': Do Nice Guys Really Finish Last?" In that study, they found that kindness is the most important trait women seek when choosing a serious partner.

"Niceness appeared to be the most salient factor when it came to desirability for more serious relationships, whereas physical attractiveness appeared more important in terms of desirability for more casual, sexual relationships."

When it comes to dating, perhaps bad boys have the advantage, though this study seems to find it's more about looks than anything else. But when it comes to the long haul, women do indeed fall for kindness and agreeability.

Bing: This kind of man is more likely to cheat, study finds

“Everything in life is about balance,” Lucia says. “Guys who are too nice need to understand that the ideal man is neither a bad boy nor a nice guy but a combination of both.”

More from The Heart Beat:

Sex survey says women are better than men in bed
Airline plays matchmaker with passengers

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest.

Photo: Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images

Apr 25, 2014 10:21PM
You know what... f*ck you! I don't f*cking know what a "good guy" is, all I know is that I'm tired of this feeling of loneliness of being like a ****ing hankerchief for women that don't see beyond their scars, so I smile, Hug, help, I vanish, rinse and repeat... well you know whom of this girls have been there for me when I'm broken? zero, even minus one... even my own mum... and this pressure on my chest like concentrated tears was killing me sometimes it felt like dying and wanting it, destroying me:  I ... I understand now why men like me change into abusive ****s... I didn't understand... so f*ck this... I'll just stay away really f*cking away this time, there are a lot of  people in the world that really need of me to be more than a ****ing crybaby, people that don't have what to eat, the saddest of this is that there is no one to blame but myself... I' am so ****ing retarded... unfit... But I won't transform any single bite of me into the kind of men I hate just for "love", I'd rather die... so your combination for an ideal man is a total dick.
May 13, 2013 7:49PM
This isn't very uplifting for the "nice guy".  To put it another way, when women are at their hottest, most care free, most interested in unencumbered relationships, they want the "bad boy".  However, once they are done with the casual sex thing, and they want to settle down and get into the emotional and financial support phase of relationships, they will turn to the "nice guy".  So after 5, 10, 30, failed relationship attempts, the girl finally settles for the "nice guy"?  And the "nice guy" gets the girl with the emotional baggage that the "bad boy" left sitting on the train platform?
May 4, 2013 4:08PM
It's amazing.  I've been reading the comments users have left.  So long as the comment misogynistic it's thumbs up and congratulatory all the way around.  Soon as individuals start commenting that men are exactly the same, the haters come out.
May 4, 2013 7:06AM
This is a stupid article. There is a difference between nice guys and doormats. You can be a nice guy but not be stupid or gullible or easily manipulated.
May 4, 2013 5:35AM
That's a lot of words to say "Women are dirty whores."
May 4, 2013 4:26AM
When I was younger I didn't act right or treat women as well as I do now, that was mostly from being young and immature. But on the other hand, I never had to try to get girls then, they fell over left and right even though I didn't really care for them. Too many women get caught up in the "bad boy" thing and then get their hearts broken and then bash men. Ladies make better decisions, the bad boy may seem fun, but he doesn't care about you.
May 4, 2013 4:24AM
I ran the nice guy track for years. No one stayed around very long.  I changed to love them and leave them. Even today at 83 it still works.  I got a girl pregnant and married her 57 year ago. Seven ex girl friends followed me around for years.  Where were they when I was a nice guy and treated my women as would be wifes with respect. Two still issue me invitation.  All Others of the seven  have passed on.  One of which has never married.   I just don't understand it even today.
May 4, 2013 4:06AM
My experience has been that most women really don't know what they want, or else they won't admit to what they want.  So a nice guy tries to give them what they say they want, but half the time that's not it.  And the bad boys just do whatever they please and just by sheer luck and chance quite often they hit the mark, no pun intended. 
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Sign placement/"10 Most Outrageous Wedding Photos"/Photo: Brooke Aliceon Photography

    10 outrageous wedding photos

    The typical wedding: A white dress, tiered cake, floral centerpieces and a cute flower girl -- you know the drill. Every once in a while, though, a couple trades in tradition for a quirky, never-seen-that-before idea. Here are a few of the most out-there wedding photos that made us do a double take.

  • Hot wedding trends for fall

    9 hot wedding trends for fall

    There's a lot to love about weddings this fall, like cocktails served in copper Moscow mule mugs, industrial-inspired lighting and pheasant feather details. See what's new!

  • Monique Pean Mineraux diamond and rose gold ring, $3,400; barneys.com

    Why single ladies are rocking a wedding ring

    Do you have to be engaged to sport a ring with bling?

  • ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images //  ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images (​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images)

    Majority of Americans are single

    124.6 million haven't gotten hitched.

  • least expensive places to get married

    These are the 25 least expensive places to get married in America

    Even though the national average wedding is $29,858, that’s just an average. If you live in a smaller state like Idaho where the average wedding costs $16,159, you may find yourself saving a little more than half of the national spend! Check out some of the other least expensive cities to get married in below:

  • M Swiet Productions, Getty Images // M Swiet Productions, Getty Images (M Swiet Productions, Getty Images)

    Americans have nostalgia for summer romance

    Summer is winding down, but the ubiquitous summer romance lives on.

  • 8 signs it's time to break up

    8 signs it’s definitely time to break up

    For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.

  • Actor/"Why we love an older man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love an older man

    He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.

  • Actor/"Why we love a younger man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love a younger man

    While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.

  • Other woman (Courtesy YourTango)

    5 reasons the other woman slept with your man

    Have you ever wondered what the 'other woman' was thinking?

  • Apple picking

    6 fun fall date ideas

    So fall is coming and you need some romantic inspiration now that long walks on the beach are out of the question. Well look no further! From apple picking to pumpkin carving, these are some great fall date ideas from girls just like you!

  • Go to a theme park

    8 cute celeb date ideas

    Getting bored of the same dinner and movie date night? Take an adorable cue from your favorite celebs and try something new! From dancing to boxing you can't go wrong with these awesome date ideas.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat