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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.

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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."

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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

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Photo: Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images

206Comments
May 13, 2013 7:49PM
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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
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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
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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
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That's a lot of words to say "Women are dirty whores."
May 4, 2013 4:26AM
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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
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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
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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. 
May 4, 2013 3:52AM
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I've been married for 30 years and I've treated my wife with respect and a lady.  We love each other.  Marriage isn't drama, it's reality.  Having common goals but not necessarily agreeing on everything, and give and take is what makes a relationship work.  I'll be honest with you it hasn't been easy, there are good times and bad.  Those are part of the vows you take most people do anyways.  One important thing I forgot to add, we believe in GOD we go to church every Sunday and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
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