How To Stop Dating Bad Boys, Because There’s Nothing Lonelier Than Dating Someone Who's Emotionally Unavailable

When I was 16, I started dating a bad boy. Four years my senior, he brought me bags of weed and tied daisies to each of my toes. My mother hated him. He kept our relationship a secret from his friends for months. We went to weird electronic music shows all over the eastern seaboard and stayed out all night. We broke up and had spectacular reunions. We wound up living in Colorado together for a short time.

For years, this was my type. Photographers, musicians, artists. Men who wore ripped-up jeans and smoked unfiltered cigarettes and drank whiskey and beer. Moody men who spent more money on clothes than I did, who made strong espresso in fancy machines in the morning and got asymmetrical haircuts and could not communicate to save their lives.

I don’t suggest this. That said, I’m not sure there’s any way to cure oneself of the compulsion to date (sexy) people who are emotionally unavailable, verbally withholding or otherwise difficult — other than doing it for long enough that it becomes tiresome.

Here are a few reasons why dating this type is no longer part of my life, and why I suggest we all issue bad boys/girls a massive time-out.

1. It’s one thing to share a cigarette at a party, but living with a smoker is not pretty.

Slowly all of my clothes began to smell faintly of stale smoke. Men already die statistically earlier than women; why did he feel the need to speed up the process with American Spirits?

2. There’s nothing lonelier than dating someone and not being able to deeply connect to them.

Sure, it can be exciting to date this type of person. But at the end of the day, when you’re back at your place debriefing from a long workday/friend’s party/yoga class and they're giving you a blank look, it’s significantly less exciting.

3. It probably won’t be super fun to introduce him/her to your family.

When my mother met my last bad boy, she pulled me aside and said, “He’s deadly!” Well, thanks, Mom. But all sexiness aside, he could never really look my mother in the eye. This made for some awkward family gatherings.

4. People will hit on him/her in front of you.

You might think this would be an ego-boost, but it's not actually fun.

5. It’s unlikely that you’ll have that much in common.

I shared love for certain artists or musicians or writers with these men. Maybe we both loved breakfast burritos or seaweed salads or tacos. But in the end, we really weren’t of the same ilk.

I’m grateful for all of my relationships, and I’m glad I had the experiences I did with this type. They were at turns exciting, hilarious and sometimes devastating — people whom I wish the best and would be happy to run into on the street. And they are in my past.

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