What is a “Bad Guy”?

Q: Do bad guys ever eventually become good guys?

A. Depends on what you mean by “bad guy”.

I get a lot of advice from 40-something women about not spending too much time with bad boys. But 20-somethings want to know, what is a bad guy…and can they morph into a good guy?  Many 40-somethings have learned the hard way that you can’t change a guy …but can they change themselves?  I’ve gotten a lot of answers on whether bad guys can turn good from my amazing panel of 40-something women. I will provide their answers over a few posts this week. But to start, I loved this 40-something woman’s response to the first part of the question which answers..what makes a guy a “Bad Guy”.

“Bad boys grow up and either turn into men, or get stuck in a rut where they never actually mature at all. Whether they are “good” or “bad” later in life, is really open to interpretation and depends on how you handle it and what you want from a mate.

The real question is… what is it that makes them “bad” and what does this mean for you if you manage to reel in this beast? There are many types of bad boys, but in my experience these are the most common: The Overgrown Frat Boy, The Non-Conformist, and of course, The Player… where does yours fall?

The Overgrown Frat Boy: Is he “bad” because he drinks and parties too much?  Bad boy partiers can be really fun, which is attractive, yet it can be frustrating if you prefer to “stay in” more. From what I have seen, you need to give these men the freedom to continue their social antics, or these guys will start to resent you.  The question is, are you cool with that?… as it may never completely change. Can you deal with this if you ever have kids? Think about yourself at home taking care of the kids while he’s at a sports bar for every sporting event drinking beer with his buddies. If it’s drinking along with recreational drug use that is “bad” as this could get worse (see Sheen, Charlie) and simply because our 40 year old bodies can’t handle an all night bender the way it used to. I would say, of all the bad boys, he is the most likely to change, and it will probably happen when he holds that first bundle of love in his arms (not when he walks down the aisle).

The Non-conformist: Is he “bad” because he does not want to conform to corporate society and wants to be a rock star, a writer or an artist? I married one of these guys.  He tried to change himself, because he wasn’t having success as a writer, and changed careers to make more money.  He ended up being miserable and blaming it on me.  I never asked him to change. Don’t try to talk a non-conformist into giving up their dreams, and don’t let them give up on themselves (that was my mistake!).  I think this type could potentially be a “good guy” as long as they have an outlet to pursue their passion. However, marriage in itself is a kind of conformity, so this bad boy may wake up one day, and like the Talking Heads song, he may ask himself “How Did I Get Here?” If this happens he may have a sudden mid-life crisis. I’d give this guy a 50/50 chance of changing.

The Player: Watch out for these guys. Players rarely change. Every couple is unique, and some women can tolerate if their mate has a one-night stand, but if you want physical commitment from this guy, you can probably forget it.  Some players can give you emotional but not physical commitment.  You have to decide, is that enough for you?  Long-term… it could be a problem.

The bottom line is, you can’t really change a person, and the qualities that make them “bad” may actually be the very qualities that attracted you to him in the first place.  One more piece of advice: enjoy these guys in your youth, you don’t necessarily have to marry them, and they can make for great memories and life-long learning experiences!!”

– Lisa, New Jersey, 40 yo mom of 2, Freelance web developer, currently working on a novel

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