It is the underlying plot of almost every romantic comedy out there: woman meets nice, kind Mr. Right. Mr. Right falls in love with woman, woman meets dark, brooding, unavailable Mr. Bad Guy and finds herself obsessed, smitten – She can’t stop thinking about him and can’t let him go.
Why, when presented with these two options, do we find ourselves specifically drawn to the man we can’t have? Why can’t we see past our obsession with the nice, cute, sweet, interesting and available man that is going out of our way to catch our attention? Why does the rebellious ‘bad boy’ persona draw us in so quickly?
There are many theories for why this happens. George Loewenstein, an American educator, and economist created the Information Gap Theory. This states that we are ruled by the unknown factor of our curiosity. When a situation occurs, this curiosity monopolizes our thoughts, haunting us with the ‘what if’ factor.
Dr. Helen Fisher, Ph.D. a biological anthropologist, along with a team of her colleagues, studied the brains of 15 college-aged men and women and came to a very different conclusion. They explained that being rejected by an object of our affection stimulates the same part of our brains as that which is witnessed in the minds of a drug addict, where the person rejecting us is our drug of choice. This part of the brain is associated with reward, addiction, cravings, motivation, and happiness.
Following this theory, one could explain their attraction to the ‘bad boy’ as being just as strong and difficult to fight as that of a drug addict. We are drawn subconsciously, and may not even be aware of this attraction!
Don’t forget the importance of the human ego! It is a known fact that many people struggle with anything that may challenge their ego, and the idea that someone would not reciprocate our feelings is a huge blow! We, in turn, obsess over our pursuit as we are determined to show the world that we aren’t actually being rejected.
The idea of pursuing someone to this degree, and ultimately winning over the object of our affection would, in turn, result in a huge boost to our self-esteem, illustrating our sexual prowess. There is no better way to show just how desirable we are than to have someone clearly prove that no one is immune to our power.
Whatever the reason, this pattern is extremely common and something that we should be aware of! If you are aware that you are looking for someone for a longer-term relationship, someone you can settle down and build a life with, it would benefit you to consider going outside of your comfort zone, discarding mere initial attraction and looking deeper, focusing on the bigger picture of the people in our lives. Know that ‘Mr. Right’ may be right under your nose.