The simplest definition I’ve heard of a bad boy is that he’s any guy who’s bad for you, period. I like that definition — it fits well.
The problem is that while a fling with a bad boy can be fun, bad boys are the junk food of the dating world. They’re good for a quick bite in a pinch, but bad for your long term health. And as any dating advice will tell you, ending up in a toxic relationship is something to avoid at all costs.
Here are 10 signs you’ve hooked a bad boy and why you should run before you get your heart broken.
1. He fails to follow through.
He might say that he’ll call or go out with you, but when the time comes, he flakes. He often comes up with lame excuses later, but somehow manages to make up for it just enough to get you to see him another time.
If you call him out on it, he is only slightly apologetic, or acts like you’re the one who is making a big deal out of it.
2. He’s a lone wolf.
You haven’t met his friends or family, and he seems committed to keeping it that way. He doesn’t really talk much about either group. When you ask about his family, he remains tight-lipped and changes the subject.
3. He keeps you off balance.
He should have knobs on his forehead that say “hot” and “cold.” No behavior of his is too small for him to be unpredictable with. One minute you two are in bed, and the next, you’re wondering if he’s disappeared completely.
You can’t get a read on what is happening between the two of you at all since there is no identifiable pattern to your interactions. Late nights are spent talking to your girlfriends, trying to analyze his behavior.
4. He seems to have a pack of women following him.
Even if you’ve never seen or met these women, you can just feel it. When you’re around, he seems interested enough in you, but something about him gives you that feeling that there are other women waiting in the wings.
He may intentionally give you this impression or it may just be a feeling that you get.
5. He has a lot of baggage.
Abusive childhood? Check. Horrible past relationships? Check. Sob stories about being “misunderstood”? Check.
Bad boys often make us feel like if we could just get close to them, we could somehow “fix it” with our love and make their deep well of pain go away. Whether he’s really feeling pain or not, this is a masterful technique, since he manages to just make you feel bad enough for him that you want to stick around and make excuses for his bad behavior.
If he’s “too raw” from his last relationship to call you and follow through with plans, you might have hooked a bad boy.
6. He’s allergic to planning.
The bad boy holds out for the “bigger, better deal” when it comes to plans. This is why he’s so resistant to nailing things down in advance.
He isn’t concerned with scheduling dates since it leaves him in a position to cancel if he meets someone else or simply doesn’t feel like seeing you. He’d rather fly by the seat of his pants and “surprise” you when he’s feeling the urge.
7. He suggests a lot of “hanging out.”
The “date” isn’t really something that he’s interested in, per se. He’d rather suggest that you both “hang out” at his place or yours, so that there is less financial investment, formality and obligation.
It’s also easier to take your clothes off at his house while watching Bewitched than it is while you’re dining at Le Cirque.
8. He will tell you he’s too conflicted/damaged/busy for a relationship.
The bad boy is perpetually “conflicted” about relationships. He will wax poetic about how he just “can’t do a relationship,” but he’ll keep calling you and trying to hang out. It’s a classic case of him doing one thing and saying another.
He might make you feel like you’re the only one for him, while telling you that he “just got hurt too badly” to start a relationship. When anyone says they don’t want a relationship with you, believe them and run fast.
9. He’s selfish and indifferent.
At no time do you sense that he puts your needs over his own. He’s selfish and indifferent to your feelings.
When you get upset with him over his unpredictable behavior or anything else, he shakes it off. It just doesn’t seem to bother him that you’re upset with him or that he’s responsible for causing a problem.
10. The bedroom is hot.
Bad boys are pros in the sack, which is a massive reason why women even get hooked in the first place. Bedroom prowess alone obviously isn’t a sign that a guy is a bad boy, since tons of good men are wonderful in bed.
But sexual bravado combined with the other signs on this list could signal that you have a problem on your hands.
Elizabeth Stone is an author, love coach and founder of Attract The One. If you keep failing at dead-end relationships with men who dump, ghost and disrespect you, get a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and daily email series.
This article was originally published at Digital Romance Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.