No, but we think we do. As someone who dated a jerk, whom I now refer to as my "learning experience," I admit to falling under the jerk spell.
Here's how the jerk spell works: we meet the jerk and in some twisted way are seduced by his confidence, charm, and passion. We don't see these as the disguises they are: confidence is really arrogance, charm comes from him being a player, and his passion is being the center of his own universe.
The jerk sniffs out our insecurities and uses them to reel us in with compliments that eventually turn into criticisms.
The jerk sniffs out our insecurities and uses them to reel us in with compliments that eventually turn into criticisms. And if we see a red flag, like the time my "learning experience" told me his definition of a relationship was "light, fun and physical," we play mind games with ourselves. We use our normally rational inner voice to convince ourselves that we can tame him or that with the right kind of girlfriend he will lose his jerk armor and transform into a leading man fit for a romantic comedy. Come on ladies, what are we thinking?!
A jerk loves being a jerk -- way more than he loves us. I guess if they've always gotten away with treating people poorly and nobody ever set them straight, why would they change? Besides, a jerk seems to always have an attractive woman on his arm laughing at his mediocre jokes and ignoring his wandering gaze. How? I think it's because deep down every woman wants a challenge or a little danger. It's not really the jerk we like; it's the thrill of the chase, the rush of adrenaline when the jerk's phone number pops up on our cell (which is usually right after last call).
However, it's been my experience that "jerkdom" isn't some phase we can pull a guy out of. Guys only outgrow that phase when life no longer succumbs to their demands. Any woman who has dated a jerk for more than a week knows that it's a hollow relationship that ultimately leaves you disappointed, hurt, and commiserating with your friends.
The only challenge worth overcoming when dating a jerk is to not let him affect or define your self worth. So if there is a jerk out there making your heart go pitter-pat and estrogen is messing with your reasoning, go ahead and let him woo you, but when he asks for your number tell him that you only date guys who prove their value by respecting a woman. If he's a jerk he'll roll his eyes, say you have an attitude and snicker as he leaves. If he sincerely accepts your ground rules, then chances are you should give him at least one date to prove he's relationship material. Although you may not be spellbound at first, the nice guy without all the smooth answers may ultimately fulfill your needs in more meaningful ways.
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As much as I hate to say it, girls love jerks! At least until the jerk stops calling, which is usually right after he gets what he wants. Speaking from the guy's perspective, I've never quite understood what draws sane, attractive, bright women to guys who act like jerks. Maybe it is the thrill of the unexpected. Maybe it is trying to outplay him in his own game. Maybe it is hoping that deep down he is a nice guy and you are going to prove it to your naysayer friends. What I do know is that too many women who could easily be in a healthy relationship instead choose the cliffhanger ending of dating a jerk that walks with a swagger, winks at anything that moves, and always has a one-liner at the ready.
Truth be told, there aren't many nice guys who haven't considered acting like a jerk, especially when they steal your girl (here I speak from experience). However, daydreaming of jerkdom fades as soon as nice guys remember one thing: being a jerk means acting like a jerk all the time. That means causing the mental pain and emotional anguish that drives a girl to phone her friends -- guy friends included -- crying about what the jerk did to her in public on their first date. Even guys bear the brunt of girls who fall head over heels for jerks.
If you're a girl who feels worse about yourself with every jerk you date, I hope you will make a big move towards respecting yourself and go on a date with a nice guy. They may not offer the drama and constant criticism you've come to expect, but they also won't try to hook up with you after dropping off their other girlfriend. And if you are having trouble distinguishing between a jerk and a nice guy, here are three ways to tell:
1. He's probably a jerk if he tells you to skip desert because your butt already jiggles enough.
2. He's definitely a jerk if he "guilts" you into doing things that make you feel bad about yourself -- usually starting with the line "If you really cared about me..."
3. He's absolutely a jerk if he takes you on a date and leaves you the bill, while he leaves with the waitress.
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