And there may be all sorts of other reasons why some people end up dating “bad people”. They may be repeating patterns of behaviour they’ve become used to in past relationships or they may find the world of dating stressful and end up making bad decisions. Or they may simply have bought into myths of dating and behave accordingly. But, for the most part, the evidence suggests that both women and men prefer nice partners and are turned off by jerks.
The problem with the nice-guys-finish-last stereotype, aside from going against the grain of years of scientific evidence, is that it may compromise the possibility of forming meaningful relationships. Perpetuating this myth not only creates unhelpful expectations about how we should behave, but trying to live up to the myth can sometimes damage relationships.
In the end, the idea that women want to date bad boys really just reinforces the misogynist’s idea of deceitful women and earnest “nice” men baffled by their lack of dating success. It allows some men to blame and hate women as a means of deflecting attention away from their own shortcomings. So, if you’re looking to science for some advice, it’s simple: be nice.