Why Do Women Date Losers?

man picking nose

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When I was in my twenties, I knew a beautiful and smart college educated woman who was madly in love with a guy who had no job, no education, and had engaged in more fights than genuine accomplishments.

We’ve addressed issues like why do women like jerks? We’ve even given an entire presentation on the topic. A lot of people can at least see why women would find an exciting bad boy attractive.

But, what about the pathetic loser that a lot of women date and stick with even though he’s unemployed, has several jail stints, and is extremely physically unattractive?

So, based on my experience, here I answer the question: why do women date losers?

He’s a Former Bad Boy

Scratch the surface of a loser and you’ll often find a bad boy underneath (or the shell of a bad boy).  Bad boy traits such as recklessness, rebellion, and criminality don’t exactly lend themselves to success in the modern world. So, when a woman falls for a guy who’s a bad boy at eighteen, he doesn’t age well.

By the time he’s in his late twenties, this alleged bad boy might be missing teeth, addicted to drugs, chronically unemployed, and flabby. In other words, he’s a loser. But, in spite of that new fact…

Breaking Attraction is Harder Than You Think

The brain loves familiarity and routine. It also bonds us to individuals through various brain chemicals. The brain releases dopamine early in a relationship to create that “infatuation” feeling. Women bond to men in a long-term way through oxytocin, and this chemical creates a powerful bond. In fact, it is the chemical that creates the bond a woman has with her child.

Women typically bonded to these loser men early, back when they may not have been losers (at least in the eyes of the women). However, breaking the bond of love is emotionally painful for the brain.

It literally can create withdrawal and anxiety (even panic attacks). The girl may know rationally that he’s horrible for her, but she fears the emotional pain that comes from ending the relationship. Or, she might have developed codependent behaviors. So, in some sick and twisted way, taking care of this man meets needs.

The Mothering Instinct

This may not seem like a good answer because it should only apply to kids. But, it’s not always the case. Women have evolved to be especially good at nurturing and caring. Those traits come more naturally for women than men. It’s why there are more female counselors and grade school teachers.

However, sometimes this nurturing, mothering instinct goes beyond children and applies to, well, loser men. I’ve heard women who dated losers (and even abusive ones) tell me, in complete sincerity, that they were the only ones who understood him and could help him. They take on the responsibility of “saving” a grown man.

Saving a horrible and abusive grown man sounds mentally sick (and is), but oxytocin doesn’t just create romantic bonds, but as I mentioned, mother/child bonds. So, romantic love within a woman can be much more complicated than just sexual attraction. A woman could have a deep romantic desire to save a man and her brain chemistry tells her it’s normal and even noble. So, a woman might have the same difficulty abandoning a troubled man as much as she does letting go of a troubled child.

Low Self-Esteem

Most people have issues with self-esteem, including women. They genuinely believe they cannot land another man even if they try. So, they stick with the current loser in the sincere belief that they don’t deserve anyone else.

This isn’t a run of the mill type of low confidence either. These could be beautiful women who, for whatever reason, feel deep down they don’t deserve better. The issue is more than simply talking her out of being with a loser; rather it’s a fundamental personality issue.

She’s A Loser

Many men have trouble admitting that a beautiful girl with a loser guy could be…gasp…a loser herself. The “Halo Effect” is strong with pretty women. Guys assume that because she is pretty, or wears glasses, or whatever, that she must be nice and innocent. Plenty of women use drugs, make poor decisions that jeopardize the health and well-being of others, and are physically and emotionally abusive. So, make no mistake, a woman who dates losers probably isn’t good at making decisions. David wrote more extensively about this topic here.

How To Handle Women Who Date Losers

If you’re a guy, when you see a woman dating a loser, don’t get worked up about it. Complaining about her boyfriend choices will usually be totally fruitless. No woman will be lectured into dating you over a loser. You will likely just make her defensive and come up with new and creative reasons to continue dating him.

Instead, be excellent and attractive. This blog has tips. Our book offers many, many more. Attract her to you and show her how being with you is a far more exciting and attractive alternative. Get her evolutionarily programmed attraction buttons focused on you instead.

Avoid the temptation to be a “white knight” trying to save your female friends. Sadly, if she chooses guys you consider to be losers over you, then let her have the results of her choices. Be a good friend and supportive, but don’t expect to rush in and “save” her from herself. And, don’t gloat over her choices. You may make bad choices at some point, and you don’t want judged.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, dating expert, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and he has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal.


  1. The Real Answer says:

    well with many women being such Losers themselves these days, they certainly fit right in with the Loser Guys.

  2. Nailed it. Especially with No. 1 and 2.

  3. I’d also add another point: they crave the drama, and losers tend to give them lots of it.

  4. TheRealHonestTrueAnswer says:

    Speaking of Losers, Career women are the Biggest Losers of them all since many of them carry their Greed And Selfishness with them wherever they go. Quite a Change in the women of today compared to the real Good old fashioned women that we once had years ago that are all gone now Unfortunately which is why many of us Good men are still Single today.

  5. Want to see a typical woman-getting-hooked-on-loser-guy relationship, netflix episodes 6 and 8 of 30 Rock’s season 1.

  6. It’s tough not to judge women who date losers because even though they always seem to complain about the losers they date, they tend to only date losers & push decent men away. The most interesting thing is that they tend to treat men how they are treated…even thought they complain. The sad thing is that their lack of self & situational awareness seems systemic & is reflected in many areas of their life & decisions which tends to make them incapable of committing to a healthy relationship, so though it might be disappointing in some cases & I understand them, I just choose to offer friendship but won’t date women like that based on personal experience, but mostly from observation with people I know.

    • I’m sorry to say that but you’re part of the problem, D01. Friendship from guys like you is the safety net every woman needs to date losers.

      Women need three things: sex, a shoulder to cry on, and a provider. Let’s put provider aside as it’s irrelevant to this. Many (the emotionally immature and hedonists/thrill-seekers especially) will typically want to get sex with the most thrilling guys, and thrilling guys come with a lot of problems, and so what they need concomitantly to this is a sexless, platonic guy they can vent to about their lover. And the more readily available those guys are, the more white knights there are (think of Forrest Gump when he got all upset when that girl was being hit by her hot badboy boyfriend) the wider and stronger the safety net for many girls to seek the most thrilling, out-of-the-box, lover-type guys and get it on with them.

      By the way, the platonic shopping guys who listen to women complain about the studs they’re getting shagged by are the true losers in the biological sense, right up there with the cuckold provider.

      • Very well stated Tim thank you. I had a “friend” (who I’ve stood up for and never spoke ill of) white knight my girlfriend this weekend. Talked trash about me, made her feel bad for how horrible women treat him, and played the good guy. Meanwhile I’m sick, and wondering why he hasn’t been returning my texts for months. The bad part is my beautiful girlfriend knew what was going on and acted like it wasn’t weird that he responds to every text she’s sent and not one of mine? she wanted to make me jealous, and would be happier if I kicked his ass rather than if I didn’t. I just want someone who is honest and loyal, but beauty pulls me in and often times blinds me, until the same patterns start to appear again. They are both self centered and only care about their own needs. It makes me sad and truly depresses me that people are like this. I have faults, but I can’t imagine treating a loved one badly or being unkind on purpose.

        • I wouldn’t worry too much about the guy. Whiteknights aren’t usually that respected by the women they chat with — they’re generally just used to vent, or as you said perhaps to make you jealous.

          If your friend betrayed you like this then it’s time to end it with him. And if girlfriend keeps blatantly playing these games to make you jealous and toy with you, tell her assertively knock it off.

          Also, don’t give her everything she says she wants and don’t be at her beck and call; she says she wants a guy like that but they end up growing bored with him when he does. Just do you thing and have her participate in your life and endeavors from time to time when you feel like it. That’s the type of guy they love (as opposed to the type they say they love).

          If she doesn’t get on with the program, and if she won’t quit with the jealousy games, send her packing.

          My two cents. Best of luck, buddy!

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