10 Tell-Tale Signs You’re Dating A Bad Boy (And How To Handle It)


signs you're dating a bad boy, dating a bad boy, dating a player

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. Good for a quick bite in a pinch, but bad for your long term health.

Here are 10 signs you’ve hooked a bad boy before it’s too late.

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 having hot, ridiculously good bad-boy sex 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’s got 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 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 toward you.

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 sizzling 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

About Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone is a bestselling author, head love coach and founder of Attract The One and Luxe Self.

Through her coaching, writing and online programs she has helped thousands of women reunite with their men and create amazing, soul-level connections. She is thrilled to have helped so many couples reignite the spark in their relationships.

Tirelessly focused on helping people improve their love lives, her work has gone viral on Your Tango and Thought Catalog as well as been featured on EHarmony, Zoosk, Popsugar, The Good Men Project, Tiny Buddha, Bustle, Fox News Magazine, Ravishly, She Knows, Mind’s Journal, Read Unwritten, Madame Noire, Digital Romance Inc. and many more.


  1. Susan

    May 28, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I “dated” a bad boy for almost 3 years. I thought we had something special, at least had become friends. We shared a lot of wonderful times together. Then about 6 months ago he started to change. Ignoring my messages, always busy. Then I caught him in a lie and said something. That was it. The next message I received was, “your things are outside go pick them up”. That was the last I heard from him. Broke my heart!

    • Elizabeth Stone

      Elizabeth Stone

      May 28, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Usually jerks can’t hold it together for longer than about 6 months. I’m so sorry you went through that, but with what you described– it sounds like you really dodged a bullet.

      Sending you love!

    • Jimdandy

      December 6, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Funny how “bum” is used interchangeably with the term “bad boy.” These aren’t typically the James Dean typr after all. Rather, these are losers… ne’er-do-wells who are a few dollars from being on the street. I guess its ego-protective for women to try to describe them in a way that makes them more desirable.

  2. Ann

    January 3, 2016 at 11:08 am

    I started to notice that this guy always liked my pictures and would make sweet comments, then I was being bullied by a different guy( whom I had rejected), and he immediately came to my defense. Well, we started messaging each other on Facebook and I knew he was seeing someone, but I didn’t know the status at that point, he started calling and texting me, and said if he knew that I had liked him( I had a brief crush on him years earlier), that he and I would be together. Things continued, and we finally meet up at my house, it was instant burning, passionate, and intense chemistry. He left, but came over again about a week later, and we had incredibly amazing sex. I got sick and was hospitalized and he kept in constant contact. He then ( when I was released, I have Renal kidney disease) told me how beautiful I was and a lot of sweet charming text and calls. I then discovered that he had a girlfriend that he had been with 4 years and lived with, in her house. I was devastated, he told me he loved me so much and we were so perfect for each other and that we were soulmates. He said he was miserable and unhappy with her, that he slept on the couch and he was going to leave her. He would text me Good morning and call me before he went to work , he would text me through out the day, call on his lunch break, and after he got off work. He always came to my house and we acted like teenagers who couldn’t keep their hands off one another. Always passionate, mind blowing, amazing sex. He started lying to me, and would plan on coming over and I would ask if he wanted to cancel, but he refused until I did, then the next day he would come over and make me forget about what he had done(being a doormat, not making good boundaries, and making him respect them and me). He was very possessive, jealous, and insecure, he would tell me he loved me, then I would tell him I loved him, and he would ask how much and then ask me to promise. I knew I was in the wrong, and told him that if he didn’t completely leave her, then I would end things between us. He made excuses for another month, and I gave him an ultimatum. He broke up with her and moved. He had always talked of us having a future together and traveling, he claimed he was renovating his house, that he had rented out, and wanted me to move in with him. I emotionally over reacted a few times and he began to pull away and become distant. I had this paranoid feeling one day that he was cheating on me, I made up a story about someone telling me that they had seen him at her house and that he was being with her, he was upset and said he was sick of the drama, I told him to end it, it was a bit of a heated dispute. After he ended it( I self-sabatoged the “non-relatiionship”, I had been having doubts, fears, and had become insecure due to his dishonesty, it was making me feel completely emotionally unstable), we had no contact for 4 days,when I texted him and he was flirty, but I fell asleep and his last text was that he had heard that I had been with someone else anyway. So I, of course, responded the next morning, replying that no I had not( because I hadn’t). And we texted back and forth all day about remaining friends, I was adamantly opposed to it, but I felt petty so I agreed. Well, we ended up having sex 2 more times, then I didn’t text/talk to him for a few days, and it was a Friday night and I asked him to come over, he did and told me that he loved and missed me, and we of course had sex. I went out of town for a week, and didn’t have any contact with him. I returned home and texted him, he responded and this went on for 2 days. The evening of the second day a very close friend mentioned that she had seen on Facebook that he was in a relationship with another girl. I texted him and confronted him, and he blamed me, and said I had treated him badly. I was very upset and heartbroken, the next day I sent him a text telling him that I hoped that things worked out and I would absolutely not interfere, I thanked him for being a part of my life and wished him the best. Apparently, they were together less than a month, and he and I began texting then talking, and eventually having sex , and for the last 2-3 months have had a FWB situation going on. I have never critized or nagged him, I tell him that I believe in him, I accept him completely the way he is, I respect him, I appreciate him and any time we spend together
    I also have told him that I consider him a good friend and also that I love and care about him. Recently, I told him that I feel like I’m starting to fall in love with him, and considering that I no longer have any clue how he feels about me, that I would understand if he no longer wants to see me. He has not responded to me, it has been two days.

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