Most of us have had that Justin Bieber/Selena Gomez relationship. The kind where you break up and get back together on the reg; where no matter how hard you try to quit that person, you always seem find yourself crawling back. One moment you think you’ve found your soul mate, but in the next you wish you’d never met them. The highs are truly the highest highs you’ve ever felt, but the lows bring you crashing down to the depths of rock bottom. The passion is indescribable, the constant seesaw between the two of you is more than exhilarating, and every time that you think about losing him you get chilling goosebumps. But the tears, hurts, and heartaches make you question if it all is really worth it. Maybe one of you is in this relationship right now. Maybe some of you have had several of these relationships. Whatever the case, I’m going to break down why this kind of relationship is just Mr. Right Now and not Mr. Forever.
This photo, “Celebrity Scandal Series, Scott Richard” is copyright (c) 2016 Torbakhopper and made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 License
How’d You Get There?
Some of us wonder after we’re in so deep, “how did I even get here?” Well to take you back to the start, there was the initial attraction. A lot of the girls who fall for the bad boy, aren’t actually off of the beaten path themselves. They’re good girls, they’re caring girls, they have big hearts and they play by the rules—always have. But that’s exactly why they fall for the bad boy. Instead of getting an adrenaline rush through hard drugs or perhaps breaking the law, they opt for a bad boy. The bad boy is alluring, mysterious, and questionably dangerous. The good girl is drawn to that because she is completely opposite; she’s straightforward and predictable and perhaps on some deeper level, she yearns for a little bit of chaos in her life.
And in the beginning, it’s great. The good girl gets a taste of the thrilling life the bad boy leads. The wild adventures, the late nights, the intense passion and living like there’s no tomorrow—it’s a new world. All of this fun, all of this excitement, all of this happiness floods the brain with dopamine, the pleasure hormone, and oxytocin, the love/bonding hormone. This explains that overwhelming high you feel when you’re with the bad boy. This also explains on a biological level, why you become attached to each other and crave each other when you are apart.
Volatility is Toxicity
Eventually, the honeymoon phase passes and reality begins to creep in. The good girl has had her fun and longs for more stability and predictability in her life. But, the bad boy cannot be tamed. The bad boy often times is a lost boy at heart, and many have issues with substance abuse and/or alcohol abuse. The bad boy is a partyer and with that comes poor decisions. Infidelity, jealousy, and reckless behavior are common themes in bad boy relationships. Arguments arise, tensions run high, and patience runs out. Fed up, the good girl decides to make her exit. If only, that was really the end.
Apologies are made, promises of change, and the good girl takes the bad boy back. Why does she take him back? Because she misses him, she craves him, and her brain knows from history that bad boy = reward (dopamine and oxytocin). However, from history we also know that the bad boy can’t offer the good girl what she needs. She desires stability, predictability, reliability. She wants to know that when she texts him, she’ll receive a text back. She wants to have more date nights and nights in. She wants to feel that she can trust her boyfriend with all her heart and not have to worry or fear that he will stray.
Sadly, she cannot have these things with the bad boy. The good girl may have even known this from the start, but she chose to ignore it. She had hoped that things would calm down after the initial excitement, but the bad boy lives a thrilling life and with the thrilling life comes instability. He may not text you back in a timely manner, or text you back at all. It could be because he’s out at the club, passed out at somebody’s crib, or maybe even in jail. He lives his life minute to minute—to plan things far in advance would just be against his nature. As far as date nights and nights in? Why would he do that when there’s so much fun to be had with partying and booze? And while he does love the good girl deep down in his heart, he also has a loving relationship with excitement. And excitement can sometimes offer risky choices, like a beautiful stranger offering him attention– which a bad boy just can’t turn down.
The ups and downs, in then out, characteristics of this dynamic is not healthy. The fighting and break ups bring you so far down, that the highs of the relationship feel THAT much higher because they’ve lifted you up from the depths of despair. But to be in sobs and tears one week, and sheer ecstasy the next is not healthy for anyone. Let me visually show you the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship.
The average state of happiness over the course of 6 weeks in the unhealthy relationship is 5 and the average state of happiness for the healthy relationship is a solid 9. While isolated weeks may show an elevated level of happiness, overall the individuals in the unhealthy relationship are less happy than those in healthy relationships.
The key lesson here is that volatility is toxicity. If you’re constantly going up and down, you’re not going to be content because you don’t have enough of that high to hold you before you go crashing down again. While those soaring highs may be enticing, the medial hover that is stable and consistent in a healthy relationship is far more promising.
A Beautiful Disaster
While your own Justin/Selena relationship may have brought you a lot of heartache and grief, you should not regret the experience. I firmly believe we can fall in love more than once in our lifetimes and it’s better to have loved and lost than not have loved at all. These tough relationships help us grow, and help us learn what we want in a significant other. These experiences teach us what we need out of a relationship because we’re able to see what was lacking in the bad boy relationship.
It is important to forgive our exes in order to move on with our lives. You cannot move on if you are still harboring hate or resentment for what happened in your previous relationships. Forgiveness is for your own peace of mind, it helps you gain closure and acceptance of the loss of what you had and what you had hoped for.
As I mentioned in my blog about why we screw up so much in our twenties, mistakes are going to be made. You shouldn’t regret your mistakes for they have shaped you into who you are today, a wiser stronger person. The bad boy relationship is a beautiful disaster. It wasn’t all bad, your soul chose to experience it for a reason. There was an intricate beauty to the chaotic disarray and because of that you will always have a special place in your heart for that bad boy.