Why are people drawn to bad boys/girls? What's the motive behind the desire to want to fix people who are "broken"? A study by PsychTests.com indicates that people-pleasing behavior, low self-esteem, and a fear of intimacy may play a role.
MONTREAL, Oct. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Most people would give a wide berth to potential partners who are addicts, behave unpredictably, or carry a lot of emotional baggage. Why take on the burden of someone else's problems? Why try to help a person who may not even want to change? Compassion certainly plays a role, as does the love of a challenge, a hero complex, and admittedly, the excitement of dating someone "bad" or rebellious, but a recent study by PsychTests.com points to deeper issues.
Analyzing data collected from 3,279 people who took the Relationship Attachment Style Test, PsychTests' researchers compared the personality profile of two distinct groups: people who are drawn to partners who have problems, such as addictions or personal issues (henceforth labeled as "Saviors"), and those who prefer not to date problematic partners (labeled as "Averters") .
Here's what their study revealed:
INDIVIDUALS WHO DATE PROBLEMATIC ROMANTIC PARTNERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH INTIMACY/CLOSENESS
> 56% of Saviors said they have trouble developing an emotional connection with someone (compared to 30% of Averters).
> 69% are uncomfortable depending on other people (vs. 57% of Averters).
> 34% are commitment-phobic (vs. 19% of Averters).
> 63% said that they find it hard to "let their walls down" (vs. 47% of Averters).
> 29% feel an urge to leave when a relationship starts to become close (vs. 13% of Averters).
> 72% have trust issues (vs. 36% of Averters).
INDIVIDUALS WHO DATE PROBLEMATIC ROMANTIC PARTNERS MAY OFTEN RELY ON OTHERS TO MAKE THEM FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES
> 22% of Saviors said that they feel like a "nobody" unless they are in a relationship (vs. 6% of Averters).
> 35% admitted that their sense of self-worth depends entirely on their partner's opinion of them (vs. 15% of Averters).
INDIVIDUALS WHO DATE PROBLEMATIC ROMANTIC PARTNERS NEED TO BE NEEDED
> 42% of Saviors feel resentful when their partner refuses their help (vs. 18% of Averters).
> 30% are happier when their partner is completely dependent on them (vs. 14% of Averters).
> 35% prefer to be in total control of the relationship (vs. 19% of Averters).
INDIVIDUALS WHO DATE PROBLEMATIC ROMANTIC PARTNERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE PEOPLE-PLEASERS
> 53% of Saviors disregard their personal preferences in order to make others happy (vs. 25% of Averters).
> 48% neglect their own needs and focus fully on the needs of their partner (vs. 20% of Averters).
> 20% would stop seeing their friends if their partner demanded it (vs. 7% of Averters).
> 25% assume total responsibility for their partner's happiness (vs. 10% of Averters).
INDIVIDUALS WHO DATE PROBLEMATIC ROMANTIC PARTNERS ARE OFTEN TERRIFIED OF BEING ALONE
> 52% of Saviors worry incessantly about being dumped (vs. 25% of Averters).
> 51% cling to their relationships as if their life depended on it (vs. 18% of Averters).
> 27% would do anything to keep their partner because they don't think they'll be able to find anyone else (vs. 12% of Averters).
> 19% became so clingy that they scared off previous partners (vs. 5% of Averters).
> 24% said that they wouldn't leave a relationship even if they were being mistreated or abused by their partner (vs. 9% of Averters).
"Dating someone who has issues serves two purposes: First, it makes you feel needed, which can boost your sense of self-worth," explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. "'Saviors' often have hero complexes; they believe their love can help someone or change them for the better. Second, dating a person who has problems is, oddly, a safer choice, in the sense that if this person leaves you, it will still hurt but you can save face by blaming it on their addiction, bad relationship history, or whatever their issue is. If you were to be dumped by someone who is emotionally healthy, you would be forced to look deeper at yourself and how your actions contributed to the demise of the relationship, and that sort of inner reflection is not something Saviors are comfortable doing."
"We are drawn to partners we feel we deserve," continues Dr. Jerabek. "If your self-esteem is wobbly then you may pursue people who feel equally inadequate or who treat you poorly. Saviors often have their own demons to deal with, whether it's a history of abuse, of dealing with a parent who was an addict, emotional neglect, or a desperate need for approval. If you have gone unloved and unappreciated your entire life and you find someone who needs you, it's hard to walk away. You know the person is not good for you, but you want to be wanted. This is the type of dynamic that often forms the basis of codependent relationships, where one person is the dependent and the other is the hero, savior, giver and, essentially, the enabler. The reality is that both partners are just using each other, albeit subconsciously."
Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile's extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1
To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr
About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).
Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D, PsychTests AIM Inc., 5147453189, [email protected]
SOURCE PsychTests AIM Inc.