How many times have you dismissed a guy for having a pigsty of an apartment or being out of shape? Well, before you declare his flaw to be unsurmountable, get this: Scientists say that some turn-offs can actually be assets in relationships. “If you recognize a guy’s bad habit or trait, yet you’re still drawn to him, don’t be so quick to write him off — you might learn something from it,” says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., author of Deal Breakers: When to Work on a Relationship and When to Walk Away. “For example, if he never washes the dishes after dinner, he may not care so much about how his apartment looks — but that might also mean he’s not compulsive and more the type to live in the moment.” Read on to see the bright side of some classically bad dating behavior.
“Bad” Trait #1: He’s nerdy
You barely notice him at a party, but that shy guy who loves to talk about programming could be your future husband. A study published in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology, says that geeks make the best husbands. “We found that people who fit a nerdy profile — i.e., those who are socially awkward and feel most comfortable with consistent routines — make better long-term partners,” says evolutionary psychologist Marco Del Giudice, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Turin in Torino, Italy. “These men have a greater desire to settle down into family life and are more likely to be faithful because they lack the charm and social skills to attract another partner and lie about an indiscretion.” So if you’re looking for long-lasting love, bypass the bars and hit up a bookstore instead.
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“Bad” Trait #2: He’s carrying extra weight
You may want your guy to hit the gym more, but those bottles of beer and late-night snacks are doing you a favor in bed. According to a study conducted by Erciyes University of Kayseri, Turkey, men with excess body fat last an average of 7.3 minutes in bed, while their slimmer counterparts typically last less than two minutes. How do his love handles help your sex life? Heavier men have higher levels of the female hormone estradiol, which slows the progression of orgasm. So pass him the wings!
“Bad” Trait #3: His bedroom moves are predictable
Having a routine sex life is the kiss of death, right? Not so. Having regularly scheduled nookie is good for you, according to sex and relationship therapist Jane Greer, Ph.D., author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship. “Women who have intercourse at least once a week tend to have more regular menstrual cycles, better immune systems, are more fertile, less likely to suffer from heart disease, and produce higher levels of estrogen than those who have sex more sporadically,” Greer says. So if your boudoir routine usually consists of dinner, Netflix, and a roll in the hay, you guys aren’t boring — you’re making your sexual health a priority.
“Bad” Trait #4: He’s got an “average” job
So your guy’s not CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a budding Mark Zuckerberg. That’s actually good news! Men with medium-status jobs are considered to be more desirable than high rollers, according to research conducted by the University of Central Lancashire in the UK. In this study, researchers showed a group of women a series of photos of men and asked them to rate them as potential husbands. When the women didn’t know the men’s occupations, they rated the handsomest men as the best potential partners. But when the women found out what the men did for a living, they ranked the men with lower-status jobs to be more attractive than their high-flying counterparts — regardless of their looks. “It’s possible that men with money and power have more romantic and sexual opportunities than those with more ‘average’ jobs, so women may see these successful guys as less desirable because they’re not a safe choice when it comes to choosing a potential life partner,” says Marshall.
“Bad” Trait #5: His place is a mess
Dishes stacked high in the sink, clothes strewn all over the floor and last week’s pizza box flung in the corner can seem gross, hygiene-wise, but it’s also a sign your guy is creative and relaxed, says David H. Freedman, coauthor of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder. “We have a tendency to think of messiness as a character flaw, but these people are generally more productive than neat people since they spend more time getting things done than they do straightening up,” Freedman explains. “Plus, they’re often more imaginative than neater folks, since creative people usually find a bit of clutter to be stimulating and expressive.”
Elise Nersesian has written for Redbook, Stuff and other national magazines.