brokenbeats saidSome would say it has something to do with how you're probably genetically coded to respond more to androstenone (the bad boy pheromone) as opposed to androstedienone (the beta male pheromone).
My personal experiences would suggest that it has its roots in a confused crossover between the manifestation or projection of our sexual fantasies onto people who we are really looking at for life partners which can sometimes be incompatible. However, it might be possible to have your cake and eat it too - find a nice guy who knows how to turn on the bad-boy in the bedroom. :-) Just my 2c.
Very interesting comments, I didn't know about these pheromone distinctions. I have heard about subconscious attraction based on them, and may have experienced it myself, but wasn't aware it could be that selective between male behavioral types.
I was going to speculate whether the OP is demonstrating a psychological manifestation of low self-esteem, that causes him to pass on men whom he perceives as being too "good" for him, in favor of men of less worth. But this other possibility you raise is very intriguing. Do you have some links to studies?
To the OP, BTW: I can understand the mechanism if you DO have low self-esteem. We have a gay friend who was grossly overweight, but who worked to make himself quite trim & attractive today. Nevertheless, he seems to be stuck with this self-image of his former ugly duckling self, and he hooks up with these losers, when he could have winners.
Impressive steady income, nice personality, talented, stable & reliable, good looks, a great friend of ours we trust implicitly, but his image of himself is very negative, and he picks substandard men he imagines he "deserves." Can this be what you are doing? Or is brokenbeats correct, and you're being literally led around by your nose?