Once again, Pete Davidson has been linked with one of the hottest, most successful women in Hollywood. This time it’s recently single Emily Ratajkowski, and we’re all obsessed because as soon as it was confirmed that Ratajkowski was splitting from husband Sebastian Bear-McLard, jokes had flown that she’d be with Davidson next. Turns out, we probably weren’t wrong.
Why did we all joke about these two hooking up? Well, the man has a history.
He seems to end up with women who have recently exited relationships. Not exclusively, but there has definitely been a common theme. There was his whirlwind romance with Ariana Grande, right after she split from on-again-off-again boyfriend Mac Miller. Then there was Kate Beckinsale, who was finalising her divorce from Len Wiseman the same year. Most famously, there was Kim Kardashian, who had recently gone through a very public split with husband Kanye West.
I don’t want to talk about “how” Davidson “gets” these women. Because firstly, no one “gets” a woman. We aren’t property. Secondly, attractiveness isn’t binary. You’ll find plenty of people picking apart Davidson’s looks because the women he’s dated are so glamorous and such classic Hollywood beauties. Celebrities, to use the old tabloid headline, are people too – you don’t have to look like a Ken doll to be desired by a Hollywood star.
What I do want to talk about is why these women date Davidson.
I think I’ve figured it out: He’s the perfect recovery boyfriend.
A recovery boyfriend is the guy you date right after a toxic or tumultuous relationship. Maybe you were with an on/off type who wore down your confidence over months by never fully committing. They might have been someone you thought was going to be the love of your life, but you ended up having irreconcilable personal differences.
It’s the type of relationship that leaves you in pieces at the end of it. The kind Taylor Swift sings about.
A recovery boyfriend isn’t the same as “the one before The One”. They’re not some throwaway stand-in for a real relationship, someone you know from the outset you don’t give a sh*t about. You can have real feelings for a recovery boyfriend. They’re almost always great, decent people. The recovery boyfriend is usually a laid-back, open and upfront type.
They text you back. They’re easy to read. They make you laugh.
Because they’re so uncomplicated and treat you the way you should be treated, they’re a healing type of relationship. Maybe your self-esteem is shot, or you’ve become cynical about love. Maybe you were with someone who popped in and out of your life, leaving you anxious and obsessing over them. Whatever baggage you’ve carried from your past relationship, you’ll find it breaking down with a recovery boyfriend because they simply don’t play games and like you for who you are.
I remember my own experience with a recovery boyfriend. I’d just come out of a three-month relationship that destroyed me. Like, ruined me. I’d been seeing this guy, and I fell for him really quickly. At first, he seemed uncomplicated, funny, kind – but while he was all of those things (well, maybe not uncomplicated) the way he felt about me seemed to fluctuate. Dramatically.
Finding time together was like trying to schedule time with Barack Obama or something. It was always me doing the planning – where we should go to dinner, when we should hang out. I always stayed at his, he never met my friends. I found myself checking my phone first thing in the morning, then checking every thirty minutes, hoping for a reply to the text I’d sent 48 hours prior.
It should have been obvious the relationship had an expiry date. I totally missed the memo.
When he dumped me, I fell into a pit of self-loathing. I was at rock bottom – disordered eating, sleeping with men who treated me terribly, stalking girls online that I thought were now dating my ex. I was obsessive and wounded and hurting. I was seeing a psychologist weekly to work through the mess this guy had left in his wake.
Then, I met Greg.
Greg was just a guy. He was a lovely guy! But he wasn’t really the kind of guy I’d usually go for. He was very pretty and clean-cut (I had a real thing for men who looked like they’d never showered back then), plus we didn’t really click. But he was funny, attractive and easy to chat with. He organised dates and made me dinners. Most importantly, he always texted me. It was easy, light, relaxed.
I’d come from a relationship that made me feel so small, so unworthy of attention. Now, I was seeing someone who I didn’t have to chase, and who seemed to genuinely enjoy my company. The bar is on the floor, right? But it so often is when we come out of those toxic relationships. The basic right of feeling wanted and cared for? I’d been deprived of it for so long, I started to think I didn’t even deserve it.
In the end I probably used Greg a bit, which was unfair. I don’t think it was intentional from the outset, but I definitely continued to date him well past the point where I knew we weren’t right for each other. But damn, was I addicted to feeling good. I felt so special. So valued. I’d forgotten what it was like to be liked – really, consistently liked. Just for being me.
Eventually Greg and I parted ways. But for the few months we dated, I found my vibe again. He didn’t magically rebuild all my self-esteem, but being with him helped me overcome a lot of that insecurity I’d developed with my ex.
I know this is all sounding very manipulative. I don’t intend it to – it’s not about going hunting for a recovery boyfriend and hoping they’ll fix you. You should be dating this kind of person because you genuinely want to explore a relationship with them. They could even end up becoming your long-term love.
What I am saying, and what I think might be happening with Davidson and these incredibly beautiful, hugely successful women, is that it’s natural to be drawn to someone who makes you feel a million bucks after an experience that made you feel like less than two pennies.
They’re like coming up for air when you didn’t realise you were drowning. We’re done with mind games and emotional unavailability and the chase. We just want to date someone who makes us laugh, and have a relationship in which we always know where we stand.
This is dating a person who meets your needs. It’s a reminder that – despite what some other person communicated via their actions – you are worthy of love, deserve respect and should never settle for less.
So no, you shouldn’t date someone just to heal yourself. But I don’t think that’s the case here, and it wasn’t the case for me. There’s the other question, too. Is Davidson intentionally dating broken women? I don’t think this is the case, either. I think (and I hope I’m right!) that he just is the kind of guy who treats women well, and therefore ends up with really incredible women.
Maybe, in Hollywood, that type of guy is few and far between.