I've read several stories where the protagonist seems to have been attacked by a love bug that weakens them to the pheromones of aggressive, egostical men whose various saving graces are buried so deep it'll take several chapters to find them. The protagonist then deals with the poison by mentally slapping themselves for their own racing heart and giddy thoughts. This particular love bug can be found in all genres, not just Romance, though it seems to only ever bite women.
While there is a redemptive turning point for the man, either through his decisions or through a revelation of his past, the crush doesn't bloom at this point. In fact, this turning point seems to be mostly for the reader's benefit as it often doesn't affect the protagonist at all.
I think there must be a love bug involved because there are often other male candidates who are sweet, funny, and/or kind. They may even be strong without being overbearing. Someone who might tease the woman, but all in good fun. If they don't like the protagonist very much, they'll still be decent about it. These men are ignored, even when they show romantic interest, because the love bug's poison has the protagonist's heart ensnared by someone who is borderline abusive.
Now I'm not saying that an antihero-style man or a gruff, misunderstood fellow can't be a romantic lead. But perhaps lay off the love at first sight stuff and wait until they do something loveable first? Perhaps at the redemptive turning point?
What are your thoughts?