We’ve all heard the term “nice guys finish last.”
But is it true?
As a woman who’s done her share of dating, I can tell you that the issue of meeting a nice guy but not having chemistry is extremely common. Like, extremely.
It happened to me literally last week, meanwhile I’m still thinking about a rude and emotionally detached guy I met last year. He hasn’t even returned my texts in months but the other dude is blowing up my phone.
Yet I still can’t seem to find a guy who’s good for me but also is actually available.
Go figure. Welcome to my (lack of) love life.
The thing about me is I’m endlessly curious: when I come across stuff like this I just wanna know more and find out what in the world is going on. So I did some more research. You should see my YouTube history. Or maybe you shouldn’t …
But anyway, what I found out is some downright fascinating shrink stuff … psychological studies. The common pattern I found that women in studies tended to be much more attracted to men who took big risks, were more unpredictable and were more unattainable.
Call it biology, instinct, the lure of the mysterious …
I can certainly understand it myself and have experienced it enough times personally including in a long-term relationship that involved infidelity on my part (I know, I know).
You’ve probably already guessed: yeah, I left my dependable “nice guy” partner for a dangerous bad boy who tore my heart out and emptied it like a Pez dispenser. Good call, me.
But what is that instinct driving me away from the nice guys? Why do I run away from the men who are honestly perfect for me and who I even know are good for me to the unreliable arms of some brute who’s going to ditch me a week later?
Well, I finally figured it out …
Spoiler: the problem really was me for the most part, and I now know how to get “tricked” by the whole unattainable bad boy experience that has brought such suffering down on poor, poor pitiful me.
Here’s my inside scoop on how I learned to start loving nicer guys and stop loving the a**holes. Guys who are total pushovers are still not attractive to me: sorry Beta Bob. But I have learned a lot about guys who are strong and assertive but also nice and how to fix my attraction to the sleazy guys.
Write yourself a big, fat reality check.
The truth is that attraction – physical and emotional – can take us over and take us in unpredictable directions that override our common sense and even mislead us about what we’re actually attracted to.
I know that sounds crazy so here’s what I mean.
For years I thought guys who were considerate and available were just boring chumps. No matter how much I dated or tried to appreciate them I just found them uninteresting and un-sexy.
It wasn’t until a particularly bad experience with a guy from a bar and enough emotional baggage to fill an industrial barge that I had a bit of a wake-up call. I woke up in a booze-infused hangover after two weeks of us “dating” (yeah, right) and scrawled down a list of scary behavior. It was also basically a resume of this guy, let’s call him … Fred.
Possessive, jealous, aggressive, pushy, sexually selfish, brushing me off for dates and constantly putting me in last place in terms of priorities in his life.
Let me explain…
This guy didn’t give a crap about me, but he constantly wanted to “track” me under the guise of “checking in.” Yeah, really romantic.
I felt like some Stasi government agent wanted to check up on me at all hours of the day. I won’t tell you about the day I left my phone at my apartment, cuz Fred was not happy.
He was jealous like some kind of fanatic. He never cared how my day was but he sure cared who I’d talked to or why I laughed at his buddy Chris’ jokes so much. Goddamn … It was a real juvenile sh*t type behavior and I should’ve shucked our little affair right then and there …
Aggressive: Lord was he aggressive. Not physically, but verbally, in body language and in every other way. One time I didn’t laugh at his joke and he made a sarcastic loud comment about how he guessed I preferred Chris’ clown show …
Well, I mean Chris was a fairly nice guy and … in the end … I learned that the Chrises of this world are actually pretty damn good, especially as a long-term partner.
Sorry, not sorry Fred.
Pushy, yeah, Fred and his long line of predecessors were pushy as f*ck. On every single thing.
What to order when we ate out.
When he was too tired to spend time together.
What he thought about XYZ. You name it.
More? Sexually self: big green check mark. The guy wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. Did he make me cum? You must be considering a career in comedy, let’s put it that way.
So … What exactly was I sticking around for?
He cancelled on me more times than I can count, keeping me as a last option: and we’re talking about two weeks. But before him many of these types of selfish guys engaged in exactly the same behavior.
My love hangover wore off …
The more I looked at and wrote this list the more my hangover wore off: wow, why exactly was I into this guy?
More reflection led me down a painful – but ultimately very, very positive – path toward healing and finding true love and intimacy.
I realized fully – and internalized – that Fred and his crew weren’t actually what I was attracted to, they were just my own internal complexes and unmet trauma manifesting in my romantic life.
Basically it was self-rejection and lack of acceptance disguised as romance.
Well, nobody’s perfect, right?
Accepting my own flaws and going from there was an important step for me, and after that I was able to realize and fully internalize that I really might not always know what I wanted even though I thought I did.
I didn’t force it, I just opened my mind and heart a teeny tiny bit to the idea that maybe the nice guy no chemistry experience hadn’t been the whole story.
Figuring out what I actually wanted …
It was time to be a love police detective in my own life.
So, I started to write up a list of positive romantic behaviors. I even bought a whiteboard and listed it all. Yay, me.
I know – pat on my own shoulder. And it actually worked, too. Seeing the words up there on that cheap Staples whiteboard somehow clarified everything for me.
Or maybe it had already been lurking in my subconscious like a friendly passerby trying to warn me: stop wasting your time on d*cks and start finding real men.
The list of good dating qualities was pretty great.
Romantic, expressing real interest, being dependable, being capable, being ridiculously good-looking.
Yeah, it was Chris. I always seem to give away the ending … I’m working on that quality of my writing so stick with me.
He was romantic: he actually brought me flowers on our first date and did nice things like open doors for me and complement what I was wearing. I was kind of touched because so many selfish guys I dated before barely noticed what I had on and were just interested in putting in the necessary time to get me out of my dress.
Chris actually cared about me. It was new. He told me, too. This time it didn’t ruin the suspense. It was actually kind of manly. He just told me he cared about me and wanted to date, instead of being a weakling who skirted around the edges for some sex and occasional attention.
Dependable: Chris can be counted on. He’s not erratic or untrustworthy. And instead of finding that boring … after experiencing its flipside for too long I began to find it highly attractive.
I started to feel chemistry for the nice guy.
Chris isn’t a pushover … not at all. He will stand up for me and himself and he’s confident. But he is aware of those around him, especially me, and it really turns me on and makes me want to stick with him.
He knows how to change tires, has advised me on financial issues I was having with my bank and there seems to be nothing he doesn’t know how to do, and I also find that attractive. Fred and guys like him were more into drinking and getting tattoos …
I like tattoos, I have two myself. But it’s not a lifelong hobby for me.
As for good-looking, if it weren’t for his privacy I’d post Chris’ pic right here and you’d see what I’m talking about. This guy is movie star material. Fred was nothing too special, and I can see that now …
I started to understand something about my past experiences
What I began to understand is that the “nice guys” I had been turned off by weren’t actually that nice. They had issues of confidence and passive aggressiveness they needed to work on.
I had one experience with an emotional manipulator that was straight out of a horror movie, and his first impression was of a “nice guy.” Yeah, right …
But the fact of the matter is that it turned out I’d been dismissing the actual solid, attractive guys along with the limp nice guys.
In other words there are more than one type of nice guys.
I had just followed my gut instinct and it had led to endless disappointment. But once I began to realistically look at the negative behavior of the “bad guys” I started to see that it was my own unresolved issues not their charisma that was drawing me in …
The unexpected surprise I received when I opened myself up more to actual nice guys, namely Chris, is that I found out the right guy for me had actually been there all along but I had just been too wrapped up and unconscious to notice.
Becoming more awake and working on myself inevitably guided me to a man who could actually provide for me and meet my emotional (and physical needs) instead of a user who just wanted to leech off me in every way (ouch Fred is getting a bad rap here isn’t he? Well … he deserves it).
Shifting my paradigm.
As I shifted my paradigm many things became clear.
It reminded me of when I got my first prescription for glasses at age 23. Everything came into focus. Those bad guys suddenly looked kind of depressing and made me pissed off.
The “nice guy” behaviors of Chris suddenly seemed in a new light. They weren’t boring or lame, they were his conscious effort to be a good boyfriend to me.
And he still is. Happy endings do happen, and not just at massage parlors.
It’s just a matter of reorienting how you see things. I still don’t like guys who are pushovers, I find it unattractive and I own that.
But I also don’t like guys who are flakes and always being pushy or unavailable. Intentional or not, their mind games exhaust me and I no longer have time for that kind of thing.
I really believe I’ve turned a corner. It’s not that everything from here on out is sunshine and roses, but the nice guy no chemistry trap is now a thing of the past and Chris and I are in a healthy long-term relationship.
It’s been a long road, readers … a long potholed gravel road.
But I believe that after all this time I finally arrived at my destination.
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I know this from personal experience…
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