No matter what your friends may claim, most people entertain some kind of romantic fantasy. Some are harmless. Other fantasies work like a slow-growing disease. I was a victim of the latter. You have no idea how ensnared you are until it’s over.
Choosing to skip the sexy bad boy phase, I jumped right into pursuing guys who were outwardly gentle. While most twenty-somethings dreamt of passionate and mysterious lovers, I dreamt of men who would help me with the dishes and want children. Armed with a bubbly personality, I was drawn to an unassuming wallflower. I enjoyed being someone’s dream girl. My heart may not have been racing, but my partner was so kind and soft. Granted, he came from a troubled family, but he assured me that he desired a healthier and happier future. I figured that anybody with his endearing disposition and foresight would surely appreciate me and more importantly, us.
I was going to marry him. Until it fell apart.
A House Built On Lies
After a two-year engagement to my textbook “nice guy,” I was confronted with the cruelest reality. My partner had been deceiving me for over five years.
We had been in a long-distance relationship since my sophomore year of college. Since we were both drowning in loans post-graduation, we decided to stay in our respective cities and live with our parents to pay off our debt. I was patient. I went to a job I hated. I endured being the constant third-wheel. Finally, on a tropical vacation, he got down on one knee and slipped a diamond onto my finger. But we still didn’t live in the same zip code. I planned on a long engagement and proceeded with wedding planning.
My plans came to a grinding halt when I finally contacted a local real estate agent. Although my fiancé still hadn’t found a job in my city, I was curious to know what kind of mortgage we would qualify for. The ugly truth spilled out from there. Based on the information I received, my fiancé (backed into a corner) finally admitted that his credit score was abysmal and that not only had he not paid off any of his debts, he had almost doubled them. For years, he chose to live in avoidance in order to “tell me what I wanted to hear.” I knew the truth. He couldn’t break away from the dysfunction of his past.
Sobbing, he apologized for his cowardice. Cowardice does not a good husband make. With a sound mind and an aching heart, I walked away.
What Is Nice, Anyway?
What is a “nice guy”? Here is what we’re taught: Nice guys send flowers on your birthday. Nice guys rub your feet at the end of the day. Nice guys tuck you in at night because you still love that ritual of safety and warmth. And don’t get me wrong. These are all lovely traits, but Boy Scout deeds can only do so much good.
The reality is, we need to be looking for so much more than a pleasant demeanor. Quality life partners aren’t just nice. They’re brave. They’re reasonable. They’re honest. They give you tough love. Ultimately, they challenge you to be a better person.
I realized that my own life was worth so much more than what “nice” had to offer. And if you’re caught in the romantic trap I was in, trust me when I way, so is yours.
Who here has had the so-called “nice guy” myth blow up in their face? Should we be looking for nice? Or for something different?