As we try to navigate the murky waters of dating in this generation, we are warned about the bad guys. Our friends tell us to avoid the one that only texts us at 11 p.m. to come over, treats you as disposable, or only ever wants to “Netflix and chill.” On the other hand, we are warned about the ones who scream at us, raise their hands when they’re mad about not getting their way, or make us fall asleep in tears every night. Everyone reminds you of the red flags and tells you to protect your heart.
What no one warns you about is the nice guy.
These are the guys who walk into our lives and make us feel almost invincible. They take you out on fun dates. They talk about your future together and make those plans. They kiss you on your forehead when you’re curled up into them on the couch watching that Netflix original. When they hold you, there is nowhere else you’d rather be, because he really seems like a nice guy.
So, you’re completely blind-sided when he rips the ground out from under you.
One minute, you’re beaming as his arms are wrapped around you, and the next he’s telling you that he doesn’t want to see you anymore. He tells you that it’s him – he thought he was ready to be in a relationship, but he was wrong. He thinks you would be better off with someone else.
At first, you feel crushed. You cannot believe you’re losing such an incredible guy who seemed willing to give you so much love. You want to get angry because you just don’t understand – why walk into your life when he didn’t want you? Why paint this picture of a future when he was so unsure about you? Then your mind stops in its tracks, and it starts reminding you that he was a nice guy – it could have been worse. At least he wasn’t “one of those bad guys.”
So instead, your mind flips the switch and starts questioning why he didn’t want you. Were you not pretty enough? Were you not smart enough? Was the sex not good enough? Could you have done anything better? What about you couldn’t keep the “nice guy” around?
You feel your sense of worth and value diminish as these thoughts whirl around your mind trying to put the pieces together. He wasn’t a bad guy, so you repeatedly blame yourself and feel this huge loss. You wish you could see him and ask him why. You wish you could beg him for an explanation so you can try to understand – better yourself for the next guy (although you wish it was him).
Because he’s the “nice guy,” you’ve replayed the relationship over and over in your mind to try and find that moment — the error. That moment his feelings about you changed. The moment everything felt different.
You’ve replayed it so many times that you start questioning every kiss, every touch, every conversation, every sweet compliment. If he didn’t want a relationship, was anything you felt real or was it just a game for him? Did you make it all up in your head?
You try to move on and find somebody new, but these feelings of doubt keep coming to the surface. The next guy sweetly comments about attending a future event together, but you can’t help it when you flinch and think, “Does he mean it?”
The next guy pulls you into his chest while watching a movie and, although you want to relax into his arms, you can’t help but wonder if you can truly let yourself feel safe.
The next guy kisses your forehead, and your mind briefly flashes to the last time someone tenderly placed his lips in that exact same spot but crushed your heart not long afterwards.
The next guy seems like a nice guy, but you find yourself afraid to share your heart because the last one was a “nice guy” too.
No one warns you about the nice guy.