You met him through mutual friends, or at a bookstore, or at church. He asks you out for coffee first, then dinner. He’s got a sensible job and makes a good amount of money. He dresses very well. He responds to your text messages in a reasonable amount of time. On your first date he holds open the door, tells you that you look lovely, and at the end of the night he insists that he pay when you try to reach for the check. When you get home you tell your friends all the details, from the way he quietly touched your hand, and how he gave you a small kiss goodnight.
You start to date.
He asks about your day and remembers to mention something you told him last time. Through every conversation you make jokes, and he makes a point to laugh even though he probably doesn’t find it funny. He’s polite and has a good relationship with his mother. You are actually ok with introducing him to your parents and when he does, he has very intelligent things to say to them. You can see him being a great father some day.
All your life you have been waiting for a guy to do these things. You dreamt of a handsome guy to take home and feel comfortable letting him into your life.
All of your adore him.
“You got such a great one! I wish my boyfriend planned dates like that.”
“Wow, he is so smart and attractive. You are lucky!”
You are surprised you snagged such a wholesome guy.
At slumber parties in middle school when your friends asked, “What do you want your future boyfriend to be like?” You would respond “Kind, tall, handsome, and likes dogs.” He fits all of the criteria you created.
But there’s something missing. He talks about himself a lot, carrying on about his accomplishments and how he’s getting attention at work. When you go out to eat it’s always practical place, like a restaurant with daily specials or a place with healthy food because he’s “working on getting his six-pack back.” He’d never really care for a Thai place that you’ve been dying to go to. It’s too weird, too different. When you hang out there’s always a plan to go here, then here, and then we’ll eat at this place and and get drinks at this place and then we make sure to leave and get to the movies with plenty of time.
At night he lays next to you. His socks are still on as he quietly falls asleep. You wonder why you don’t feel anything.
It’s easy to date the nice guy. But the idea of a perfect nice guy is better than the perfect nice guy himself. You yearn for someone who will stay up with you until 3 AM. Someone that will dance with you in the rain, and hang on your every word. Someone wild that makes you think, that makes your heart burn and ache. Someone that will laugh at your awful impersonations, and read your writing. You miss laughing and thinking and talking and worrying and crying. The problem with the nice guy is that he does everything right, but you don’t feel anything. You want to grow and thrive with each other. But you stay stagnant. Nice is just that, nice.
You leave that relationship and all of your friends wonder why. But you know why. You want to feel. Not just a nice guy.