I’m not going to sit here and say every guy I dated was horrible. I’ve had my fair share of jerks, and the rest were pretty ok.
But never someone people would deem a “nice guy.”
That is until I met my current boyfriend. He’s caring and genuine; the kind of person everyone likes and a guy that makes you feel comfortable when you’re around him. I was lucky enough to know him for a couple of years before we dated and, even then, I would always label him as a “nice guy.”
For many, many years, I bought into the notion of a “nice guy” being boring and vanilla. That, sure, they’re right for someone. But that someone wasn’t me.
I was addicted to the games. I thought passion came in the form of fighting and tears. I didn’t think a “nice guy” could give me what I wanted in a relationship.
Fast-forward to today, and obviously, I was terribly wrong. I am the happiest I’ve ever been in a relationship. I don’t believe in the whole, “my boyfriend completes me” idea; instead, my boyfriend supports me in being the most authentic version of myself. And that’s everything I never knew I needed.
I’ll be honest, though. I had my doubts in the beginning. There were many times where I came close to breaking it off; times when I didn’t think things would last.
But they did. And now, seven months in, there are a few things I realized about relationships from dating a “nice guy.”
Playing games is beyond exhausting.
I’ve talked about games in my other articles, and people clapped back, saying things like, “dating is a kind of game, and if you’re not playing to win, why are you playing at all?”
Here’s the thing: playing games elicits a lot of negative emotions. When someone doesn’t text back, you worry whether they’ll ever text you back. Trying to play it “cool” and not show too much interest teaches you to bottle up emotions and makes it hard for the other person to understand how you feel.
How in the world does that make for a healthy relationship?
My current boyfriend never once made me question his intentions. He never waited to text back. He was upfront, always.
And while that came as a shock at first, I noticed that all the old feelings of anxiety, worrying, confusion, and doubt just didn’t exist in this relationship.
I realized that playing games is entirely unnecessary and a huge turn-off.
I have every right to express how I feel.
In my past relationships, I never felt comfortable letting my partner know how I felt.
I once had a boyfriend stonewall me for over a week because he felt that I was too verbal. Literally, no communication. It took me some time after the relationship to realize it was pretty absurd.
Though my current boyfriend is not perfect in expressing his own feelings, he always allows me space to freely express mine. I directly attribute this characteristic to his genuine care for me as an imperfect human being.
And through this space he created for me, I realized this is how all relationships should work. If your partner isn’t willing to listen about how you feel, then you should question how much they genuinely care.
I don’t need to be fixed or saved.
I came into my past relationships laying out my past on the table. Between my eating disorder, emotionally abusive ex, depression, and that one ex-partner who choked me, I’d lay it all out on the table. I expected my partner to pick up the pieces and glue them back together.
Then I did things a bit differently with this boyfriend. Because, from the get-go, my partner has stated that he only cares who I am now. If I want to express my past, that’s fine. If I don’t, that’s ok with him too.
Instead of dumping everything out onto the table, I told my partner pieces of my past when appropriate.
And every time he encountered part of my past, I’ve felt shame around, he listened and loved me no less.
That’s when I realized I didn’t need to be saved; all I’ve ever wanted was to be understood.
I had no idea what my actual “type” was.
I’m not sure how I formed my “type.” Maybe I watched too many episodes of Lizzie McGuire. Perhaps Mean Girls is actually to blame.
All I know is I dated a lot of outdoorsy guys that, together, could be mistaken for cousins playing on the same New England lacrosse team. Oh, and they had similar egos you’d expect of said lacrosse team.
But my current “nice guy” boyfriend helped me realize that external qualities, even down to my partner’s hobbies, don’t really matter. What matters is the kind of person they are.
I know it’s a shocker, but being happy every day is more of my thing now. Feeling understood instead of judged; being loved even when I make mistakes.
These are the qualities of my “type.” And I never would’ve known that until I actually experienced them.
So many relationships today are unhealthy.
Let me be clear: my boyfriend and I are far from perfect.
But we healthily get through rough patches.
You’d think that being in the best relationship in my life would mean things are easy, but that isn’t always true. I fight some deeply ingrained beliefs that things are “too good to be true,” or our relationship lacks passion.
And I know this is all because I’m used to relationships being really, really unhealthy.
Through the comments I recieve on my articles to the movies I watch on TV, I realized people normalize some really unhealthy dating habits. So much so that it’s hard for people to accept something that’s actually really healthy.
People give “nice guys” a bad reputation in the world of dating. A “nice guy” is really just a stable, healthy person, though I know there are some outliers.
If you’re sick and tired of feeling like your relationship is a rollercoaster, give dating a genuinely nice guy a shot.
Hey, there’s always the chance things won’t work out. But maybe you’ll realize a few things about relationships that will change the way you date moving forward.