My track record of guys, even in college, was pretty good up until I moved to LA. Since then, I’ve pretty much dated every type of bad boy this city has to offer. The actor, the model, the businessman, the musician (or multiple musicians), the gym rat, the hottie with a motorcycle, the list goes on and most fall under more than one of those categories.
For some reason, I was so drawn to these types of guys. The cooler and more exciting they were, the more I was into them. Although they have subtle differences, they all had one thing in common, having their own best interest at heart. I’d allowed myself to be used and manipulated and the sad part is, most of the time I knew it was happening but I didn’t have enough self-respect to speak up or walk away.
You see, the thing about dating bad boys, or most bad boys, is you have to have enough self-worth to not let them continuously walk all over you.
You need to have just as much say in the relationship, or lack thereof, as they do because to them, it’s very much a game of cat and mouse. Nine times out of 10, they know you’ll chase them. It’s what a good majority of us girls do. But at what point do we throw our hands in the air and start searching for something more than games and hurt feelings?
For me, it took a two year long, abusive relationship with a man who cared more about his body image than he did me. As much pain as that relationship had caused me, two really great things came out of it, the first being the girl that he cheated on me with, Julie. I’ve known Julie for eight months now and she has easily become one of my best friends. Maybe it was trauma bonding, maybe it wasn’t, I’ll never be sure. But regardless, I couldn’t be more thankful to have her as a friend. The second thing to come out of that relationship was the respect I’d gained for myself. After that relationship had ended, I’d told myself that I’d no longer let someone treat me the ways that he did. I wouldn’t put up with lying or cheating again, nor would I let another man determine my self-worth.
So here I am, five months into a relationship with the most amazing man I’d ever met. He’s patient, kind, selfless, honest, and loves me more than I’d ever been loved before, and if I’m being honest, for the first few months, I still wasn’t satisfied. After years and years of dating guys who’d caused me pain, why was I not elated that I’d finally found someone who wouldn’t? It’s taken me five months to realize why.
My whole life I’d only witnessed relationships that thrived on chaos: my parents, my grandparents, friends of the family, etc. Fighting and yelling and belittling became the basis for what I thought relationships were supposed to me. I never had “the perfect couple” to look up to, aside from some movies but we all know that’s just Hollywood BS. Well, I’d thought that until I’d met Nick. He would undoubtedly die in the water while I float on the giant piece of wood. (Although it was clearly big enough for the two of them, Rose was just selfish).
When I’d met Nick, I wasn’t sure I was ready to be with someone yet because I was still recovering from my last relationship. But I started to fall in love and I couldn’t help it. I was fully transparent with him about my past and how it was still affecting me and he accepted every bit of it with grace. He’d hold me when I’d cry tears that another man caused. He would do anything he could to make me feel better, to show me that he was different, although I already knew that. But no matter how good things were between him and me, I still felt like something was missing, I never felt totally satisfied.
Maybe it’s because things were always good, too good. He never did anything to upset me. He was never rude or disrespectful. He always called when he said he would. I didn’t understand, why did he do everything right?
I so badly wanted him to mess up so I could yell at him and be angry. That’s what I was used to, that was comfortable for me. I had always found this strange comfort in chaos and I now realize it’s because that’s all I’d seen growing up. If you weren’t fighting, were you even in a relationship? If I didn’t love him as much as I hated him, was it real?
It took five months of reflecting and many conversations with friends to realize that he is exactly the kind of man I need in my life, the kind of man I deserve. That chaos, fighting, and disrespect shouldn’t be the norm, that I deserve respect and to be loved unconditionally because that’s how I love.
Healthy relationships were uncomfortable for me and so I retreated and even broke up with him once earlier this year because I literally did not know how to function in a healthy relationship. Yet even after I did that, he was still by my side because he could see that I wasn’t okay, and no matter what I go through he said he’d always be there, and he is. I’ve never had that and didn’t fully appreciate it until now.
I don’t feel like something’s missing anymore, I’ve stopped thinking that maybe there’s something else out there that will give me the thrill of insecurity and constant highs and lows because truthfully, I don’t want that. I want to spend my life with someone who cares about my happiness, who’s understanding, honest, and respectful, someone like Nick.
No matter what the future holds, he has changed my life in the most positive ways and because of that, I am incredibly grateful. So if you’re like me and have never given nice guys the time of day, I suggest you do, you might just fall in love with one too.