Falling for the Nice Guy: What’s the Catch?

I am no stranger to blind dates, first dates, good dates, bad dates, and crying in the bathroom, but the past few years, especially since living in New York City, the guys who are actually nice seem like the stranger men to me. Call me jaded or call me cynical (my mom sure does) but when I meet someone for a date, and they are genuinely nice, it is rather shocking and out of the ordinary. And I don’t mean “nice” like they call you the right name or make sure you get off first. I mean nice in the fact that they hold the door, pull out your chair, ask you questions, and make eye contact.

Absurd, I know.

For the past few weeks I have been seeing someone who definitely falls into the “Nice guy category”. After our first date, I came home and called my friends and told them about every minute and mundane detail (like I do after every date) although where I normally would say, “…so I blew him and left” or “he drank white zinfandel with ice” I noted how nice he was – something my friends had very rarely heard me say when referring to a man. The nicest guy I have come across in the past three years is Harum, the guy who works at Dunkin’ Donuts.

All of their reactions were the same: “Oh my god, finally a nice guy”… “This is exactly what you need”… “Marry him.”

While my friends were all infatuated with him, I on the other hand, was on the fence.

So, I hopped down, ordered a pizza, and tried to figure out why I was so damaged and jaded.

After my fifth slice, I decided one more was enough and then called one of my girlfriends to talk this out. All of my friends are great and each one has a specific purpose. I have one friend I go to when I need to talk about work. Another one to talk about food. And another to talk about exercise. Actually, I haven’t talked to that friend in a few years…Hm. I hope he’s okay.

Anyways, I called my girlfriend who is really great at analyzing guys and relationships, and has more of a “real” attitude than some of my other friends. While finishing the last of the pizza, I listened to her tell me something I think, deep down, I already knew: You are attracted to assholes.

“Huh” I said. “I guess that’s kind of true.”

“Kind of true? James you dated someone for four months who only texted you after midnight. You dated someone else who forgot your birthday. And don’t make me bring up the guy who pushed you down a flight of stairs.”

“Okay, okay. I am attracted to assholes” I finally admitted. “But how do I stop?”

“How the hell should I know? I just texted a guy who thinks my name is Jennifer and asked him to come over. I’m in the same boat.”

I went out with the nice guy again, and just as expected, we had a wonderful time. He paid for my dinner, helped me put my coat on, and even walked me (out of his way) to my train. He has a successful job, his own apartment, and he reads from fun. He even gets his books from the library, not a book store. Swoon.

I spent the whole train ride wondering what was wrong with me. I had a great evening and liked him a lot, I just didn’t have the butterflies. I didn’t have the zsa zsa zsu. I didn’t have anything.

But there was something missing. I thought about the other people I have dated who gave me butterflies. They weren’t necessarily “assholes” or “jerks”, but there was some type of challenge. Whether it was the drive for passion or just the determination of keeping it interesting, there was always something keeping me texting them. Something that made me want to prove they should date me. But now, in this situation, I already had him. He is already interested. He wants to date me.

So why do I feel nothing?

I know that now, as a “mature” 27 year old, I need to be appreciative that someone so great thinks I am so great as well, but am I a fool for wanting there to be a challenge? Or should I just suck it up, stop playing games, and give this one a chance?

Hello? Answer me.

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5 thoughts on “Falling for the Nice Guy: What’s the Catch?

  1. Hello! I am so sorry you’re not feeling the zsa zsa zuu, it just happens that way sometimes. You can’t force the butterflies no matter how nice the guy is. Either you feel it or you don’t

  2. I’ve been there. I am there. I’ve always dealt with this. From the very first guy I dated up until the guy before my ex, I ALWAYS dated assholes. Legit, stupid, selfish, assholes. It really is about the chase. It’s DEFINITELY about the challenge. However, the last man I met was a “nice guy” and I sucked it up and gave him a chance and we were together for 3 and a half years. Then after him, I began dating assholes again and remembered my awful track record with men, so I stopped dating them again. Now, I’m dating a nice guy and I’m going through the same complex as you. I’m sticking it out because I do like him. But I need a challenge. I think the challenge will be finding a challenge. Haha

  3. Nikki H. says:

    I’ve said this a hundred times, and I’ll say it again. Sometimes the butterflies are not necessarily a good thing. They aid us in making irrational choices about partners, overlooking the bad qualities. More mature love takes time to develop, so give him a chance. If he really is a good guy, you will be so much happier in the long run.

  4. townandcountry says:

    There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a partner: we want (should want) someone that is capable of being genuinely happy and thus could potentially contribute to you also being genuinely happy and you, in return could hopefully help contribute to their happiness. This is simple, but really, assholes are the guys that won’t contribute to this. However, ‘nice guys finish last’ type of mentality is one people have battled with for centuries as well.

    So how do you find what is the right kind of nice for you? Don’t listen to your friends – just because he is nice does not mean he is right. Someone that is nice and wants to be genuinely happy, but ALSO is a challenge is right. Despite popular consensus, it is ok and healthy to NOT like someone who is too nice (they are probably under your league or vice versa, if you are acting too nice, realistically they are probably out of your league – being too nice opens the door for them to treat you poorly, just like you will do to that overly nice guy). You will know when it’s right because the person will not inadvertently help you become a facade of yourself, he will make you want to be BETTER (CHALLENGE YOU). You will feel ALIVE, not a struggle like in some way deep down you’re dieing. Part of us as human beings being (ha!) genuinely happy is being (haha) challenged intellectually and being (too much?) with a partner who is actually on a similar level in terms of iq. In this instance, you will both inherently be different and have differing knowledge bases, but because each individual has their own set of particular skills, there are things in life that you can provide the other, different viewpoints, humor, etc.

    So don’t NOT date him just because he is nice. Do NOT date an asshole because he is an asshole. Date someone who challenges you who is also nice. You will then have a relationship where you both are on a similar playing field and you can challenge, (read: grow, evolve) WITH that person, rather than one ultimately shitting on the other. But you have to be ready to be the right kind of nice. You have to actually WANT a happy, healthy relationship. Otherwise, why are you being too nice? Why do you keep dating assholes? If you say it’s because the right guy hasn’t come along, you’re wrong. It’s because you haven’t been truly ready to find the right guy because you’ve been distracting yourself with the assholes. When you want something, and make sure you are ready for it, it will happen. Sometimes it takes more courage to open yourself to that nice, challenging person than to date an asshole. At least with an asshole you know what to expect. But the sad thing is that the asshole won’t lead to ultimate happiness.

    • townandcountry says:

      Remember, it will happen when you truly want a healthy relationship and only ACCEPT a healthy relationship (again allowing an asshole to treat you poorly is your fault and means you’re not ready). Because think of this also, the other person is also looking for a mate, correct? Do they want someone that they don’t believe will challenge THEM too? Even if they choose to treat you poorly, don’t you think they actually want someone that would be a good mother or father or whatever for their own potential children as well? So if you really are ready, then not only will you be able to actually recognize the right person, which you may not have been able to do before, but THEY WILL SEE YOU IN THE RIGHT WAY TOO! Because desperation or loneliness are not reasons for a relationship. If that’s where someone is at, that’s what they’ll put out in the world, and no one feels they could find genuine happiness with someone that is desperate. The good news is that as humans we can learn and grow and change and evolve. This is why when you are ready for it, truly ready, that good relationship will happen. It will eventually. Good luck!

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