posted 03-29-2001 05:08 PM
Here is a recent newsletter I received regarding "nice guy syndrome". It is entitled "great sexpectations" and can be subscribed to at www.shagmail.com
Today's Topic: Nice Guy Curse
Perhaps you remember the letter I printed in reader comments
a few weeks ago? Some poor tortured soul wrote in about the
fact that the woman he treated like gold, broke up with him
to take up with someone he considered several links down on
the food chain. After scrutinizing his relationship he sar-
castically declared to attract his next mate by losing his
job, using foul language, and practicing less than a sound
hygiene regiment. I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from
trying to improve their romantic endeavors, but I think there's
a better way to handle this situation.
What's really happening here has nothing to do with being too
nice. Women have no problems with nice; they have a problem
with ambivalence, passivity, androgynous behavior, and a
wishy-washy demeanor. Women are attracted to confidence and
strength, but when there's no conflict..."yes dear, no dear"
it leads to boredom and hostility.
You know you've entered the first stages of "nice guydom"
when you notice your gal becoming slightly more acidic with
you. Her attitude will cool and you'll notice that she no
longer asks you for your opinion because you've lost yourself.
Rule number one is never lose yourself to a woman. You can't
wrap your whole world around her without sacrificing your in-
dividuality. Most women adore a man who has a sense of him-
self, and knows who he is. It goes beyond just knowing who
you are; it entails asserting yourself and honoring your
ideals. Don't change them to agree with her. If you do she'll
see how much of a doormat you can be. I'm not saying that
women take a cruel interest in pushing someone a little too
hard. It has more to do with pushing for a reaction. ANY re-
action would be welcome except another "okay, whatever you
say." Disintegrating into a spineless wonder only creates more
hostility. Pretty soon she'll be pushing the envelope just to
see if there's anyone home! It sounds childish, but its not.
If you can't fight for yourself she's going to think you can't
fight for her either. It lies deep in the DNA to want to feel
protected. Notice the word protected as opposed to bullied. A
woman doesn't want to be told what to do, she wants to be
respected. Sometimes the nice guy syndrome leads to lack of
self-respect. No woman respects a man who doesn't respect
himself first. I'm certain it works the other way around as
What's the solution? It's more like a few strategies to keep
from falling into this pattern. It works best if you chall-
enge your woman from time to time by NOT giving in. Yes, it's
polite to ask what she would prefer, but assert your own pre-
ferences rather than always caving into her will. It's not
rude, it's just part of keeping the relationship honest. I'm
certain that there were a few guys out there that didn't want
to see Titanic right? That's all I'm saying. There should be
equal give and take over decisions no matter if it's dinner
choices, or who gets on top!
Passivity is the number one killer of relationships. Not only
should you act on what you say; you need to act in ways that
entail more than just the remote. Sometimes it's the sedentary
that suffer more break-ups. Surprise her with your capacity to
be spontaneous, and part of that means not asking her permiss-
ion to be spontaneous! That would just put you back to square
one in the jellyfish game.
Just to recap; its not the nice guys that are being dumped.
It's the killer trio of passivity, boredom, and lack of self-
confidence that will effectively end all romance. Passion
thrives on pushing buttons. If you remove your buttons, she'll
have nothing to push! I can't wait to get this batch of mail,
so let me know if you agree or not. Also, clue me in on your
experiences with this syndrome so we can have fun in a few
Fridays during reader comments. I'm not asking your permission
to end this; I'm just leaving you! (Deal with it baby!) As
always, I remain...