Day 282: Appreciate the Nice Guy.

Illustration by Robyn Neild

Recently I had a conversation with a reader who was asking about my relationship with Aurelien and my feelings for him. It sounds a lot weirder than it is, the conversation just drifted in the direction of a playful debate. I was told that Aurelien comes across as "way too nice" on the blog and that it's inevitable that I'm going to want to go back to a bad boy like MF. Upon reading this, I let out a hearty chuckle at how wrong this perception is. What the hell is "too nice" anyway? You know, after everything that had happened last year, I'll take "too nice" any day.

This conversation got me thinking about my past relationship decisions. If this were 2004, choosing the bad boy over the nice guy would have been a possibility because I spent a better part of my twenties chasing that Mr. Big fantasy of trying to get the unattainable "cool" guy. That guy that you think you have this deep connection (good sex) with but really all it really is is anxiety and seeking approval from an unavailable guy. Really.

I was smacked in the face with the error of my ways back when I was living in LA, I was dating a great guy, a real catch. He had Luke Wilson good looks, was a talented, up-and-coming illustrator, funny, sweet and looking to settle down. I pushed him away to be with a total narcissist who was constantly standing me up, insulting me because I didn't know obscure Danish psychedelic rock groups from the 60s and didn't bother to learn anything about me. To this day, I still can't believe that I was impressed by such a shallow jerk whom by the way, I met on Friendster - just to date myself a bit...

The nice guy illustrator eventually grew tired of my indecisiveness and gave up on me (and rightfully so). He met and began dating his future wife; a smart woman who knew the value of the nice guy. And believe it or not, I was crushed when he decided to finally end things with me. At this moment, I vowed to never make that mistake again. I really did care for him but I was immature and focusing on the wrong person - the one who didn't give a shit about me.

So I ask you, why would I switch out a happy, loving relationship with Aurelien for an unstable mess based on frustration and insecurity? That unstable mess was my relationship with MF. Someone who saw absolutely no problem in making an 8 pm date with me and showing up three hours later. He also saw no problem with gabbing on the phone with his female friends up to three hours a day while I sat there. They use to call right when we were getting up in the morning and before we went to bed but according to them, the French peanut gallery, it was me who wasn't normale because I didn't think this was appropriate.

Sadly, I blamed myself for his major character faults and I worked hard at being less "demanding", but the more lenient I became, the more he pushed the envelope until one night I exploded and threw a glass of water in his face in front of his brother and his girlfriend. Up until recently, I beat myself up over the fact that I did this but looking back now a year later, it makes me snicker because he - as you can imagine - deserved it.

There's something to be said about the nice guy and Aurelien challenges me in different ways. We work well, even if he is Oasis and I'm Blur. This, we can work through.

Life is stressful enough and I finally, finally, finally appreciate the tranquility of a healthy relationship. I can say with certainty that I would never trade it back for the artificial excitement of the chase. After all, I'm not a 23 anymore...

What about you ladies? How many frogs did you kiss before meeting your prince?


  1. Triple Amen! Same with me, dated so many d-bags during undergrad and grad school until I finally met a nice guy, a very nice guy at that, that happens to be a Frenchie. And of course I met him at a dive bar in NYC; Fanelli's in Soho between Prince & Mercer. Ella, vous le connaissez? Yes, yes, it's me again, Sue from NYC that commented a few posts back.

    Anyway, I digress. It took me a while to realize that the men aka boys that would "play hard to get", not appreciate me and essentially not treat me like the rock star I am, were not worth my time.

    That said, I am grateful for all of those experiences because now I have someone that not only brings me so much unabashed joy but has introduced me to tarte tatins, merguez, and realllllyyyyyyy good falafels in the 4th and I am ready, willing and able to appreciate and love him back.

    My 2 cents.

    1. Hi Sue!

      Glad to hear from you again. Thanks for your 2 cents! Always appreciated.

      I think we need these lessons to appreciate a good catch. I was talking to a girlfriend today who is going through a hard time and I assured her that the next time she will be sharper because she'll be more aware. I hate when I'm in the throws of a heart break and I'm told that it's a lesson learned because it's the last thing you want to hear, but it's so true.

      You know, I passed Fanelli's every day because my office was in this area and NEVER went! How weird. I used to go to Sweet and Vicious on Spring. That was my SoHo dive.

      I'm glad things are going well with you and your beau. I hope you had a nice V day!

  2. It is a rare female who does not have a couple of "I can't believe what I put up with" exes in her past. It is only when one repeatedly dates this type of guy that it is an indicater of low self-esteem (or other therapy-needing issue).

    It sounds like you've learned from your past and upgraded to grown-up love. While it doesn't make for blog fodder (wasn't it Tolstoy who wrote "Happy families have no story"?) it does make for a stable and equitable relationship for you. And that is the best story at the end of the day.

    1. Hi there. Thanks for your comment!

      It is so true, we've all had those "what was I thinking?" moments. I shake my head at how dumb I was.

      But it takes wisdom, experience and confidence to put an end to the bad habit of wanting the guy who doesn't want you. I was terrified that I'd never break this cycle!

      My aunt always calls my relationship with Seb a "grown up" one and it's so true! No games, no b.s...just easy. What a relief!

      Thanks again for your insightful comment!

  3. Definitely a chick-lit story here lurking...

    1. Hahaha! Yes, definitely! This whole year has been chick-lit!

  4. I had a nice guy for almost 7 years and pushed him away for much the same reasons you described above. Then I dated a slew of abusive, fucked up and self-involved guys for a few years until I was so damaged that I decided to stay alone and enjoy a quality relationship with myself. Once I had achieved that, I met the Duke, a NICE DECENT GUY, almost 8 years ago, and it's been smooth sailing ever since. I'm glad I went through the crap relationships in my 20's. They taught me a lot about myself, especially what I want and what I'm not willing to tolerate. But God, am I happy this is over! Never again!

    You remind me a lot of myself... Sometimes I wonder if we were not separated at birth, albeit 9 years apart;)

    1. Aww, this inspires me. It's nice to hear that it has been smooth sailing with your husband for 8 years (and counting!).

      I still have that tiny fear that the other shoe is going to drop but I'm working on accepting that I have a good thing going, no hidden agendas.

      Yes, our stories are similiar...scary, huh?

  5. Séb doesn't sound too nice. He sounds normal. Humane. A decent, quality human being. What we all should aspire to be. The Valentine's camera story was delish! Especially how he won't tell you how he did it. What a tease!

    1. Exactly! He's normal (and amazing)!! I hate when people say that someone is too nice, as if it is some kind of character flaw! Sometimes I wonder what the world is coming to.

      I'm glad you liked the V Day photos! He keeps pretending that he didn't do anything and it's happening with my eyes! He is certainly getting a kick out of himself.

      Thanks for your comment!

  6. Oh gawd I know this story all too well! 2004 was a bad, bad year. Actually most of my 20's were. I'm over asking myself why I put up with half the shit I did, and now I just enjoy a man that respects me, would NEVER spit in my face (ahem - literally) and treats me like I am a prize. I treat him the exact same way. I think we all have to go through it though, at least once, to appreciate the real men that are not intimidated by women to the point where they need to control. Good for you for sticking with Seb, don't let him go!

    1. How annoying is this story?! Something must have been in the air in 2004 because it was douchebag central everywhere!

      You had someone spit in your face?!!? Wow...that's next level. All of the jerks from my past are all still single which is validating because I was blaming myself and thinking that they were going to change into these awesome guys for someone else. But not so much, it doesn't work like that.

      Enjoy your man who treats you like gold! Life is too short! As for Seb, he's not going anywhere, and yes, I told him that. : )

  7. We already talked about this but it's what I said and I'll say it again: the dbags are the ones you *think* you should be with or envision yourself with and then one day you meet someone that in your head was never what you thought and then it's just absolutely right. Cheers to you and Seb :)

  8. I like to read these stories. I am the nice guy. I was in love with a lady who was in tears because she couldn't believe that she was the "lucky one" to have me. Years later, she hated the fact that I took care of our child, to help her through school because it meant I wasn't cool enough. I didn't fight, curse, smoke. She eventually regretted having a child. When she left, I was devastated.

    So here I am, the "nice guy" single parent in my 20's. I am very optimistic that I will succeed in life. I actually make close to six figures as a single parent. I am happy in my life in every aspect except in the dating world. I am not sure if I am capable to love someone else again. Rather than take my revenge and sleep around... I still hold onto my high morals and respect every women including my ex to this very day.

    I am sure she will regret leaving us (our child and I) BUT the damage has been done to me. I worked hard from making 40k a year to over 100k since. I am constantly told that I am very admirable and I set the standard for what success is. I am alone though. I am a nervous wreak around women because of my lack of experience with women. I constantly think that women who are attracted to me are only attracted because of the security (monetary and mental) I can offer.... not me as a person.

    So i have been alone for many years now. Not a single date, no sex ... just me and my child. I feel like I did everything right but it wasn't enough. So even though I am highly successful, I believe that inside... I am not good enough to even date. I am not "man" enough is what I am told, lol. But here I am doing what most men are totally unable to do at my age... be responsible. Ironic huh?

    1. Hi there and thank you so much for your honest comment.

      First off, I'm so sorry to hear that you were treated this way. No one deserves that. Your ex sounds damaged and has grown accustomed to "the chase" and the bad boy syndrome, but once there is a child involved, it's time to let go of those teenage instincts and play the role of a responsible parent. I don't even have kids and to me this seems obvious.

      Now there's you and what you can do. There's a difference between being the nice guy and being a doormat. With your ex, were you honest with her? Were the power roles on semi-equal playing fields or was she calling the shots? For example, my boyfriend now is a nice guy, but he doesn't let me walk all over him. He has no problem putting me in my place when I have a bitch fit and I respect him for that.

      You sound like a great, stable guy with a warm heart...I'm sure there are tons of women on my site who would appreciate you! :)

      I hope you and your child are hanging in there. I really do feel for him/her.

      Thanks again for your comment.