In the realm of relationships, the age-old adage "nice guys finish last" has sparked countless debates and discussions. It's a sentiment that resonates with many, particularly the men who feel as if they embody the qualities of kindness, respect, and consideration, only to find themselves on the sidelines when it comes to romantic pursuits. This has been on my mind for some time, as I’m always looking at the what’s and why’s of single women today. I wanted to explore the reasons why some men who are genuinely good-hearted find themselves facing romantic challenges and why women, despite expressing a desire for a good man, might not always be attracted to them. As a dating and relationship coach, I see the modern dating pool filled with those who are seeking love, attempting to navigate the complex waters of attraction.
The Paradox of Nice Guys
The term "nice guys finish last" implies a paradox: why would someone with admirable qualities, such as kindness, generosity, and genuine concern for others, struggle to find success in the world of dating? To unravel this paradox, it's crucial to delve into the complexities of human attraction.
Attraction is a multifaceted and subjective phenomenon, influenced by a myriad of factors such as physical appearance, personality, shared interests, and timing. Round up a couple of your single friends, and I’m sure these answers would vary even more. While niceness is undoubtedly a desirable trait, it may not be the sole determinant of romantic attraction. Anytime I ask ladies what they’re looking for in their person, it’s actually rare that a woman has ever listed “nice” as trait she desires. People are drawn to a combination of qualities that create a unique and compelling connection.
The Challenge of Predicting Compatibility
While women may express a desire for a "good man," the reality is that everyone's definition of goodness varies. I’ve spoken on this a few times. Moreover, compatibility extends beyond mere kindness. Shared values, emotional intelligence, and godly characteristics are just a few elements that contribute to a successful, lasting connection. Or kingdom love, as I call it.
Confusing Kindness with Passivity
One common misconception contributing to the "nice guys finish last" narrative is the conflation of kindness with passivity. Some men who identify as nice guys may inadvertently fall into the trap of being overly accommodating, suppressing their true selves to avoid conflict or rejection. This perceived lack of assertiveness can make it challenging for others to discern their genuine personality and interests. And truth be told? It’s a turn off for many women.
The Importance of Authenticity
Authenticity plays a pivotal role in attraction. It's essential for individuals to be true to themselves, expressing their thoughts, opinions, and passions openly. A person who embodies kindness while also maintaining authenticity is likely to attract those who appreciate a genuine connection.
Communication and Understanding
Effective communication is key in navigating the complexities of attraction. Instead of assuming that niceness alone is the answer, individuals can benefit from open and honest conversations about preferences, desires, and expectations. This can help bridge the gap between expressed desires for a "good man" and the nuanced reality of attraction.
All in all, while the saying "nice guys finish last" may resonate with some, it's crucial to recognize that attraction is a nuanced and individual experience. Being a good person is undoubtedly admirable, but it's only one piece of the puzzle. Authenticity, effective communication, and shared compatibility all contribute to the intricate dance of human connection. By understanding these dynamics, individuals can navigate the complex terrain of attraction with a greater sense of self-awareness and a higher likelihood of finding genuine and lasting connections.
Now, we can take this a step further. Because in order to help my clients win at love, I first have to identify the reasons for which they’re losing. With all that was spoken of above, there’s an important matter to dissect. And it’s why women say they want a good man, or a “nice guy”, meet one, but then they’re not attracted to him? It reminds me of a video that went viral earlier this year where a woman was speaking of meeting a man who had and was everything she desired. He was a good man, but she still ended things. Unable to determine exactly why that was the case.
Now, I can’t speak for her personally, but I think of the immature woman I was years ago. I think of the many women who are currently caught in toxic patterns and cycles when it comes to the men they involve themselves with. And it’d be easy for some to assess that “good women” tend to go for the bad guys. The ones that aren’t even worthy of their time. Why is this? Why do good girls like bad guys? Because doesn’t this play into why nice guys seem to finish last?
The notion that "good girls like bad guys" is a common theme in popular culture and has been explored in various songs, movies, shows, and even books. While it's important to remember that generalizations about individuals can be oversimplified, there are several psychological and sociological factors that might contribute to the perceived attraction of some individuals, including "good girls," to those considered "bad guys."
1. Rebellion and Excitement
Some women are drawn to the excitement and thrill associated with individuals who exhibit rebellious or non-conformist behaviors. "Bad guys" may be perceived as more adventurous, unpredictable, and daring, providing a stark contrast to a more predictable or conventional lifestyle. This is where you find women saying they want a reformed thug that knows Jesus. Because they don’t want boring, but they also know their current lifestyle isn’t conducive to be with someone who’s still ‘bout that life. So this gives them a little of both without having to compromise.
2. Confidence and Assertiveness
"Bad guys" often exude confidence and assertiveness, qualities that can be attractive to many women. Myself included, I’ll admit. Confidence can be magnetic, and those who are more self-assured may be perceived as more desirable in the realm of dating. I don’t know why Bathsheba’s attraction to David is coming to mind, but I’m going to stay focused.
3. Mystery and Intrigue
"Bad guys" often come with an air of mystery and intrigue. Their unpredictable nature and the challenge of understanding or changing them can be enticing to some individuals. This sense of mystery can create a sense of curiosity and fascination. And this rings true a little bit more among women that possess a fear of abandonment. The challenge attracts them, but their anxious attachment style will later ruin the relationship.
4. Perceived Strength
There are some women that tend to be drawn to individuals perceived as strong or powerful. "Bad guys" may project an image of strength or dominance, which can be appealing to those seeking a partner who appears capable of taking charge or providing protection. Again, I see this in clients with a fear of abandonment, but it’s prevalent in those with daddy issues. Why? Because fathers are associated with being strong and dominant. So if a woman didn’t have this in the home growing up, the little girl within still craves it.
5. Social Influence and Peer Pressure
Social dynamics and peer influence play a significant role in shaping preferences. Scratch all that. Let’s just say “social media.” Because that’s where most pressure and influence comes from today. If a particular image or archetype is glamorized in modern, popular culture or within social circles, individuals may be more inclined to seek partners who align with those perceived ideals, even if they don't necessarily reflect their personal values. I see this struggle often among Christian daters. And it’s a struggle because the desire is there, but so is the fear of judgment from others. So there’s an attempt to keep the desires under wrap, while silently seeking approval and the “OK” from a few trusted peers.
6. Desire for Change or Challenge
Some women may be attracted to "bad guys" as a way of seeking change or challenge in their lives. The idea of reforming or taming a rebellious partner can be appealing to those who enjoy a sense of accomplishment or believe they can positively influence someone. This is especially true depending on the predominant emotional driver. Because those that are driven by diversity and change thrive off a certain kind of men.
It's important to note that these explanations are generalizations and may not apply to everyone. People are complex, especially women. And individual preferences and attractions can vary widely. Additionally, the distinction between "good" and "bad" is subjective and often oversimplified. I promote healing among women because I know that untreated trauma is the reason why a woman repeats patterns of running from nice guys and preferring guys that are deemed as bad. More than anything, it’s simply that the latter don’t fit the undiscovered version of the woman that she has yet to tap into. Healing is what renews your heart and eyes. Healing is what gets you closer to kingdom love. Healthy and successful relationships are built on mutual respect, shared values, and effective communication, regardless of perceived "good" or "bad" qualities.
When there are abandonment issues present, coupled with an attachment style that isn’t secure, this is when women engage in self-betraying behaviors. And I say this because any relationship that is not beneficial, enlightening, and life-giving is one that has a woman betraying her worthiness. I have yet to see a woman without abandonment issues of some sort engage in unhealthy relationships. And what I mean is that in my years of being a coach, women who have struggled with forming healthy connections have ALL had some kind of abandonment issues that are present. And issues only become problems when they’re not addressed.
Abandonment issues, stemming from experiences of neglect, rejection, or loss during childhood or past relationships, can and will significantly impact an individual's ability to form and maintain healthy relationships. These issues may lead people to engage in patterns of behavior that can be detrimental to their well-being. Why is this? What are the reasons why abandonment issues may contribute to unhealthy relationships?
Well, to name a few...
1. Fear of Rejection
- Those with abandonment issues may harbor an intense fear of rejection or abandonment. This fear can lead them to tolerate unhealthy behavior from their partners, such as manipulation, mistreatment, or neglect, to avoid the perceived threat of abandonment.
2. Low Self-Esteem
- Abandonment issues can erode self-esteem, causing those suffering to doubt their worthiness of love and acceptance. This low self-esteem may lead them to settle for relationships that are less than fulfilling or even abusive because they believe they don't deserve better.
3. Clamoring for Validation
- Seeking constant validation and reassurance is a common behavior among individuals with abandonment issues. They may cling to relationships, seeking affirmation to alleviate their fear of being abandoned. This intense need for validation can strain relationships and create dependency. And unfortunately, it leads to their greatest fear coming true (being abandoned).
- Abandonment issues can contribute to the development of codependent relationships, where individuals excessively rely on their partners for emotional support and validation. This can result in an imbalance of power, with one person sacrificing their needs and boundaries to maintain the connection.
- Those with abandonment issues may be hyper-vigilant in relationships, constantly on alert for signs of potential rejection. This heightened sensitivity can lead to misinterpreting neutral actions as threats, creating unnecessary conflict and tension.
6. Sabotaging Relationships
- Unconsciously, individuals with abandonment issues may sabotage their relationships as a way of gaining a sense of control. The fear of being abandoned can lead to behaviors such as pushing their partner away, creating distance, or engaging in self-destructive actions.
7. Idealizing Relationships
- Some individuals with abandonment issues may idealize relationships and believe that finding a romantic partner will be the ultimate solution to their emotional pain. This idealization can lead them to rush into relationships without evaluating compatibility or red flags.
8. Recreating Familiar Dynamics
- People with abandonment issues may unconsciously recreate familiar dynamics from their past, even if those dynamics were unhealthy. This could involve choosing partners who exhibit similar traits to those who triggered their abandonment issues originally.
Ladies, it’s beyond important to recognize that addressing abandonment issues often requires self-awareness and professional intervention. That way you can get help when it comes to exploring and understanding the root causes of your fears, develop coping mechanisms, and learn to build healthier relationships. Building self-esteem, setting boundaries, and fostering open communication are crucial steps toward breaking the cycle of unhealthy relationships associated with abandonment issues. Until you do this, you’ll continue to find Mr. Wrong attractive.
And I’ll end with saying this. I started off talking about the notion behind nice guys finishing last. Many women who took a while before healing and getting delivered from toxic patterns find themselves in that ugly gray area if they’re not careful. It’s where they no longer want to be the person who accepted the most and stayed when they shouldn’t have. They’re closer to knowing their worth, but struggle with fully accepting and believing they’re worthy. That ugly gray area is where they’re still attracted to some detrimental traits, while running from the men that are truly beneficial for them. The kind of men that would fit in the Kingdom love equation. Often, they deep down actually desire a nice guy. Unfortunately, upon meeting one, they’ll subconsciously sabotage the relationship for a myriad of reasons. They’re accustomed to chaos and dysfunction, so the nice guy who comes in has to deal with a woman’s past and past hurts, because she has yet to deal with it on her own. And if she hasn’t dealt with it, it means there’s still that part of her that doesn’t fully know her worth, so things may or may not last with Mr. Nice Guy. I think of the nice guy, Christian, from the Chi. He and Keisha dated briefly before she cut things off with him. It simply reinforces a point I was going to make earlier. If a woman hasn’t dealt with her stuff, Mr. Nice Guy may not even last at all.