Playing with Matches

by Jennifer Garstrang November 28, 2013


By Jennifer Garstang

Many guys believe the “girls don’t date nice guys” story, just as many women believe that “guys don’t go for sweet girls.” It is a common bobbemyseh (old wives tale) used by “Nice Guys” and “Sweet Girls” to explain why they can’t find a decent person to go out with. It’s a simplistic and comforting view of the dating world. It is also a cop-out, and incredibly damaging to the romantic life of anyone who believes it.

The cop-out will form a barrier to your goal of finding that special someone, because by relying on it, you shift the responsibility for your lack of love life onto someone or something else.

Now, it’s extremely uncomfortable to admit that there is something that you are doing that is stifling your love life. But, believe it or not, taking responsibility doesn’t have to be painful. We must understand why we feel it’s painful in the first place. Because when we say, “There is something I am doing that is stifling my love life,” what we hear is, “There is something wrong with me.”

Suddenly, without our “Nice Guy/Sweet Girl” story, we find ourselves falling down the rabbit hole of self-loathing: “People won’t date me because I am [insert insulting adjective here].” No, I’m not calling you worthless, or ugly, or whatever insulting adjective you came up with for yourself. This is what is happening in your own mind. This is the supposed “truth” that you are so afraid of confronting. But guess what? This is every bit as false as the original cop-out.

The odds are, I just described the thing that you’re doing to stifle your love life: holding on to some fundamental self-doubt about your own strength or worth as a human being.

Suddenly, you’ve made the dating stakes a lot higher. Being attractive to the people we are attracted to is incredibly validating, and goes a long way toward countering our personal insecurities. But on the flip-side, when the objects of our attraction don’t reciprocate, our insecurities have a tendency to rear their ugly heads and find reinforcement.

Even worse, when your romantic pursuit is about personal validation, rather than a simple desire to get to know the person you’re pursuing, it can come across as needy. This is a very common way that the Nice Guy and Sweet Girl actually make themselves less attractive to the person they’re pursuing.

So, how can you break out of this vicious cycle? By mentally separating who you are from what happens to you.

Recognize that rejection is not a negative statement about your – or your rejecter’s – worth as a human being. It just means that, for one reason or another, you aren’t right for each other.

So, Nice Guys, if the woman you’re interested in is truly only attracted to Bad Boys, then, like it or not, you’re not what she’s looking for. Stop chasing her, and find a girl who is interested in you. I promise, she’s out there. The same goes for Sweet Girls.

I won’t pretend it’s easy. Getting out of a mental cycle that you’ve had for years takes practice and patience. Just as finding a great match can take time and work. But it is doable, and it is worth the effort. I know, because I am also a Sweet Girl. And if I can do it, you can, too!


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