All Casey wanted was to make him happy.
“I’ll do anything for him,” she said. “When I look at his house, I can see how much he needs a woman in his life. His fridge is empty. The shower is covered with mold. When I stay over, I do a little cleaning up and make him breakfast. His ex-girlfriend never did that for him.”
She frowned. “So what I don’t get is why none of that seems to matter to him. He says he appreciates me, but then he goes and gets himself some girlfriend who treats him like dirt. He scrambles around trying to please her, while she acts like some high-and-mighty princess who can’t ruin her manicure with a little hard work.”
Nice Girl Syndrome.
You might know it better by its male equivalent: Nice Guy Syndrome.
Ever dated a really nice guy? How did that work for you?
Nine out of 10 women struggle to maintain interest in a nice guy. (Fake news alert: that statistic is totally made up.)
The nicer he is, the more boring he is. Those sweet, sensitive cards and over-the-top bouquets don’t fill you with romantic dreams. They weigh you down with obligation. If he does something nice for you, then you need to do something equally nice back.
And you don’t want to.
Soon you begin to resent him for being so nice. You wish he’d do something scummy so it would be easier to hate him.
Too-perfect guys set off alarm bells. Something feels wrong with perfection. You don’t want to hook up with a saint; you want to connect with a real live human being. If he’s always good, then how will you have any fun?
He feels the same way about women.
He doesn’t want a woman who’s good for him.
He wants a woman who’s a little bit devilish. Who doesn’t care if the bed isn’t made and the fridge is stocked with beer and moldy cheese.
The less a woman cares about his health and hygiene, the less she reminds him of his mother.
Nice girls are too good. They just want to make him happy. That’s their downfall.
Men react to nice girls in exactly the same way you react to nice guys.
You want a man you can push away sometimes … not one with big brown puppy-dog eyes, whose feelings get hurt every time you’re unkind.
There’s something reassuring about roughness. A person with a bit of grit will stand up to you, even if it hurts.
You know you’ll never become his entire world, because he has a life of his own. You know that, no matter what you say or do, he’ll survive. He has boundaries, and he’s not afraid to use them.
He likes making you happy—sometimes. Other times, he just wants to retreat to his man cave and grunt. That’s supposed to reassure you. No matter how much he loves you, he’s still going to be a man.
Similarly, he feels reassured when you ditch him from time to time to see your girlfriends.
He likes it when you make him happy, but he also likes it when you don’t. He can take care of himself. In fact, it’s kind of nice when you ditch him, because he can play bachelor again and watch sports all afternoon on a crumb-covered sofa.
He doesn’t want to have to worry all the time about hurting your feelings. He’d rather end the relationship now, before he hurts you. He tells you that you’re too good for him, and he means it. He can’t deal with that much goodness.
But here’s the beautiful thing:
Even the nicest girl in the world has a dark side.
She gets angry. She’s got an edge. She’ll stand up for herself if pressed too far.
He’s wrong to dismiss her as a Nice Girl. Maybe that’s the only side of herself she’s felt comfortable showing him. But she has it in her to be just as careless and cruel as he does.
It was time for Casey to discover her Inner Bad Girl.
This was the part of herself that didn’t like being taken advantage of. The part that thought it was wrong for him to lead her on and then ditch her for someone else. The part that had had enough.
“I told him exactly what I thought,” she told me proudly. “He’d had a good thing with me, but I wasn’t waiting around anymore. I wasn’t going to be his piece on the side. He missed his chance.”
Was he outraged at her directness? Did he refuse to speak to her again?
“It’s the strangest thing,” Casey said. “I think he respected me.”
She laughed. “I liked that feeling.”