I don’t date nice guys. In fact, I have a tendency to date d-bags.
I’m that girl who claims “He’s just too nice.”
I’m that girl who says “I just feel like I could walk all over him.”
I’m that girl who thinks “He couldn’t handle me.”
And I’m kind of over it.
For the last 12 years, I’ve been inexplicably drawn to the guys that are all types of wrong for me.
The ones that are arrogant.
The ones that are experts in gas-lighting.
The ones that lie, cheat, and lie again.
The ones that withhold affection in order to gain power.
The ones that make me believe that there’s something wrong with me in order to keep me coming back for more.
Up until very recently, I couldn’t figure it out.
How could I know that I have the tendency to do exactly this and yet continue to dive headfirst and knee-deep into the highs that come with catching the one who saves his affections only for the women ready to believe him?
These men all share qualities that are not innately bad– in fact what makes these men appealing are the good qualities they all share: confident, outspoken, self-assured, aware.
But in no time, he reveals that that confidence was truly arrogance and a lack of concern for others. The outspokenness a mask for unapologetic tactless, rude and inappropriate outbursts. The self-assurance a cover for the inability to look inward and question one’s own motives or role in any given situation. The awareness a tool for understanding and manipulating his captive audience.
Why do I do date douche bags?
If you Google, “Why do I like douche bags” the articles you’ll find are pretty dismal. There’s a lot of throwing up the hands and saying:
Well, women just like the challenge!
Women inherently want to change, fix or save people!
It’s just the way it is.
Clearly women who love d-bags have daddy issues.
Those reasons make me cringe. It’s interesting too, and unsurprising, that the blame is placed on the women.
While I certainly enjoy a good challenge, have a penchant for taking on projects in all areas of my life, and have some deeply rooted issues that I’m currently addressing– these reasons slap the wrists of the women who admit to liking d-bags and then scoot them on towards the next douche bag because that’s “just the way it is.”
It’s kind of bullshit.
My reasons for being involuntarily attracted to douche bags is a little more complex than shrugging my shoulders and continuing on to date the next d-bag just because that’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it will always be.
It’s not a “women” thing to just like douche bags.
There have been so many times over the years that I’ve felt like it was going to be my fate to end up in an unfulfilling relationship because I couldn’t seem to connect with someone who felt like an equal partner. I thought I had to settle and adopted exactly that same type of bullshit guess-some-things-never-change attitude.
That attitude kept me from understanding WHY I am not attracted to nice men, and WHY I’m attracted to the ones that I know are bad news.
And after a few years of trying to figure this shit out? I’ve come up with a few conclusions as to why I like d-bags, and why I don’t like nice guys.
Why I Like D-Bags
1. It is familiar.
Familiarity can often feel like security, and security feels good even if what we thought was secure and safe was only familiar.
This shows up in my life a lot, not just in the world of dating.
It is familiar for me to drink away the feelings of discomfort on a first date.
It is familiar for me to want to deal with stress by tapping out of my day and gearing up with a Netflix binge.
It is familiar for me to take on projects in the form of people, both in friendships and in relationships.
It is familiar for me to be too empathetic, to take the blame, and to avoid conflict at all costs.
It is familiar for me to fill my deep loneliness, fear and self-hatred with all the wrong things.
It is familiar to me to want to help those who are mentally ill, even if that comes at the cost of my own mental well being.
It is familiar to me to put myself last, and others first regardless of the costs.
Those things are all familiar to me. They are habits that are easy to slip back into like a pair of tattered pj’s that I’ve been holding on to for too long because they feel that good.
But the thing is, those pj’s don’t keep me warm anymore. They don’t protect me from the cold Chicago winter. They don’t serve their role for me anymore, no matter how familiar, how comforting or how routine.
It’s the same for the men I date.
What is familiar to me?
I grew up with three brothers, who I love dearly. But it is familiar to me to give each other shit, not talk about our feelings, and avoid talking about the hard stuff. We pick at each other’s insecurities until we bleed enough to scab over so that it doesn’t hurt as much the next time. It is familiar to love each other despite our differences and despite how hard it is to get along sometimes.
But that’s not what I need from a partner.
Dating the d-bag is familiar to me in the ways I’ve learned to interact with men. Dating the d-bag is familiar to me in the ways I’ve learned that love is something to be earned and that even if he treats you bad, he still loves you. Dating the d-bag is familiar to me in the ways that I’ve learned that strength comes from sticking around despite his flaws, his emotional neglect, his tendency to make me feel worthless, and that strength is something to be admired.
Being strong for other people is something that is familiar to me.
None of these familiar things are safe if we define safe as good for me both mentally and physically.
Familiar means you’re used to it, but if you’re used to lighting yourself on fire to get attention, that familiarity is something to avoid, not run to.
Familiar is not always safe. Even if we think we know what we’re getting ourselves into. Even if we figure it’s safer than the unknown.
2. I get to be right.
When I date the wrong guys, I get to be right about a lot of things.
I get to be right about never being able to find an equal partner.
I get to be right about not being able to find any nice guys.
I get to be right about my belief that dating feels like rummaging through a dumpster looking for the least broken thing.
I get to be right about not being “relationship material” and I get to be right about not believing I’d ever be good at a long term relationship.
But bigger than that, that little insecure part of me receives affirmation.
She’s affirmed in the way that she’s always had a hunch that she’s not good enough. She’s scared that she’s not lovable, and by picking these men, she’s proving that, indeed, she is not lovable.
The way that someone puts her down, ignores her, or lies to her, reminds her that she already knew she was shit, and now she’s found someone who sees the real her. That tiny little part of me believes that this is what I deserve, and that this is as good as it’s going to get. So, better buckle up and get used to it.
She believes that it makes sense that she’d have to work hard to gain someone’s love and that she should be happy that someone who clearly thinks the world of himself is even paying her attention.
There is truth to the cliche that we accept the type of love we think we deserve.
In this Clo Bare journey, I’ve been learning how to love myself as I am, more and more. As I continue to do that by making choices that are right for me and creating boundaries that keep me safe from just doing what feels familiar, the tiny girl in me that believes that this type of love is what I deserve gets smaller and smaller.
She’s still there, but I’m starting to recognize her as the one who wants love from the d-bags, not me.
Who is me?
For one, I know I’m worthy of love.
I know I’m full of love.
I know I’m capable of love.
And I know I deserve to be loved in a way that doesn’t hurt me, isn’t harmful, and doesn’t make me doubt myself, my value or my worth.
Why I Don’t Like Nice Guys
On the flip side of the coin, the question “Why don’t I like nice men?” remains. I think the same reason I have trouble accepting love from nice men is for very similar reasons.
- It’s not familiar to me, and so it doesn’t feel safe. I don’t know what to do with a nice guy, and I don’t know how to be. Often times I end up making up for his not-d-bag-ness by unconsciously being a d-bag myself. I don’t feel at ease in the same way I feel at ease in my own degradation. It feels safer going with the un-safe-choice.
- I’m proved wrong. And as a person who does not like to be wrong, I don’t know what to do with that.
- The niceness feels too good to be real. It feels like something I don’t deserve and it feels like perhaps he has ulterior motives.
So… Clo Bare… You know this is fucked up. What are you going to do about it?
I’m so glad you asked.
There’s a lot I’ve already been doing about it.
How to Stop Dating D-Bags
1. I’m doing my best to recognize these feelings for what they are.
Those feelings are the small part of me wanting validation even if it’s validation in all the wrong ways.
2. I’m catching on to what I feel and actually listening to my gut for once.
When something feels bad, I try to stop questioning it and trust it. If I find myself practically growling to myself on the way home from a date because I’m so annoyed with how it went (true story and the growling might have been more yelling), I LISTEN to those feels and don’t continue seeing that person.
3. I’m asking myself– “Is this something I would do?”
If the answer is “no,” thank you, next.
4. I’m not making excuses for people I barely know.
It’s not my job to make excuses for other people. They have the opportunity to show me what they want, and when they show me who they truly are– I fucking take that shit at face value.
5. I talk to my friends.
And I try to give them the full picture when I’m feeling confused.
6. I’m reminding myself that ANYONE can be charming on a first or second date.
Psychopaths, serial killers, probably even the current President of the United States. Doesn’t mean I want to date them.
7. I’m continuing to make the right decisions for myself, regardless of any outside opinions.
That alone is teaching me how to love myself and be there for myself when I need it most.
8. I’m recognizing that this is progress.
Recently, I realized a guy I went on a 2nd date with was actually a major d-bag. And immediately I liked him more.
But I didn’t act on that. I recognized the fact that he and I would never actually be a good match in the world of dating, no matter what the learned and familiar instincts were telling me. I listened to the rational part of me that knew on the deepest level that he was someone to run from.
That– THAT IS HUGE. Two dates. That’s my d-bag recognition and dump time frame now. Let’s see if I can get it down to one.
Dating d-bags is hard.
Dating truly (and not self-proclaimed nice guys) guys is new and confusing too. But things are easier when I know that these are my tendencies.
I’m learning, folks. Slowly but surely, I’m doing my best to recognize the nice guys and pursue them over the d-bags that flare up my insecurities in an addictive way that feeds a version of myself that I’ve worked hard to overcome.
Do you have a history of dating the wrong types of men? Why do you think you do that? Share in the comments below.
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