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Why (and What) Nice Guys Win

{The estrogen infusion continues with the latest in our series, Inside the Female Mind and a rebuttal to Nice Guys Finish Last.}

(Our guest blogger is Lydia Dukaric.  Lydia writes the travel blog Travelchick.)

During the past ten years, I dated some guys who fit right into the category we term “bad boys”.  They kept me guessing about how they felt, I was never quite sure I could trust them, and it always seemed that I was asking for more than they were willing to give.  I was continually either wildly ecstatic or psychotically depressed.  There was no in-between.  I constantly felt that I was trying to live up to some unknown standard in order to keep the relationship together, while simultaneously attempting to frantically shove the guys into a certain mold that would make them perfect for me.  I focused on a few seamless qualities they possessed while trying not to take notice of any number of serious flaws.  Exciting? Stressful?  Addicting?  Yes on all counts!  But was that really what I wanted?

Apparently not, because two months ago I married a nice guy.

Ooooh, there’s that dreaded phrase: Nice Guy…  It’s gotten such a bad rap as the two ominous words women use when referring to a man with whom they’d rather share a genetic code than a bed.  Even I cringe a little when I hear it.  In movies, when a woman has just met a rather bland man, she always tells her friends he’s a “nice guy” and then immediately focuses her attention on the most thoughtless, emotionally unavailable, and arrogant man around.  He’s always also very attractive.  This is unfortunate.  I believe that nice guys have been deceptively portrayed as spineless, boring, and even needy.  And what woman in her right mind wants a guy like that!  I sure don’t!

Women Want Confidence

What we REALLY want is a man who is confident, surprising, a little bit irreverent, and trusts himself enough to allow us to trust him too.  When a guy is into us, we want to feel a little (or a lot) like we’ve won some sort of coveted prize.  That is, unfortunately, the vibe that nice guys often fail to exude and what gives them such a horrible reputation.  Confidence is supremely attractive.  Bad boys aren’t necessarily any more confident than nice guys (Though some of them have actually been able to convince themselves that they are your every dream come true, which is even worse.  Confidence and arrogance are not the same thing.), but they’re always much better at pretending, which is why woman tend to get sucked in, and even think these guys are more attractive.  Pretending isn’t enough, though, because it requires that he keep her at arm’s length lest she discover his ruse and subsequently disavow his power over her.  A nice guy who is sincerely confident, however, will ultimately win.  You can’t pretend forever.  We could go into what real confidence looks like and how to have it, but that’s another topic altogether.

Women Want Trust

One of my favorite things about my husband is that I can trust him- not just to be faithful to me (though that’s a big part of it), but to take up the slack when I’m not around.   I know that I don’t always have to be in control of everything.  I know he has a sense of personal responsibility.  I know that he is interested in the well-being of, not just himself, but of us as a partnership.  I know that he’s there for me when I need him most.  It makes a big difference.  This is my favorite nice-guy quality because a man who has genuine confidence can stop thinking about himself long enough to think about someone else.  I know that when he does things he’s not merely thinking about what he can do to get ahead (i.e. What will this get me later on tonight), but what will benefit the two of us as a couple.  A bad boy, by definition, needs to make the woman feel that he is all that matters when the chips are down, and he isn’t really focused on finding someone he can trust either.  When the chips really are down, the woman who relies on the bad boy is on her own.

Women Want Authenticity

While it’s true that a “project” can be exciting and make a woman feel worthwhile and needed, what happens when she actually succeeds in breaking her man down into the little bits and pieces of what she wants him to be?  Isn’t the allure of the fixer-upper immediately broken?  I heartily agree that women want to feel needed and useful.  We are natural nurturers, so the idea of helping some poor hapless soul to find their way is understandably gratifying.  I’d like to propose, however, that bad boys incite the need for this behavior, while a good guy provides what we crave in a more constructive manner.  Bad boys by nature make women feel that they don’t really need them- and it’s the insecurity these guys create in her that makes her feel that she must tackle him as a project.  The nice guy, however, can validate the woman for her role in the relationship, admit that he needs her in ways that don’t involve changing him, and give her that opportunity to nurture without becoming neurotic.  It’s a wonderful feeling to find someone who’s already the man we want him to be and still know that he needs us.

Nice Guys Win… What Exactly?

We really need to talk now about this whole idea of winning.  What is “winning” exactly?  Guys, if your goal is to bed as many women as possible, then being a bad boy is where it’s at and you can disregard everything I’ve said up until now.  A woman who isn’t looking for anything more than a little fun (and even some who are) will flock to you like bees to honey.  The bad boy demeanor has instant gratification and the thrill of the moment written all over it.  But that’s all you’ll get:  the moment.  If you want the long-lasting love and support of a charming and faithful woman, however, you might want to think again.  If you want to know that she wants you for you and not because you’re playing a clever game with her, it’s time to change your ways.  When I married my husband (and I’m pretty sure that means he didn’t finish last!), I knew he was a nice guy- one who is both confident and humble, tender and cheeky, playful and trustworthy- and I married him because of this.  When they think about the father of their children, women don’t want the wayward bad boy and they don’t want the ingratiating “nice guy”.  They want a man who is genuine, confident, and trustworthy.  Guys like that really win.

Lydia Dukaric is a newlywed with a graduate degree in molecular biology who does behavioral therapy with autistic children and has a secret passion for writing.  Her favorite topics are travel, relationships, health, and personality type. She lives with her husband, cat, and two parakeets in a small suburb of Detroit, Michigan. She maintains a travel blog at http://1travelchick.wordpress.com

Related Reads:

Nice Guys Finished Last:  Why Women Are Attracted To Bad Boys

Top 5 Reasons Women Choose to Stay Single

The Jaded Sage and What Women Want

Brigitte Dale and Nice Guys

Bachelor Secrets Part 1: Why Are They Single?

Bachelor Secrets Part 2: Dating Habits

Intimidated By Smart Girls?

My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die

Changing Your Relationship Status on a Social-Networking Site

Couples Vs Singles: Socialization

Dating Advice From The Family

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