Not Another Nice Guy Rant

Have you read those rants before? Here’s the gist: Why do all the girls choose assholes over the nice guys?

The rants are usually the same. They spout off about how no one pays any attention to them because they are so nice. They are supportive of their friends and watch them suffer. The rants talk about how people are attracted to mates that will hurt them. And the subtext is always that the nice guy is a fucking Saint and sexy people should want to be with them instead of with dicks and/or bitches.

Yeah, not doing that bullshit here.

This is present in my mind because my ex and I are trying out Polyamory. It is the practical solution for us with our sexual and emotional needs. I have been aware of polyamory for years now but wasn’t interested in trying it out. She’s been poly for a few months. We are even reading a book on it together. And let me tell you, even just a few days in, polyamory is fucking hard. It requires a depth in communication and personal awareness of ones emotions that is uncommon, to say the least. Nice guys won’t last long in this setting.

The truth is that I was one of those nice guys, but I got that rant out of me 20 years ago and know well how it plays out. The problem with nice guys is that they are passive. Nice guys don’t understand that they aren’t taking care of themselves when they let their partner do whatever they want, when they ignore or push aside their feelings and desires, when they unquestioningly give and give and never acknowledge their needs. No one wants to date a person like that, and there is nothing sexy about passivity. Unless you like dead fish.

Of late, and hastened by our efforts with polyamory, I have been consciously trying to not be a nice guy, but to to practice kindness instead. A keen difference is that the kindness needs to extend to myself as well as to others. It is hard for this nice guy to do. My gut reaction is always to empathize with others first and see their point. This is why I sometimes think that empaths are foolish. We put other people’s feelings before our own. I’m proud to say that I’ve been making great strides at that, all within the context of talking with my ex. It has been so messy. Doing this for myself has been causing panic attacks because of the overwhelming emotions that I’m allowing to come up and how afraid I am of my needs not being met and that things will fall apart again.

To her great credit, every time I have brought issues to her attention, she listens. We have a discussion about it. She’ll jab me a time or two about over analyzing. I’ll say she’s not being fair with quips like that, and she’ll come back with a pain-in-the-ass remark that makes me roll my eyes while laughing. I don’t always know that the issues get resolved, but I know she listens and either validates or at least is receptive to it. My relationship with her, including all the troubles, has been the best relationship of my life. Even still, I was willing to let it end last time to take better care of myself. It’s only been a few weeks for our renewed efforts so far, and both of us are coming back into it with a stronger and healthier vision for ourselves and what we need. I think this makes it much more difficult than it was before, and better.

We just had a 5AM chat.  What always strikes me during these deep conversations is the importance of making sure that the other person actually understands what I am saying (that’s all the time, not just st 5AM). I put so much thought into the words I use that I preume the message will be crystal clear. Yeah, I know I’m an idiot. That never works. People read and filter words with their own mindset. It is absolutely possible, maybe seven probable, for the message to be misconrstrued and for them to never let you know they thought you meant something totally different or were placing expectations on them.

In the English language and culture, the responsibility of making sure that the other person understands is on the speaker. It’s a good language for command, which is why all of the pilots and air traffic controllers in the world speak English as opposed to any other language. Teachers are expected to use as many modalities and different ways to explain things as necessary to get their students to understand. People complain about lazy students, but part of the problem is the very language we use and the cultural expectations based within it. Students aren’t the ones speaking, so it isn’t their responsibility to make sure they understand. Some other cultures’ languages are completely the opposite and require the listener to make sure that they understand the speaker. I think it is fascinating.

T, when you read this, remember that it’s okay for us to go back and forth when talking about our issues to make sure that we both fully understand each other. It’s valuable and I don’t resent the process in any way. I hope you find the value in it, too.

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