Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Since Nice Guys Always Finish Last, Should I Stop Being Nice?”

I’m a 21-year-old, gay college senior and just got out of a year-long relationship. I was in love for the first time. It’s not that I was inexperienced before I met him. I’ve had experiences that have built large walls around my heart, but this relationship was real and mature. It was everything that I thought I deserved after all the crashing and burning I went through with dating over the past few years.

The day we broke up, he ended up with a guy whom he was friends with throughout our entire relationship, whom I had always had suspicions about. It’s becoming more and more evident that my ex cheated, but that’s beside the point. I gave our relationship my all and truly loved, and the two of them did things that have hurt a lot of people, especially me. And they never looked back or showed any hint of remorse. Now they’re happy together while I’m fighting to focus on the positive. And for the most part, I am. But it’s difficult on nights like this when I’m alone in my room, accidentally coming across pictures of them and their new happy life.

I’m sure you’re thinking I should move on and get over it because life’s unfair and blah-blah-blah. And that’s why I am moving on. This question is about what happens after I move on, and how this experience has changed me. It’s about my strong beliefs about karma fading. I’ve always believed that, if I do good, then I’ll receive good. And I thought that both the asshole who dumps you after cheating on you and the asshole who he cheated on you with will get the bad karma, while I should end up happy. This real life situation, however, is proving the opposite to be true.

So what happens to guys like me after we move on? Do I continue to be myself, even if that makes me prone to being walked all over again? Or do I live without regrets and remorse the way the two happy assholes did? At this moment they’re probably having a date night, not even thinking twice about me while I’m here alone in my bed writing a novel about them. So do I trust in my old beliefs about karma and continue to be me, or do I learn from this experience that the nice guy loses and simply become an asshole to avoid losing again? — Karma Chameleon

Whether or not you believe in karma and whether or not you decide to be an asshole because you’re worried you’ll always finish last as a nice guy, I’ll tell you one thing I’m certain about: no one’s life is ever totally as it appears in photos posted online. Whether it’s projected on Facebook or a blog or Instagram or a dating site or some other social network, no one’s life ever appears the same as it is in reality. For many people, the online versions of their storied lives are at best a slim collection of the best highlights, and at worst, an all-out fabrication (does anyone watch “Catfish”?). There’s some quote I’ve been seeing online a lot lately that goes: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Of course, I don’t think that’s the only reason — or even an main reason — we struggle with insecurity, but I’m sure it does play a big part. It’s playing a part in your struggles, for sure. You’re comparing your current challenges to some dumb photos you’ve seen of your ex and his new guy and you’re imagining what their lives are like. And I’m telling you, your fantasy of their lives is probably a lot better than their reality.

But never mind them. They may or may not be blissed-out happy, but even if they currently are (and they likely aren’t), they probably won’t stay that way for long. Not if they’re 21 like you. Every 21-year-old has struggles ahead. They do, you do — hell, we all do, regardless how old we are. It’s part of life. And 21-year-olds only have more struggles ahead than, say, someone 31 or 41 or 51, because they have more life ahead and life is full of disappointments and betrayals and heartache and stress and sadness and traffic jams and sleepless nights and all of it. But it’s also full of great joy and unimaginable thrills. Those will happen to you too. Yes, even if you stay nice. Especially if you stay nice.

Does karma have anything to do with it? I don’t know. But I do know that being a nice person feels good. And being an asshole, especially if your natural inclination is to be kind, doesn’t feel good. It actually feels pretty shitty. I know. I’ve been nice and I’ve been crappy, and as someone who is, I think, more inclined to be kind, I feel awful when I know I’ve been wrong and treated people poorly. I bet you do too. For nice people, it’s just not in their makeup to be assholes. Oh, they will be assholes from time to time. We’re all only human, after all, and the aforementioned unpleasantries of life can certainly take a toll and make us pricks when we don’t mean to be. But that’s the thing, you’re going to be an asshole from time to time even when you don’t mean to be. And you will see for yourself that it doesn’t feel good. And it doesn’t make you happier.

I don’t need to convince you to continue being your nice self. You’ll see for yourself it’s just better to be nice. It makes life a little more pleasant. It makes your friendships and relationships — and yes, there will be other relationships — and general interactions with humankind richer and more enjoyable. Most important of all, you will like yourself better. And when you like yourself, you will attract the admiration and company of others who will like you too. It doesn’t have so much to do with karma as it does with sheer common sense.

You do have a choice to make. You can let the unpleasantries of life beat you down so much you’re an asshole most of the time (as opposed to the occasional times you’re bound to slip up like all humans do). Or, you can let the joy and beauty and wonderment and small pleasures and overwhelming thrills lift your spirit and keep you being a kind, good person — a person whose kindness and goodness WILL be noticed and admired and loved by those smart and lucky enough to see your value. The world needs more good. I hope you’ll choose the latter.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

170 comments… add one
  • avatar

    cdobbs February 21, 2013, 9:16 am

    LW…i understand where you are coming from….but please don’t let someone else’s behaviour change who you are…think how bad it felt being cheated on and treated badly and then imagine inflicting that pain on someone else…you can be the better person…my goal every day is to be kind to people…does that mean that people are kind to me in return or don’t treat me bad…unfortunately no….you can’t control how people behave, you can only control how you behave….i say keep being the nice, kind person you….while no guarantee that you won’t get hurt again at least you will know that you did nothing wrong (god i wish i was as articulate as wendy!)…please keep your chin up!

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  • avatar

    ebstarr February 21, 2013, 9:16 am

    Pretty much one of the least sexy (and most transparent) things in the world is someone who purposely tries to be an asshole under the theory that he was too “nice” before to be successful in love.

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    • avatar

      Nadine February 21, 2013, 12:04 pm

      Yep.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary February 21, 2013, 9:25 am

    WWS. But I think you are thinking too short-term in terms of karma and love in your life. You’re 21!! So right now the man who broke your heart is happy (you think). What about in 6 months? 10 years? He probably won’t even cross your mind. Take a step back and try to think in terms of the big picture of your life. I broke up with my college boyfriend when I was 20 and I was all “woe is me I’m never going to find love again.” Guess what? I did. Because we all do. And this love is a heck of a lot better and more mature than that one was.

    And being a nice person does not automatically equal getting walked all over. There are plenty of nice people who stand up for themselves. So do you think your problem is being nice? Or being a doormat? Because if it’s the latter then you should probably go to therapy and work on learning how to say no, how to speak up, etc…

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce February 21, 2013, 12:34 pm

      THIS.

      LW said “Do I continue to be myself, even if that makes me prone to being walked all over again?” This makes me think that his definition of “nice” is really passive, like saying yes when he’d rather not or doing things someone wants to do to try to make them happy. This is very different from an active kind of “nice” where you are kind and compassionate. LW, you can be those things without letting someone walk all over you! Heck, be nice to yourself and stand up for what you want! That doesn’t make you an asshole, it makes you a more fulfilled person in charge of their own life.

      I can imagine LW saying “but making someone else happy makes me happy” and that is okay, as long as making someone happy isn’t at the expense of your own happiness. And the people that appreciate someone kowtowing to everything they want are few and far between. Usually, that behavior is just annoying because the “nice” person is really just waffling and refusing to make decisions because they’re afraid it’s something their partner doesn’t want to do. Don’t be that guy.

      I have never liked the descriptor “nice” used to describe people. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s like when you get a crappy birthday present from your great aunt and say, “Thank you, that’s nice” to be polite. But it’s not a way to live your life.

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  • avatar

    Guy Friday February 21, 2013, 9:33 am

    I think Wendy’s right, but I also think you need to dig a little deeper to an underlying point you made that really troubled me. There is this fallacy that “being nice” means “being walked on.” You said it a couple of times, and while it could just be the pain talking through your perception of what your ex did to you, I get a distinct vibe that you actually believe that “being nice” means allowing the people around you to abuse your kindness and hospitality, because you win when they win. It was something that I struggled with all through my life too; a lot of us do. And it’s not like you’re evil for thinking that, because it comes from a good place: you just want everyone to be happy. But it’s just not something that can be sustained long-term, because the people who abuse your kindness are going to smell that metaphorical blood in the water, and they’re going to push your limits to see how far they can go, and then at some point you’re just going to . . . well, snap.

    Look, there’s no reason to take a stand just for taking a stand. And, yes, relationships are about compromise; no one ever stays in a happy relationship by being stubborn and demanding everything all of the time. But you don’t have to be a doormat to be nice. I know a lot of genuinely nice people who don’t allow others to abuse them; it’s as simple as saying “I want to help you, but I can’t help you in that fashion. If you want me to help you in THIS fashion, I will gladly do it.” You have the right to set terms that allow you to live your life in a fashion you can be comfortable with, and you have the right to tell someone “No” in a polite and respectful way without worrying that you’re being a jerk. You don’t have to feel bad about that. Wanting to help people all the time is a great trait, one I wish more of the world had. But if people aren’t willing to meet you halfway, they don’t want you to HELP them; they want you to FIX them. And while the former is admirable, the latter is not a requirement for you, because you don’t have to exert all of the effort for another person’s life.

    Just cut yourself some slack, LW. Allow yourself to be imperfect. And just remember: the sign of a truly nice person isn’t someone who never makes mistakes; it’s someone who never makes mistakes he doesn’t try to remedy. You are allowed to be a human being, and while people won’t always get that immediately as it’s happening, they’ll realize it soon enough.

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    • avatar

      MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:41 am

      Said better than me GuyFriday! That’s exactly what I was trying to get at with my book recommendation below…

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      • avatar

        Eagle Eye February 21, 2013, 10:48 am

        I really like this – I would even go so far to say, being ‘nice’ doesn’t actually mean anything, but instead try to be good. I feel like good is more about standing up for yourself and your beliefs – nice can too easily be like a doormat.

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        MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:55 am

        Good thought EagleEye: Nice can be VERY subjective… one person’s nice is another person’s stalking! I think the golden rule is a better way to go with things 🙂

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 12:19 pm

      WGFS!

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    • avatar

      *HmC* February 21, 2013, 2:10 pm

      I struggle sometimes with the whole trying to be nice vs. trying not to be a doormat thing (which sometimes results in me either doing so much I feel really resentful or taking a stand on something I later realize is dumb). This was really great to read. Thanks!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 9:34 am

    If you’re an asshole then when you meet a nice guy, one you would want a long term relationship with, you’ll drive him away and lose the one thing you want. This bad experience will teach you how discern asshole and avoid it in the future. We all go through things like this.

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  • avatar

    ktfran February 21, 2013, 9:36 am

    My vote goes to staying nice. Nobody likes an asshole except other assholes. Be happy knowing that these two found one another, which will open the door for you to find someone better suited.

    For gosh sakes, you’re only 21. You have a lot of living to do. Going through these experiences help shape you, but don’t let them ruin you. It’s a choice.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary February 21, 2013, 9:41 am

      “Going through these experiences help shape you, but don’t let them ruin you. It’s a choice.” Love this!

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        ktfran February 21, 2013, 10:43 am

        Ah, thanks miss kerrycontrary.

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        kerrycontrary February 21, 2013, 11:08 am

        Welcome! I think that when I went through my big.horrible.breakup I DID let it ruin me for a little bit. It took good friends and new experiences to finally get back to myself, but it was such a waste of time and energy for me to be bitter about it. And I most likely treated some men badly along the way. I wish there was DW back then!

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 4:02 pm

        I was just thinking this morning about how different my life would’ve been had DW existed way back when.

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  • avatar

    bethany February 21, 2013, 9:40 am

    WWS 100%

    Nice guys don’t finish last… I can tell you that. In my experience it takes the nice guys a little longer to find someone to settle down with though, because a lot of people in their teens/early 20’s aren’t necessarily looking for a nice person to settle down with yet. They want to be wild and crazy and do stupid stuff. I know I did. My husband is a classic Nice Guy. He’s polite, kind, he’ll help you move or pick you up from the airport. I met him when I was 25. Had I met him a year before then, I honestly don’t think I would have been attracted to him. I wasn’t ready for a nice guy yet.

    LW, be patient. There are plenty of people out there who are looking for the qualities you have. I promise you.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 12:24 pm

      WBS 100% – which is, what, a …. WWS 100000%?

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  • Diablo

    Diablo February 21, 2013, 9:44 am

    There is no karma in life, and there is nothing fair about life. These are just concepts we humans superimpose on life to make it seem comprehensible. As your experience shows you, your concept of karma doesn’t help much when you get screwed over. And Wendy is right – this won’t be the last time. It’s never the last time, if you’re alive. Sorry, dude.

    But the nice guys finish last axiom is equally not true. Assholes don’t finish first, because when they finish, they are still assholes. This didn’t happen to you because you are a nice guy. It happened because your guy was NOT a nice guy, and therefore not the guy for you. The only way you “finish first” is by being you, taking your lumps, and eventually hopefully funding some nice guy who is the right guy for you, and some path in life that you carve for yourself, AS yourself.

    You have decades of lumps left to take, so you’ll need to toughen up some. Eventually, you’ll get old, and lose everything you once had and die. That is life. Between then and now, there is also time for love, friendship, joy, pain, suffering and injustice, and you’ll get a bunch of all of it. How you respond to all that is what will determine who you are. My advice is not to be any more of an asshole than you can help.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle February 21, 2013, 9:49 am

      “This didn’t happen to you because you are a nice guy. It happened because your guy was NOT a nice guy ”

      Yes. I like this a lot, & it’s true.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr February 21, 2013, 10:20 am

      “There is no karma in life, and there is nothing fair about life.”

      So true. Also, if life were fair and karma worked as simplistically as the LW thought, then EVERYONE would be a good person. The point of being good is that you do it because it’s right, even when there’s no extrinsic reward in it for you.

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    • avatar

      Jen W February 21, 2013, 3:34 pm

      “But the nice guys finish last axiom is equally not true. Assholes don’t finish first, because when they finish, they are still assholes.”

      I love that. Great point!!

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  • avatar

    haggith February 21, 2013, 9:45 am

    this is the problem with thinking that because you are being nice you’ll good things and if you’re bad you’ll get your punishment, when in reality things don’t work like that and we see lots of assholes getting ahead. things don’t work like that, and people shouldn’t think they should do good deeds and be nice just because you’ll get a reward afterwards when feeling good about making others feel good is enough. as you i cried myself to sleep just thinking how unfair it is the person who hurt me wasn’t hurting at all and regretted hurting me. few will apologize, most will go on with their lives… it doesn’t matter, what matters is how you take this learning experience

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle February 21, 2013, 9:47 am

    Ohh stop it, LW. You KNOW you shouldn’t become an asshole. And if you believe in karma, you know it doesn’t work instantly. You ~just~ got out of this relationship. You’re 21 years old with a lot of living to do, & even if it seems like your ex has the better deal right now— it won’t be like that forever.

    You sound like a decent, adjusted, intelligent person from your letter. The world needs more people like that, trust me. There’s no shortage of assholes.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey February 21, 2013, 9:54 am

    I want to point out that being yourself does not make you “prone” to being walked all over again. You already went through *that* relationship — The one where you got walked all over, likely got cheated on, and got your heart broken by someone who turned out to be an asshole.

    And because you’ve been through it already, you can make a choice not to go through it again. I don’t mean by turning bitter and cynical and mistrusting anyone who comes your way. Definitely not. Instead, I mean tuning in more to your intuition. Learning from the red flags, the highs, the lows, everything that informed you, consciously or subconsciously, about that past relationship…and then applying it to the way you live from here on out.

    Incorporate this relationship into your learning experience. Instead of being upset that your ex “didn’t get his due karma” (which he will…but karma doesn’t care about your timeline), be GRATEFUL for this relationship. It taught you a WHOLE lot. In fact, write down everything you’ve learned from it. Then thank God or the universe or whatever you believe in for providing you with such a great tool for personal development. And remember these lessons going forward, so you can be an even more highly evolved self in your next relationship.

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    • Diablo

      Diablo February 21, 2013, 10:01 am

      Yay! RR is back!

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland February 21, 2013, 9:57 am

    There are 2 ways that people explain situations/events/occurences in their life. The first is to chalk everything up to internalities (I didn’t do this, I didn’t say this, I was this way). The second is to chalk things up to externalities (the world, this situation, this other person). Some people tend to sway one way or another on where they place the “blame” in situations. It seems that you are doing some of both, but going about it the wrong way. Internally, you are blaming the situation on being a “nice guy,” if you hadn’t been such a nice guy this heartbreak might not have happened. Externally, you are blaming “karma” for not following through for you and causing this heartbreak to happen.

    Real life situations are so multi-facted that it is basically useless to place blame. Nor should you want to place blame, because in this situation you don’t learn anything or grow from deciding on an irrelevant cause. The break up happened for a lot of reasons, and perhaps it was for the best. Instead of focusing on the meaning of this event, focus on your actions in the present. Good luck!

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  • katie

    katie February 21, 2013, 9:57 am

    i think that you have the wrong ideas about karma and about niceness/assholeness.

    first off, the idea of karma isnt that if your nice you just will get nice things back. its not a tit-for-tat kind of principle. the idea is that kindness and goodness will get you kindness and goodness. that doesnt mean people wont screw you over, it wont mean you will get rich, famous, healthy, or anything. it does gaurentee anything. it means what wendy said here- “it’s just better to be nice. It makes life a little more pleasant. It makes your friendships and relationships — and yes, there will be other relationships — and general interactions with humankind richer and more enjoyable. Most important of all, you will like yourself better. And when you like yourself, you will attract the admiration and company of others who will like you too.” thats what its about. its just about being happy. if you are happy and kind, your world will be happy and kind. people will still be mean, you will still get cut off while driving, you will get robbed- your not automatically immune to life. but, you will be happy, no matter what life throws at you. that is what its about.

    also, nice people dont just get walked all over. please read GuyFriday’s awesome post above about it, and then read it again a few more times over a couple days. be nice has zero to do with being taken advantage of and being walked over. zero.

    i think you just need to grow up a bit. just a little… shed the tit-for-tat mentality (seriously, that will help you in every aspect of you life- dont keep score. no one wins.), figure out that life means a tiny bit more then just “if im good, itll be good”, and MOA. MOA in general, i think. MOA from this relationship, these dumb views about kindness and karma, your bleak outlook on your very young life… youll feel much better i think.

    also, go volunteer with puppes and/or kittens. seriously, it just makes your life happy.

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  • avatar

    EB February 21, 2013, 9:59 am

    Ehh no offense to this particular LW, but most guys I encounter who whine about the injustice of “nice guys finishing last” aren’t as nearly as nice as they perceive themselves to be…

    Personally, the people I find to be the nicest are the ones who openly display genuine kindness, with zero personal agenda, for the sole purpose of wanting to make this world a little brighter and life a little easier for their fellow humans. I am not saying you are bad person if you act admirably towards others mainly because you trying to ensure the same treatment for yourself, just pointing out that some of your benevolent behavior might actually be motivated a personal stake/slight ulterior motive and not an indicator of how truly nice you are.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary February 21, 2013, 10:06 am

      I agree about men who complain that they are a “nice guy” and “nice guys finish last” (seriously, if a man ever says that to me, there is zero chance I will ever have sex with him). Because usually their problems in dating and relationships aren’t caused by being too nice. It’s caused by other personality factors.

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      • avatar

        EB February 21, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Yeah it’s the guy who also sees his jerky friend’s greater romantic success as proof positive that “women just prefer assholes” and ignores the existence of all other factors that affect one’s success in the mating game.
        It’s like, ” Dude the reason the majority of women are choosing your less nice friend over you isn’t because they prefer less nice guys it’s probably because your friend is_____* than you.”
        (*insert any or all of the following: funnier/more charismatic/taller/more attractive/smarter/better in bed/more successful/in better shape/more interesting, etc.)

        I think that’s what bothers me most is that some “Nice Guys” feel so entitled to romantic success, that they can’t even wrap their mind around a woman rejecting them for a valid reason, so instead they create a patronizing narrative where women must either not possess the good judgment to recognize the “Nice Guy” is the better choice or lack the self worth to allow a guy to “treat her right”.

        tl;dr sometimes possessing awesome abs and/or a wicked sense of humor trumps opening my car door, sorry “Nice Guys”!

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 12:52 pm

        Why can’t I like this a thousand times!!!

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    • katie

      katie February 21, 2013, 10:07 am

      ha! so true about nice guys not actually being very nice.

      i brought this up yesterday, but its probably the “nice guys” issue too- people give themselves too much credit for things, and dont give other people enough/any credit for the same things. so everyone pretty much believes that they are a “nice guy”, when in reality, they just pick and choose behaviors to label themselves as such.

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    • avatar

      MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:45 am

      So true!!! sometimes it’s the image of being the nice guy, but they are really suppressing their needs and just trying to get what they want by doing things for others and then get bitter/rage when things don’t go their way. From what I’ve read it’s related to abandonment issues – don’t cause any trouble, be nice, and people won’t leave 🙁

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    • avatar

      MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:48 am

      Also…. “some of your benevolent behavior might actually be motivated [by] a personal stake/slight ulterior motive” is known as covert contracts… I don’t know how this will copy/paste but I will try since I think it speaks to your point!

      A Nice Guy’s primary goal is to make other people happy.
      Nice Guys are dependent on external validation and avoid conflict like the plague.
      Nice Guys are guided by the following three “covert contracts:
      * If I am a good guy, then everyone will love me and like me (and people I desire will desire me).
      * If I meet other people’s needs without them having to ask, then they will meet my needs without me having to ask.
      * If I do everything right, then I will have a smooth, problem-free life.

      These covert contracts operate at an unconscious level. They don’t work for a number of reasons, but Nice Guys are convinced they should. Because most Nice Guys believe they have kept their side of the contract, they often feel helpless and resentful when other people (and the world) don’t keep their side of the contract.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyland February 21, 2013, 11:09 am

        Ugh, I see some of myself in those bullet points. Especially the 3rd one. 🙁

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland February 21, 2013, 10:11 am

    Also, LW… please don’t tread down the path of Nice Guy(TM). It looks like you are close. People and relationships are not vending machines where if you put in enough “niceness” coins you automatically deserve something back “love candy bar” or “sexytime bag of chips.” Again, I don’t think this is you right now but enough bitterness could tip you over the edge. And most of the time Nice Guy(TM) is used in the context of heterosexual relationships but I’m sure it could apply to homosexual relationships as well.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr February 21, 2013, 10:26 am

      Yup, this. I hope the LW takes this very much to heart.

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    • katie

      katie February 21, 2013, 10:28 am

      i LOVE that, alice. love it.

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      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 10:34 am

        also, i think that the NiceGuy(TM) thing applies to both hetero and homosexual relationships, but in different ways… i think in hetero, it is usually more towards sexual acts and women, ie. being nice will get you sex/if you are nice to women you deserve sex. maybe in homosexual relationships, it points to other dynamics, which i cant speculate about because i have never been in one/researched it.

        the bottom line of entitlement (i am nice, therefore i deserve X), though, can apply to any relationship, really. romantic or otherwise.

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      MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:51 am

      It applies to all relationships – the book is actually available online on reddit or somewhere as a pdf (that’s how I found it, it’s been helpful with my HUBBY!!!! Sorry, couldn’t help it after yesterday, and I hate the word too ;)) and there are a few cases in there that speak directly to homosexual relationships where one of the partners is a nice guy. Very similar dynamic plays out in family relationships as well, not just romantic relationships.

      I should be getting paid by the author at this point having referenced it so much, but it has been a helpful perspective.

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  • parton_doll

    parton_doll February 21, 2013, 10:23 am

    LW, a friend of mine is one of the nicest people I know and went through a completely horrible relationship and it changed him. Instead of being the kind, caring partner he used to be, he is distrustful and hardened to the feelings of others. Well, actually hardened in general. He says this is because he doesn’t want to be hurt again. But I always tell him that he is closing himself off to meeting someone who is actually suited to him. And by expecting everyone to treat him like his ex did, it gives his ex power in his life still. So I told him just to take some real time for him to heal. What his ex did to him was wrong. He has needed time to let those wounds close so he can go into a new relationship without the constant shadow of someone else. And I would say the same to you LW. It’s not so much about being a good person and good things coming to you. It’s more about taking care of yourself so that you can approach new experiences/relationships as the most whole person that you can be, without holding on so tightly to the past.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady February 21, 2013, 10:27 am

    There’s this mentality I’ve noticed in the last 10-15 years (maybe more, I just didn’t notice because I wasn’t dating) that kindness and niceness entitle you to people who want to date you. They don’t; that’s the bare bones for being a decent human.

    Just because you’re nice doesn’t mean people can’t be assholes. Just because you’re nice doesn’t mean every single person you date has to treat you well. But being a good person ensures that you make the world around you a little easier to bear. It decreases the damage you do to other people. It means that you get to love people and care for their well-being beyond just what they can do for you. It means that when you do make a connection, there’s even a remote possibility it will be genuine. That doesn’t mean that just because you’re awesome people have to stay with you forever. And just because you’re nice and kind doesn’t mean that you’re a perfect partner, or that you’re perfect for anyone. You probably do things in relationships now that you don’t even realize are shitty. Not that it’s your fault you were cheated on – that’s out of your control and that was shitty. But each relationship teaches you something. Sometimes it’s just that, even if you try to do everything right, people can still be dicks. Sometimes it’s not to get so dependent on someone for your happiness that when they let you down it shatters your worldview. But if you decide to start from scratch everytime someone lets you down, you’ll run out of ways to start over by the time you’re twenty-five.

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  • Jess

    Jess February 21, 2013, 10:28 am

    To touch on your dating past and future, I would add here that early dating relationships –those you have before you reach 21— are naturally intense when they go well and crushing when they end. Your early dating life is fraught with new and terrifying emotion –love, heart ache, –and they feel life-changing and earth shattering.

    They are and they are not. No, you won’t ever probably feel as open and “naive” to love in the future. Yes, you will probably develop a little bit of a wall to protect you when falling in love next time. BUT, this early heartache (and the crashing you had in the last years) will NOT tarnish future love. It will make you stronger and wiser, yes, but it will not dilute what you are able to feel in the future. You will love again and trust again. You won’t become bitter, only smarter about what you want and more confident about your choices.

    Odds are you will also break someone’s heart and hurt them deeply. You won’t do it on purpose but that is truly the way love goes. People fall in and out of love, especially when they are young and figuring out their needs. And when you do cause someone else’s heart to break, you then understand the full circle about love –you will feel more understanding toward those who hurt you and you will be more understanding of those whom you have hurt.

    It’s part of growing as a person. It FEELS bleak now but I promise that you will get stronger and wiser with time. Until then, spend time with friends who are experiencing the same things. Go out for happy hour and bolster yourself with the kind ears and open schedules of friends in your neighborhood. Take the highs with the lows. They are all a part of you.

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  • avatar

    MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:33 am

    “I’ve always believed that, if I do good, then I’ll receive good.”

    Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not how it works – and I say that as someone who does believe (a little) in karma. But not to the point of it ruling my life, because if what you wrote LW was universally true then small children would never get cancer. Pat Tillman would still be alive. It’s like you think you are OWED something because you are a good person, and I think you need to change your mindset – please check out this book and the writer’s website. It’s been helpful to some nice guys I know in getting them to change their perspective about what they deserve.

    Besides the fact that in this case once you are broken up your ex can move and be with whomever they wish, so I’m not even sure where karma was injured other that your speculations and bitterness… people don’t owe you happiness or explanations once they have decided they don’t want to be with you. I’m sorry.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr February 21, 2013, 10:36 am

      Now that you point it out, I think it’s kind of amusing that this guy managed to believe in karma despite knowing that some people get hacked to death with machetes and some children get cancer, but he gets dumped and all of a sudden it’s like WHAAAAAT, LIFE IS NOT FAIR?!

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 10:53 am

        In all fairness, he is 21, and like many 21 year olds he’s probably not thinking of the big picture!

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. February 21, 2013, 10:35 am

    LW, I know this hurts. I know what it’s like to get dumped and then go out for a walk and see all those goddamned happy people walking around. It sucks. That’s how I felt when I went through it. But, life hands us these experiences so we can learn and grow from them. So what have you learned? Hopefully, that you are a strong, resilient person who will carry on and not be an asshole. The world does not need any more assholes. Have you ever heard the adage, “Living well is the best revenge?” Don’t let the assholes win. Concentrate on being the nicest person you can be. In the long run, you will be happy and feel good about yourself, whereas, he will just be an asshole. And you’ll get what you want, because you will be a happy, nice person and not an asshole. And for Pete’s sake, stop looking at those pictures!

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. February 21, 2013, 10:38 am

      I really don’t think I’ve ever used the word “asshole” so many times in one paragraph.

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      • avatar

        Wendy's Dad February 21, 2013, 12:12 pm

        And it makes a father so proud to see his daughter use the word “asshole” so frequently in her response. Readers might like to know that Wendy got sent to the office in 4th grade for calling a boy an asshole. She had to go to the assistant principal for disciplinary action. Well, that assistant principal was (ahem!) me. Can’t say that that was her finest hour in grade school. I didn’t suspend her. But I had a horrible time trying to keep from laughing. Honestly, I don’t know where she would have picked up language like that.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Hahhaha. Little Wendy with a potty mouth!

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 12:26 pm

        I’m picturing a cute red head little girl saying “asshole!” Hee hee. I knew no potty words when I was young, so I called everybody “stupit”. I also couldn’t spell.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Bwhahahaha, that is a cute story. Tell us another one!

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        MMcG February 21, 2013, 12:55 pm

        More Wendy schooldays stories PLEASE 🙂

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      • Dear Wendy

        Wendy February 21, 2013, 1:09 pm

        Having an assistant principal as a father really cramped my style. Luckily, he wore his key ring around his belt and since he had so many keys — keys to all the doors in the school — you could hear him jingle-jangling all the way down the hallway, like a warning bell. It usually gave me enough time to get my act together and quit whatever bad behavior I was engaged in before he made it to my classroom.

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        Wendy's Dad February 21, 2013, 2:04 pm

        And that’s precisely why I wore those keys (and a whistle) on my belt. The kids would hear me coming and stop whatever they were doing. That really cut down on having to deal with discipline problems.

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        MMcG February 21, 2013, 2:55 pm

        You sound just like my friend’s dad who was a Vice-Principal… so much better to avoid the disciplinary issues in the first place than have to deal with the documentation and hateful parents 😉

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    Sophronisba February 21, 2013, 10:39 am

    Being bitter is understandable, but in the end you only have your own little patch of garden to tend. You poured in love and loyalty, only to have your pretty flowers eaten away by a loathly worm. What shall you grow now? thorns? don’t be ridiculous.

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    • katie

      katie February 21, 2013, 10:43 am

      ohhh good garden analogy!! i like it.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser February 21, 2013, 10:41 am

    When I was about your age, I did not treat my boyfriends very well. I was immature, insecure and not really connected to other people’s feelings. Years later, having much more life experience and self knowledge, I look back on my behavior and cringe. I wish I could apologize. I think about that guy I mislead and cheated on and I’m so sorry. Maybe that’s what karma is.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 10:59 am

      This past weekend my long ex boyfriend from 27 years ago requested to be my friend on Facebook. I have a very unusual name and so it is easy for people to find me and so he did. I didn’t respond but I did look at his timeline. It was interesting to say the least. I broke up with him because he was cheating on me. Two years later he was still coming by trying to see me and during my last semester of college he realized I’d graduate and move and then he’d never be able to find me so he kept coming by and asking where I was going and even told me he felt like he was losing me and asked me to elope with him. I knew he was dating someone at that time and I felt sorry for her and I have felt sorry for her for 27 years. Well, this weekend I saw that he married her later that year, the same year he was asking me to elope he married her. ICK!!! But I saw her name and realized she is the woman he was with when he was cheating on me and I suddenly no longer felt sorry for her. They deserved each other and got what they deserved. Maybe that is Karma and it just took 27+ years for me to see it although they actually got it right away.

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  • avatar

    snakebite February 21, 2013, 10:41 am

    So on point. I’ve been reading reading your column since the Frisky, and I’ve never commented before, but this time I just had to. SO on point, and so wonderfully uplifting. Bravo, and thanks.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife February 21, 2013, 10:48 am

    A natural inclination when a relationship ends is to think to yourself “I must have done something wrong.” Sometimes it’s true and other times it’s not. Don’t change yourself to get a romantic partner. Then you might end up with someone who doesn’t like you for you. LW, what Wendy is so true–be good because it feels good.

    Someday you will meet someone and you will look back and say to yourself, “Wow! I am so glad that other relationship didn’t work out.”

    I once read (and I can’t recall if it was the Dalai Llama or a teaching of Buddha, so forgive me on that) that a bit of suffering in this life can atone us for past indiscretions in our last life. That is the nature of karma. It’s not always instant nor is its path clear. Don’t take a short view on spirituality….or on your life in terms of relationships. Perhaps this person you last dated was just not for you. Now you know what you want and do not want and you can make better decisions.

    Keep your heart open for the next person. Don’t let it grow bitter.

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  • avatar

    Anna February 21, 2013, 10:57 am

    So wait, is this how BGM became so bitter? Kidding, kidding! 😉

    Seriously though, I know how you feel. I’ve been there. It sucks when you put 150% into a relationship and get crushed like you don’t even matter. But there is something worse than losing a significant other, and that’s losing yourself. It sounds like you are, by nature, a good person and I’m guessing that being a good person brings you happiness even when you are hurting. I know that’s true for me. After my ex stomped all over my heart last year, I struggled to contain the fiery pit of vengeful lava that was about to erupt inside me. Eventually, I learned that my negative feelings were hurting me a lot more than they were hurting my ex, so I had to let go of the negativity and just embrace being myself regardless of what that means for my love life. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with ME (the real me) anyway. So for now, take a break from guys, mend your heart, think positively, and start loving yourself again. Best of luck to you!

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    • Jess

      Jess February 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

      Lol! And where is he today in this hour of need?!

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      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 12:22 pm

      Hee hee “is this how BGM became so bitter?” – probably! I’m sure it was more a series of unfortunate incidents, though maybe ONE BAD BREAK UP can do the trick, i’m learning to believe.

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      • avatar

        Anna February 21, 2013, 12:30 pm

        Oh, Addie. Give it time. If I’m no longer bitter about my breakup, you will be absolutely fine.

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    6napkinburger February 21, 2013, 11:10 am

    Grrr… I haven’t read wendy’s response or other comments, but this letter just made me sigh and mutter “kids.” Really? The fact that your ex is currently happy with his new boyfriend of five minutes made you question if karma exists because it doesn’t seem to be working out that way and so you wonder if you should be a dick going forward? Like, zero time has passed. Karma hasn’t even had a chance to work. Be sad, be mad, but jesus, this letter is just so annoying. Maybe that’s not fair. <aybe it was just the heading that I found so urgg-inducing. Maybe I should eat something and stop being grumpy. But urgg. You're 21. You thought you found your everything with your first love and they sucked. I'm not saying just get over it, because that never helps and certainly not whne you are still in it, but, deciding to become a jerk? Yeah, that'll go well.

    And I read the letter thinking it was a straight guy, then a girl the first times i read it, and i had the exact same level of urgg-ness (though more pronoun confusion)… nothing to do with genders or sexual orientation. But definitely had to do with age.

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  • avatar

    Amber February 21, 2013, 11:11 am

    You’re only 21!

    It’s way too early to think about changing dating strategies. Just continue to be yourself and focus on you, not your ex and what he is doing.

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  • avatar

    Phil February 21, 2013, 11:24 am

    Oh come on, you know being an ass isn’t going to make you happier.

    Listen, getting cheated on sucks. But you were together for just a year, and your ex did you a favor of ending it when he discovered he was more into someone else. It happens. He isn’t an abuser, he didn’t have another family, and he didn’t (presumably) give you an std. On the asshole spectrum, he’s more self centered than malicious. And let’s be real, at 21 we’re all pretty self centered.

    It’s time to get out of your head. Stop playing detective, trying to find the clues that prove your ex cheated – what’s the point? Stop looking at his facebook. Stop staying in every night – even if that means studying in the library, be around people.

    And one last thing – stop playing the tragic heroine. Gay relationships are a mess at that age – I’ve been there. But confidence is what you need, not self pity. You’ve been hurt in the past? They didn’t deserve you. You don’t have walls around your heart, you have well-healed battle scars. You’re a stronger, better person not in spite of this pain, but because of it. That’s karma.

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    • avatar

      Amanda February 21, 2013, 1:12 pm

      WPS

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  • lemongrass

    Lemongrass February 21, 2013, 11:30 am

    Should I become an asshole? What kind of question is that? What were you hoping to get out of writing in? You know the answer. No one is going to say “start kicking puppies and stealing candy from children and then you will feel better.” People are assholes because they don’t have enough happiness in their lives so they can’t give any away to those around them- tempting to act that way? It’s pathetic. I was going to write this whole spiel about how my husband is a nice guy and its part of what attracted me but that isn’t what you are really interested in. What would you like to hear? Stories about bad things happening to assholes?

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 February 21, 2013, 11:36 am

    LW, I think you just need to keep being you, and you will be fine. You have clearly had success in the love department, and you’re young, so of course things aren’t going to work out every time. You have your whole life to go out and find that special someone who will love you just the way you are, and they won’t cheat on you. Just go out there have fun without the expectation of finding a long term relationship, and all of that will eventually fall into place, it may be 15 years from now, but eventually it will happen.

    As for Karma, if it’s real it takes a while.

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  • Lyra

    L February 21, 2013, 11:44 am

    Oh LW, I feel so bad for you. Your situation sucks, there’s no avoiding it.

    Do NOT stop being a nice guy. There are people who are looking for a nice guy as a partner and there are people who deserve you. The whole “nice guys finish last” is just total bs. Assholes will be assholes, you just have to learn to pick out the assholes from the good guys.

    When I was with my ex, I thought he was the greatest guy. I thought he was the guy who I would be with forever and I *thought* I was happy about that. As it turns out I wasn’t seeing the whole picture and I wasn’t being truthful to myself. There were times when I questioned the relationship and just ignored those feelings. There were times when he treated me like crap and I just put up with it. Now that I’m outside the relationship I see it. In your situation, I’d suggest that you focus on the crappy side of your ex. Focus on the reasons why it didn’t work. Focus on the fact that he was such a dick to you after your breakup.

    After my breakup I raised my standards in what I was expecting from a relationship and it worked. Right now, I’m dating this amazing guy — who is a NICE GUY — and it is so fulfilling to have him in my life. He appreciates me and I appreciate him. I’m guessing there were some things about your ex that you didn’t like or that you questioned. Don’t allow yourself to stay in a relationship where you aren’t 100% fulfilled.

    And please please please delete or block him on Facebook.

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    • avatar

      MissyC February 21, 2013, 3:35 pm

      I agree that “nice guys finish last” is bs! I know plenty of women (myself included) who are looking for a nice guy! Who can honestly say they want to be treated like crap? I think often times being in a relationship with someone who is a jerk is in that relationship because of insecurities. (Or maybe your partner is a stud in the sack?) Either way it’s misguided.

      It’s easy, when a breakup is fresh as it sounds like it is in the LW’s case, to feel down on yourself and think that you’ll always get the short end of the bargain. The truth is that you’ll meet people in your life, some of whom are assholes and some of whom are fantastic people. But until you can be in a place where you can appreciate your own value you won’t be able to appreciate those great qualities in a potential partner.

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      • avatar

        MissyC February 21, 2013, 11:08 pm

        Meant to say plenty of people who are looking for a nice guy. Men too!

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  • avatar

    applescruffs February 21, 2013, 12:15 pm

    LW, you should never feel bad about being a good person. In my most recent relationship, I gave a lot to my ex, and after we broke up I had a lot of anger toward myself because of that. Because it wasn’t reciprocal. That anger has faded, because what I did was help a man who was struggling through a very difficult time. Don’t feel bad that you’re a good guy. It matters. And it’ll be worth it in the end.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ February 21, 2013, 12:29 pm

    LW, I agree with what Wendy said here, and have a few things to say on Karma.

    Karma is not fast-acting. She takes her time, allows things to build, let’s people’s memory fade a bit before giving them their punishing whammy (should they deserve it).
    Or, alternatively, if you believe in the Law of Three; it still can take a while.

    Balance takes time. Drop a pebble into a pond. The pebble is the action of your break-up and near-immediate get-together of your ex and his new boyfriend. Does the water stay still? No, it ripples. Do the ripples stop within seconds? No, it takes time for the ripples to stop moving, but as time goes on, the ripples become shallower and further apart. This is how things will effect you. You are still close to the pebble drop right now.
    Yes, it hurts, but don’t let it change you much. You could learn how to establish better boundaries, or choose worthier lovers, but ultimately, that’s something that all daters tend to do after a break-up – be cautious for a while. Changing your whole personality isn’t something you want to do unless you feel that there is something fundamentally flawed with your personality, in which case, you would never have snagged a long-term boyfriend, nor would you have friends.

    This too, shall pass. *hug* Find someone to talk to, even if it’s professional or semi-professional. A group setting might help so you could find other like-minded people to help support you through this.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 1:39 pm

    I dunno. I can honestly say that being a “nice” guy hasn’t exactly paid off for me. Neither professionally — nor romantically. And that, frankly, the whole idea of Karma is a myth. A cute and cuddly, but ultimately rather vapid little myth. Classic Example. Kim Kardashian. Look, if there truly was any thing such as karma she’d be lying legless in the gutter, pawing and clawing her way through abject filth with her one good arm as she slurps up fetid sludge — but no. Karma is a lovely concept that simply has ZERO basis in reality. A week in Hollywood among the “stars” proves that really, REALLY fast. Or hey, let’s look to Washington. How is George W doing? Why he’s doing just FUCKING great. And he bankrupted the nation all the while bringing about the deaths and maiming of thousands — Oh, yeah, and those are just the Americans… Overseas, it’s what…? HUNDRED AND HUNDREDS of thousands… Has he suffered at all in any real measurably way? Um, no. I think not…

    PS — I love how everybody on here is raving about how GREAT nice guys are. But nearly every other letter on here proves otherwise. How often do we hear from vapid fools in love with complete and total assholes? Sadly, I must say that this is often just as true with gay men as it is with women… It’s a strange world, LW. Hey, to be blunt, yes, I must confess that it boggles my mind how many women and gay men simply LOVE being treated like shit. It truly confounds and astounds me to no end. But that doesn’t make it any less true. I dunno, I can’t explain it, nobody can…but somehow, someway, being treated like shit must be way more addictive than even crack.

    Conclusion? Truth. I don’t know what to tell you, LW. But allow me to offer this, I think if I could do it all over again, I might try to be a bit more of an asshole. I wouldn’t go FULL BLOWN asshole. Nope. That would probably be a mistake. But I’d definitely have a bit more of an edge to me if I could rewind. Yeah, I have a definite feeling that had I been more of a jerk at times, I’d probably have had a better time of keeping certain hot guys around. As many on here know, I often remain on surprisingly friendly terms with my exes. One curious side effect of that has been seeing that many of them certainly wound up with compete and utter jerks. God knows they whine about it to me enough. And yet — curiously — precious few ever, you know, up and leave.

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      lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 1:42 pm

      Love how you say how nice you are, and then wish that someone you don’t know was lying legless in a gutter.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 1:49 pm

        You’re rather mistaken in implying that I have never met Kim Kardashian… Nevermind the numerous people I’ve run across who have all suffered to work with her. All of whom have only the most horrible things to say about her. Few of these people know one another either, and yet all of their stories and details are remarkably the same…

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 1:54 pm

        I think (LBH, correct me if I’m wrong) LBH’s point was not so much “because you don’t know Kim Kardashian, you shouldn’t wish she were lying legless in a gutter, unless you do know her, then it’s cool,” but rather “nice guys don’t ever wish someone were lying legless in a gutter… whether they know them or not.” (<– I mean, unless it's my ex-boyfriend, then it's ok. Kidding, sort of. No, kidding completely.)

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 1:57 pm

        Exactly, thanks.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:03 pm

        WAIT, both of you just edited your comments?

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:04 pm

        You think AP brilliance is possible on the first try?! Duh, no.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 1:58 pm

        Reading comprehension appears to be at an all time low. I never said I was wishing that she would be lying in the gutter limbless, I merely said that she would be if there truly was such a thing as karma… That’s two completely and totally different things.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:00 pm

        Which is to say Kim Kardashian “deserves” to be lying in the gutter. You’re implying that based on Kimmie’s (horrible) actions she deserves just that (you know, if we all got what we deserved (ie, Karma), which we don’t, which was your point). A+ in reading comprehension for me! It’s at least an A or B.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:05 pm

        Omg mark, all the stupid insults? Its so annoying.

        Whether you are actively trying to cut her legs off, wishing her legs would be cut off, or thinking she deserves to have her legs cut off…that’s not NICE, therefore, its bizarre you would label yourself as nice and follow it up with thinking someone’s legs should be chopped off. wtf.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 2:11 pm

        I never said any of those things, LBH. Seriously, I was using her as an example of how Karma simply appears not to be true. Again, where do I even use the the word — WISH? Or that I even wish that karma was true? I was merely stating that I don’t believe in Karma, and hey, here is but one reason of why. I was also trying to be humorous by taking it also to an absurd extreme. Who knew I’d strike such a nerve? Who knew that so many on here would have such shitty taste in celebrities? Seriously. Who knew?

        Whatever.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:13 pm

        Ok, lets try this again…

        Not nice: If karma existed, that person would live in a gutter legless.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:18 pm

        But, actually, it’s not really a nice v. not nice issue. If that person left someone legless in a gutter…. then if karma existed, that person would live in a gutter legless.

        I feel like I”m debating myself now. I need to take a walk around the IP block. I hear it’s someone’s birthday. You know there will be cake out. Or my personal favorte: meatballs and toothpicks! I can get 3 on a toothpick.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Those are some small ass meatballs. If karma existed, small ass meatball makers would be shrunk down to 3 feet tall.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:26 pm

        With a toothpick poking his eyeballs out.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

        Why do you always have to talk the way you do? Seriously, I’m curious why you always have to bring it to the nastiest, bitchiest level for no reason. Why can’t we ever just have a discussion/debate without the shitty attitude. Always with the “um” “eh” “whatever” “reading comprehension” “struck a nerve” bs. I just don’t get it. I can disagree 100% with some people on here and go back and forth with them all day, and yet never once feel like they are being a jerk to me or talking down to me.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:39 pm

        If you want I can try harder to make you feel like a jerk: You stupit!

        Kidding, I agree. It’s more fun debating without getting nasty. I can’t handle nasty. I cave, always.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:48 pm

        You always seem to handle nasty. I admire that about you actually. Even when people have said mean things to you (I can only think of one time, when someone said something about lawyers), you reply nicely or with a joke. I get worked up too easily.

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        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 3:03 pm

        That’s nice to say. Well, you can’t fight nasty. So I don’t. Or I try not to. (I will always lose; everyone else has more colorful insults.) But it’s ok, getting worked up just means you care. I definitely get worked up – a lot! And lawyer jokes? They’re more often than not rooted in fact. Ha.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 6:40 pm

        Good God, LBH. Pot meet kettle. You go out of your way to respond to my post about some vapid celebrity that few in American even like — you then make it PERSONAL be repeatedly posting over and over and over about how I am not a nice person and yet, somehow? I’M taking things to the bitchiest nastiest level?

        Talk about irony, LBH.

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        lets_be_honest February 22, 2013, 9:13 am

        I was simply pointing out that what you said wasn’t nice, not that you weren’t nice.

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        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:06 pm

        Also, I truly hope the LW listens to everyone else and not you. This advice was awful.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 2:36 pm

      I think the reason you don’t see nice women writing in about their terrible problems, that they can’t personally solve, with their nice guys is because those people don’t have these awful problems. So nice women who are happily couples up with nice guys aren’t going to be writing in to Dear Wendy.

      The biggest problem in my life during the past week was that our dishwasher died on Saturday night and we ended up shopping for a new dishwasher on Sunday afternoon. We researched dishwashers online on Sunday morning and found that the feature we loved most about our old dishwasher is no longer available. So do I write a Dear Wendy letter asking how to get over the disappointment of not being able to buy the appliance I want because it doesn’t exist or maybe I could write a letter asking her how to make a company manufacture the appliance I want.

      Another problem, my daughter had a missing science paper yesterday so I kicked her off the computer for a week. She was spending too much time on the computer earlier this school year and ended up turning in lots of work late and getting only half credit but we found that if she got kicked off the computer for a week each time it happened then it almost never happens. Maybe I could write a Dear Wendy letter asking if a week is a good amount of time to kick a 12 year old girl off the computer if she doesn’t turn her school work in on time.

      So if you pick a good partner, a nice guy or woman, your problems are mundane and not worth writing about and certainly not worth posting for comments.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:43 pm

        The real question here is what was the feature on your old dishwasher?!

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 3:00 pm

        Seriously, way to leave a thread hanging Skyblossom. What dishwasher magic has been discontinued!?! Prevent me from feeling disappointed!! YOU HAVE TO 😉

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 3:03 pm

        It had three racks so it would fit an entire days dishes for four people in it and we could run it once a day and do dishes once a day. Loved it! All three racks would hold dishes, now they only make three rack dishwashers where the extra rack only holds silverware. We loved being able to fit all the pots and pans in with ease. Now we have to get used to two racks. Life sucks!

        Dear Wendy,

        How do I get over this huge disappointment in my life? I’m going to forever miss my old broken dishwasher.

        Distraught over dishes

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 3:38 pm

        I’ve figured out my problem.

        Dear Wendy,

        Is it wrong to favor one appliance over another? I’m afraid I will never love my new dishwasher. What do I do if I just don’t like it?

        Playing favorite is wrong. Amiright?

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 4:04 pm

        I really hate it when “technological advances” actually suck… why wouldn’t dishwasher manufacturers make more rack options instead of less!?! They could even charge more! Figuring out the perfect way to load the dishwasher to only run 1 load is one of the great accomplishments in life 🙂

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      • avatar

        Painted_lady February 21, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Dear Wendy,

        My boyfriend is great. Our communication is awesome. He’s good in bed. I love life, we have enough money and wonderful, fulfilling jobs.

        WHAT DO WE DO?!?!?!

        Signed,
        Completely Happy About Everything

        Yup, not seeing it happen.

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      • Lyra

        L February 21, 2013, 4:26 pm

        AWESOME. 🙂

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    • avatar

      EB February 21, 2013, 2:40 pm

      How adorably narcissistic that you largely attribute all your romantic failures/disappointments to gay men and women’s “addiction to being treated like shit” …
      it must be terrible to live in a world where the majority of people are too mentally disturbed or emotionally fucked up to realize how amazing you are.

      I said it above but it bears repeating since you are in fact THIS guy:

      …it’s the guy who also sees his jerky friend’s greater romantic success as proof positive that “women/gay men just prefer assholes” and ignores the existence of all other factors that affect one’s success in the mating game.
      It’s like, ‘Dude the reason the majority of women/gay men are choosing your less nice friend over you isn’t because they prefer less nice guys it’s probably because your friend is_____* than you.”
      (*insert any or all of the following: funnier/more charismatic/taller/more attractive/smarter/better in bed/more successful/in better shape/more interesting, etc.)

      I think that’s what bothers me most that some “Nice Guys” feel so entitled to romantic success, that they can’t even wrap their mind around a woman/gay man rejecting them for a valid reason, so instead they create a patronizing narrative where women/men must either not possess the good judgment to recognize the “Nice Guy” is the better choice or lack the self worth to allow a guy to “treat her/him right”.

      Reply Link
      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 3:12 pm

        First, I want to say that I completely agree with your explanation, and I loved reading it further up the post.

        Just wanted to say that I think BGM has many good qualities to offer a partner. I don’t want him to think that we’re all just saying his relationships ended because he’s awful, because it’s always more complicated than that, and I don’t think he’s lacking in positive qualities. For starters, he’s very well-spoken. He’s smart, assertive, creative, ambitious, has good taste, and he’s honest. I don’t even know BGM in real life, and I came up with those in less than fifteen seconds. I’m sure someone who’s known him longer recognizes many, many more good things in him. So while I think there’s a lot of truth in saying that some people who mourn over “nice guys finishing last” in fact have other issues at play, all of us do. All of us are undesirable partners in some way, and all of us are desirable too. Most of us explain our ended relationships and failures with something, and your explanation just happens to be one common explanation.

        And I know you didn’t mean that those people are total failures, but I just wanted to mention it since it sort of sucks to be called out on things like this.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 3:18 pm

        That was very nice of you to say.

        “All of us are undesirable partners in some way, and all of us are desirable too” Totally agree. Just depends on the person doing the desiring (or undesiring, bc that’s a word).

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      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 3:36 pm

        and i would just like to use this to further my paradox explanations- this is why karma can still exist while we are all narcissistic judgemental assholes.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 3:41 pm

        huh? Please do explain, because I’m very interested in the theory you have going on here. lol

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      • avatar

        EB February 21, 2013, 4:39 pm

        I never said that BGM didn’t have positive qualities. My issue is that BGM/and other nice guys can’t seem to acknowledge that when someone chooses a not nice guy over them it isn’t because the person necessarily has a preference for assholes/ wants to be miserable. You feel the need to point out all desirable traits that Mark possesses and that’s what I’ve been trying to say about all of these not nice guys they probably have desirable traits that their partners see in them(like you see in Mark) and maybe that is why they chose them…you instead of just being masochists.

        Also I never said BGM was a failure I said he blamed the failures/disappointments in his romantic life on being too nice in reference to where BGM claimed if he could do it over he would be more of an asshole because he believes that single change would allow him to be more successful in keeping guys- that’s my issue- BGM seems to equate being an asshole as the golden ticket to romantic success.
        His theory: Assholes who are successful in love are successful because they are assholes. My theory: Assholes who are successful in love are usually successful not because but in spite of being assholes.

        I was never attacking Mark’s desirability only his belief that not nice guys are only desirable because they are asshole snot because they possess any redeeming qualities that appeal to a partner and the ridiculous assertion that being an asshole would have automatically guaranteed him(BGM) more success in love.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 4:44 pm

        Dude, I made it very clear that I didn’t think you were saying those things. I just felt some compassion towards Mark and wanted to let him know in no uncertain terms that we WEREN’T saying that. I agreed with you and just added to it. Nothing against what you said.

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      • avatar

        EB February 21, 2013, 4:55 pm

        Sorry, I misread what you wrote as “it sort of sucks of you to call him out”. DWing on my phone while multitasking = reading comprehension fail, my bad!

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Haha, it’s okay! I was just like “How in the world did that get twisted around?!”

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      • avatar

        EB February 21, 2013, 7:17 pm

        Yeah, totally my fault!

        Oh and after I rereading your comment, I admire your compassion. I know it’s your job to help people navigate through some of the most difficult periods in their life; I know that when I faced extreme trauma, it didn’t exactly bring out my best side. Few people wear pain and devastation gracefully, so it makes me very glad that when confronted with a person’s bad attitude, rude remarks, or frustrating conduct and you still seem to immediately zero in on the good in them.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 8:49 pm

        Aww, thank you so much! That makes me really happy! It’s kind of a cliche thing social workers are supposed to do – to spot the strengths in situations that seem like endless black holes. I started doing it because of my job, but it actually makes my life a lot happier. I highly recommend doing it just as a general exercise.

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    • avatar

      MMcG February 21, 2013, 2:57 pm

      PS — I love how everybody on here is raving about how GREAT nice guys are.

      WAAAA!?! You obviously haven’t read any of my comments, all I’ve been doing is trying to show how damaging the entitled mentality can be.

      Reply Link
    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ February 21, 2013, 4:48 pm

      Considering that the asshole I originally married is now homeless, has custody of none of his children and has no contact with any of them, cannot receive government assistance (I made sure of that), cannot receive a permanent fund dividend (fraud, I made sure of that as well), and is wanted for a variety of crimes that he committed against me – yeah, I can say that Karma does bite people eventually.

      And I did marry a nice guy. There are reasons why nice guys finish last – because the “race” is DONE for them. They no longer need to compete because they completed their portion of it.
      I think the term “nice guy” is over-used, however. Some people categorize weak, overly sensitive, clingy, and co-dependent into the “nice guy” category and it ruins the “nice guy” image. A guy can be a bad ass and still be a nice guy.

      And don’t you think Kardashian is getting a little Karmic retribution right now? She isn’t getting exactly what she wants right now, when she wants it. Her divorce is taking longer than her marriage, which is pissing her off. She wants privacy during her pregnancy and people are calling her a hypocrite for wanting such because her entire adult life is one large-scale reality show. These are small things, but to this woman, they are huge. That’s a little Karmic to me. Ripple effect dude… ripple effect.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Anna February 22, 2013, 4:04 am

      “I love how everybody on here is raving about how GREAT nice guys are. But nearly every other letter on here proves otherwise. How often do we hear from vapid fools in love with complete and total assholes?”

      The answer is because this is an advise forum. The ones who are happily in relationships with nice guys/girls don’t need to write in! If you based your opinion of air travel solely on the media, you would believe that every plane that takes off inevitably crashes. This is because there’s no reason to read an article about the plane that took off and landed safely.

      Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark February 21, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Um, what?! Just because somebody deserves something, doesn’t mean I wish it to be so. I’m not saying that Kim deserves be in the gutter, but even the most basic understanding of karma would say that, yes, indeedshe does. How you treat others determines how you will in kind be treated. Apparently, Kim Kardashian treats nearly everybody she encounters like total garbage… Human desires about the fates of others has ZERO role in karma.

    Oh, well. At least nobody is arguing with me about Bush.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:08 pm

      Thinking someone deserves to be legless in a gutter is not nice.
      Thinking karma didn’t get her bc she still has legs is not nice.
      Being a jerk does not mean you probably should live in a gutter.
      Is this really debatable?!?!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:14 pm

        It kind of is – because I think the real debate here is on what the hell karma means. I think we all use karma wrong. Wrongly. Whatever. I never claimed to speak good.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:15 pm

        The only real debate here is if Kimmie ever cut off someone’s limbs and left them in a gutter. I really doubt it, but, you know, BGM has met her.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:19 pm

        I read your comment right below this. I understand that, karma, eye for an eye.Working under the assumption some wanna be celeb didn’t cut someones legs off or force them to live in a gutter, its not a nice comment. Talkin in circles now.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Ok, I’m back on board. BGM, that was not nice.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:36 pm

        Also, this BGM can’t argue with: his comment clearly expresses a desire that karma exist – he refers to it as a “lovely concept” that is “cute and cuddly.” Well, expressing a desire for a concept that would leave someone lying legless in a clutter is … not so nice. Boom.

        Also, expressing regret that he was a nice guy because it meant the hot guys didn’t stick around? Also not nice.

        LBH and I win, BGM loses.

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      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 3:02 pm

        “Also, expressing regret that he was a nice guy because it meant the hot guys didn’t stick around? Also not nice.”

        But 100% nice guy behavior!

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      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 2:27 pm

        i think this debate is all very amusing… it makes karma into a paradox. its objectively “bad” to judge someone, (ie, say that someone who is shitty deserves to be a gutter or whatever), but in order for karma to work, people have to do bad and good things, and be able to differentiate between the two (ie. understand that “good” acts will get you good karma, “bad” acts will get you bad karma)… so, if karma works, you have to be able to judge your own and others actions. but to judge makes you bad… so, my conclusion is either: 1. karma doesnt work/doesnt exist, or 2. everyone is bad *because* karma exists.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:12 pm

      Ok, I’m admitting: you’re right. I always think of the word “Karma” as including a “what you deserve” element. But I Googled it. (And we know Google never lies.) And all the definitions I read define it more the belief that what you do will be done to you. So, ok, I’m with you, so long as Kimmie has actually cut someone’s limbs off and left them lying in the gutter….

      But, yea, no issues with the Bush comment.

      Reply Link
    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 2:25 pm

      But she doesn’t appear to be living a happy life even if she is making money. So maybe that is Karma even if she isn’t lying legless in the gutter.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:50 pm

        Impossible! Money makes everyone live a happy life. Amiright?

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 21, 2013, 3:06 pm

        So right!

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ February 21, 2013, 5:55 pm

        No. Money does NOT make one happy. Money buys you things, which in turn makes you happy. Unless you’re a hoarder. Then you’re just miserable. Must strike a happy balance. Happy Happy!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 22, 2013, 9:15 am

        I was just kidding AK. 🙂

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark February 22, 2013, 1:25 am

        Money would certainly solve all of my present problems. Every single one of them. Hey, I could finally fix my teeth and stop worrying about my how they are beyond repair at this point for starters…

        It also would have probably prevented the last THREE suicides in my circle… All of which were due to financial ruin and the accompanying depression.

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  • avatar

    EB February 21, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Thank you for demonstrating my point that a lot of “Nice Guys” overestimate how nice they actually are…

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:15 pm

      bahaha. I didn’t want to be the one to say it. I think katie made that point also.

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 3:03 pm

        its a documented phenomena, not even something i made up!!

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 2:21 pm

      This is SO TRUE.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Nadine February 21, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Only complete assholes think that they are nice. Its because they spend all their time thinking about what other people must think of them, rather than thinking about other people.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 2:46 pm

      Uh oh. I think I’m nice. But I think that you can think you are nice and still not spend all your time thinking only about that.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      MMcG February 21, 2013, 3:05 pm

      I would just suggest a minor edit: Only complete assholes think they are nice AND DESERVE SOMETHING because of it.

      It’s kinda like how really rich people don’t talk about money, really talented actors don’t need to talk about their awards, and really nice people don’t have to tell people about – they just are!

      Reply Link
    • katie

      katie February 21, 2013, 3:05 pm

      again, a paradox. you cant assess whether or not you are nice if you dont take other feelings about you into consideration, which is an objectively narcissistic/asshole behavior.

      Reply Link
      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 3:45 pm

        But here’s the circle!: In order to treat other people well, you have to care about and think about how you make them feel and how they feel about you, which is something that self-absorbed people do too, like you said.

        I feel like this is a 2am wine-induced theory.

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      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 3:49 pm

        haha, 2 am wine induced theories are my FAVORITE type of theory, actually.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 3:52 pm

        You can say to yourself that you do nice things though. I think that can be acknowledged without being an asshole.
        But this goes back to our discuss (with Iwanna?) about how even being generous benefits you so no one is ever selfless.

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    • avatar

      Nadine February 21, 2013, 3:48 pm

      Ok, to clarify: ‘Only assholes call themselves Nice Guys (TM) to other people, because they spend their time thinking about and trying to control what other people think of them, instead of just thinking of other people.’
      Thoughts?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        MMcG February 21, 2013, 4:06 pm

        Image management for the win!

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      • Copa

        Copa February 21, 2013, 4:08 pm

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger February 21, 2013, 4:18 pm

        Amazeballs

        (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, please don’t use hubby!!)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 4:24 pm

        My hubby is totes adorbs.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 4:32 pm

        Which is something you’ll be able to say soon enough after YOU GET ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest February 21, 2013, 4:38 pm

        That’s the only reason I really want to get married, just to bother you guys with overpronounced fiance and saying hubby or the hubster.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 4:42 pm

        haha, In that case, you could definitely just lie to us, and we’d be none the wiser since you’re so anonymous.

        Also, I hate saying “fiance.” I’ll be glad to be able to say “husband” in a couple of months because it doesn’t sound nearly as pretentious.

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      • katie

        katie February 21, 2013, 4:49 pm

        oh i can totally beat “fiance” (which i agree is weird/awkward/pretentious)

        my dad sometimes calls jake “your betrothed”. seriously. out loud.

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      • theattack

        theattack February 21, 2013, 4:55 pm

        hahaha! I sometimes call my fiance that just to be obnoxious. That’s hilarious that your dad does it regularly, and you’re not even engaged! ha!

        But it’s like, if you’re engaged, you can’t exactly keep calling the guy your boyfriend, ya know? That’s kind of like giving him a big finger. So I guess you just suck it up and say it as quickly as you can, and don’t put off the wedding. lol

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      • avatar

        Nadine February 21, 2013, 4:24 pm

        Yes, this!

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  • avatar

    Girodet February 21, 2013, 3:00 pm

    I think this nice guys finish last stuff is an excuse. LW what you need to do is look at your past relationships. You need to figure out why you picked these guys. Figure out if there were signs or clues that were there that you ignored. It sounds like early on you didn’t like your boyfriends friendship. Learn next time to trust your gut. Dating is learning about ourselves and the type of person we want.

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  • avatar

    Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich February 21, 2013, 3:44 pm

    Ugh, get over your 21-year-old self. So you got cheated on… welcome to the 90% of people at one time or another club. Was he your soul-mate? Obviously not. So why torture yourself with what sounds like very dramatic self-pity sessions alone in your room with laptop?

    Let me remind you again: you are ONLY 21. You haven’t even finished under-grad yet. Maybe there is more school out there for you, and maybe not. There will be jobs out there that you love and maybe you will get fired. Maybe you will “settle” for a job you fall in love with. Maybe you will travel. Maybe you will become famous. Maybe you will fill your life with so many friends, lovers, experiences, accomplishments, books read, countries visited, pranks pulled, etc, that when you’re on your death-bed, if someone asked you about this guy who broke your heart, you will say, “who?”

    Do you seriously want to shift your whole outlook, for the worse, because you spent 12 months in college with a douche who broke your heart? And yes, I do mean for the worse. “Nice” guys who decide to be assholes after a couple of routine life experiences have made them bitter, were usually never nice at all. They were dishonest, with others and themselves, about what they want out of a situation or relationship. “Nice” guys suffer in silence, and hate everyone who doesn’t idolize that suffering. They wait for the abuses and injustices to accumulate, guarding their bitterness like a dragon over treasure, seeking those experiences that re-affirm their growing belief in the generic evil of groups (women), ignoring or rationalizing away the ambiguity, and complexity of life. And finally, they crucify themselves and their “niceness.” They are reborn into assholery- a reactive, vicious meanness, no less foolish or ineffectual that their previous affectation.

    And are they happy? I have never met a one that was.

    Of course, “asshole” gets thrown at lots of people that it shouldn’t. Women who are direct and forthright, who know what they want and do not shudder at their wants, are frequently christened “assholes.” Or Bitch, though they are not the same term. Many individuals, who do not belong to the dominant power group, and do not bend to the capacities of their ascribed place, but who fight without passivity and speak without humility for their humanity and pride and dignity, have the air of asshole about them. Yet, they are not. I hope you learn the difference.

    You are only 21. You can decide if what you are going to be is decided by you, by the wishes and passions YOU have, and not in reaction to the actions of others. Don’t be nice, don’t be an asshole- be sincere. Un-apologetically.

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    • avatar

      *HmC* February 22, 2013, 1:00 am

      I don’t know if I found this comment so eloquent because I’ve had some wine, or because your user name is so awesome, or because the comment is so awesome, but, thumbs up to you. I think it was all three reasons, for the record. AWESOME

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser February 21, 2013, 5:31 pm

    You guys are looking at karma in a very limited way. It spans lifetimes. The child with cancer may be paying a debt for his last life–or more likely, his parents are paying for something they’ve done. And since children choose their parents, it’s all connected. And if you do something awful now, you may not pay for it until later.I suspect most of you will not agree with me, but that’s what I believe.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray February 21, 2013, 9:53 pm

      I should be offended because my nephew has/had cancer, but then I remember my SIL *can* *be* a biatch, so I guess my nephew “deserves”? No, wait, F that! This belief system kind of reminds me of the Westboro Baptist Church – you know, those people who picket soldiers’ funerals – they believe the soldiers’ death is paying a debt for the USA’s (allegedly evil) gay right policies…. It’s… a bit nutty.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest February 22, 2013, 9:18 am

      That’s an awful way to think. You can’t blame yourself if your kid gets cancer. Jeez. And I don’t know what you mean that kids choose their parents? But I do agree that it might take a while for karma to bite you, if it exists.

      Reply Link
      • theattack

        theattack February 22, 2013, 9:25 am

        Yeah, I think all of my kids with parents who abuse them would disagree…

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  • MELH

    MELH February 21, 2013, 7:47 pm

    WWS. Stay a good guy. Although, if by “nice guy” you mean so nice that you let people walk all over you, don’t do that. That isn’t being nice, thats being a doormat. For example, I have a friend who will do anything for anyone, and people take advantage of it. I always try to make her see that if she says no sometimes, she is still a nice person. So if you’re asking if you should continue being a good person, yes. If you’re asking if you should continue to be “nice” to the point of being walked all over, know you can say no or stick up for yourself without becoming an asshole.

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  • avatar

    Ammie February 21, 2013, 11:28 pm

    Mourn for the relationship and move on as you are. Other people don’t come into existence solely to make you happy; they have wishes and needs of their own, too. Sometimes, your needs don’t align with theirs, their happiness doesn’t align with yours, and a relationship has to end. It happens to absolutely everybody, nice, mean, smart, not-as-smart, pretty, plain, and everything in between.

    If you decide to become a jerk over it, that’s your decision. But to be honest, if you do, it kind of sounds like you were just waiting for an excuse. Genuinely nice people are nice because it’s their nature and they hate the thought of hurting people, not because they believe it will bring them good luck.

    Reply Link

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