Boundaries

Whenever a guy says “I’m so nice but women ignore me or treat me badly”, I commonly hear the retort that “being nice isn’t worth anything, because it’s the baseline for getting a relationship”. This is usually followed by an attack on how the guy has allegedly nothing going for them other than their niceness, and maybe even a further attack about how even their niceness is fake.

So let’s think for a moment about some guys who are in relationships – say Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. They’re married (three times in Gingrich’s case), and I’m sure they’re both fine and accomplished people, but is “nice” really the first adjective you’d use to describe either of them? My point is that while being nice is an admirable trait and generally leads to healthier relationships, it is not actually a requirement for dating (sadly).

The real problem isn’t that a guy is too nice – it’s that he’s too generous. Consider this scenario: Stewie tells my friend Leonard that he (Stewie) isn’t doing well and asks for $70,000 immediately to make ends meet. Stewie adds that if Leonard doesn’t help, Leonard would be complicit in destroying Stewie’s marriage and career, since Stewie wouldn’t be able to buy a pink Mercedes for his wife and golf games for potential corporate clients.

Here, Stewie is violating boundaries by manipulating Leonard into putting Stewie’s interests ahead of Leonard’s own interests. But Leonard shouldn’t be pressured to solve other people’s problems. Now, Leonard is entitled to help Stewie if Leonard wants to, but he shouldn’t feel guilty about refusing to do so. Leonard’s financial needs & wants are important, and Stewie’s needs & wants shouldn’t be placed ahead of Leonard’s, unless Leonard is actually OK with it.

Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

Now it becomes clear why nice guys always end up being treated badly by people in general – women or men: there are predators in the world, like Stewie, who can spot over-generosity and target people like Leonard because they’re easy victims. Nice guys aren’t just unlucky – they are being specifically targeted!

We wouldn’t tell an assault or rape victim that they were attacked because they were weak. So we shouldn’t call victims like Leonard weak either. Instead, we should tell it like it is – that Leonard’s unfortunate experiences are both real and unfortunate. After that, we should encourage victims to develop firmer boundaries and be on the look out for predators exploiting their generosity.

But how does all this relate to dating? Well, some predatory women also smell Leonard as an easy target and string him along for money, favors, etc. Leonard might sense that these women are using him and don’t really like him. However, he fails to acknowledge his gut instinct or even clear evidence that something is wrong. Due to cognitive dissonance, he rationalizes his over-generosity instead of cutting these women out of his life e.g.:

* She needs his money to fly to Hawaii to meet her ex-boyfriend that she has “absolutely no feelings for”.

* Having just met, she demands that Leonard drive her to work at 5am every second morning, as if she – an adult – had not been capable of catching the bus before.

* She says that Leonard has to pay her college tuition because she has decided to stop asking her parents for money and because Leonard makes so much money that he would be cruel to not help her.

In all these cases, the woman is asking that Leonard put her interests ahead of his own. Unless Leonard really wants to do these things, he should maintain firm boundaries and say no. Consider these three possibilities:

1. The woman is actually giving Leonard a “shit test” to see he is “weak”: While she is a master manipulator and drama queen who needs to be dumped, she actually wants Leonard to say no anyway.

2. Leonard says yes: This is like giving a mouse a cookie. The predatory woman will make increasingly unreasonable demands until Leonard has to finally say no, at which point she will dump him.

3. Leonard says no: The woman dumps him because he’s a “jerk”. He might well be lonely for a while, but his firm boundaries mean that he’s actually dodged the bullet of an unreasonable woman. He can now spend time looking for someone better, because he deserves someone better.

The good news is that predators are the minority regardless of what The Red Pill or the right-wing might tell you. Most people are just living their lives and aren’t out to get you or Leonard. It’s only predators who are out to specifically target overly-generous people / nice guys. Simply put, the way to beat predators is to say no. They won’t stick around and you’ll eventually meet someone who respects your boundaries.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

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External Link: “To Text or Not to Text: A Dating Conundrum” by The New York Times

This is an amusing article highlighting the importance of being straightforward with dating – don’t expect men or women to read your mind, just ask for what you want:

During the week, as our text volleys continued in that conversational way, I kept expecting that he would ask me out again, but not once did he mention another date.

I never initiated this texting because that seemed too forward.

I made a decision [some time later]. He either had to ask me out on a real date, in person, or I would put an end to this silliness. I gave him a deadline (only in my mind, of course) of that Friday.