This is a story I hadn’t thought about in many years. During my early 20s, one of my friends introduced me to a “nice guy” she knew. (In hindsight, all of my friends had poor taste in men and had no business setting up anyone.) Nice Guy was a year or two younger than me, which is a big difference in maturity when you’re a mother. I liked Nice Guy, but not as much as he liked me. It was too much, too soon, too many boundaries crossed. Until then, I had already been married and divorced, had a 3-year-old, but had little dating experience.
Within a few weeks of dating Nice Guy, he suffocated me with “I love you” post-it notes all over my house. Some people might think this is the most romantic thing in the world, and maybe it is in some cases – but not in mine. It was my house, and it felt invasive for him to be all over it. It was his way of claiming me as his property. On the bathroom mirror, I noticed the first post-it, “I love you,” and thought it was sweet, although I felt it was too soon to be saying that. Then I saw one somewhere else. Later, I answered the phone (attached to the wall, with a cord), to find a post-it stuck on the inside. “I love you,” it read. In other places I don’t recall, and then when I went out to my car, there was one stuck on my windshield. This was all in the same day, and there were probably eight or ten of them.
All of those post-its were a little much for me. I think this may have been between the first and third week of dating – much too soon to be saying, I love you, all over the place. Nice Guy gave me no space at all (I have noticed this with other nice guys, as well). It couldn’t have been more than six weeks total for the relationship, maybe much less. I couldn’t have someone like this in my life, especially with my child. Because women are taught to stick with the nice guys, I stayed longer than I should have and ignored red flags, because I felt I should give this nice guy a chance. He was very soft-spoken, which doesn’t necessarily make a nice guy, but it makes him sound nicer.
When Nice Guy thought he could have a say in the type of work I was doing, that did it for me. I was sick of him trying to dictate everything and take up all of what little spare time I had. Besides school, I had to work and was given the opportunity to get paid (decent money for the time) for medical research for students in an educational setting. Nice Guy didn’t like the idea of “another man looking at his girlfriend’s pussy,” even though the students would be at a distance. (Wow. Writing this made me cringe, big time!)
I was an independent, single mother attending college full-time and working. I didn’t have time for someone who needed that much attention, and I certainly wasn’t going to tolerate someone telling me what I could and couldn’t do for a living. I was a mom paying my own bills, and I didn’t need someone like him making my life more difficult.
At the beginning, I knew it was too much, too soon, but Nice Guy was one of the first in a pattern of several Nice Guys just like him needing a lot of attention. Eventually, I broke up with Nice Guy, because I couldn’t take his suffocating. We tried to be friends, but that doesn’t always work when one person still tries to pursue a relationship.
On my 23rd birthday, my friends and I went out to a club. (This was during the mid-1990s, when we had no cell phones and actually had to call people and speak to them, arrange plans and stick to them.) Nice Guy got word of where I was going and showed up, “to say happy birthday.” He never went to clubs, so I was annoyed he went out of his way to try to get back with me on a day I was celebrating with friends. There he was, still crossing boundaries and taking over, even after we’d broken up.
Having fun dancing and flirting with other guys was my plan – and Nice Guy was ruining it by being a cock block. Hoping he would leave, I told him I’d call him later, and stupidly said maybe he could come over. I had no plans to call or have him come over; I just wanted him to leave.
Fast forward, around 2 a.m., I’m in my kitchen kissing someone that I’ll never see again. My back to the sink, I was facing the sliding glass doors that led to the back yard. I had a strange feeling of being watched. The feeling intensified, but I wasn’t sure if I was imagining things, because I’d been drinking.
Suddenly, there is loud banging on my front door. I ran to see a furious Nice Guy standing there, repeatedly calling me a whore. His face and balding head were red, and he was literally spitting the words, “You’re a fucking whore! You’re a fucking whore!”
The guy from the club stood behind me in case Nice Guy tried to get physical. But Nice Guy just stood there yelling at me in his soft-spoken angry voice, while I blankly stared him down and asked why he thought he could just show up uninvited, and …
“You went through my private gate and watched us through my sliding glass door!!? That’s psycho! You need to leave!”
I slammed the door. Nice Guy left, but not before yelling as loud as he could in his angry-soft voice, “Fucking whore!”
After that dramatic scene, I sent club guy on his way once I knew Nice Guy was gone for good. If club guy hadn’t been there, the scenario could have gone quite differently. Nice Guy’s uninvited presence really shook me up. I didn’t think he would have shown up like that, but there were probably a lot of signs I was too young and naive to know existed.
Within a couple of days, one last unwelcome post-it note was planted under my windshield wiper in the middle of the night. I don’t remember what the note said, but it was enough for me to warn him that if he ever came came near me or my house again, the police will be involved.
I wanted nothing more to do with Nice Guy. He wasn’t such a nice guy, after all.
Thank you for writing this. Wow! I could relate to this experience at so many levels. Sometimes I feel like the so-called Nice Guys are the worst possible humans. Kudos that you came out of it.
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I agree! What’s really interesting is finding out so many other women experience this. “Nice guys” are often control freaks with other terrible qualities. After writing this, I realize this was the beginning of me dating the “nice guys” and winding up in situations like this.
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It’s so validating to read stories from other women who’ve met a nice guy or two in their lifetime. Great storytelling, and so glad you recognized you deserved better.
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Thank you! It’s validating to hear this from other women, as well. I have a few more “nice guy” stories on the way. 😉