All the ‘bad boys’ I dated taught me how to appreciate a good man

M. Brown
Source: Rafael Barros via Pexels

**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I’m not a big fan of regret. I usually try to change those kinds of feelings into useful lessons for my life.

But if I forced myself to admit the biggest regrets that I see in that rear-view mirror, it would probably consist of missed opportunities in my love life.

I’m talking about all of those guys throughout my younger life that probably would have made fantastic boyfriends or life partners.

Not only did I ignore these guys but I rushed to judgment about their potential value in my life.

Most of the time, my ignorance about the guys who asked me out was based purely on what I imagined in my head about what a fantasy dream guy should be like.

Descriptions such as nice, kind, or considerate didn’t seem to be a priority to me when I was younger.
Guys who were exciting, handsome, ambitious, or even a bit dangerous always seemed to win out.

I often dismissed guys who were too clingy or who appeared to like me too much. Instead, I opted for the emotionally unavailable guy, the mommy issues guy, or even worse, the married guy.


The short answer is insecurity.

I simply didn’t know myself very well and instead of wanting a guy to be interested in my feelings or my personality, I only cared about being desired.

None of the 'bad boys' I dated actually knew the real me. That was the whole point. I didn’t want them to see the real me. I only wanted them to see something they desired.

I was only interested in the game of being wanted rather than the reality of a loving partnership. I had no idea how to even be a good partner until my late 30’s much less knowing how to find one.

Mistaking desire and/or attraction for love, trust, and intimacy is a common problem for many people.

In my own past, I got so wrapped up in the idea of being utterly consumed by romantic passion that I missed out on a lot that life could have offered me in the real relationship realm. Maybe I just read too many romance novels as a teenager — or maybe I just had some harsh lessons to learn before I could evolve enough emotionally to become a decent partner myself.

Well, I did learn my lessons. I missed out on all of those nice guys for over a decade. The ones who see you for who you are as a person. The ones who look at you in the morning with hair like a bird’s nest and breath like a dragon and still think you’re sent from heaven. The ones with a touch so gentle that you always feel safe.

Those nice guys often get passed up for the guy who pushes your boundaries, says hurtful things, stands you up, or even physically abuses you.

I’ve discovered that many women, including myself, have become entangled in destructive relationships because the chemistry and feeling of attraction was incredibly strong. It may sound ridiculous to some people, but it’s true. Those of you who have been there probably understand what I’m talking about.

The ability of an intense attraction to fog up your greater sense of relationship direction should never be underestimated.

The kicker here is that a nice guy is going to actually love you which means you have to love yourself first. The cliche is true. Unless you do love yourself and know who you are, you won’t be open to anyone else who truly loves you. You won’t tolerate it. You’re too afraid.

So, in regards to all those nice guys from my past who admired the honest, human things about me that I myself didn’t even acknowledge — I regret not giving them attention. I regret being rude, aloof, or just downright mean to them. I am sorry I blew them off to chase some arrogant guy who would only shatter my heart.

Now that I love myself more I can finally see what they saw. I know better.

Better late than never.

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