Before we get into it, if you’re not sure what Nice Guy Syndrome is, check out this post here.
The common problems that Nice Guys have in relationships
Look, I’d need all of Wikipedia to list every issue that Nice Guys have in relationships and marriages, but instead I’ll just give you a sample of the super common ones I see as a coach.
Note: not all of these will apply to everyone. Nice Guys are all a little unique.
Starting out fake. Most Nice Guys put on a disingenuous show during the dating phase. This is actually pretty common for all people – very few have the confidence to be authentic when courting someone. But Nice Guys go so far as to create an entirely fake persona – usually a happy, easygoing, agreeable guy who isn’t bothered by anything and puts in a lot of effort. This sets up their partner for disappointment later.
Continue being dishonest. One thing that all Nice Guys have in common is dishonesty. Mostly, this is about hiding certain thoughts and feelings that might cause conflict, difficult emotions, or rejection. Again, this sets up the partner for nasty surprises later on, and keeps her feeling disconnected.
Give up and get lazy. A lot of Nice Guys really stop trying after they secure their partner. They put all their effort into the dating phase to “get” her to commit. Then, once she’s committed, they significantly reduce spontaneity, engagement, leadership, sexuality, effort and affection. They’re exhausted, and it was all an act to begin with.
Try to control everything through manipulation. Nice Guy Syndrome is all about control. Nice Guys get very upset and sulky about things not going their way, or not going the way they “should”. It leaves their partners feel anxious and unsure if the Nice Guy is ever really enjoying himself or is secretly resenting her, and they loathe his indirect manipulation techniques.
Avoid conflict. Nice Guys universally fear conflict and confrontation. Some are simply scared of difficult emotions and rejection, while others have limiting beliefs about confrontation being wrong and harmful. The lack of boundaries and build up of resentment eventually erodes the relationship over time.
Stop initiating sex. Nice Guys usually have sexual shame and performance issues (not to mention porn addiction). They’re afraid of rejection or harming their partner by doing something she doesn’t enjoy. They are often sexually passive, forcing the woman to always be the leader and masculine, which she resents. It makes her feel unattractive.
More on this problem specifically here:
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Retroactive jealousy. Nice Guys sometimes feel threatened by their partner’s sexual history. They can become obsessive and jealous about threats from other men, even if these men are no longer in her life. They will then start to punish their partner even though she’s been loyal, open and loving. I’ve done a whole podcast on this issue here.
Stonewalling and emotional dysregulation. Nice Guys universally struggle to deal with “negative” emotions. This results in either withdrawal or explosion. They will pretend to be OK with everything and actively prevent tension or discomfort, and/or they will build up hidden resentment until they “puke” and unreasonably overreact to minor upsets. If nothing else, women need emotional range from a partner to feel like he’s alive and gives a shit.
Covert contracts. Rather than asking directly for what they want, Nice Guys tend to hold hidden expectations, feeling entitled to certain treatment and rewards. They will subtly or even overtly punish their partner for failing to do what’s expected of her, because “she should just know”, even though it’s the man’s fault for not being transparent about his needs.
More on covert contracts:
Victim-perspective and blaming. Nice Guys struggle with taking responsibility for their own suffering, and will often blame whoever is nearby. In relationships, that most often means their partner and children. Nice Guys will convince themselves that their partner causes their pain and come to resent her and grow cold, even though 99% of their suffering is self-inflicted.
Treat partners like their mother. Nothing turns a woman off quite as much as behaving like a child. From needing her to take care of all household chores through to hiding behind her as she stands up for the family, any childlike behaviour does major damage to her ability to trust and respect you.
Narcissism. Nice Guys like to think of themselves as giving and selfless, but they are the opposite. Nearly everything they do is for their own reward, and they use niceness to con people into giving them approval and validation. In this sense, they are indistinguishable from people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
More on Nice Guy narcissism:
Self-sacrificing and losing respect. Nice Guys think that giving up their own needs and preferences to caretake their partners and children is noble and helpful, when really it’s just pathetic. She doesn’t need you to do this, and cannot respect a man who doesn’t take care of himself. Plus it creates a toxic codependency.
Control disguised as support. Nice Guys will often appear helpful and supportive, giving people a hand and offering advice. But their partners especially can sense that this is a mask hiding their true agenda: to manage everyone towards being what the Nice Guy is comfortable with, even if that’s not in the other person’s best interests.
Treat partners worse than others. Because Nice Guys are constantly eating shit from strangers and workmates and friends all week, they build up a lot of guilt, rage and resentment about these endless slights. That build up all comes out when they feel the most safe… which is with their partner. Most Nice Guys treat complete strangers with more courtesy and kindness than their wives.
More on how nice guys hurt their loved ones here:
Refuse to address all these issues. And the main issue is that these problems go unaddressed. Making mistakes in relationships is inevitable and fixable, IF you do something about it as soon as possible. But Nice Guys believe that everything is all good, or that there are problems but they’re too hard to deal with, or that time will heal everything, or that it’s all their partner’s fault.
My biggest frustration as a coach is that Nice Guys most often come to me too late, when too much damage has been done to the love and especially the respect in the relationship.
Why these problems happen
Nice Guys are conditioned and programmed to have a very warped view of what a good relationship should look like.
Sometimes they are actually aware that they’re making critical mistakes, but self worth issues and a sense of powerless hopelessness prevents them from trying to make changes.
Nice Guys are raised with a few critically damaging beliefs about relationships and women that lead to poor relationship behaviour.
They think women want to be happy and comfortable all the time, which translates to avoiding conflict and preventing negative emotions. The truth is that women need a range of emotions to feel alive (as do men actually). Keeping a woman happy is a surefire way to kill attraction.
They think that sex is somehow shameful and harmful to women, so they are hesitant and high-stress and serious in the bedroom. This kills sexual comfort and starts to give the relationship a platonic feel that’s hard to correct.
They believe that their own needs and wants are somehow “selfish”, even though they bend over backwards to allow others to have their own needs met. This leads to burnout and resentment from both people.
They are needy for love, approval and validation, and will prioritize actions that get these results over honesty and integrity, leading to the loss of self and dissolution of meaning in their life, as well as neglecting their loved ones to pursue the love of unimportant people.
They are attached to a “good boy” identity from childhood, which translates into an obsessive focus on making people happy, achieving socially approved results, and preventing their partner from being allowed to think anything negative about them
Again, the list could go on forever, but overall Nice Guys believe that they need to control everyone else’s behaviour and emotions in order to feel safe, and this controlling, dishonest and manipulative behaviour poisons their relationships slowly over time.
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Is it too late for you to repair the damage?
I like to be straight with people. For some of you, it’s too late.
For others, if you’re at the point where you need to be reading this, you will have some significant changes to make, and they need to be made as soon as possible to prevent the avalanche.
Contempt is the key emotion to look for. This is the level of resentment where one person looks down on the other (imagine rolling your eyes behind their back whenever they say something you think is stupid).
Relationships simply do not recover from full blown contempt. If you or your partner feels this way, at the very least you will need a temporary reset separation before you can repair this.
If you still both feel at least some consistent love, respect and compassion for each other, and more importantly, you’re both willing to do whatever it takes (to an equal degree of effort from both of you), then there’s hope!
I’ve turned around some absolute train-wreck Nice Guy relationships. It can be done. But both partners had to work their asses off, together.
How to overcome Nice Guy Syndrome in a long term relationship
Firstly, I strongly recommend coaching with me if you want to ensure you give yourself the best possible chance. This isn’t just a sales pitch.
The truth is I’ve seen too many Nice Guys try to do this on their own but they simply lack the insight needed to make the changes. They can’t see themselves from the outside because they’ve always been like this and it’s all they know. Plus they often don’t know how to work with and confront their partner effectively on this, especially if she’s resentful or resistant.
Email me if you want to trial coaching and see if it’s worth it: email@example.com
However, if you insist on doing it alone, here are my top practical tips.
No more promises, just action. Stop telling your partner you’re going to improve and change. Just do it. Broken promises are little wounds for her.
Lots more honesty. Try to be more upfront about your thoughts, feelings, preferences, resentments and desires every day. Aim to get to a point where you hide nothing at all.
Treat your partner and children as if they’re the only people who matter, and start saying No to everyone else. Treat your relationship as if your life depends on it.
Start telling your partner what you don’t like about her behaviour and what you want to change. Stop tolerating disrespectful treatment. Follow through on not only setting boundaries but also enforcing them. Respect her boundaries equally.
Prioritise your self-care. Develop a morning routine that sets you up. Put your health first. Say No to almost everything that isn’t a direct contribution to your highest goals and your relationship.
Let go of control. Stop giving your partner advice and guidance. Stop trying to make her feel better all the time. Let her feel whatever she wants, just listen and support with trying to correct her. Let everyone else manage their own lives.
Stand up for your family. Be the one who sends the food back when the restaurant overcooked it. Be the one who risks your boss’s disapproval in order to stay home with your sick child. Let your wife see that you’ll take the hits so that she won’t have too, but don’t fight her battles for her – her issues with her mother are her problem!
Responsibility. Bravery. Honesty. Acceptance. Respect. Start pushing your fears to live with more masculinity and move out of passivity. Take risks. Try new things. LIVE MORE!
How you can make massive progress in just a few months!
You can do all this on your own.
Through trial and error, books, courses and online content, you can figure it out slowly piece by piece over time if you dedicate yourself to it and are willing to fail often and get uncomfortable in order to achieve social mastery and build strong self confidence.
You can work directly with me in your corner for a short period of time and achieve the same results in months that would take you YEARS on your own (or your money back!).
That’s what my confidence coaching is really all about. I accelerate your progress significantly by ensuring you:
- Overcome your fear of rejection
- Stop seeing yourself as not good enough
- Develop easy practical social communication skills while still being honest
- Unleash your masculinity to make you more assertive and attractive
- Increase your self-confidence and self-respect
- Get advanced practical tips to eliminate self-sabotage and give you the best possible chances at career advancement, dating opportunities, and deep connections with quality friends
- Help you see your blind spots and errors and develop a measurement system that you can use on your own to ensure ongoing improvement for life
It took me about 7-10 years to figure this stuff out on my own. It takes my average coaching client only about 3-6 months to achieve a level of mastery that leaves them able to continue coaching themselves to further success while feeling absolutely certain that they’re on the right path (proven by the results they get).
I’ve turned virgins into fathers.
I’ve created assertive leaders out of meek people pleasers.
I’ve released overthinkers so they become powerfully decisive.
I’ve transformed shy introverts into social connectors.
I’ve moved highly anxious and depressed guys into a world of permanent self-confidence and optimism.
You don’t need to take my word for it. You can test it out for yourself. Fill out the application form below for a FREE trial coaching session with no obligation to continue, and no sales pitch!
My coaching will either blow you away and convince you that it’s worth it, or you’ll simply spend an hour talking to me without losing anything.
Thanks for reading
Hope to speak to you soon