I loved my Nice Guy very much. We had been together for four years, and close friends for six. We made one another laugh, had a similar sense of humour, and shared similar world views. We respected one another’s intelligence and had common interests, but were also happy doing our own thing. I had always assumed we would be together for life.
What then, drove me to explore polyamory and eventually leave a long-term and committed relationship to pursue love elsewhere?
The truth is I had an emotional need that was never filled by the Nice Guy. I’m a very emotional person. I like to talk about feelings. I like to be told that I am loved and special. I like my partner to care about what I’m doing, because they care about me. I like my partner to take me out and spoil me once in a while, just because he feels like it. I like to give and receive lots of hugs and affection.
That is something that was always a sore point with the Nice Guy. Our emotional needs were mismatched. He wasn’t big on discussing his feelings, and had a much lower affection threshold than I did. He would rarely take me for a romantic night out unless it was an anniversary or birthday. He would wind up feeling frustrated because I was too affectionate and demanding. I would feel hurt because he was unaffectionate and unromantic.
Then I met the Bad Boy wearing the Nice Guy mask. The attraction was instantaneous and mutual, and he satisfied all my emotional needs that had been unfulfilled for years. Here was someone who loved sitting down to discuss feelings and relationships for hours. He wanted to take time off work if I had a day off, just so he could spend a bit of extra time with me. He was very charming; taking me out, paying for dinner, and making sure everything was great. He insisted on walking me everywhere so I wouldn’t run into trouble. He didn’t care that I was polyamourus. He would tell me how envious he was of Nice Guy, and how much it hurt him to meet someone who was so perfect in his eyes, but to know he could never be with me. To him, I was amazing and perfect, and all he wanted to do was to spend time with me.
Having someone appear to care so much was a welcome change from me crying on the phone to a friend because Nice Guy had got complacent and hadn’t taken me out on a proper date in months. Bad Boy’s intensity drew me in like a moth to a flame, and I became blind to all but that single disparity between the two relationships. I didn’t heed the red flags and early warning signs of abuse.
It wasn’t until complacent Nice Guy realised that he was losing my love to someone else that he started putting in an effort. Finally, he was doing what I’d desired for years. He was taking me to nice places, wanting to spend time with me and talk about the relationship and our feelings. But by then it was too late. My heart wasn’t in it anymore. I had chosen the one who demonstrated he cared the most about me.
Breaking up with Nice Guy was the hardest decision I’d ever made, but it was something I had to do. I was no longer growing as a person with Nice Guy, but would not have ended it without the emotional earthquake Bad Boy provided to shake me out of my comfort zone. Although it was a painful and difficult decision, I now recognise it as one of the best choices I ever made. That time of my life was simply a catalyst for a positive and life-altering change – one without which I would not be the person I am proud to be today, and would not have developed friendships with the amazing people I now know.
What unfulfilling relationships are you still holding onto through comfort rather than genuine friendship or love?
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