Sugar & Spice, but Not Everything Nice

Since New Year’s, when I felt ready to move onto Step 5, I’ve been trying to figure out what “admitting the exact nature of my wrongs” actually entails. For months now, I’ve confessed many unattractive obsessive qualities and maybe told more than TMI on the pages of this blog.

Nevertheless, if I think of my “wrongs” as they pertain to feeling unworthy of love or as a perceived failure in relationships, I think one of the most consistent mistakes I’ve made as a love addict is something that you’d think wouldn’t be portrayed as a bad thing.

As my mother puts it: “You’re just too nice, sweetie.”

I’d classify myself as someone who avoids controversy like the plague. Unless I feel super passionate about something, say women’s, children’s and animal rights, I allow people to state their case and calmly and kindly say, “I don’t agree with you, but I’m glad you have an opinion.” Maybe this makes me a pretty killer journalist, but in the dating scene or as someone’s girlfriend – it makes me a little vulnerable to manipulation.

After about three months of dating Mr. Idea, he went into what I called a “funk.” For whatever reason, not only did he have no interest in kissing me, making love to me, or really even holding me – but his attitude was hostile and flat-out rude. Of any man I’ve ever dated, he knew exactly what to say to make me feel the lowest of lows and his blows were harder than any boyfriend should ever give. Though he never physically hurt me (I did, however, throw a high heel shoe at his face once, woops), the emotional baggage we gave to each other was immeasurable. Needless to say, it wasn’t a healthy relationship and to deal with my extreme ups and downs, I consulted my very best friend, my mom, and my group of girlfriends.

And when I would go to them, crying, frustrated, or mad – they almost all said the exact same thing: “Why don’t you just break up with him, Linds? Why are you sticking around when he treats you so badly?

I’m not sure anyone really understands the true dynamic in a relationship unless you are one of the two experiencing it, and those who love us only want us to be surrounded by support and happiness – but when you’re in love (or even just in lust), you want to stick around because you can imagine tomorrow. And you also don’t want to leave, in fear of the “what if” monsters you’ll have to battle down the road. Because somehow, if you’re the girl who puts up with the good and the bad, the ugliness and the messiness, the frustrations and shortcomings – you must be something special, right? Because don’t we all go through hardships, don’t we all lose ourselves in funks, and don’t we all just want someone who will stick with us through the thick-and-the-thin, through the years when our breasts hit our toes, and our hair turns a lovely shade of gray?

But at what point does being the nice girl, the good girl, the girl who stands by her dude’s side encouraging him and forgiving his mishaps…get completely pissed off and leaves the relationship (or pretend one) for good?

I do believe in the best in people and perhaps even more so, I believe everyone is capable of change. But the older I get, the more confident I become in myself and with my life, I also believe that the only person who can make your life better, is yourself. It is a decision and a journey that begins and ends with taking one step forward, without looking back, and having faith in the miles ahead. And until you can be without funkiness or messiness as an individual, it is real tough to be in love or be an active, giving-and-taking participant in a relationship. My personal goal to be a better person and un-addicted to love is part of my disarray and something I should work through before I agree to be official with someone. And maybe that reasoning is why I made the agreement with Mr. Possibility in the first place. Or the reason why Mr. Unavailable was unattainable and Mr. Idea finally drove me to a point that I had to leave.

And that point is one that is taking me less time to get to as I grow in my recovery. I’m not really the kind of person to completely dismiss someone, place them on a blacklist, and curse the ground they walk on – but I also am starting to notice when I’m being just a little too nice. A little too reachable. A little too comforting. And when a man pushes you and tests your patience and your lenient nature – you reach an even more intense summit where you’re just done. Sure, girls are sugar and spice, – but we don’t have to be everything  nice.

If I want to be in a relationship one day with a man who has his act together, a stable head on his shoulders, and enough charisma to light up a room – I can’t wait around forever for him to come out of the shadows. Sure, no one is perfect, but a line has to be drawn somewhere and it is really up to me on where to place my ending point. Standing by your man or having patience with someone who you can see a future with is an attractive quality – but independence and the ability to demand respect and your needs to be met is even sexier.

While my Southern graces will stick with me until the end, the New Yorker I’m growing into knows sometimes you have to kick the grace to the curb, state your case for exiting, tie your laces, and get right back in the dating race.

PS: If you’re a fan of Confessions of a Love Addict and want to be part of a new page on the blog, email Lindsay or send her a Tweet.

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14 thoughts on “Sugar & Spice, but Not Everything Nice

  1. I tell you what Lindsay, I’ve been reading your blog for sometime and while I am still wrapping my head around this idea of being addicted to love I can tell you’re growing with just this one post. Many girls are too nice and thus are shocked to discover how mean a fella can be.

    Now I belong to a small group of guys who tend to be incredibly laid back and quite carefree. Low stress means no mess as far as I am concerned. It’s something I think you might give a spin and see how it suits you. There is something to be said for let go of all the things that demand our attention when it comes to love. Granted I do seem to find that this comes easier to guys than it does the chicas in my midst. Why that is I don’t have a clue. Well I do have a clue but I don’t think it’s appropriate to say.

    Perhaps in this quest for being free of your love addiction you’ll find that the answer is in the question as they say. Why do you want love so bad? Maybe when you answer that question the rest falls into place. As far as trying to feel worthy of a guys love, trust when I say that we aren’t that special. Most of us are (or want to be) drifters but don’t have the courage to admit it.

    I suppose what it comes down to is that most girls are princesses looking for a prince in world of desperadoes and cowboys. You know perhaps we could write a joint blog on the differing perspectives that the guys and gals have on love?

  2. Everyone has a red line. And when that line is crossed, even the nicest girl opens her eyes and stares the hard truth in the face. After that its always a matter of learning from the past and looking forward to the future.

    I’m glad you opened your eyes Lindsay!
    I’m doing the same….

    Oh and in response to Michael…..it seems that before a princess finds her prince she has to kiss a lot of frogs.

  3. Another great post. My current interest is an old friend with some great qualities, but I don’t feel anything for him. I’m trying to find a good way of letting him know, because I want to be nice and remain friends.

    I think Michael has hit it dead on, though, with the next-to-last line of his comment that we are looking for guys in the wrong place. It certainly seems to be my experience that every guy dreams of being a cowboy or desperado.

  4. I am working on being not so nice too. There is a fine line between being supportive and helpful and finding yourself being used as a doormat.

    I haven’t really had to work on this very much since I am not in any kind of relationship at the moment but attempting to apply it to other relationships like friends.

    I don’t think you do anyone any favours by accepting behaviour that you find unacceptable. In the fall, I told a friend that it bothered me that he didn’t call me to say he was going to be late (by several hours) when we had arranged to meet for a specific time and lo and behold, the next time he was going to be significantly late – he called. You don’t have to be a bitch about it but I think you need to stand up for yourself and call people on their behaviour when it bothers you.

  5. I too have a bad habit of being too nice to boyfriends. It has dragged out some relationships that just weren’t working because I forgave and forgave again when what I really needed to do was realize I shouldn’t HAVE to be forgiving all the time, and end it. Luckily I now have a guy who deserves AND appreciates my niceness =)

  6. Wow!!!! This is me definitely. I am happy that you realize how being nice can lead one to be manipulated. You have just described my past relationship to the tee. I had to leave, boy was that man mean to me! He treated me, actually still treats me like dirt. I have always been there for him, always, financially, mentally, in ways one can’t fathom and not one day did he appreciate it and made me feel like something is wrong with me for being “that” nice. It is like he can’t comprehend why a woman could still be that supportive the way he kept on treating me. I thought I was showing love and he just thought I was a desperate woman willing to put up with crap because I was needy. One day I woke up and realized how he viewed me and walked on. I still think he feels this way about me, sadly enough when actually I just loved the idiot. Sorry for using your blog to vent but I am still realizing that yes I was too nice, way too nice. Any other man who would have dared to treat me like this man did would have been cut off, but I was so into him that I did not set any boundaries whatsoever. I hate myself so much because of that.

    Kudos to you and happy growing pains!

  7. Probably my favorite post yet. I am 100% the TOO nice girl always rolling over and doing tricks for the one I’m with (friend/bf or family). I slowly but surely am realizing that it’s not attractive. No matter how nice I am that does not mean they are going to keep me around. It just means I’m easier to take advantage of. I’m learning to be more selfish in every aspect of my life and I’m enjoying it even if those around me are not. And if they don’t respect my moments of selfish nature then they aren’t truly my friends/lovers anyway.

  8. Pingback: The Company of Confidence « Confessions of a Love Addict

  9. Such a wonderful post! It’s so true, many of us are always too nice and too forgiving, hoping that others will follow. I’m never one to give up on someone, and I can always see that they’re “so close” to their best potential. This definitely comes back to kick me in the butt because when I see that they themselves don’t want to strive for that potential or maybe what I thought just isn’t really there, it really gets to me. You said it so well: maybe we should protect ourselves (and our hearts) first before we try and protect our thoughts and ideas about others.

    Looking forward to reading more!!

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