“I may seem like a d*ck, but I’m really a good guy.” This is what my client Sue’s boyfriend, Bob (*not their real names) would say after he screwed up. He didn’t remember her birthday? “I’m really a good guy. Please believe me. My computer crashed, so I couldn’t sign into Facebook for the birthday reminder. Let me make it up to you by taking you out to a concert Thursday night.” Sue’s sister was ill, and she was under tremendous emotional stress. Where was Bob? Aside from a quick call at the beginning of the week, “How’s your sister doing?” he wasn’t there to support her.
When she brought it up, she got the same line, “I’m really a good guy. I’m so sorry, my phone was stolen and I didn’t get your text messages until a few days later when I got my new phone. Please trust that I’m a good guy.” It is so easy to believe a man’s excuses when you’re crazy about him. You want to trust that he’s sincere.
A good guy shows you who he is by his actions, not his words. A good guy is there for you in a crisis. A good guy doesn’t make lame excuses. He has your back. He makes you feel safe.
When I was younger, I would often trust a man’s words over his actions. Lust and hormones can mess with your mind. And it can start at a very young age. I’ve been observing my 17-year-old daughter’s friends’ as they discuss their boyfriend issues with me.
“Ali” has a boyfriend who used to call her every day. Lately, he hasn’t been calling as often. He doesn’t make the effort to see her anymore. She always travels an hour to his apartment in Manhattan, especially when his parents are out. She’s been feeling like all he’s interested in is “hanging out and hooking up” with her. Yep, sounds about right. They almost broke up last week over some hurtful texts.
Saturday night, when they got together to talk things out, he promised he’d call more often. He’d stop being so flirty with his best friend (who happens to be a girl). He’d get together with Ali more often. And he would text less, which is where much of their relationship currently takes place (and leads to disastrous misunderstandings).
Sounds lovely. But these are just words. Empty words. He has told her that he’d change many times before. But he reverts right back to his old patterns. They have the talk again. Rinse and repeat. Ali cries, Bob concedes, and I predict that they will be breaking up very soon. I sincerely hope that Ali kicks Bob to the curb before he breaks her heart.
As grown up women, we can use better skills when dealing with men whose actions don’t match their words. We’re more aware. Hopefully, we have a higher sense of self and know how we want men to treat us.
I encourage you to have high standards when it comes to dating. Don’t forgive a man for being a jerk. If he doesn’t follow through on what he promises and continues to make lame excuses, walk away.
The sooner you cut loose from guys like this, the less heartache you’ll experience.
So listen carefully to his words – from the very first phone call and date – and then watch what he does. If he shows himself to be a truly good guy, he’s worth your time and effort.
If his actions don’t follow his words, walk away and find a man with integrity.
You’ll know him when you find him. And he’ll be worth the wait.
Have you experienced the “good guy syndrome”? I’d love to hear how you dealt with men like this. Please share your comments below.
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