Image for post
Image for post

Should You Breakup with a Good Guy? Sure

Just because he’s a good guy doesn’t mean you’re good together

If you’re a woman of any dateable age, you have probably heard some version of this: have fun with the bad boys but marry the good guy. Women are constantly told we should want good guys, nice guys, and really — who doesn’t want a good guy? But what if he’s a good guy but he’s just not your guy? What happens if you no longer want to be with a good guy?

In the face of perceived scarcity, opting out of a stable partnership with a Good Man carries a weight of ethical frivolity. Breaking up with a man who actually wants to be there, and who is good and decent, seems irresponsible at best. It’s like scoring big in the lottery and torching your winnings for sport. Of course, the perception of scarcity is just that: a perception, a myth. It is facile and essentializing to paint any gender as more or less willing than others to engage in the labour of a relationship. Yet for women who date men, in the context of a patriarchal society, life isn’t short on reminders that a Good Man can be hard to find.”

All the good guys are not taken

Very true — it’s certainly what young women hear and it’s something I hear at midlife, that “all the good guys are taken” and middle-aged men only want to date younger women so there just aren’t enough good guys around. That’s not quite accurate.

Hurting a good guy’s feelings

In the research she did for her book, How Not To Marry The Wrong Guy, Jennifer Gauvain discovered that among the top reasons the 30 percent (wow!) of women who admitted to knowing they were marrying the wrong guy on her wedding day, but married him anyway, was this: “He is a really nice guy; I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”

It is really hard to break up with a nice guy. … It’s often easier to break up with a cheater or a liar (although far too many women don’t do that when they should either!) But when it comes to nice guys, it can be hard to figure out why you aren’t happy together. The reality is, he may be a solid, good guy on his own. But as a couple, the equation does not add up. The idea of ‘two becoming one’ should not equal instant discomfort. However, when the relationship is solid and true, there is very little doubt, internal conflict or questions.”

And there you have it. When you’re with the right person, things feel pretty good as a couple and there isn’t much doubt (there is always some, though, and that’s OK). When you’re not, leaving — even if he’s a good guy — may be the best thing for everyone. Oh, and that “women prefer bad boys” thing? Don’t believe it.

Written by

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store