Why Do Nice People Attract Jerks?

Boundaries in Dating

The question that many people wonder is "If I'm nice, then why do I keep attracting such jerks?" They think that something is inherently wrong with them, and sometimes they can begin to get quite hopeless over their chances of finding good friends, someone good to date, or building a great marriage.

The key to remember is that the reason why nice people attract jerks is that they are too adaptive in the beginning. If that person had had boundaries, the problem never would have happened. Or if it did, the problem would have been fixed first.

People who are selfish and controlling can only be that way if they are in relationship with someone who is adaptive. If someone stands up to them and is honest about his or her wants and desires, then the controlling person has to learn to share or gets frustrated and goes away. Take these steps to avoid ending up in relationships that attract unhealthy people:

  • Be honest about your preferences and desires.
  • Don't act like you like things other people like just so that you will be accepted.
  • Being liked for who you are requires that you be that person.
  • Tell the truth about where you want to go and not go, or what you want to do or not do.
  • Don't be afraid to share your desires and wants for fear of conflict. Find out early if you are with someone who can share equally.
  • Get feedback from honest friends to tell you if you are really being yourself and seeing the relationship realistically.
  • Remember with each decision that you make you are giving the other person an impression of what you like in life and in a relationship. Be careful—he or she might believe you.
  • When you give or serve, let it be honest and purposeful.
You are a person, and you cannot go throughout life without pursuing your own wishes, needs, and desires, nor should you. Your needs and desires are going to come out, and you had better find out early in a relationship where the person really stands with the idea of sometimes having to adapt to them. You don't want to be telling some counselor the following things ten years from now:
  • She seems to have to have her way.
  • I am afraid to let my real feelings and desires be known.
  • We have so much conflict over such little things.
  • We always spend our money on what he wants.
  • She doesn't care about me and what I want.
  • Why can't he ever go to the places that I want to go to?

Issues like these are usually discovered later in a relationship where one person has adapted for a long time, and then tries to make a change. The lesson is to be yourself from the beginning, and then you can find someone who is authentic as well. A relationship like that has mutuality and partnership. It has give and take. It has equality. It has sharing and mutual self-sacrifice for the sake of the other and the relationship.

If you are a real person from the start, a relationship of mutuality has a chance of developing. If you are not, then you might be headed for trouble.

The little things in life are where you can spot the big things. If you are with a self-centered person who cannot give to your desires, you will find out soon enough by being honest and straightforward about simple things, for that is where day-to-day life is lived. You will quickly find out if you are with someone who is able to share, or someone who has to have his or her way all the time. This knowledge will be helpful now and essential for the future.


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