Ask a Mom (Who Is Not Your Mom): Why Can’t I Fall For a Mr. Nice Guy?

We wish we could curl up next to our moms, preferably in their bed with a cup of cocoa, and ask them everything. Yet those conversations don’t always go as smoothly as we hope.  Sometimes it’s hard to share the real stuff without it feeling overshadowed by worry or criticism. The reality is, moms are people too, people with old scars and fresh wounds and most of all, a heap of anxiety about their children whom they adore and want to protect. So, HelloGiggles is providing an alternative. Our new advice column, “Ask a Mom (Who Is Not Your Mom)” is written by Sarah B. Weir, a real live mother of three, who is ready to discuss any of your burning questions judgment—and baggage—free. Have an issue that could use a mom’s-eye-view? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Dear Mom.” Please Include a your first name or nickname and where you are from. Questions may be edited for length and clarity

Dear Sarah,

I’m addicted to dating jerks. I’ve had a string of romances with guys who seemed sexy and exciting for the first few months but as soon as things started to get real turned into selfish dirt bags. Is it so weird to expect a text every few days or a date on a Saturday night? How about wanting sleepovers to continue past 2 AM? I learned that my last “boyfriend” was about to move to Argentina when I asked about the Spanish language CD in his car, and I broke up with the one before that after finding a long brown hair on his pillow (I’m blonde).

My real mom’s been begging me to date kinder, reliable guys for years—now I don’t even want to tell her I’ve been blown off again. The thing is, I’m only attracted to dudes who are kind of dark, edgy, and unavailable. I’ve dated yellers, liars, drinkers, and brooders. I can’t imagine going out with someone if there’s no chemistry. Will I ever find that magic spark with a decent man?

—Bad Boy Blues

Dear Bad,

I suspect that your habit of dating scoundrels has a lot to do with your own self-perception and/or self-esteem and little to do with their inherent attractiveness. Is dating men with a dark side a form of rebellion? Does it allow you to be a good girl on the outside with a naughty secret center? Well, you know that guy from the coffee shop who teaches 4th grade and wants to take up beekeeping? The one you acknowledge is cute but “not your type”? Given the opportunity, I’m sure he’d be delighted to play bad boy to your bad girl—and then make you breakfast afterward. He’ll also return your texts, go on a date during the daylight hours, and is unlikely to pass out on your bathroom floor in a puddle of his own vomit (which you will be cleaning up because, as soon has he comes to, he’ll be skeedaddling back to his own grubby futon).

More challenging is if deep down you don’t believe in your own worthiness. It’s tragic that so many girls and women feel they actually deserve crappy treatment. The advice “learn to love yourself” makes me cringe slightly—it can make the already vulnerable and insecure feel worse about themselves (and provide a mantra for egomaniacs). How about trying this instead: Learn to think you are a little bit OK. Regularly repeat, “I’m a little bit OK” —and then surround yourself with all the people who think you are totally wonderful. That probably doesn’t include the tool you were about to Snapchat.

Meanwhile, force yourself to go on a simple date with a decent fellow—someone who is engaged by life, who is kind to children and animals. Someone who has an array of laundered clothing to choose from each day. Being handled with sweetness may feel uncomfortably foreign, and you might act like a brat in order to trigger the fight or rejection your wounded heart has become accustomed to. A nice guy may get mad—he’s only human—but he’ll also accept an apology and listen to your stories. Then he’ll hold you, look into your shining eyes, and help you feel way more than a little bit OK.

Love, Sarah

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