Just a Nice Guy
Q: I'm a 22-year-old college student who has been in love with the girl who from day one I knew I would marry. Earlier this year, she broke up with me, saying that she thought of me as only a friend but wanted to stay close. Fine, except she ended it with a text message. That was very low.
Over the last few months we have been working towards building back what, in my opinion, she destroyed. I've always been the "nice guy" and do suffer form "nice guy syndrome" but in the last week, she said that we should try again. I would jump at the chance if it wasn't for the way she hurt me last time. I think she just wants a "nice guy" to help her through her tough time (she graduates in the spring). Any random nice guy will do. Should I risk getting hurt again by this girl who showed no respect for me breaking up the way she did or try again because deep down I know that I love her and I want to be with her? -- Alan, 22
Dr. Susan: First, rethink your feelings. At your age and with your experience in life, it's not actually possible to be sure that any girlfriend is going to be the one you'll marry. That really set your expectations high. As for her breaking up with you via text message, I agree that it's not nice at all. But from what I hear, it's not rare to end things that way. I wouldn't necessarily hold that one thing against her forever. When you say she "destroyed" what you had, what do you mean? It seems to me that she was being honest by saying she didn't see you in the romantic way you saw her. Do you have any evidence that she only wants to exploit you to get her through the next few months? How about getting back together in a limited way, dating and so on, but without letting your expectations get too high again? And without doing so much for her that you will resent it if this relationship does indeed end again.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.