We get a lot of emails from men who are dealing with “nice guy” problems. A common thread I see in these letters is men who are afraid to drop the nice guy persona because they don’t want to turn into an asshole and hurt women emotionally. That’s good, and I want to acknowledge you for not wanting to be a jerk just to get women. These men are stuck in what David Deida defines as the “first stage” masculine and it’s not a recipe for success with the most quality women or for sustained, healthy, deeply fulfilling relationships.
You don’t need to turn into an asshole when you drop the nice guy character – there is another way.
It’s not an easy, quick-fix and it requires you to delve into your own self-awareness and subconscious feelings and behaviors, but it’s SO worth it in the long run.
Processing Unprocessed Emotions
A lot of men who exhibit nice guy behavior have unprocessed anger. It could manifest as anger towards women, themselves, passive aggressiveness, or even a general rage.
Too many men carry around unprocessed emotions in their bodies and it holds them back in life. Women are way better at reading into subtle cues than most men and when you’re holding energetic blocks in your body, they pick them right up.
Instead of dealing with this anger, men run from it. They push it down and repress it. And on the surface they instead play the nice guy. Ignoring your own desires in order to please women and having weak boundaries are two examples of nice guy behavior. These often crop up when a man fears confrontation.
Being afraid to piss anybody off and fear of managing the give and take of anger – fear of this form of tension – is at it’s core one of the main drivers of nice guy behavior.
These “nice guys” are in the second stage – they’ve developed more emotional awareness than the first stage guys, but unfortunately they’ve surrendered much or all of their masculinity and backbone in the process.
Women hate this because these men are inauthentic and incongruent in everything they do and say. Because they’re filtering themselves to avoid tension, potential rejection, or abandonment. The only reason women ever put up with it is because it’s become rampant in our society. But when they are dating or in a relationship with a nice guy, that’s where you see the “incompetent, doofus husband or boyfriend controlled by the annoyed wife or girlfriend” stereotype that Hollywood loves to make light of in sitcoms. The true “real man” archetype has become a rarity like a mythical beast. This is why so many women settle for (or end up running away from the nice guy back to) the first stage asshole stereotype.
Instead, I invite you to become committed to becoming a third stage man.
The Third Stage Man
Become present to your unprocessed emotions and commit to releasing/letting them go. Just taking this step mentally can change your entire energy around women.
The truth of the matter is that women are rooting for you and they can sense it when your internal momentum shifts. When you realize that you need to deal with your nice guy and release unprocessed emotions, you’ve already taken a huge step towards the third stage. (Self-awareness is very sexy, guys.)
The third stage man is a confident leader who women love. He’s a seen as a confident leader because he’s leading in his own life first. This isn’t just about the obvious parts of your life like career or fitness, but your emotional health as well.
The third stage man maintains the access to his emotions that second-stage guys are known for, but embraces his masculine grounding and decisive energy from the first stage to process emotions. He’s unapologetically real and unfiltered. He’s unperturbed but simultaneously stays open and present in the face of others’ emotional storms and rocky times in his life. He feels deeply into himself, others, and is decisive about what’s best for the moment.
The Third Stage Man isn’t a nice guy – he’s a good guy. He’s a solid guy. He’s a direct, forward, authentic guy.
In The Way of The Superior Man, Deida calls the third stage man the “warrior of love.”
Where in your life are you holding resentment, passive aggressiveness, or anger? Where in your life are you avoiding tension in the form of fear of confrontation or “rocking the boat”?
Can you welcome those emotions – one at a time – and fully feel them in your body? Can you ask your body to let them go – even if it’s just 1%, or a fraction of 1%?
Work on becoming conscious of this stuff, welcoming it, and letting bits of it go.