Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nice Guys, Naughty Boys, and Bad Boys: Which Makes for a Great Relationship and Marriage?

A reader letter sparks a discussion of the differences between “naughty boy,” and “bad boy.” He was a nice guy and lost his wife to a bad boy while he was learning to be a real man with a naughty boy side that comes out to play when appropriate.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Letters like the one I’m about to show you are a bittersweet challenge; bitter because they attest to someone being in real pain, but sweet because they show someone taking responsibility for their life and making improvements, even in the face of hardship. Meet Todd:


Six months ago my wife and I separated because it was just to the point I could not live with her and all the fights we were having every day of our lives. We agreed to part company and get lives of our own. So I decided to work on improving myself in hopes that I could find out once and for all if I was the cause of our breakup as she claimed I was.

The fist step I took was reading up on relationships and other vital parts of a good marriage. I read all lot of crap before I found your book and I have to tell you it made the most sense of anything I’ve read. The problems you describe seemed like a roadmap to how my life fell apart, and the solutions were certainly doable. After making some changes in my life I realized just how much I loved my wife and that our marriage fell apart because I had become the "NICE GUY" so I put a big stop to that at once.

I wanted to try and work things out with my wife and to become a family again, but to my surprise she has gone off the deep end. She has been going out with a real "BAD BOY". He is unshaven, unclean looking, and every word out of his mouth is “the f-word” or some variation of it. He treats her like his very own slave, always ordering her around and telling her what to wear or not to wear and acting like he is her lord and master. I know she is a grown woman, but I truly think it has gone on for so long now she is scared to break it off.

What I am saying is I want my wife and family back and I am not afraid to fight for them, I am just not sure how to make the first step to let her see I am still responsible and take my family obligations serious, but I am no longer that nice guy pushover I use to be. Have any suggestions as to how I can get her out and show her the new man I am now without causing this bastard to either hurt her or cause me to have to hurt him?

Todd (x nice guy, and yes, you can print this)

My reply:

Damn, Todd! That’s a mess, and my heart goes out to you, really. I’m at a bit of a loss here because of a few missing details, so I’m going to take a stab at it based on some deductions and inferences and if I miss the mark somewhere you’ll just have to write back and clear up a detail or two.

First of all, you say “separated,” not “divorced,” and you say “family” as if it were a separate entity from “wife,” implying that there are kids, so it would seem that you should have frequent opportunities to see each other under the guise of visitation. Believe me, if you are indeed the new man you feel that you’ve become, she’ll notice. The big question is…

…do you really want her back? I understand that you have my book and have read it, but have you been brutally honest with yourself in the relationship evaluation and found that the two of you are indeed a great match, or have you been caught up in some idea of “proving yourself,” “winning her back,” etc., and haven’t inserted the new data into the equation?

If my wife had left and I found that she had taken up with such a man as you describe (and she wouldn’t because she does demand both respect and self-respect of a man), I’m pretty sure that I would not want her back, because even in spite of the power of attraction, a woman of any quality should be able to at least insist on decent personal hygiene (because it’s a sign of self-respect) and being able to form a sentence without a sexual vulgarity before getting close enough to a man to allow the other, more driving factors of attraction, such as his defining authority and exerting authority over her, to come into play. Attraction doesn’t happen for a woman without interaction; she must first experience curiosity and then intrigue before true attraction takes hold at a level strong enough to cloud her thinking severely, and she had plenty of time to make a choice.

Also, if you do “win her back,” will you want her back? Will you be able to live with the idea that she chose this scumbag, slept with him, and allowed herself to be treated in this way? And that she exposed your children to him? Indeed, at this point, your best option might be to renegotiate your custody agreement or whatever to try to protect your children from this seemingly controlling predator.

People make mistakes, and can be forgiven, but forgiving and forgetting are as unrelated as love and attraction, and you have to try to determine how often the thought of the two of them together is going to weigh on YOU. You must decide whether you can live with that without feeling like YOU are settling.

Your choice should be about what is BEST FOR YOU, not proving something. Wusses do things to prove things; real men do things to get them done and enjoy the benefit of their completion. Check your motivation, and if you can be honest with yourself, your next move should be self-evident. Write to me if it’s not.

Take care,

Gentlemen, before you make the mistake of thinking you wish a woman would respond to you the way this woman responded to this bad boy, think again. You could not possibly respect a woman behaving in this manner, and without respect, there can be no love. The personality you are after is not that of a “bad boy,” as described above. He’s insecure and has no self-respect, which is what causes him to be dominating, constantly vulgar and abusive. And believe it or not, he’s only a temporary play-toy, an oddity, a subject of her curiosity, not an object of her desire or certainly not her love. Who wants to live like that??? Do you want a woman, especially one you love and therefore value, to fear you or to love you in return, to serve you or to enjoy you? This “bad boy” character is an alpha dog at best, and definitely NOT an alpha male.

The alpha male is confident. People follow him because the projects confidence and competence, and they respect him because he respects himself. He defines authority and exercises it through leadership, not despotism or dictatorship. And when he’s not being a “great guy,” he’s being “naughty,” not “criminal.” He’s being adventurous, not a “rebel without a clue.” People want to be around him and want to follow his example; they don’t fear leaving his presence or his disappointment. He’s fun to be around when the naughty side shows up, not simply tolerable when things are going his way like the bad boy is.

You’re smart (else you wouldn’t still be reading this!), so I’m sure you get the picture, but do you know how to become and live as – not just act like – the alpha male? Do you know how to know if you’re paired up with a good partner who will appreciate you being all that you can be? Do you know how to effectively communicate with your partner so that you don’t end up in a mess like Todd did when his wife tried to tell him what was happening and he didn’t speak “feminese” well enough to understand that she was trying to tell him something that would help? Logic dictates that if you did, at least to an effective degree, it’s unlikely that you would be reading this, so do what a real man would do:

Take responsibility for your life, and act to improve it, for your own sake and for that of your whole family if you and your partner have built one. Start by jumping over to and getting your copy of “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” because it works, and life’s too short to mess around guessing, wondering and experimenting when a group of intelligent people have already come together, figured it out, tested, proven it, and a guy with a knack for telling it like it is has put it in an instantly downloadable electronic document that you can read on any device that will display or print a PDF file. C’mon! I dare ya… ;-) And for you Southerners, I double-dog-dare ya…

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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