breaking my bad boy addiction and learning to respect myself

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2005
breaking my bad boy addiction and learning to respect myself
1
Sat, 02-23-2013 - 10:27pm

I am 30 and definitely fit the stereotype of a girl with a great career, family, friends etc. who continues to date jerks. My last serious relationship officially ended a year and a half ago after about 8 months together, he was 35 and we met at work so unfortunately we still see each other occasionally.  I loved him so much but he cheated on me constantly and has alcohol issues that I could not deal with, it got to the point where I had no choice but to end it because I lost a lot of self respect and grew to hate him because his life revolved around drinking and sports.  I had a miscarriage and the way he treated me during that whole situation was horrible.

After our relationship ended we continued to sleep together for another 6 months or so (we have amazing chemistry and it was comfortable, bad excuses I know) until I found out his new girlfriend had moved in with him;  I hadn't realized he was dating someone seriously and ended up going to therapy for a few months due to depression and anxiey.  That was back in July 2012, I cut off contact with him at this point.

I took a break from dating but met a really nice guy through friends and we spent a lot of time together for probably a month or so.  I had a few stressful things go on in my life (surgery, traveling for work, etc.) plus I wasn't sure I was attracted to him and with the holidays approaching (early Dec) I just felt like I should end things so I told him I was busy and just wasn't sure when I would have time to hang out.  Shortly after this I ran into my bad boy ex and we started texting and e-mailing, I will admit that the primary reason I talked with him was to show myself he hasn't changed into a perfect boyfriend and to see if he was still attracted to me which shouldn't matter but I liked the attention.  After about a month we ended up sleeping together twice, agreeing that the chemistry was still there and it would only be physical because he is still dating the live in girlfriend. I felt bad about it so I have been trying to resist that temptation but the harder I try the more he pursues me (texts, e-mails, pictures, etc.).  I have turned him down several times but we still text about mostly physical stuff.  I finally lied to him and said I was seeing someone and couldn't talk to him anymore because I want to give it a shot with this new (fake) relationship.  I have also blocked him on my phone and e-mail, I have done this before and usually unblock him at some point but I want to try to stick with it for good this time.

I ran into the good guy a few weeks ago and realized that I really miss spending time with him.  We have very similar personalities and morals (with the exception of my "other woman" actions which is not typical for me at all and I am deeply ashamed of it) and I have invited him to hang out, we are getting together this week.  I am looking forward to seeing him but I am scared because he is so different then what I am used to.  In the past couple of months I have had a couple close friends tell me they are worried about my dating habits and how i think getting treated poorly is normal in relationships. I typically go for the bad boys that I have a lot of chemistry with and with this guy I just feel extremely comfortable but don't neccesarily have the spark.  I'm not sure what to do and I don't want to hurt this guy or lead him on, I feel like I can appreciate what he has to offer as far as treating me well, stability in his career, the fact we enjoy the same things  and I know he would be a great husband and father.  He is the kind of guy who I can see myself having kids and settling down with because I know I could trust him and that he would put family first.  The furthest we went physically was kissing and I felt like he was a little more passive then I am used to, he is definitely more of a beta male in my eyes and not my normal physical type either (he is a decent looking guy though).  I know he is attracted to me but was being respectful by not pressuring me into a physical relationship, I typically wait at least a month before sleeping with someone but usually we do "everyhing but" so this was a first for me.

I am trying to change my dating patterns, I have realized relationships are more then chemistry and that I want someone who values my happiness.  I know this is probably common sense for a lot of people but it has been difficult for me to retrain myself. I want to get married and have kids within the next few years and I know dating guys who treat me poorly or who don't want to settle down will not help me reach that goal.  I have a few questions, sorry for the long story but I am just hoping someone else has been through this.

1 - How important is chemistry and can you do anything to increase that?

2 - How do you adjust to a healthy relationship? I think that I might tend to see the lack of drama as boring but I should actually like the stability.

3 - How do you open up to someone? I think I am scared of letting in a guy and having him reject me.  I think I might have picked bad boys in the past because subconsciously I knew it wasn't going anywhere long term.  I can honestly say that in my 12 years of dating only one guy had qualties I wanted in a husband but he ended up cheating on me with his ex when I was on extended travel for work.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate the feedback.  Please try not to judge on the "other woman" actions, I feel horrible and I rationalized it by saying I know for a fact he is cheating on her with other people too but that still doesn't make it right and I need to have more respect for myself and his current girlfriend.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I think maybe you should go back to therapy so you can get some professional help on this.  I remember when Dr. Drew had this Lovelines show there were people who were addicted to drama in relationships and could not deal with having a normal relationship--a lot of those people had bad childhoods but I don't know if that's the case for you.  So I'll try to answer your questions.

1 - How important is chemistry and can you do anything to increase that?

Chemistry is important but I think the mistake that a lot of people make is that they expect instant fireworks.  You think the guy is good looking so I think it's possible for you to have a good physical relationship--if you thought the guy was ugly, I think it would be harder.  I think you are just not used to how decent men act--decent men don't pressure you to have s-x (sorry there's some kind of filter on here now that won't let you spell things out) on the first date--they actually want to get to know you first.  In reality, the more that you get to know someone and like someone, the better things will be in the bedroom because you will have trust and confidence that the person has feelings for you and it's not just physical.  

2 - How do you adjust to a healthy relationship? I think that I might tend to see the lack of drama as boring but I should actually like the stability.

As I said before, therapy would help you with this.  If you are really serious about wanting to get married & have kids, you need to look for a stable relationship, not a dramatic one.  Would you want a guy who you are certain is going to go to work every day to help support the family, who is going to help out with the kids and be a responsible father, to be kind to you?  Do you know men like that--in your family or your friend's DH?  If you know someone who's happily married, ask her what qualities she admires about her DH.  The reality is that married life, esp. when you have kids, is just not exciting every day--but then again, whose life is like that? You have to learn to take pleasure in the little things, like when your guy gives you flowers for  no reason or your kid give you a hug.  

3 - How do you open up to someone? I think I am scared of letting in a guy and having him reject me.  I think I might have picked bad boys in the past because subconsciously I knew it wasn't going anywhere long term. 

You open up to someone gradually when you learn that he is trustworthy.  You don't tell your whole life story to someone on the first date.  You spend time with someone and as you get to know him and figure out that he's a good guy, you start to let him in.  There is no guarantee that things are going to work out perfectly--that's life.  There is no person on earth who has not been rejected at some point.  But the only way to have a good relationship is to be vulnerable to each other.