Recently I got together with a big group of old friends. Pretty quickly the conversation turned to the love lives of the single ladies in the group for analysis.
I was taken back by two of my friends who were both facing the dilemma of having to decide between “the nice guy” who was really into them, reliable, sweet, and a new guy who was less reliable, didn’t treat them super awesome, but was hot and very exciting!
I was further taken back when everyone’s advice was “go for the new guy!”
In my head I was thinking, “What!? Go for the nice guy! You’ll thank yourself in 10 years.”
There is a discrepancy between who you ARE getting dating advice from (other single people) and who you SHOULD be getting dating advice from (people who are in stable, successful, long-term relationships). Unfortunately, there just isn’t a lot of relationship advice being shared between the two groups.
So, single people, if you are facing the decision between the “nice guy” and the less nice but exciting guy, here is some advice from one who has been happily married for almost eight years: GO FOR THE NICE ONE!
I had a real hard time saying no to someone who flattered me even when I knew they weren’t the best long-term relationship material. The problem there is that you tend to end up in long-term relationships with the people you date. Funny how that works.
Your partner’s attractiveness, humor and brains might have a big impact on your daily life years down the road. They really might. But they also might not. However, your spouse’s kindness will absolutely have a daily impact.
For instance, when your child is screaming at 3:00 a.m., you want a spouse who will share in getting up and comforting your child rather than always leaving it up to you. You want a spouse who is going to really listen to your side of things when you disagree about how many kids to have or where to live or what to do that weekend or what show to watch together. You want a spouse who will step in and do the dishes when you are exhausted even though its your turn. You want a spouse who deeply cares when you are upset and wants to alleviate your pain.
And if you don’t believe me, believe science
The king of marriage research, Dr. John Gottman through decades of studies is actually able to predict whether or not a couple will be divorced in six years time by observing them in his “love lab” with 94 percent accuracy! That kind of accuracy just does not happen in psychology.
And guess what he says are the two basic traits that determine whether a relationship will last or not?
Ok, I’ll tell you, it’s kindness and generosity.
Now, am I saying you have to be stuck with some boring dud forever to be happy? No. Am I saying attraction isn’t an important consideration at all? No. Do I think ALL nice guys are going to be better spouses than ALL cool guys? Of course not (also thankfully cool and nice are not mutually exclusive traits). So while it is true that marriage can work if both parties are committed to making it work, it’s just going to be easier with some people and harder with others.
I’m just asking you to consider your daily life ten, twenty years down the road and choose a person who will be mostly likely to treat you with kindness and compassion.
This decision will pay off BIG TIME.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on A Thing Called Love. It has been modified and republished here with permission.