No More Mr. Nice Guy

I just read a book that completely has shattered my world and my paradigm. In a good sense. It explains why I’m a chronic relapser.

Why my relationships with women have suffered.

Why my sex life is poor.

Why my sex life was non-existent in my first marriage.

And why I became sexually anorexic with my second wife and my existing marriage.

And explains why the best years of my recovery was when I was celibate for 2 years while attending SLAA.

And why I seem to live an unhappy boring existence.

And why I’ve worked at a job that I detest for so long.

And it explains my relationship with religion and with God.

And it explains why I smile and laugh so much and act so goofy.

And why I make such inappropriate jokes.

And it explains why I’m such a people pleaser.

I avoid conflict.

And I never speak up for myself.

And why I’m emotionally and socially anorexic.

And why I’m unattractive to women.

And why I pursue pornography and prostitutes.

And why I white knuckled through most of my recovery for the past 30 years.

And why the 12 steps have never worked.

And why much religious teaching never worked.

I have just discovered that my disease, the root of my addiction, is what’s called nice guy syndrome.

The book, No More Mr Nice guy, was written by Dr Robert Glover. And although I’ve read many books about sexual addiction. Books by Mark Lasser and Patrick Carnes and all the 12-step literature from AA, SLAA, SA, SAA, Celebrate Recovery, Reformers Unanimous. All of them fall short when compared to Robert Glover’s book. In fact, Nice Guy syndrome is such a prevalent part of my sickness, that I’m shocked that this syndrome has not been discussed a whole lot in the sexual addiction community.

Dr Glover summarizes nice guy syndrome with having the following traits.

Nice guys are givers.

Nice guys fix and caretake.

Nice guys seek approval from others.

Nice guys avoid conflict.

Nice guys believed that they must hide their perceived flaws and mistakes.

Nice guys seek the “right” way to do things.

Nice guys repress their feelings.

Nice guys often try to be different than their fathers.

Nice guys are often more comfortable relating to women than men.

Nice guys have difficulty making their needs a priority.

Nice guys often make their partner their emotional center.

Nice guys are dishonest.

Nice guys are secretive.

Nice guys are compartmentalized.

Nice guys are manipulative.

Nice guys are controlling.

Nice guys give to get.

Nice guys are passive aggressive.

Nice guys are full of rage.

Nice guys are addictive ( usually sexually addictive).

Nice guys have difficulty setting boundaries.

Nice guys are frequently isolated.

Nice guys are often attracted to people or situations that need fixing.

Nice guys frequently have problems in intimate relationships.

Nice guys have issues with sexuality.

Nice guys are usually only relatively successful.

I’m telling you the truth. I am the poster boy of nice guy syndrome. I have every single one of these traits except for one. Nice guy syndrome is extremely common. Lots of men in this world suffer the same way that I do. But that wasn’t always the case. Nice guy syndrome has really only been around for the last 40 to 50 years.

I will be talking about this a lot. Because there’s enough in here for me to work on for the rest of my life. But one thing is for certain. If I don’t address this nice guy syndrome inside myself, it will continue to permeate throughout my whole entire being which will result in my chronic relapsing and white knuckling.

I expect this process to be messy. I might even re-repeat things that I’ve mentioned before, over and over again. This is going to take me to a different direction than what I’ve been currently doing. And it’s going to challenge some old ideas that I’ve held on to. It might even challenge some ideas on people reading this. And I encourage those people to disagree with me. I don’t expect this to turn out perfect. But it’s time that I stop being so weak, such a pushover, not having any sense of self, always going along with everyone else’s opinion and not having one of my own. I’m like a chameleon. It’s like I’m a double agent except that the only allegiance that I have is to the toxic shame within myself.


Isn’t it wonderful to gain self awareness? Nicely done and I’m happy for you.

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It is. I just wish it didn’t take me 30 years of recovery to get to that point.

But some guys never get it.


Some people not just guys. But yes. Take what you can get and work your ass off.


Was ready to post something about my readiness to relapse the first opportunity I got, when I saw and read this post first. Absolutely helpful and can relate big time. Just purchased the book and will arrive in a day or so. Thank you for sharing. I’m gonna earnestly try holding off relapsing. I really don’t want to be that guy with a poor sex life in marriage. Your story encourages me. Thank you again.


I feel ya man. My nice guy attitude has messed me up more than it has helped. Trust in God and the process my friend. You got this!!

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You mean women aren’t perfect?

As a nice guy syndrome guy, I worshiped women. I put them on a pedestal and I looked up to them. As a result, women often looked down on me.

In this thread, I will be discussing more about the behavior in men.

Because I believe that men and women have biological differences that impact the kind of problems they have in life.

I believe Nice guy syndrome normally affects men. I don’t see a lot of women being disqualified as potential partners and mates because they are too “nice”.

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Fair enough. I won’t disagree with you on your thread.


Chris, I can tell already from reading your posts that we have a lot in common. We should talk more.

A lot of relatable and recognizable stuff here Kevin. And a big overlap with my personality (problems) for which I’m doing group therapy now. I’m very glad you found this and hope and think this will be a fruitful path for you to follow. .


But if anyone wants to disagree anytime, go ahead. It’s time that I stop being so agreeable just to get everyone to like me. That’s a big characteristic of nice guy syndrome. Always walking on eggshells.

I need to welcome conflict, not avoid it.

It doesn’t mean that I go the opposite way and be a complete jerk.

I want to and need to talk this out and wrestle with it


Big learning point right there Kevin. I’m learning not to run away from every conflict I encounter. But not become an ass at the same time. Because I actually like being a nice guy, but not one that let people walk all over him or one that runs away from every opposition or conflict or any hard situation at all really. As an aside, the only time I really got into conflicts in the past was when I was drunk. And then I could get really nasty.


Let me share something that happened last week. My wife and I were intimate twice.

And that rarely happens. We’re talking about periods of abstinence lasting over 3 months. I’ve been sexually anorexic with my wife during our entire 15 year marriage. She’s complained about it a lot. And during sex, I have problems getting an erection.

So what happened last week? I simply became more direct and vocal about what I wanted. Instead of waiting for the right moment or being passive about my needs thinking that hugging, kissing, holding is going to automatically stir up the desire in both of us and it will magically lead to sex.

I simply said on Thursday, “I want to have sex.”
My wife replies, “REALLY!” She’s all excited. She’s never seen me like this. And because I was becoming aware of what I wanted, I had no problems with erection.

The following day, she asks me, “What can I do to make you want me like you did last night?”

And I replied, “This is something that I have to work on.”

And we did it again on Saturday. No erection problems.


I want to add more. As I’m looking back, my wife would often initiate sex and I would turn her down. “I’m too exhausted,” I would say. Yeah right. Too exhausted being concerned with everyone else except myself to even recognize what I truly want.

The “nice” guy in me prohibits me to drink. I’ve tasted alcohol only a handful of times, and only sips.

As a nice guy Syndrome guy, I focus on making myself appear perfect so that women will find me attractive. And then I wonder why they don’t.

But I can truly relate to the rage thing. I bottle up my resentments and when it finally comes out, I’m Jekyll/Hyde. When I rage, I sound like the Macho Man, Randy Savage, about ready to kill someone.

I have thoughts of diabolical rage often everyday. When I hear about kids shooting down schools and men commiting mass senseless murders at community gatherings, I know why they do it. When one is at a state where he feels like there is nothing to lose, he can cause a lot of pain.

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It took me 40 years to grasp enough understanding of myself to get sober. There is no shame in wandering, there is learning, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Glad you found something that truly resonates for you.


Thats great advice. Porn tends to overstimulate or cortex brain. So hand in hand where always walking overstimulated due to porn. For the simple fact are reason to conduct ourselves in a less harmful manner to others makes us either more violent or less violent all depending on our personality. I believe porn messes with are fight or flight system and basically too much porn puts us in a disadvantage if ever confronted by someone. Are best reaction would be to freeze. Which in a matter of speaking is a worse reaction we can have. Escaping to porn as addict would be our solution to not have to deal with conflict by making us believe we won the battle. Which in fact porn is just masking our reality to see the truth. That we have no idea how to react to any situation. So best advice would be to quit porn for good and then we can see ourselves in a different light.

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How did I get here?

Nice guy Syndrome guys are victims of abandonment. Now, abandonment can manifest in many different ways. But in my case, my abandonment issues are due to the result of my father physically leaving the home.

From now on, I’m going to abbreviate Nice Guy Syndrome as NGS.

I had a long talk with my mom almost 30 years ago when I first joined SAA. She mentioned that my first year of life was great. Although, my father was contemplating leaving a few years prior, he recommitted himself to my mom and my sister who was 4 years older than me. According to mom, he shared that he chose to stay. And that he wanted to be a good husband and a good father.

He eventually left us for another woman. Her name was Pat. She seemed like a tramp. She was a single mom with 4 kids with different men. I was 1 year old when he left…

He was still in my life. My sister and I visited him every other weekend. I don’t have any memories before 3, but I understand that at that tender age, I knew what was going on.

Children under 5 are 1) helpless and 2) egocentric.

At that age, abandonment is death. And because I’m egocentric, I develop a sense that something must be wrong with me. I believe that I’m bad, worthless, and unlovable. This is known as toxic shame.

It’s due to this toxic shame that I formed 3 strategies.

  1. I needed to medicate from the pain of the original event of abandonment. So I used sex fantasies at an early age.

  2. I needed to appear perfect so that the traumatic event doesn’t repeat itself.

  3. I needed to hide any character flaws. Otherwise, people will reject me.

It’s this paradigm, this distorted view of reality, that NGS guys hold onto throughout their life. As an NGS guy, I believe that if I’m “nice”, which means doing all the right things, coming off as perfect, and hiding my defects of character,

then I will get the love that I want, have my needs met, and live in a problem-free world.

But it doesn’t work. It’s a faulty paradigm. And a faulty paradigm leads to a faulty life.

I’ve learned about 4 core beliefs that sex addicts have to overcome from Mark Lasser back in 1993.

  • I am a horrible worthless person

  • No one will be around to meet my needs

  • Sex is equal to love

  • Sex is my most important need

This shows a lot of commonality with NGS.
At the time, focusing on my sex addiction seemed like the right option for me. What I wasn’t aware is that my sex addiction (and also my emotional, social, and love anorexia) we’re all by-products of my NGS and the toxic shame that it’s rooted in… Covered with my pride…

And this condition not only affects my sexuality, but every part of me, my whole personality is intertwined with NGS. And yet, as I did my fourth step with my sponsor, back in 1994, many of the positive, good traits I listed for myself comprised of my kindness, my patience, generosity, my smile, and my sense of humor. Yet, looking back, I’m aware that these were also simply by-products of my NGS.

Dealing with NGS means I have to deal with all of it’s behaviors, not just the sexual ones. If I just cut out the acting out, I’m still living in toxic shame. And it’s manifesting in my relationships, in my striving to be perfect, and in my own personal feeling of self-hatred and low self-worth. Thus, I continue to white knuckle until I give in and act out sexually.

And as an NGS GUY, my only strategy in response to relapse is to try harder. I believe that I must not have done it perfectly. Otherwise, I’d be sober. But who does a perfect program? Nobody.

My ex saw the damage before we split in 1997. She mentioned that something really bad must have happened to me when I was young. Because she saw me try harder than anybody she knew to do the program right. I was going to 5 meetings a week at that time. And yet I was still craving all the time and relapsing. My resolve to do the program perfect was just another extension of my NGS. And to be honest, the things I was doing to stop my behavior were just as bad as my behavior. Because all of it has been rooted in my NGS.

My ex was right, something bad did happen. My dad left, plain and simple. And it changed my paradigm to one that was faulty which has led to a faulty life.


I need to correct what I mentioned before. I said that NGS was not around 50 years ago. That’s not true. There have always been weak men with no sense of self; having low self esteem, trying to please everyone and constantly seeking validation from others, especially women. I said that this would get messy.

But I do believe that NGS is more common than ever before. Some things that have contributed to this I believe, are the following:

An increase in divorce.

A transition from an agricultural economy to a more urban culture. Previously, more men were working at home like on a farm, where they were continuously with their children. But later, a shift occurred where more men went off to work and spent less time at home with their families.

An increase in single mothers.

An increase in the absence of fathers in the home.

The rise of pornography in our culture.

The rise of radical feminism which sends a lot of negative messages to men. (Statements such as men are chauvinist pigs or dogs or misogynistic are quite common.)

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I’m totally gonna check into this book, my relationships suck, never married, but a serial monogamist I suppose.,

Ive decided to go the hookup culture route, and that had been successful before, in fact I have a lawyer hitting me up, obviously out of my league, but she knows what she wants.

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