When He Said He Wasn’t A Good Boyfriend, I Should Have Believed Him

It’s common knowledge by now that when people show you who they are, you should believe them. However, I’ve discovered that what people say about themselves is also important. I made the mistake of ignoring it when an ex told me that he wasn’t a good boyfriend and I paid the price.

  1. It started out with a compliment gone awry. We’d been dating for three months and I really liked him. One day, we were on a date when I told him what a great guy he was. Instead of smiling as I’d expected him to, he told me that he’s actually not a good boyfriend. Wait, what?
  2. I was shocked—WTF was he talking about? It really took me by surprise to hear him say that about himself. I laughed and told him he was crazy while confirming that he actually is boyfriend material. I mean, why would I be with him if he wasn’t?
  3. I didn’t listen… but I’d eventually wish I had. My problem was that I hadn’t paid attention to what he’d said. I’d heard the words but had just written them off. I thought he was just being funny or that he lacked confidence, not that he was giving me a serious red flag. I thought his words weren’t a big deal, but they were bigger than I imagined.
  4. Turns out, words are just as important as actions. I know we’re told to focus on people’s actions, and that’s advice I always follow, but words are just as important. I wouldn’t walk around saying that I’m a terrible girlfriend or a total bitch unless I really meant it. That’s what I didn’t realize at the time—this guy’s words were meaningful.
  5. I made excuses for him. He must be low on confidence. That was the first lie I told myself, but there were more. He must have had some bad experiences, maybe he’s just not the type to brag about being a great boyfriend… I made every justification for him under the sun instead of focusing on what he was really saying. What was wrong with me?
  6. I wanted to believe in him. I guess a big reason I was making such excuses for him was that I wanted to believe that he was a good, decent guy and that I wasn’t wasting my time on the wrong man. Ironically, I was because he wasn’t as great as I wanted to believe he was.
  7. Eventually, his words started to make sense. After a few more weeks of dating, I started to see that he hadn’t been kidding—he really wasn’t such a great boyfriend. He was unreliable, overly flirtatious with other women, and always in contact with his ex, which drove me crazy. Worst of all, he knew it drove me crazy and did it anyway.
  8. It was hard to keep believing in him. I really hated having to face the truth that I’d bet on the wrong guy but it was staring me in the face. I couldn’t deny it anymore. I had to confront him about his bad behavior and tell him that it wasn’t appropriate because we were a couple.
  9. He was an jerk about it. When we spoke about how his behavior was making me feel, he really wasn’t sympathetic at all. He said, “But I told you I’m not a good boyfriend.” Whoa, was he kidding me with that BS? Was that a pass for him to do whatever he wanted with no consideration for me? Hell no.
  10. On some level, he was right—he had warned me. I have to admit that his words, although nasty, contained some truth in them. In all fairness, he’d told me who he was. I was the one who hadn’t wanted to believe his words. I only had myself to blame for that.
  11. I’d hoped he’d change. “No one can change me.” That’s what he told me during our fight. That’s exactly what I’d been trying to do, hoping that he’d improve, that even if he was the bad boyfriend he claimed to be, he’d change his ways because I was worth it. Oh, please—guys don’t change, even for the most amazing women, unless they want to. This guy clearly didn’t want to become Boyfriend Of The Year and no one would change that.
  12. I realized it was time to say goodbye. I knew it was time to break up with this guy. I wasn’t going to waste more time with him or try to turn him into the boyfriend I wanted. That ship had sailed and sunk, and I had better things to do with my time.
  13. I’d eaten enough lies. He’d been faking who he was to some extent and that was crappy, but I’d been the one to eat up all his lies. That’s the part that hurt the most. I’d tried to see him for what I wanted him to be, instead of paying attention to who he really was. I’d been fooled by my own grand ideas of him and our relationship.
  14. He was basically like those guys who claim they’re not ready. There are some similarities between this guy saying he’s not a good boyfriend and men who claim they’re not ready for a relationship. They’re both keen on remaining single and avoiding commitment. They’re both the kinds of men who make women think they’re the perfect DIY project. Only they’re not because they’re full of lies. I’ve found the only thing to do with these men is throw them back into the singles pool ASAP and run!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.