Ghosts of boyfriends past

Matthew Mcconaughey
Waiting for a train, I was confronted by a guy I dated in my mid 20s. All of a sudden, my dating life flashed past my eyes and it wasn’t pretty. As I desperately tried to remember why we stopped dating, I was interrupted on my trip down memory lane when he said to me that I didn’t like him because he was a nice guy. However, this is where men make the majority of their mistakes. Women want to be with nice guys but men need to redefine what they think a ‘nice guy’ is.

What women want are men who have self respect and know how to set boundaries in both in their business and personal life. What we don’t want is a man who is a doormat and lets people walk all over him. A genuinely nice guy is not confrontational but knows when to pick his battles. We want to be with a man who show us that he wants to be with us and enjoys our company but whose life does not revolve around a relationship. Unless you’re a narcissist (and then you have a lot of problems which I don’t have time to address right now), we don’t want a man who mirrors us in every way. What we want is to see is the world in his eyes, not just a reflection of our own.

Admittedly there are women who are predators, leeches and gold diggers who will take advantage of ‘nice guys’ and use men for emotional intimacy and may even use them for financial gain. They may be in denial that their friend is in love with them because their self esteem is boosted by a man who dotes on them and follows them around like a puppy dog. However, a woman who is independent, secure and confident will reject men who are too clingy, self-deprecating and insecure. Here are seven ‘nice guys a woman can happily live without.

The mummy’s boy*
Justin Timberlake

Signs of a mummy’s boy include:

  • He still lives at home but he is in his late 30s and owns four houses.
  • His mother expects him and his two brothers home at 6pm sharp every night to eat her home cooked souvlaki, even though two of his brothers are already married.
  • His mother has lunch with his ex girlfriend every fortnight, you know the ex girlfriend she still wants her son to marry.
  • He arranges dates around his mother’s social calendar and has to ask his mother’s permission before he can go on holidays in case it clashes with any plans she might have. Of course he lies and tells her that he’s going on holiday with the ‘boys’ (see below) because his mother doesn’t know that you exist and still thinks he’s a virgin.
  • His mother is the benchmark for cooking, cleaning and basically everything.
  • He keeps a picture of his mother in his wallet.

The doormat*

Signs of a doormat include:

  • He doesn’t like making decisions and wants to do anything that you want to do and mistakenly thinks that will make you happy.
  • He rarely speaks out about things that are bothering him to avoid conflict and puts his own needs aside to please you.
  • He doesn’t tell you anything about his life for fear of boring you. Instead, he expects you to entertain him with riveting tales of your day and fill in the silence.
  • He worships the ground you walk on, uses words like ‘adore’, ‘princess’ and ‘goddess’ to describe you and puts you on a pedestal.
  • He always ditches his friends to go out with you even if you have called him at the last minute.
  • He is very clingy and constantly emails, text messages and calls you but doesn’t actually have anything interesting to say and has just called to hear your voice … sorry, I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth just then.

The friend in waiting who just wants to get into your pants*

Justin Long

Signs to watch out for:

  • He is always putting your friends and boyfriends down to make it seem that he is the only one playing the supporting role in your life, knowing all too well he wants to play the lead.
  • He sits too close to you, puts his hand on the small of your back and waist and finds excuses to hug you or hold your hand and always offers to give you massages.
  • He offers to cook dinner for you. When you arrive at his apartment, there is dim lighting, candles and Michael Bolton is playing in the background.
  • He tries to kiss you while you are telling him how you broke up with your boyfriend but the next morning he pretends he was drunk and denies it all.
  • He asks you to go away on holiday with him and suggests that you stay in the same bed to save money although a room with twin beds cost the same.
  • You accidentally find a lock of your hair under his pillow along with a picture of you.
  • He keeps a picture of you in his wallet.

Mr Booty Call*

Signs to watch out for:

  • He only texts between the hours of 10pm – 6am and you have never seen him during the day or met any of his friends.
  • He frequently mentions sex in your conversations and wants to know what you’re wearing.
  • He never takes you out on a proper date and only wants to ‘hang out’ at your house.
  • On the rare occasion that you sleep over, he makes sure that you leave by 6am and he has never offered you breakfast in bed, well not of the food variety.
  • The only gift he ever buys you is lingerie and sex toys.
  • He wants to take a picture of you in your underwear to keep in his wallet.

Mr Insecurity (also known as Mr Obsessive)*

Chris Brown

  • He bombards you with text messages and phone calls declaring his undying love for you within the first month of dating.
  • He doesn’t want you to go to the gym not because he doesn’t trust you but he doesn’t trust other people around you.
  • He makes passive aggressive remarks about the clothes that you wear and he buys clothes for you that he thinks that are less revealing and less attractive to other men.
  • He discourages you from having a career, furthering your education or travelling because he thinks that if you grow and develop as a person, you will eventually leave him.
  • He doesn’t like your friends or your work colleagues or basically anything that takes your attention away from him and tries to cut you off from your friends and family.
  • He does not show respect to women, calls them names and badmouths his ex girlfriends.
  • If you meet a man like this, don’t walk, RUN!

Mr Serial Dater*

Signs to watch out for:

  • He goes from one long term relationship to another and has been engaged twice.
  • He uses words like ‘us’ and ‘we’ in the first week of dating and tells you within a month of dating that he plans to get married in five years.
  • His eyes glisten over when he walks past a jewellery store and he loves reading the wedding section in the newspaper.
  • He asks you to keep the 25 September 2010 free because he wants a spring wedding.
  • He is the perfect boyfriend for seven months and promises you the world until one day he disappears without a trace and his phone is disconnected. You find out a few months later that he’s had an arranged marriage (see mummy’s boy above).

One of the boys*

Bra boys

Signs to watch out for:

  • He finally asks you out on a date but he makes a reservation for four. What you don’t realise is that Ahmad, Mohammed and Hassan are coming along too.
  • You have to win over his friend’s approval before he dates you and this involves a catwalk and talent competition, complete with scorecards.
  • He tells you that Friday nights are reserved for boy’s nights out but what he doesn’t tell you that he often doesn’t come home until Sunday afternoon.
  • He lives and dies by the motto that he will never miss gym because of a date. Unfortunately, he works full time, goes to the gym every single night of the week and works weekends as a bouncer.
  • He always calls you at the last minute because he is ‘spontaneous’ and doesn’t like to plan anything in advance in case his mates come up with a better offer. He doesn’t want to be that jerk women complain about that cancels plans at the last minute.
  • He doesn’t read newspapers and FHM and Ralph magazine are his main sources of information. He would come in handy at a trivia night if you ever need to name Paris Hilton’s last five boyfriends in chronological order.
  • He is very easy going as long as you agree with everything he says and prepared to have a relationship at his convenience. If you offer an alternative opinion, you are branded as ‘high maintenance’.
  • ‘I Love You Man’ is his all time favourite movie and he sees nothing wrong with bromance. It’s just romance he seems to have a problem with.
  • He keeps a picture of his friends in his wallet.

* Note: The characters  described in this article are fiction although admittedly some of the events and examples are loosely based on my colourful love life. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental and slightly hilarious. In addition, no chickens were harmed in the writing of this article (in case you were wondering).

If you found this post interesting, mildly entertaining or downright offensive, please comment below, subscribe for further updates or follow me on Twitter.


  1. musician_76, 27 July 2009, 8:11 am

    Definitely interesting. Thanks for the tips on not only what women should look out for, but what men should do to be what women want. I had a holy shi+ moment. 🙂

  2. Gillian Nalletamby, 27 July 2009, 9:36 am

    I don’t whether I should be pleased or concerned I gave you a ‘holy sh+’ moment 🙂 I hope you didn’t hurt yourself over there :-p The article was very tongue in cheek for the most part but men need to be true to themselves and to be honest with women about whether they want to be in a committed relationship, whether they want a casual relationship or even no contact at all.

  3. Crazy In Love, 27 July 2009, 9:39 am

    I think I’ve dated all these men. Have you been looking through my diary? Omg … I could have written this article but I can’t write half or a quarter of how well you write lol. I like this bit ‘He always calls you at the last minute because he is ’spontaneous’ and doesn’t like to plan anything in advance in case his mates come up with a better offer. He doesn’t want to be that jerk women complain about that cancels plans at the last minute.’ I’ve met so many men like this who think it’s ok to call a woman at the last minute and not plan dates in advance. They are kidding themselves!!!

  4. Gillian Nalletamby, 27 July 2009, 10:06 am

    Crazy in Love, I haven’t been looking through your diary but can you send it over? I’m sure it would be an interesting read :-p I think we’ve all dated these men at one time or another and even more scary is the hybrid of all these different ‘nice guy’s.

  5. Sadhbh, 27 July 2009, 10:07 am

    The first one reminds me of that joke about Irish men.

    How do you know Jesus was an Irish man?

    He lived at home until he was thirty, he thought his mother was a virgin and his mother thought he was God.

    Really enjoyed this, laughed a lot. 😀

  6. Gillian Nalletamby, 27 July 2009, 10:25 am

    Sadhbh, I think that joke is universal 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it. The sad thing is that most of it was based on actual real life experiences with a little exaggeration of course!

  7. Julie, 27 July 2009, 7:54 pm

    Well described Gillian. You certainly have a way with words. Sorry to hear that your dating life is such a disaster :-p

  8. Gillian Nalletamby, 27 July 2009, 9:05 pm

    Thanks for stopping by Julie. I think if writers had perfect lives, we wouldn’t have anything to write about. I think most women who have been single have experienced these types of guys. The differences is whether you’re going to settle for these types of guys or remain single and try and find the right one and I’ve always chosen the latter over the former.

  9. Michelle, 27 July 2009, 10:08 pm

    “He still lives at home but he is in his late 30s and owns four houses.” and “Of course he lies and tells her that he’s going on holiday with the ‘boys’ (see below) because his mother doesn’t know that you exist and still thinks he’s a virgin.” – I know so many guys like this!!! This article was hilarious. This was like a trip down memory lane as well for me but thank God I’m happily married now!

  10. Gillian Nalletamby, 27 July 2009, 10:42 pm

    Does he have a brother 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments.

  11. Naomi, 28 July 2009, 10:34 am

    Oh my gosh i just got chills reading this! way too familiar for comfort…the fact that so many of us recognise these guys shows how common the stereotypes are in real life… Maybe they are all sent to teach us a specific lesson?? and we only pass the test once we have learnt what we needed.
    I guess i can only now look back on all the things i have learnt from these “mr Wrongs” and how much i have grown as a person from all the expereinces.
    Thanks for an excellent reminder!!

  12. Gillian Nalletamby, 28 July 2009, 12:21 pm

    Naomi, thanks for dropping by. It’s quite frightening that they walk amongst us isn’t it!

  13. Teri LaFlesh, 29 July 2009, 9:23 am

    “His eyes glisten over when he walks past a jewellery store and he loves reading the wedding section in the newspaper.” That just makes me shudder! But I cracked up at the same time.

    Oh my gosh, this was so funny! Thank you for all the warning signs! I wish I’d had this when I was dating (thankfully now married to a guy who fits none of these profiles–whew!).

  14. Gillian Nalletamby, 29 July 2009, 9:51 am

    Phew! Again, does he have a brother that lives in Australia? Thanks for the great feedback!

  15. Lara_72, 29 July 2009, 12:43 pm

    “His mother has lunch with his ex girlfriend every fortnight, you know the ex girlfriend she still wants her son to marry.” – I dated a mummy’s boy for two years and felt like I was dating his whole family. He ended up dumping me and going back to his ex girlfriend. Years later, I’m happily married and he’s separated from his wife and living back at home!

  16. Gillian Nalletamby, 29 July 2009, 1:18 pm

    Good to hear that there are so many happy endings! He is obviously back at home where he belongs :-p

  17. karin-eve, 30 July 2009, 9:45 am

    This is classic ,,i laughed my head off reading it …you should write books !!!
    my heads buzzing with boyfriends of the past errrrmmmmm best left there the past !!! ;-)))

  18. Gillian Nalletamby, 30 July 2009, 9:50 am

    It’s really sad but I think I could write a book on this :-p There was so many stereotypes I wanted include such as the ‘The Networker : signs of the networker includes – he only communicates with you via Facebook, Twitter, emails or text messages.’ I think we’ve all met this guy!

  19. karin-eve, 30 July 2009, 9:55 am

    HAHAHAHA oh yeah … ive met him(s) ..i think he’s on my page !! lol

  20. max letts, 31 July 2009, 12:38 am

    Eve u’re DEAD !!!! hahahahaha………..

    Ok Gilly, another piece of writing gold…I’d like to think i dont fit into any of those descriptions but maybe little bits from each one sneak in.. I think i’ll need to read up on all yer articles from now on…….Made me laugh out loud !!!!!!!!

    Hysterical work !!

  21. Gillian Nalletamby, 31 July 2009, 6:20 am

    Thanks for your comments Max. I had a suspicion Karin was talking about you :-p

  22. Rebecca_76, 31 July 2009, 5:00 pm

    “He sits too close to you, puts his hand on the small of your back and waist and finds excuses to hug you or hold your hand and always offers to give you massages.” This kind of makes me cringe. I honestly don’t think guys and girls can be friends. There is always one person who wants something more.

  23. Gillian Nalletamby, 31 July 2009, 7:04 pm

    Thanks for your comments Rebecca. I think men and women can be friends as long as they have something in common such as work, uni, family friends and so on. I do think that men find it hard to be friends with women they are attracted to but women can also be quite manipulative in friendships as well. It’s a tricky line to walk sometimes and best done in flats and not 4″ inch heels!

  24. Debra, 2 August 2009, 1:20 am

    “It’s a tricky line to walk sometimes and best done in flats and not 4″ inch heels!” Great post! The comments are almost as interesting as the article itself. I look forward to your next post.

  25. Gillian Nalletamby, 2 August 2009, 10:39 am

    Thanks for dropping by Debra. The comments to this article have been very interesting!

  26. Kelly, 7 August 2009, 3:53 pm

    Great post Gillian – so true! I think I’m lucky and dodged a bullet by marrying a ‘genuine nice guy’, but I do know some of these types. I hope you didn’t have to base all these characters all on personal experience 😉

  27. Sabrina, 9 August 2009, 9:32 am

    This was SO funny and SO true! I think I’ve dated all of these at least twice lol.

  28. Maria, 12 August 2009, 7:35 pm

    OMG … I dated a mummy’s boy for over five years. I had to break off the engagement when I realised I would be married to her as well.

  29. Krista (klcqtee), 31 December 2009, 12:27 pm

    I love your style, and wit. With this wonderful article (that I wish I’d read before dating Mr. Obsessive for 1.5 years!), you are officially my new blog to obsess over. Keep up the awesome articles!

  30. Gillian Nalletamby, 31 December 2009, 1:11 pm

    Awww … how sweet Krista! I have been neglecting the blog but I promise regular updates in the New Year 🙂 You can always subscribe if you wish in the top left section on the right column (no pressure haha).

  31. 25, 28 January 2010, 4:32 pm

    The Hero
    Signs of a hero include:
    *Announces that he’s a national martial arts champion but when he demonstrates his skills he looks like a 12 year old that just watched Monkey Magic – or the Star Wars Kid!
    *Suddenly turns out to be an expert on anything in which you happen to take an interest
    *Responds to girl talk by conducting impromptu seminars on life, the universe and everything
    *Acts as if he’s the fountain of wisdom but you recognise his lectures from having read the same books and even picked them off the library shelf or lent them to him
    *Claims to be a party animal but freaks out and tries to run away at the first sign of wild behaviour
    *Won’t shut up about how much he ‘protects’ you, but as soon as some jerk tries to grab your ass on the dance floor, he is nowhere to be found

  32. Gillian, 28 January 2010, 4:46 pm

    That is hilarious 25! I think I’m going to have to do a follow up on this article 🙂

  33. 25, 24 March 2010, 4:55 pm

    Thanks Gillian. My friends and I reference this post all the time.
    I’ve recently had a very annoying interaction with a guy I am starting to wish I’d never met called Icy Cool. This is a jerk who doesn’t want to seem too clingy so he never phones, texts or even comments on my facebook status even though he lives 1000km away and thinks he’ll be welcome when he flies across the country…

    Icy Cool
    Signs of Icy Cool include:
    * You meet him 2 days before he flies 1000km away but instead of trying to see you before he leaves, he waits 3 days before phoning
    * Returns the 1000km just to visit but instead of telling you his travel plans he waits (and waits and waits while you fume with cranky, having heard it from your friend)
    * Your friend tells you he seems smitten and you hear about it 2 days later
    * When he finally lets down his guard (via SMS) he totally gushes so much you get a little terrified

  34. Gillian Nalletamby, 22 May 2010, 11:08 am

    I know this guy very well 25. I call him ‘Mr Too Cool For School’. It’s very frustrating because you know they like you but they are too busy playing silly games and when they finally do show their feelings, they are so overbearing that the first thing you want to do is run!

    I seem to attract either ‘Mr Icy Cool’ (aka ‘Mr Too Cool For School’ or ‘Mr Clingwrap’. Isn’t there a happy medium? I’ve just spent the last week trying to extract myself from a guy I met once for coffee. He sent me a poem by SMS that he wrote for his ex girlfriend – the guy is all class!

  35. Janet, 22 June 2010, 12:27 pm

    This was SO funny. You have such a very colourful dating life! Thanks for sharing lol.


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