7 Not-So-Good Reasons To Divorce A Truly Good Man

How to make sure you're walking away from your nice guy for all the right reasons.

woman confused thinking about divorce PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock 

It's never easy to leave a relationship, especially one where you have been happy in the past.

Sometimes it feels like the divorcing a good guy is the hardest, because they seem perfect on the outside.

In fact, I often think of a conversation I had with a woman who was obviously ready to leave her husband, but was held back by the fact that he seemed "too good" to leave. 

"It would be easy to divorce him if he were a jerk or a cheater," she told me, "but he isn't. He's truly a nice guy, which is why it is so painful," she said.


"Why are you divorcing him, then?" I asked.

"Because he's not man enough for me," she said solemnly.

"Tell me more," I prodded.

"He won't argue with me," she answered, as if waiting for me to laugh. Of course, I did not.

It turns out that her frustration was in his seeming lack of willingness to 'fight' with her.

Instead, he would say 'okay' to anything and everything from paint colors to vacation planning to school selection for the kids. He allowed her to take the lead and was very agreeable.

"So, you want him to fight with you on your decisions?" I asked.

" Well, no… I want to know what he thinks and feels," she answered. "And I want him to ask me."


Now, we were getting somewhere.

In working with this client and many others who chose divorce or had their partner decide to end the marriage, I have learned a few things about people's motivations for leaving their marriage. And often, they aren't clear.

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It’s easy to focus on the other person, but when it comes to divorcing a man who you describe as truly nice, take a look in the mirror.

Ask yourself, 'What does it say about me that I want to leave such a good guy?' Ouch! That hurts, doesn't it? There it is — the unique pain. 

It could be about you, not him. Are you willing to explore and understand the reasons you are a good guy go and feel so bad about it? Are you ready to discover why you aren't happy with someone who is genuinely nice? There are many possibilities.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons you might want to break up with or divorce a guy who is nice, or whom the world sees as "perfect. Sometimes, you simply don't love him like you wish you would. Other times, the world may see him as nice, but he may not be nice at all, deep down. 


He may even believe he's nice, but anger simmers below the surface and it bubbles up in ways that are not appropriate or at people who do not deserve it. Perhaps a man like this was taught to value being "nice" over being honest. 

Then there are times when a man is truly good to you, and you really do love him, but something inside of you makes you want to run anyway. You and your good man both deserve better. 

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Here are seven less-healthy reasons you're tempted to divorce a good man

1. You are accustomed to conflict.

Perhaps you grew up in chaos and turmoil and can't handle 'nice' because you need conflict to feel connected and stimulated. This is one of the reasons people binge-watch true crime shows before they go to bed at night. Trauma and conflict feel normal and what some might see as a red flag makes you feel at home.


2. You see his niceness as a way to avoid working through things.

Maybe you see his agreeableness as conflict avoidance, and you need to feel protected and safe. You question his ability to give you that security and see his niceness as a weakness. His tendency to shy away from confrontation leaves you feeling that he can’t protect you.

3. You don’t think you deserve a nice man.

It may be that you don't feel you deserve a man who is truly nice. Some long-carried guilt and shame keep you from being fully vulnerable and connected with him. This could be a result of your upbringing or past experiences.

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4. You need more.

Perhaps nice just isn't enough, yet you don't know what you are looking for and, at the same time, fear you will never find it. It seems you only have natural chemistry with men who don’t treat you well, and that never works out either.


5. You are pessimistic about finding happiness.

It could be that you believe you will never find happiness because if the most fantastic guy in the world loves you and you can't love him back, you see yourself a loser. You think it must mean that you yourself aren't a nice person.

6. You think men are incapable of real feelings.

Maybe you don’t believe men actually understand women-- that they haven’t a clue of what you want and need. You don’t believe that they have feelings because they may not be good at expressing them.

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7. Your expectations are misplaced.

You might have an emotional need that is being starved because you look to him to be able to offer you empathy and compassion in the way a girlfriend would when you share your feelings. Because you don’t get the response you need, you don't feel supported.


Some nice guys aren’t what they seem to be.

There is a popular TikTok post by Jemma Rane wherein the nice guy is examined and labeled as likely to have experienced childhood trauma.

This led to him avoiding conflict and behaving passively, leaving his partner feeling emotionally disconnected. I agree that this is a possibility. If so, this nice guy profile can seek help to overcome the trauma that led to his behaviors that block intimacy and leave his partner feeling hurt and lonely.



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Many women commented on the post feeling validated in their experience of being unable to establish emotional intimacy with their nice guy partner. I understand and relate to the frustration. Again, if he truly is a nice guy who loves you, he will be willing to do the work to learn how to interact with you in a way that makes you feel more acknowledged and validated.

It is definitely something to explore. However, both of you must learn to communicate in a mutually respectful and healthy manner to be able to safely share the full spectrum of your human emotion and desire. You all come to the relationship with prior experiences and perspectives, hopes and fears.

Just don't assume there has been trauma and that you are unfulfilled because of it. He is different from you. You may be familiar with the book, or at least the saying, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray. I assure you that men and women are from two different planets when it comes to emotional intimacy needs and definitions.

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Gender and the emotional and behavioral differences between men and women

So, after ruling out trauma in his background, I asked my client, “Could it be that he genuinely values peace and chooses his battles wisely? Could it be that he simply trusts and respects you and your decision-making abilities? Could it be what he is really avoiding as a man is rejection and failure? Could it be he isn't woman enough for you?"

She responded with a giggle. She got it.

"Could it be that your expectations of him are what disappoint you and not he himself?"

Most of us experience disappointment because we hold someone or something to a standard that simply cannot be met. We look to others to make us happy and we expect our spouses and intimate partners to meet our every need. The truth is he will never be the girlfriend who listens with empathy and compassion and offers support in the same way she can.


He will always want to make things okay for you, and it hurts him to hear you hurting. He may take it personally when he can't 'fix' something for you because he carries the desire and perhaps the misplaced responsibility for your happiness.

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Don't allow differences to become difficulties

Before making a life-altering decision like divorce, take a look in the proverbial mirror. Have you ever been happy in a relationship? Were you happy with your spouse when you married him? Were you happy with yourself? If so, what or who changed? Seek professional coaching or counseling before moving on to Mr. Next.

And in case you are wondering, there are a ton of truly nice men out there, and there are a butt-load of a--holes and cheaters. The question is, will you be happier with any one of them if you haven't first changed something in you?


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Ann Papayoti, PCC, is a relationship coach, author, and speaker helping people help themselves through losses and transitions. She helps people untangle from their past and heal their hearts.