Ask A Guy: Am I Right Or Am I Nitpicking? post image

Ask A Guy: Am I Right Or Am I Nitpicking?


I don’t know if it’s my personality or what not, I tend to nitpick a lot with my boyfriends, either because I really am like that or because they are not ideal for me. This was a big problem in my last relationship, which ended really badly. After, I told myself that I would never get into another relationship where I end up nit-picking or feeling unsure of whether or not I should be with him. Anyway, I’ve been seeing this new guy who really loves me and is the epitome of an ideal boyfriend. BUT,- there always has to be a catch- there are certain things I don’t like about him. I think I can overlook it, but I am extremely scared that we will end up badly just like my past relationships because I can still find things I don’t like about him. So what should I do? Do you think I have emotional baggage? I don’t want to break it off because I love him, but I am thinking, should I find someone that I can’t nitpick with so I will never be this confused?

Read out guy’s response after the jump!

Well, nobody’s perfect.

If he’s made promises to you and then doesn’t keep them, then that’s a legitimate reason to be upset.  If he is just being himself and you don’t like it, then I would say you need to do some examination.

Criticizing other people is easy.  I mean, when you criticize someone, you get to take the position of blamelessness and superiority.  Or at least, that’s how it can feel.

The truth is that you chose the other person.  You are responsible for your choice.  You are responsible for being in the relationship – nobody is forcing you to be there.

I believe that nitpicking can happen for a number of reasons.  Sometimes people end up just falling into relationships that play out what they saw in their parents relationships.  Sometimes people watch a bunch of TV shows about crappy relationships and then subconsciously play out those roles in real life.  Sometimes people blame the other person for being imperfect in a relationship to take the focus off of their own shortcomings in the relationship. And sometimes it’s because the nit-picker is highly critical of himself/herself, and they just project that behavior out onto the other person.

It’s a funny thing too.  When someone nit-picks, it can be a way of not fully committing to the other person.

For example, if you believe that a guy is perfect, then that means that you need to be perfect too.  And that’s a lot of pressure.  But if you look for ways that the guy isn’t perfect, then it means it’s OK for you to be imperfect too.  And if the relationship doesn’t work out, well, he wasn’t perfect anyway.

To put it differently, it’s a way to protect yourself from risking disappointment if it doesn’t work out.  If you’re disappointed the whole time, then you won’t be disappointed if it ends, right?

Meanwhile, thinking like this absolves you from any responsibility to be your best during the relationship since the other person wasn’t “good enough” in the first place.  “Why should I do this for him, he doesn’t even do X,Y and Z.”  If you maintain this type of thinking throughout your relationships, nobody will ever be good enough.

The fact is, the nit-picking behavior is poison to relationships.  Guys and girls both do it; I’ve done it, I’ve had it done to me.

When left unchecked, it can leave the person on the receiving end with the feeling that they can never make you happy.  And when someone thinks that they can’t make you happy, they give up.  Not trying is a lot less painful than trying and being rejected.  Actually, when a guy truly feels that he can’t make his woman happy, he’ll leave.  Not right away, but eventually.

On the other hand, acknowledgment goes a long way with guys.  It’s my belief that men generally feel unappreciated.  We’d never say it straight-out, but see for yourself:  Try specifically complimenting/acknowledging your guy for something that he worked at and did well. See for yourself how he responds.

Generally speaking, if you focus on the good stuff and acknowledge it, you will find that you get a lot more of it.  On the other hand, if you focus on things you don’t like, you will find more and more that you don’t like.  Even worse, you will dry up their motivation to do their best in the relationship.

- eric charles

{ 5 comments… add one }

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JP September 25, 2011, 9:47 am

To Jen,
I think he is trying to improve his lot in life but it may or may not be with you. If you’re being put on the back burner so much then that’s not good. I can understand if he’s super busy and doesn’t have a lot of time to call you but when I’m busy I can always find a moment or two to text. I can also understand his need to go out of state for a better job. But I don’t think you should be waiting for him. My boyfriend did that about a year and a half ago and it ended our relationship. It put too much strain on the relationship and I eventually found him cheating on a dating website. I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in this guy. I would date other people and keep your relationship with him a little more relaxed.

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Megan Robinson December 29, 2010, 5:19 am

Amazing article…Thank you :-)

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Jen November 13, 2010, 9:50 pm

So I have been dating this guy for about 9 months now and he is amazing. I have a history of really bad relationships due to choosing the alcohol/party type. I finally decided to change that and chose someone who is a true gentleman. The problem is I am insecure from my past hurts that I constantly need him to reassure me of his feelings. He just got a really big job and it has taken him away for a month and is going to take him to Alaska for possibly 6 months or longer. I am concerned but he told me that he took the job for me so he could have a life with me since he didn’t make any money in his other job. He says this job will change his life and our lives moving forward.

Am I just blind or do I just really not get it? I am hurt all the time because he is gone and doesn’t send me flowers, write me emails, or text me hardly at all. I know he is super busy but it hurts. He said that right now I am not his priority because he has to pass this training in order to get the job but that me being on the back burner is temporary. It hurt to hear him say that but I know he says he is doing this for me. Does he really mean he is trying to plan a life with me or is he just focusing on himself?

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www.mybeautyblog.de October 14, 2009, 11:41 am

“To put it differently, it’s a way to protect yourself from risking disappointment if it doesn’t work out. If you’re disappointed the whole time, then you won’t be disappointed if it ends, right?”
And there you have the answer! Of course it is also easier to criticize somebody; that distracts you from looking at yourself. I am in a similar situation, but I realized that my self-confidence is just so bad after I broke-up with my last bf (and yes, nit picking was one of the reasons!). I wanted him to be perfect, and he wasn’t.
Now I have the perfect guy and I still find something. The question is to ask oneself if you not better improve the things YOU don’t like about yourself, and also try to see what hapiness the other person brings into your life. If you can clearly say you love him, then you can be generous.
If you are rather disappointed on a small think like when he forgot to shop something you told him, still praise him that he went shopping at all. Turning things positive might help you getting rid of the feeling of never being able to be satisfied with something.

For sure you have an emotional baggage, we all have. But every relation-ship is a new chance to be happy, so do not expect to be disappointed again. You have to take the risk again.

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Rachel August 7, 2009, 5:07 pm

This article is awesome! I just did this to someone and by the time I realized that I was nit picking, he packed his bags and fled the scene. Big lesson learned!!

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