Ivo de Bruijn

I Dated A Nice Guy After An Abusive Relationship, But He Didn't 'Save' Me


It started with a three-hour date, which consisted mainly of my taking his phone and then awkwardly staring at his features while making him a Bitmoji.

It ended a couple of months later with a brief text conversation and wishing each other well.

It was perfect.

Three months after my abusive relationship, I met a nice guy via the wonderful world of online dating. We texted all day long, as if we'd been friends for years. Our second date was the day after our first.

The causal observer saw two people moving way too fast and heading straight for disaster. I saw hope and happiness where there'd previously been exhaustion and sadness.

But he didn't save from my ex.

I walked away from that sad and maybe a little broken, but I picked myself back up with the help of my family, friends and a great therapist.

But during the most vulnerable time in my life, he was exactly what I needed.

He wasn't awkward dates and wondering if he'd call. He was texting about nothing, watching stupid TV shows and sweet make-out sessions.

He wasn't 2 am booty calls or worrying if he was out partying with other girls. He was, "I can see you after the gym on the days when I'm not with my daughter, if you also happen to be free."

He filled the void of the boyfriend I had lost, but without the suffocating demands on my time and emotions. He was my friend.

My rebound guy told me my ex was horrible, that I was pretty and he laughed my jokes. These are all the things a girl with a broken heart needs to hear. More importantly, he was kind.

He didn't flinch when I told him his causal comment had hit a nerve. He didn't run out the door when my friends teased him over his uncertainty about our longevity.

He got quietly angry when he'd heard I'd been in an abusive relationship. He told me how much I deserved happiness when he calmly said goodbye.

He wasn't perfect. He could be a self-admitted jerk. He'd get cranky and piss me off. He changed his mind daily.

When he ended things, I was sad. Actually a lot sadder than I had expected, but then, I was OK.

Something had ended without doors slamming, crying and begging. Something was just done, and that was OK. In fact, that was good. And I was OK.

In the end, he renewed my faith in men and then he renewed my faith in myself. He and I weren't meant to be long-term, but my innate need to always try and never give up probably would have dragged it out longer than was right.

I didn't need that. I needed to know I was stronger than that.

I needed a guy to give me a hug and say "we aren't all bad." I needed a guy to tell me I was a great writer and mean it because I wasn't just a doll to show off. I was a real person.

I needed a guy who wanted a friend as much as a hookup (in today's dating culture, that's a pretty awesome thing to find). I needed a guy to walk away, for both our sakes.

So, a few weeks after our "breakup," when he texted me to tell me he liked my latest blog post, I was glad to hear from him. It wasn't a booty call. He was just, yet again, acknowledging my talents.

It didn't sting. It was good.

In the end, he didn't save me. I know that's only something I can do for myself, but he did inspire me.

He helped me see that I deserve the absolute best from someone I am with. He couldn't give me everything, but he did give me hope.

He was Mr. Right when I needed to get over Mr. Wrong.

He became Mr. Wrong so I can find Mr. Right, and that is everything.