Why “Nice Guys” Finish Last In Dating (Your Covert Contracts Are Badly Written)

I want to tell you a little bit of a story.

This is about a time over 10 years ago when I was still on my own personal development journey and learning how to create the kind of dating life and relationship that I really wanted for myself.

I grew up in the Seattle area. If you are familiar with the demographics of the United States, you will be not surprised to discover that I grew up as basically a “nice guy,” like the whole “nice guys finish last” kind of thing.

Fortunately, when I was very young, I discovered a therapist who was living in the area named Robert Glover. He had recently written a book called No More Mr. Nice Guy.

He was doing a bunch of radio interviews and I heard him on our local show. He sounded interesting. So I got his book and read through it. It seemed like it would help me a lot.

I realized that he lived in the area, so I signed up to join one of his men’s groups and I started to go there every week. Hanging out with him and seven other men, we’d talk about various things that were going on in dating, love and relationships and other parts of our lives as well.

It was a really great growing experience for me. It was a wonderful experience to get mentoring and help from him and the other men.

Robert Glover’s main expertise is for helping “nice guys” step into their manhood, but what I’m talking about today is relevant for both men and women.

One of the things that he talks about in his book, No More Mr. Nice Guy is the idea of covert contracts.

A covert contract is an unspoken agreement that you have within your own head between you and somebody else.

You might be out on a date with somebody and have this covert contract of, “Hey, if I’m really nice to you and I buy you dinner, then you’ll want to have sex with me.”

A lot of people— of men at least— who are out on some of the early dates in a relationship have this idea.

That’s all fine and everything except the other person has no idea you have this implicit agreement in your behaviors when you’re nice to them, buy them dinner and they don’t have sex with you for any number of reasons.

Maybe they don’t want to have sex until they’re married.

Maybe they don’t feel comfortable sleeping with you at this point, or for any other reason.

Then, you as the person who made the covert contract might start to feel resentment and frustration with them or the situation.

This can build over time until there comes a point when you lash out at them for not fulfilling their end of the covert contract.

That’s what a covert contract is.

Covert contracts are very dangerous for relationships and dating. They are also a pretty ineffective way of getting things done or your needs met.

It’s basically walking into an interaction with a hidden agenda and ulterior motive or with strings attached, right?

You’re not going to buy her dinner or be nice to her unless she’s going to give you sex, right?

A covert contract is really a hidden agenda and ulterior motive. It is doing things for others with strings attached.

This is not a good way to operate in dating or a relationship context because first, it’s a very ineffective way of truly getting your needs met.

If you’re unable to just say something like, “Hey, I want to sleep with you, you look really sexy, I would love to go back to your place or come up to my place” then you’re going to resort to covert contracts, techniques and other methods to try to get your needs met.

Unfortunately for both men and women, nobody can read your mind.

If mind reading is part of your dating strategy, then you’re basically setting yourself up for failure and frustration.

You’re putting any relationship on a fast track for a breakup or a divorce.

Please do not use your partner’s mind reading abilities as some sort of implied technique when it comes to dating and relationships.

Covert contracts in dating are not good because nobody can read your mind.

You’re probably going to start feeling frustrated because you feel resentment over your needs not getting met.

Eventually that’s going to blow up at some point in your relationship even if you don’t have any sort of obvious covert contracts like:

“I’m going to take you out to dinner and you’ll sleep with me.”


“I’m going to agree with everything that you say and then you’ll propose to me.”

Oftentimes people have these ulterior motives in their ways of being and interacting with others.

People might want to be in a relationship so every move they make and every thing that they do or say is calculated with this end goal of ‘being in a relationship.’

And there’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship.

Being in a relationship can be a great thing, but if you’re more focused on the end goal of being in a relationship than you are on actually connecting with the person that’s right there in front of you, then that’s where some big challenges can arise because you’re not actually present with the person in front of you.

You’re using them as a means to an end.

You’re using them as a stepping stone to get what YOU want.

They just happen to be the warm body with a pulse that you’re going to use as a vehicle to get what you want, which might be a relationship, a proposal, sex or something else, right?

If having sex is more important to you than actually being with the person that you’re with, then they could be anybody.

Nobody wants to be just anybody who happens to be around in order for you to get sexually gratified, be in a relationship with or for you to use to feel better about yourself and bolster your self esteem, right?

Nobody wants that.

People do want to have sex.

People do want to be in relationships.

People do want to be in marriages with people who actually appreciate them for who they are.

I recommend for you to really look at what your motives are when you’re interacting with people, dating and when you are spending time with people of the opposite sex or the same sex.

If you really look into your motives and notice hidden agendas, covert contracts and that you’re using somebody as a means to an end to get something for you and it’s not working out how you want— consider that your ulterior motives are being broadcast to them in your way of being.

As you’re bringing yourself to these interactions, there is something that you’re putting out there that is telling others, “Hey, I’m needy.”

“I need you to commit to me so that I can feel better about myself.”

“I need you to sleep with me so that I can prove the girl who rejected me in high school when I asked her to prom wrong. I actually AM attractive.”

“I need you to propose to me so I can feel good about myself and my mom will stop hounding me about getting married. Tick tok. The clock is going.”

…And all of that kind of stuff.

If you notice any of these ulterior motives going on, just take a step back and say to yourself, “what is it I really want here? What is it I really want?”

If you want to be in a relationship, do you really JUST want to be in a relationship?

There are a lot of people out there who don’t want to be in a relationship.

There are a whole lot of people in a relationship who hate their relationship.

They come home to a dead connection.

Every day they watch TV, eat some sort of microwave slop and then they go to bed.

Their life is just like the movie Groundhog Day, day after day after day after day after day.

You probably don’t just want to be in a relationship when you are having this ulterior motive and hidden agenda of ‘being in a relationship.’

You’re probably thinking of something else like, “I want to be in a relationship with a great, high quality connection where I can feel close and bonded to the other person. I feel a great deal of intimacy with this other person.”

If that’s the case, you’re really putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Because simply being in a relationship doesn’t cause the intimacy, closeness and bonding to happen.

It’s actually the other way around.

Having intimacy, closeness and bonding will cause the relationship to organically develop on its own.

If what you really want is the connection and the connection between you brings the relationship anyway, then why not just go for the emotional connection and just trust that the relationship will take care of itself?

Just let all of that happen organically and go for what you really want, which is the emotional connection, the closeness, the bonding and all of that stuff.

If you’re looking at your ulterior motive or your hidden agenda and you’re noticing something like, “I want to sleep with her so I’ll feel like a real man” or anything like that.

Then sleeping with her has nothing to do with her or your connection with her and it probably feels bad because it’s all about you and your own ego.

If you’re noticing this and think, “wow, I totally want to change that.”

Then you need to look at your own life and say to yourself, “where is it that I don’t feel empowered as a man? Where is it I don’t feel like I’m living my best life or living up to my passions?”

Then look for ways you can clean that up as opposed to looking for sex as a way to define you and compensate for these other black holes in your life that are just draining your life away from you.

For example, if you want get married and think getting this person to propose to you is suddenly going to make your life wonderful, then look at how you can enjoy your life the way it is right now.

I promise you as a married man, your life is going to keep on rolling forward whether or not you are married.

If you hate your life now, you’re probably still going to hate your life when you’re married.

If you love your life now, you’re probably going to love your life when you’re married.

Figuring out how to love your life, whether or not you’re married and then have a great connection with somebody else. Then, the marriage will happen on its own, organically.

Hopefully, then you’ll be able to enjoy life as a married person because you love your life already.

So be careful of having hidden agendas, ulterior motives and making covert contracts because they are very damaging to the quality of connection you can have with somebody else and to the results you might be getting when it comes to dating, relationships or anything else.

Look at what you actually want and see if you notice a difference between what you actually want and the thing that you THINK you want.

Then, make any necessary corrections either in your own life or in the way you pursuing what you think you want in terms of going for ‘a relationship’ versus a high quality emotional connection first.

Continue to part 2 of this episode here.

Want to make it work for good?

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