Local therapist responds to 'nice guys finish first' study

FLINT (WJRT) - (02/13/19) - The old phrase goes, "Nice guys finish last," but a new study from Michigan State University shows a different result.

Research shows having a nice, genuine partner leads to a more pleasant relationship.

Nancy V. Ford is a licensed couples therapist at Oakland Psychological Clinic. She mentioned that people often misunderstand "nice guys" because of the confusion between assertive and aggressive.

"Nice guys doesn't mean that they're not assertive. Nice guys are not aggressive. If they're going to talk to you about something, they don't hit below the belt. They're a nice person. I'm going to deal with it, but I'm not going to hit below the belt. I'm not going to hit you when you're down," Ford said.

She said that assertiveness is an appropriate quality and fear should not come in the way. With aggressive on the other hand, a partner has to deal with "how" it was said, which can lead to conflict.

Inevitably, conflict exists in any long-term relationship. For Ford, knowing how to deal with conflict appropriately is what propels couples to a strong, long-term relationship.

"There are three phases to relationships. Phase 1 is the honeymoon phase, and the honeymoon phase is supposed to turn into Phase 3, which is a mature relationship. It's like a honeymoon, but it's mature. Phase 2 is where you work out the conflict. If you don't work out your conflicts, you're not going to get to Phase 3 and stay there," Ford said.

The outline is simple. Two keys to finding the right Valentine are knowing how to be assertive and how to have healthy conflict without aggressiveness.

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