Call it a phase, call it what you will but that's what happened with me, I ended up with that very realization. , that the "bad boy/bad ass" guy was THE guy, the "nice" guy all rolled up into one. The label of being "bad" was just a label. In short, he was a perfect mix of both. He was THE nice guy just in a wicked, sexy, candy coated shell. The "nice" guy I thought I had been looking for, thinking I'd be "happier" with was sort of deceptive.
Now, one can say that I shouldn't expect people to change or meld into something *I* want. This I completely and wholeheartedly agree with. I have no ill-feelings towards the "nice" guy. In fact, I truly believe that he was "mean" almost obliviously (I say, almost because there were times when I would be straight fwd and say so, but he would either ignore it or dismiss it, that in itself was the cruel part of our relationship.) In fact, it saddens me that no matter how many discussions we've had, it would always sort of feel unresolved and in turn brought plenty of turmoil, with me any way. He would adamantly express that all he wanted was for me to be happy and that he loved me. However, my feelings were always, always second to his own. He wasn't a bad guy or an asshole in sheep's clothing. I chalk it up to just basic inexperience with women. (By his own admission) But being close in age, I suppose I glossed over this aspect. I also accept all of my own faults and short comings that led to our break up. I would never want a person to change against their will, which is why even after several attempts to salvage it, I felt it was more fair (at the very least) to allow him to be who he is. But there was never a time where I didn't bend over backwards, almost in utter desperation (and tears) in trying to understand him and all sides of his views (down to how he could have possibly been raised/treated, and all other related aspects). I really tried. I loved him. I wanted to try.
In short, being the lucky son of a bitch girl that I feel I am, the bad boy, was the first of the two that I dated. In a sense we never stopped caring for each other and he ACTUALLY begged for me to come back (after having left him for the "nice" guy). In the time apart, in a discussion before we got back together my "bad boy" expressed how he felt and it was as if he literally jumped into my own head and almost point-by-point plucked out all the possible reasons why I could have possibly left him. Even ones I may have not realized at the time.
I don’t feel that either men “did me wrong”, (even the nice guy) but it was crazy at how much a person can miss... until things are pulled apart. It's amazing at how much perspective is gained. I think the most important thing- aside from loving a person, is respect. If you have genuine respect for someone, you can get through almost anything- oh and I must also add, a bit of luck and faith may also play a huge role. ;)