My nice-guy radar is definitely broken! I keep searching for one, but I continue to be disappointed. Are there any nice guys left in Columbus? -Nice Guy S.O.S.

My nice- guy radar is definitely broken! I keep searching for one, but I continue to be disappointed. Are there any nice g uys left in Columbus ? - Nice Guy S.O.S.

Dear S.O.S.,

Ah, the quintessential "nice guy," the holy grail of dating! This is the elusive match that every single is searching for. Many wonder, is he a fictional character or yet another one of life's great mysteries?

Yes, nice guys (and nice girls) do exist, and they are everywhere. However, we have put them on an unrealistic pedestal, making them appear unattainable. The fictitious images of the nice guy created in our heads are not only destructive toward our goal but ultimately put us in the wrong places with the wrong guys. It's no wonder we continue to be disappointed; we set up ourselves up to fail. It is time to go back to the drawing board and recreate him. Let's first determine what a nice guy - the non-fictional version - truly is to you.

We are always searching for "nice" and believe that if we find "nice," he or she must be perfect, right? Wrong. Being nice is just one component to finding a partner who is a good match. Ask yourself what qualities are important to you in a relationship and ultimately in a life partner. (Tip: Consider what you will want 30 years from now, when a forever friendship is more essential than looks.)

Let's take this one step further. Would you admit that what you describe as your nice guy is not at all who you date the most? One of our very primal flaws when searching for a partner is that we dismiss the obvious nice guy for not fitting our extraordinary standards. Don't set yourself up to fail when you do meet a nice guy. Be realistic with your expectations.

It's fine to have your guard up, but don't shut him out entirely - you must be open and receptive to the idea of a relationship progressing or not progressing. Guys are not perfect, nor are we. Know what you want. If you aren't looking for a fling, don't go to the places where you're likely to find one.

Bottom line: Whether you are jaded, confused or feel duped by someone you thought was nice, you must stay positive. Love is real! Dating is a numbers game, and you have to continue to play if you want to win. Chin up, and get back out there! I assure you there are plenty of nice guys to go around, just don't be hasty and dismiss them too soon (hint, hint). Good luck!

This week we welcome Nicci Sprouse's Ask Nicci column to Alive. Nicci, who runs a dating service and will soon launch a television show on Columbus' own JaneTV, will answer your questions about love and relationships right here, every other week. If you're human, you're likely perplexed by something involving the life romantic. Send your puzzlements and conundrums to Nicci at . - Kristen Schmidt