Finding yourself in fixer-upper relationships?
I’m curious if you pick mates like you would a dog at the animal shelter?
Are you attracted to the healthy, vibrant dog or to the sickly, dog with multiple issues?
It is possible that your preference towards an animal in the shelter is an indicator of your dating picker. If the weak animal evokes a strong desire to be its rescuer and savior, give it love and hope, you may have a need to right a wrong.
Literally and figuratively.
While it’s magnanimous to assist an animal, is it the healthiest strategy for a mate?
The person oozes charisma and comes on strong in the beginning, and you get hooked. After the three-month fake-façade-fest, you’re left scratching your head.
Now you discover they have deep financial troubles (debt, spending habits on par with a gambler).
They have emotional bankruptcy. They aren’t as loving, kind or attentive. In fact, they can be rude, disinterested and distanced.
They have cleanliness issues. It could be their hygiene or their house. They state they won’t change.
Your brain keeps trying to fit the disparate components together. What you saw in the beginning compared to what you see now, keeps you tossing heaps of hope on the schism to correct it. That is if you are a dyed in the wool rescuer.
I know. I’ve spent many years rescuing in the name of love.
Your efforts won’t change them. Your partner won’t change. In fact, they will grow to resent your rescuing ways. Good thing mine didn’t change. It forced me to self-correct.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man. — Mark Twain
The good news is you can change you. It starts with a tough-love look at yourself. Do you get a high from rescuing people? Because if they are weaker, more confused, or have more problems, you get to be the “better” one.
It’s a self-seduction to replace the seduction you no longer have with the mate.
Some days your rescuing works. They acquiesce and appreciate your “help.” But then the mutual high wears off and gets replaced with the facts: it’s a tough go working to change/improve an unhealthy person.
You’re left with two choices.
Get out of the relationship. They aren’t a dog who can’t fend for themselves. Or, accept them as they are, accept yourself, and observe if you feel good enough in the relationship to stay. Maybe you can.
Or maybe you realize your need to rescue is salve on your own misguided wounds around feeling good enough.
If that rings true, and most everyone walking the planet has degrees of not-good-enough syndrome, you will lower your self-worth and up your not-feeling-good-enough as you claim to want the best for your partner.
Here’s the deal. Changing a person isn’t your business. It’s not your place to change them to fit for what you need in a relationship.
They get to live their life how they want in this moment in time. And so do you — as long as that’s not contingent on another person doing your bidding.
I spent an entire relationship cycle trying to get a bf who was a dog (misogynist) to see my worth in love. Freud would have had a field day. The bf was nothing more than a stand-in for me to work on myself.
The other good news about fixer-upper relationships: if you wake up, you fix up yourself and don’t need to drag yourself through more doomed relationships.
It’s up to you how often you need to have the lesson to heal.
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