Many women love to play “fix-it”—transforming people, problems, or relationships, usually in the name of “helping.” And one of our favorite targets is men. Have you ever leapt into a relationship with a man you thought you could “fix”? Have you ever told yourself that you’re the game-changer—the one woman this man will change for? Chances are good that you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. And it’s time to stop—because this mission only leads you to one place: misery.
As the former Queen of Fixers, I too tried to “help,” ahem, fix my guy and failed. I watched my girlfriends do the same—smart, educated women straight-up lie to themselves about who their men really were, because they couldn’t deal with the consequences of the truth. So they bestowed some false idea of power on themselves that, over time, they could get their guy to change. Of course, they didn’t possess this power. And no matter how much they loved him, changed for him, manipulated him or did whatever game they thought would work, the guy didn’t change, and they inevitably wound up with broken hearts, lonely lives or stuck in situations that were really difficult to get out of. Sound familiar? Too familiar, I say.
It’s time we used our real power to take the power of love back! Time to stop giving our power to be and feel loved away to another, and time to start seeing that every relationship we have starts with one person: ourselves. The truth is, spending your time, energy and money on trying to change anyone else is really an indicator that you are not loving yourself.
Commit the following three truths to memory, stop the love lies, and use the Good Love Actions to start making choices that bring more love, not more suffering, into your life.
The Truth About Fixing Men
Truth 1: Appointing yourself as a fixer is not only arrogant but a sign that you’re avoiding something in your own life.
It’s way easier to focus your energy on what’s wrong with other people and their lives, rather than turn the mirror at yourself and get honest about how your life is a mess or less than what you would have thought. It’s easier to hide your own self-doubt and pain in the guise of “helping” others, because when you are busy “helping” someone else, you have no time to be still, and feel and reflect on your own feelings. Not to mention—who do you think you are that you can take someone on as a “project”? Did they ask you to change them? Chances are that you have enough inside of yourself that needs tending that you don’t need to go out looking for more.
The healthiest role we can play in a relationship is to be a partner, not a parent or a preacher. Yes, encourage your guy to be the best person he can be, but inspire him to grow by the choices you make for your own life. Don’t push or drag any man along. You have better things to do than waste your time and energy on impossible endeavors.
Good Love Action: Inspire your mate to be his best self by being your best self.
Truth 2: His willingness to change or not to change has nothing to do with you.
How much a man does or doesn’t love you is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how much you love, or how many ultimatums you issue. Don’t waste your energy with thoughts like, “If he loved me, he would change” or “I just need to be patient and he’ll come around.” His unwillingness to change has nothing to do with you. We like to fool ourselves with statements like, “I love my current partner more than she did, or he loves me more than her, so our relationship is different.” This too is bull. We don’t love some people more and others less. As we become healthy and self-aware, we learn to love better, not more, to choose partners who have the ability to share their love more completely and clearly.
If he’s not the man you want today, he won’t be that man tomorrow. A woman who convinces he’ll turn “good” for her, that she’ll be the one woman he stays faithful to, stops doing [destructive behavior] for, or finally settles down with, is lying to herself, and, even worse, is not loving herself.
Good Love Action: Don’t date or marry a man’s potential. Love yourself enough to be honest with yourself and not settle for less than a “good man.”
Truth 3: Changing the relationship’s level of commitment won’t change him, and if anything what doesn’t work will get worse.
How many times have you heard women say things like, “I know that in time, he’ll change”? How many women convince themselves that after the wedding, or after they move in together, or once X happens, he’ll be different? And how many times have you watched these women become stuck with a man who hasn’t moved an inch? Maybe you’ve been that woman. In truth, changing the level of commitment in a relationship—marriage, kids, house—won’t make any man really change. In fact, often the increased pressure worsens whatever it is that doesn’t work in the relationship or with him.
Lifelong commitments like kids and marriage, not to mention financial commitments and the expectation of deeper levels of emotional intimacy, create stress. Stress creates fear and fear brings out the worst in people. Unless you are both committed to self-awareness, self-honesty and self-growth it will be impossible for the two of you to successfully navigate all that comes with intimate relationships.
Good Love Action: Pick a partner who is committed to his own self-growth, who is honest and self-aware, and who is both willing and able to be a partner on all levels with you.