If You Have To Fix Him, He’s Not Ready For You

The idea of the fixer-upper guy is one that is often romanticized in movies, books, and life. Even when we know deep down that he’s no good for us, we convince ourselves that he’s just steps away from being the man of our dreams if he could be a little less like THIS and a little more like THAT. It may be tempting to date people you see more as projects than partners, but here’s why that’s a terrible idea:

He’s a grown man. He should be able to fix himself, and if he can’t, well, that’s not your problem. If he really does want to be with you, he’ll put on his big boy pants and grow up enough to realize that his “quirks” are real issues that you won’t tolerate. It’s not your job to discipline someone else’s child, especially if that child is a legal adult.

You should have an equal partnership. If he still has more issues than a comic book series, that equality is going to be nowhere to be found. You’re constantly going to be on him about getting his act together while he pushes back on you. Your relationship is going to turn into a rivalry rather than a team.

You’ll grow to resent him. At first, you might think of him as an attractive project. But as time goes on and you realize you’re still dealing with the same crap, you’re going to get bitter about the fact that he’s not responding to your efforts. It won’t mean that you’re a bad person, either — those feelings of resentment would come over anyone who was trying to fix someone who doesn’t realize how broken he is. Eventually, that sensation is going to become toxic not only to the relationship but to you as an individual.

It’s going to take more than you to change him. You might be the most awesome human being on the planet, but this guy’s problems didn’t just pop up overnight. They’ve likely been a part of who he is for years. Even if you’ve been trying to reshape him for a year, that’s still a lot of work for one person to do in a relatively short amount of time. This dude is going to need EVERYONE in his life to tell him to get his crap together… and even then, he might stay set in his ways.

It’s a lot of work to rebuild a man. The problems you’re trying to get rid of are almost always more than skin-deep. When you try to fix a guy’s party boy ways, you don’t just need to convince him that hanging out with you is more fun than getting hammered three nights out of the week — you need to undo years of enabling by other people who allowed him to come home at 6 a.m. the next morning and nurse a hangover all day instead of working or going to class. That’s not just going to go away in a quirky half-hour like it does in romcoms.

He’ll eventually go back to his old ways. They always do. You might think that you’ve changed him once he goes a few months with gold-star behavior, but at some point, those old habits are going to start resurfacing. Fixing him isn’t the issue — it’s the maintenance that will drive you to the brink of insanity.

It’s not going to be worth the effort. Dating a “project” seems fun at first (Don’t we all love the “bad boy” type?), but before long, it’s going to leave you stressed out. You’re going to feel trapped in the relationship, though, because you’ve spent all this time working on making him a better man, and you’ll feel like you can’t just quit now. By the time you finally have enough and leave, you’ll realize you wasted a ton of time and energy on a person who really shouldn’t have even gotten a second date with you.

There’s someone just as good as him who doesn’t need fixing. Really. You’re going to like him just the way he is. He’ll have his quirks just like everyone does, but they won’t be so annoying that they’ll put a strain on the relationship. This fixer-upper you’re all about now is your dream man marked with a very big asterisk and attached to a whole page of terms and conditions. Somewhere out there is a guy who isn’t going to weigh you down with all his baggage.

You’re worth more than that. You didn’t come all this way and date all those losers just to end up with a guy who will never make you happy. Relationships are work, but you shouldn’t have another full-time job trying to fix the man you love. You’ve learned a lot in the past; don’t let all those lessons go to waste by dating someone you’re not happy with from the get-go.

He’s not broken; this is just who he is. If the biggest of his issues is a patchy beard he’s too lazy to shave, that’s something you can convince him to change. It’s never that small, though, is it? The parts of this guy you’re trying to change are rooted deep within him. They’re not something he can just take off because you don’t like them. They’re as much HIM as his arms and legs. This IS the guy you’re going to be dating, and if you don’t like it, you’re going to be much happier if you find someone different.

You’ve already outgrown him. It doesn’t get better from here. Just as your parents will always (hopefully) be more mature and experienced than you, you’re always going to be a few steps ahead of him. He’s not going to catch up to you just because you two are dating. You’re always going to have to hold his hand and make sure he doesn’t slip up and go back to his old ways (which, as we saw earlier, he eventually will). This man will probably never be ready for a woman of your caliber, and that’s fine because someone out there already is.

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