Trying To Change A Toxic Guy Nearly Destroyed Me—Never Again

I tried to change the last guy I was dating. I had good intentions—I truly wanted to help him sort out his drama because I loved him. It’s such a shame that he was a manipulative jerk. Thankfully, the experience taught me something important: I refuse to be a Fix-It girlfriend ever again!

  1. Being too nice screwed me overBeing nice was actually the cruelest thing I could’ve done to myself. I was always kind, considerate, and respectful to the guy even when he was a jerk, and what did that get me? Nothing! It just made me look pathetic!
  2. I was running around after him. I was always at his beck and call, to the point where my bestie once told me I was chasing him all the time. If he needed me for something urgent, I was there, even if that meant getting out of bed and racing across town to see that he was OK. The guy had serious issues and I wasn’t supposed to become his psychologist or mother, for goodness’ sake!
  3. I started to get sick. There’s only so much stress that a person can take before it takes its toll on their health. I was always feeling run down and exhausted and it was because I was jumping through hoops for a toxic guy. I couldn’t concentrate on other, more important things in my life.
  4. I wasn’t even acknowledged. The worst part about all of this was that the guy didn’t even thank me for my help! He had grown to accept that I would be there no matter what and he was taking it for granted. Even worse, he was always critical of my help as though it wasn’t enough. I certainly didn’t deserve that crap.
  5. I wasn’t getting anything back. Relationships are supposed to be balanced, but this one was screwed up. I wasn’t getting anything of value from the guy and this was becoming more of a problem as time went by. At first, he was super-charming, but it was clear that he just used that as a strategy to get me to date him. He was becoming lazy and manipulative, so why the heck was I there?
  6. I was holding onto a fairytale. The sad thing is, I was sticking around in the hope that he’d press “reset to factory settings” and go back to being that amazing guy from the early stages of our relationship. But obviously that wouldn’t happen because that guy didn’t exist. This was the real him. By staying with him and waiting for him to magically become better, I was just wasting my time and feeling depressed.
  7. There’s always a price to pay. The thing I learned about changing someone is that there’s always a price to pay for it. In my case, I was giving up my happiness, serenity, and health. No one is worth any of those things!
  8. I was desperate for love. I wanted to fix the guy and help him deal with all his drama because I was nice, sure, but I was also keen on having his unconditional love in return. I thought that he would see that I was great girlfriend material thanks to all my efforts. But, I shouldn’t have to kill myself to impress someone. Why should I be so desperate to have someone’s love, especially if they’re so drama-riddled that they shouldn’t even be in a relationship?!
  9. I don’t have to do stuff to get love. Seriously, I don’t have to jump through hoops and be a guy’s rescuer in order to get love. I deserve love right now, exactly the way I am. I deserve love for being, not doing. I wish I had understood this sooner because I was losing myself to love and it wasn’t even real love. Ugh.
  10. I wasn’t happy. There’s no point in trying to change someone so that they’ll be a better boyfriend because they’ll never change and they’ll never make me happy if they’re not making me happy right now. Honestly, this toxic relationship was sucking my joy. What a waste of time!
  11. Not everyone deserves my good traits. I was so nice to this guy but he was a user. It made me see that not everyone deserves to see or benefit from my good traits, especially if they’re only going to throw them away. I have to hold onto those for someone who actually respects and deserves them.
  12. I looked and felt like someone else. Giving so much of myself and being so stressed out all the time made me look drained and feel like much less than myself. The relationship was eating away at me, bit by bit. I had to get out of it before it completely consumed me. What finally made me walk away was that I knew it was better to give away a relationship than lose myself. I guess you could say I changed myself instead of the guy, and it was the best thing I could’ve done for myself.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.