When you are in a relationship, many fall into an unhealthy pattern of trying to fix or save your partner. It could be as innocent as encouraging your loved one to change their hairstyle – or maybe you are attempting to help them overcome alcoholism. But, becoming a fixer or saver in a relationship is not a good strategy if you want to enjoy a healthy partnership with a happy significant other. To further complicate matters, many are completely unaware that they are engaging in fixing or saving behavior. So, how can you tell if you are trying to fix or rescue our significant other?
You are constantly attracted to or are attracted to people who need help
It is important to look at patterns of behaviour and choices you’ve made. It is often not a conscious desire to be involved with those who need help, but if you find that’s who you end up with more often than not, then you need to hit pause long enough to question your motives
You believe love is about taking care of another
But fixing isn’t loving. Rescuing someone else because you are too anxious to allow yourselves to rely on others isn’t love. Caring for others makes you think that you are in love rather than feel love. But, a true, loving relationship involves caring for others and being cared for in turn. When caregiving dominates the definition of love to the exclusion of other factors like sharing experiences together and deeply opening up to one another, the relationship is dysfunctional.
You give abundantly, yet receive very little in return
When you are constantly doing for someone else, you are establishing a hierarchy that ensures inequality and imbalance, which sets up the caricature of a parent-child dynamic. The receiving little in return part is a way that you devalue the contributions of others. Someone who gives and gives and gives leaves no room for other people to give, which sends the message, “You have nothing of value to offer.”
You lack empathy while taking care of our partner
Because the relationship is imbalanced, we are able to distance yourselves from your rescued partner in order to protect yourselves from his or her perceived neediness. Neediness is a word that is used when one partner is unable or unwilling to meet the actual needs of the other, connoting a repulsive level of desperation and weakness.
You feel exhausted by your relationship
Constantly rescuing a partner in a long-term relationship is exhausting. And it is exhausting because, as a psychological defense against empathy, intimacy, and vulnerability, it is driven by immense anxiety about the possibility of being close to others. Relationships where caregiving is mutual – and love means more than fixing – are invigorating for both partners.
By Damilola Faustino
Read also: 5 Reasons Why Most Relationships Fail