‘I Can Change Him/I Can Help Him’ syndrome (aka the Florence Nightingale/Nursemaid role) occurs when a woman focuses her energies of fixing anything that she deems to be incorrect with him. Guys who are specifically chosen for their potential workload qualities are known as Fixer Upper’s. You ‘buy’ them cheap, renovate them like a home and with any luck you get to hold onto them, but sometimes the Fixer Upper gets cocky and puts himself out on the market for a new lady owner because after you’ve finished making him attractive to you, he’s become attractive to a lot of other women too!

This is you if:

Who you say you’d like to be with and who you end up with are poles apart.

Who you say you’d like to be with and who you end up with are poles apart.

You tend to date ‘beneath’ you.

You’re insecure and crave attention.

You may have your ideal man in mind but you can’t wait for him because you need the reassurance of male attention.

You’re afraid to be alone and resent being single.

You’re quite critical.

Some people are critical and run in the opposite direction, whereas you see the potential in your ‘property development’.

You tend to put your men through their own extreme makeover.

You see yourself as a helper, and welcome the waifs and strays of the dating pool.

You have found yourself in relationships with men that are financially dependent on you, or who take advantage of your generosity.

There is a desire to control and the underlying expectation is that in exchange for your generosity, he should tow the party line.

Imagine if a man bestowed his interest in you despite the fact that he thought you may be beneath him, not on his level, or as attractive or as full of the qualities that other women he would like to date have. Imagine that he then made you into his pet DIY project and spent much of his energies trying to change the things that he felt weren’t so attractive in you. Would you thank him for giving you the opportunity to be so much better than he thinks you were, or would you resent him and tell him to go and take a run and jump? Well I’d like to think you’d do the latter, as long as you had some self-esteem left.
No matter what good intentions you think you have, the very clear message that gets sent when not only do you express continuous dissatisfaction with your partners fundamental appearance, character, and life and then seek to change it or hope that he’ll change is ‘I am dissatisfied with you and you are not good enough in your present state.’
The biggest questions you should ask yourself if you have found yourself trying to change a guy or just hoping on a wing and a prayer that he will is: Why the hell are you with this guy? And why don’t you just find a man that is more on your ‘level’ and put this poor guy out of his misery?

Even if it appears that he is happy with what you are asking of him, it just takes that one extra request, or a change in your tone and attitude for the balance to tip and for him to recognise your behaviour for what it is. I don’t deny that it is bloody hard out there with dating and relationships but if you find yourself always trying to change him, you need to ask yourself if this is what you really want. Trying to build a man from the ground up is a project that you should really shy away from. Being in a relationship that has the legs for something long term because it has all of the fundamentals means that people end up being, or at least trying to be, the best that they can be because love makes them do that. We become more responsible, more open, more grounded, more trusting, more anything that nurtures the relationship. If you can’t accept him for what he is and are living off potential, you will always be miserable.

And of course there is the distinct possibility that the relationship will flounder and someone else will reap the benefit of your hard labour, which is a pisser because unlike a house, there is no financial reward. If his new relationship works, they won’t be looking to change him because they’ll be happy with him as he is. It’s a vicious circle, but it’s one thing you can change!


FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites
Ready to make way for the loving relationship you want? Sign up for RELATIONSHIP FUNDAMENTALS classes.
This is default text for notification bar