What is a “fixer”? A fixer is someone who feels best when helping others. If they see someone who is less fortunate, their first inclination is to try to remedy the situation. They have a keen sense of the unfairness in the world and strive to correct it. They will volunteer to help and are generally charitable people.
If you recognize that you are a fixer, that’s great! It’s a wonderful quality to have. Fixers are nurturing, giving, and empathic. They often do a great amount of good, meaningful work in this world—think Mother Teresa and Ghandi. But unfortunately, many fixers expand that need to fix into their romantic relationships, causing devastation for all.
Here are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before you get involved in a romantic relationship:
1. Are we equals?
Are you getting just as much out of the relationship as you are giving? An imbalance does not make for a good relationship. You will be miserable. Your partner will be miserable. You will not even get your fixing needs fulfilled because most people don’t want to be fixed. People want to be loved for who they are, not for what someone wants or imagines them to be. You may feel that you are helping, but if your partner senses that you see them as a project, resentment will build.
2. Are you in love with their potential?
It’s important for everyone’s sanity that you choose a partner who is already a great fit for you and who has many qualities that you love and others that you are willing to accept long term. If you are imagining the amazing person they will be once you have fixed them, move on. They won’t change. Promise.
3. Are you visualizing yourself as a hero?
Are you thinking how much they will cherish you because you have saved them from themselves and improved their life? This could be the result of a deep-seated desire to be needed. Giving can really be a very selfish act. If you receive validation from what you can offer instead of who you are as a person, this may be an issue for you. You don’t have to be someone’s savior in order for them to love you. You are good enough by yourself. Yes you are!
4. Do you feel sorry for them?
Your relationship cannot be your charity case. You deserve better. Help them if you must, that’s okay. That’s what fixers do, but don’t get involved with them romantically.
I want you to know that in my experience, your desire to help comes from a good place. Nurture that in other areas of your life, but don’t allow it in your romantic relationships. Otherwise, you’ll end up with more men who are in need of your help instead of men who love you for you.
Looking for more from Dr. Zoe Shaw? Check out her free advice column, Ask Dr. Zoe! Read other’s questions to glean her wisdom or ask your own anonymous question (nothing is off limits)!
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