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The entire concept of the fixer-upper has always bothered me. You see it a lot in popular shows—a woman swoops up a real mess of a man, all excited to change his look, boost his confidence, move him towards his goals, and fix him up. Maybe he’s got hotness potential but doesn’t know how to dress or cut his hair. Maybe he’s a genius who doesn’t know how to apply himself. Maybe he’s very charming and just needs to stop using his wiles on being a con artist and instead use them on legitimate business. I’ve seen it all. And, when we see it in a movie, the fixing goes according to schedule. The guy somehow transforms in a matter of weeks. He is forever grateful to the woman who helped him. They fall madly in love and walk off into the sunset together. But that’s not how it goes in real life. Here’s why you actually shouldn’t date a “fixer upper.”

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He doesn’t know that’s what he is

Most adults presume that if someone takes an interest in them, it’s because they like them as they are. So when you take an interest in this man—this man who perhaps did have low self-esteem—he feels a boost in his ego thinking wow somebody likes me as I am.

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So he feels it’s a bait-and-switch

So when he notices you starting to attempt to make changes to him, he feels this was a bait-and-switch, and that’s heartbreaking. There he was, thinking that somebody finally liked him even though most people found him too sloppy/nerdy/abrasive, and the complete opposite is true. You pretended to like him, just so you could get your claws in him and try to change him.

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He’s probably happy with who he is

This man’s a grown-*ss adult. He’s probably content with who he is by now. His style and is lifestyle are likely no accident. Most guys will not appreciate a woman storming their life and trying to change everything. They like the way things are.

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But if he isn’t, that’s another issue

There are times when you meet a man who needs a lot of improvement and truly doesn’t like himself. He doesn’t like the way things are. But, then you have to ask yourself: why hasn’t he done something about it? If he isn’t motivated to fix himself, it won’t help much if an outsider tries. You can’t save everyone.

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It shows a need to control things

If you often like to find a fixer-upper, it shows some control issues on your end. It’s not exactly healthy to want to boss around a romantic partner and try to make over a person’s entire life. Maybe, rather than putting a mirror in front of this man, it’s time to look in the mirror yourself. Why do you feel the need to take over everything?

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And a need to feel superior

Preferring fixer-uppers can also be a sign that you like to feel superior. Think about it: if you’re helping him, you’re immediately the one who is above him, in some way. And, typically, when people need to position themselves this way in a relationship, it’s due to some serious insecurity. So, again, look in the mirror. What’s going on with you?

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Would you like if the tables were turned?

Would you like it if a man you were excited about showed interest in you, only to find out that it’s because he wanted to change you? How would it feel if you discovered a man you liked didn’t like you as you are? Probably not great.

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You could have perfectionist syndrome

You may just be incredibly picky. Perhaps to you, every guy is a fixer upper because nobody is good enough. Being incredibly picky and demanding is a way of keeping yourself from intimacy. It’s a defense mechanism for those with intimacy issues.

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But there are men, ready to go

The truth is that there are plenty of men out there who you’d find a good match for you, as they are, today. There really are. It can take some time to find them, but your time is better spent waiting to meet them than trying to fix up a guy, because things won’t go your way there.

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You’ll tire of the project

Why won’t they go your way? You’ll tire of the project. Remember, you’re probably the only one who is trying to change him aka he isn’t trying to change himself. It will be an uphill battle. You’ll start to feel like his mother.

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He’ll resent the homework

Meanwhile, he’ll begin to resent you. No man wants to feel like, every time he sees his girlfriend, she’s going to have some assignment for him (or critique).

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Your friends are thinking WTF?

Your friends think this is all quite bizarre. When they all swap stories about their love lives, you tell a story that sounds like it’s about a child you’re taking care of. “We took him to the hair dresser, and got him signed up for night school. Tomorrow we’re teaching him which fork to use for the salad and which one is for the entrée.”

 

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His friends will never like you

His friends will never like you because it’s so obvious that you’re taking their friend away from them. They like him as he is, and you’re turning him into somebody they don’t like.

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Things won’t feel mutual

Eventually you’ll realize that, in a way, this relationship is all about him. You focus so much on him and make him focus so much on himself that nobody is really helping you with your goals.

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If you fix him, someone may leave

If you do successfully fix him and turn him into a total catch of a man, the relationship will likely end for one of two reasons: 1) He realizes he’s a catch and wants to get back in the dating field to see if he can find someone better or 2) You realize you were only in this for the project and now that it’s complete, you’re bored.

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