Love-Life Tip: Don’t Try To Fix Your Lover

If you’re in the business of trying to ‘fix’ your lover, you need to read this post. That goes for those of you who are in the process of being ‘fixed’ as well. Fixing implies that something is ‘broken’ and needs fixing. In a love relationship, the implication is that your lover is ‘broken’ or ‘undeveloped’ or ‘wrong’ in some way and needs fixing.

The first problem you will inevitably encounter will involve the message you are sending. Most people in love need to feel acceptable. Acceptability goes with love if you know what I mean. It’s hard to make the case that you are loved without feeling acceptable to your lover at the same time.

When you try to fix someone you love you are sending the message that he or she is unacceptable as is. Usually some standard articulated or not is being held up as a measure of the changes needed. This kind of message is notorious for damaging self-esteem. When self-esteem goes down it negatively affects everything else going on in a person’s life.

The second problem you’ll encounter trying  to fix a lover is the level of cooperation you’ll get. Most self-respecting people, even the passive self-effacing ones, will rebel on the surface or inside against the message that they are not acceptable as they are. The rebellion can come in a bunch of different ways.

There could be passive-aggressive reactions where the rebellion is covert and indirect or you could have an all out war on your hands that threatens the very existence of your relationship. Either way, trying to fix a lover is not good for your love relationship.

So what do I do now? Good question, you have two choices. You can accept your lover as is and practice that for the duration of the relationship, or you can leave and find someone closer to what you really want. Hopefully your standards are not unrealistic and there’s a good chance of finding someone out there with the needed qualities.

Look, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, effort, energy, and the inevitable misery that comes, and it will come, when you realize you can’t get what you want. As a general love-life principle, you have a better chance at a successful love relationship if you dispense with the fixing and put your energy into finding what you want prefab. Remember, people change because they want to, not because someone else wants them to.

If you’re the one being ‘fixed,’ I would suggest that you bring the I’m getting fixed charade to a swift and decisive ending by coming out of the closet and letting your lover know how you feel. Telling your lover that you need him or her to accept you as you are is a good start. Although you can expect some ‘therapeutic fireworks’ because people who try to fix have a need to do so and a personal history to support it.

The good news is, this could lead to a renewed love relationship where the both of you feel like there is plenty of room to be who you really are in the relationship. If not, isn’t it better to find out now without wasting a lot of time? You can move on to the next relationship, hopefully having learned the precious lesson that being yourself in a love relationship is not only preferred but absolutely necessary for the health and growth of both you and your relationship. Take note, you should never settle for anything less.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan


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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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