Glee Therapy

While watching Glee last night I had a bit of a revelation. Awesome, right?

I won’t go into details about the show, but basically, Rachel learned why she and Mr. Schuster would never make it as a romantic couple. She was told, “We look for boys we know we can never have… Mr. Schuster is the perfect target for our self-esteem issues. He can never reciprocate our feelings which only reinforces the conviction that we are not worthy of being loved.”

And the light bulb went off.

Now, this quote doesn’t apply directly to me as I don’t think I have any major self-esteem issues, but it still struck something inside me. It made me think that maybe I’m supporting this destructive pattern within myself.

Since my dad was an alcoholic, I’m constantly observing my choice in men. I don’t want to repeat the pattern by settling with a guy who is tied to alcohol or drugs, or any other unhealthy, life destroying drama. I’ve been there and it’s not a happy situation. So I monitor my choices so as to not fall into that again.

Usually I go for one’s I can (try to) save. It’s my personality. I’m a helper. I like to find the men that don’t quite have it all together, have some baggage of their own, and I try to fix them. Obviously, as my track record shows, this hasn’t really worked out too well for me in the past.

I find the men that I know are not fully available (in whatever sense of the word). I pursue them because they seem funny, or smart, or spontaneous, etc. I become attached because I see they are flawed (and that makes them human and therefore more likable). I fall deeper because I think, “If I can help him and make his life better, then surely he will fall in love with me and then we will live happily ever after.”

And all of this happens within an hour of meeting the guy.

But to give myself some credit, in my last relationship all of that was true except for the happily ever ever part. Then again, I guess that’s kinda the whole goal in being in a relationship… thus I have a problem.

If I continue this pattern I only going to end up frustrated and angry in a dead-end relationship, or alone.

I need a guy who is excited about life. A guy who is honest, and sincere, and loves me. A guy who loves me more than he loves alcohol. A guy who is committed. A guy who enjoys his work and spending time with his friends. A guy who has goals that do not involve ‘waking up’ and ‘eating lunch’ but who is aiming much higher. A guy who does not want me to solve his problems. A guy who wants me to stand next to him, not behind or in front of him.

And really, I’m not going to find that in someone I’m trying to save.

Right.

So I guess now that I’m more aware of this, I can start acting on it. Isn’t that how these things work?

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18 responses to “Glee Therapy

  1. It’s official. We need to have a meet-up soon. Why, you ask? Because I’m SO like this in relationships and my life. I gravitate towards those who have issues and need help and I try to give it to them. I thought I had fixed this with the last relationship but turns out I didn’t. Can be so frustrating.

    They say realizing is indeed the first step, right!?

  2. I’m the same way — always trying to save them. I’m kind of over it… I’m tired of being all nurturing all the time. Sometimes I want to be taken care of!

  3. You are not alone, a lot of women are like this, including myself. I’m a fixer, I need to fix things (people) that I perceive to be broken. This is why I am going into counseling (as a career, although I do also see a counselor also). Maybe you can take advantage of fixing or helping people at work and you won’t feel the need to do it in your personal life anymore.

  4. What a huge revalation to have Ashley. I think its so great that you realize this and can start looking for a wonderful guy who will love you for you, not for tyring to save him. Having someone you can stand beside seems so much more important that one you can stand behind. Isnt it funny how watching a tv show can set off little lightbulbs and make us realize something about ourselves in such a profound way?

  5. I also tend to go for those guys that don’t have it all together, because I want to help them. I see the potential they have to be a great man and a great boyfriend and it makes me want to be the girl that saves the day and changes them, but it hasn’t worked like that for me either. As a result of that though I have recently found myself not wanting to meet the guys that do have it all together, because for some odd reason I automatically think it won’t work. I guess maybe in some way I have conditioned myself to think I’m not worthy. You’re right though now that you’re aware of you’re issue you should start acting on it, and apparently it seems I have to start as well… cheers to new fresh beginnings!

  6. See…and all I learned was that the square root of four isn’t rainbows.

  7. GREAT post, my best friend is exactly like this. Her last boyfriend was an ex-crystal meth addict, an alcoholic, pot-smoker and occasional cocaine-user. She kept TRYING to make things better for them and “save” him. In the end, she was $10,000 in debt and heart broken.

    I think as woman we naturally want to “nurture/help/save” the men in our life and it’s hard to break out of that completely. You might always want to “help” a guy but your right, if he’s all of the above things, you won’t have to “save” him.

  8. I loved that quote last night on Glee – it’s pretty much how most of my relationships have gone. It’s one thing to realize it, but the acting on it is much harder. Maybe next week’s Glee will have some insight 🙂

  9. My dad is a recovering alcoholic and I’ve gone through the same pattern in my life. Always wanting to fix them, rescue them, etc. I even dated a guy who was in recovery, and even though his recovery was going well, he was still totally f**ked up when it came to relationships. I totally get it. But you’re aware of it, and that’s important because you can learn from it and you know what you really want and need. You’ll get there, I promise!

  10. i used to try and save guys too, then i realized they’ll be saved if they want to and we can’t really fix them unless they want the help.

  11. “And all of this happens within an hour of meeting the guy.”

    It happens so quickly for me too. It’s all SO MUCH SO SOON at the beginning, and it’s all beautiful and spiraling upward, until it’s not. Until it’s spiraling out of control and it’s a little too much, a little too soon. And then you can’t backtrack. Ugh. Love is hard.

  12. I kind of have the opposite problem, but it pretty much has the same effect. I look for people who are perfect and if they’re not then I project that onto them anyway just to disappoint myself later. It’s ridiculous, and I keep thinking I should be smarter than this by now.

  13. This must have been such a good moment! I think it’s really hard when you have a “fixer” or “helper” mindset, I’m like that too, and my high school boyfriend was a big time alcoholic. It never occurred to me directly that I was trying to help him change but I always felt like I could and should help him.

    It’s hard because what we all really need in our relationships and friendships is just someone to rise to the occasion!

    Mister is extremely caring, very focused on being an active participant in our relationship and on putting my needs before his. I’m the same way, and when you get into that situation you can finally feel the rewards of your helping mentality instead of feeling drained.

    The main way that I’ve tried to head myself off in this regard is just being very careful who I let into my life- for friends, guys, even family. I have a hard time holding back, but by stepping up my screening process I still have a lot left over for me & I can focus on investing in the people who I know have my back. Good luck!!

  14. It’s great to figure this kind of stuff out. It’s so important to be aware of. Glad you had a revelation!

  15. I think it’s so awesome that you’ve had this revelation. I had a similar revelation before I met Ted. Being able to look at relationships in a whole new light really opened me up to being able to find a truly healthy relationship. Thinking good thoughts for you!

  16. I’m glad you posted about this because I had a similar reaction to that line. All the guys I’ve liked don’t like me back and that just reinforces why I feel like I can’t be loved. It’s a vicious cycle I need to quit.

  17. I was honestly hesitant to read this post – the title made me think it was going to be about a television show bringing joy to your day. 🙂

    After reading it (never judge a book by it’s cover!) it was easy to see parts of a younger me reflected. I always dated “projects” – as my mother called them.

    Fix them, fix me. Fix us, fix the world.

    Just never seemed to work out that way. 🙂 When I decided I was DONE with the fixer-upper crowd, that’s when I found D. He’s the love of my life.. and the difference is night and day.

    I hope you find your fully-desirable guy before your next fixer-upper guy!

  18. Let me just tell you to try to get past finding guys who need “fixing” or help…take it from someone who married one…you can’t fix ANYONE…it’s up to them and if they don’t want to, well, you’re screwed. Move on to one who doesn’t need fixing.

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