Ask the therapist: Why do I always date people with major problems?

In the “Consulting Therapist” series, I will answer all your questions about mental health and psychology. Whether you are struggling with mental health, coping with anxiety about life situations, or just looking for insights from a therapist, a question. Please pay attention to my answer to your question every Friday Healthy Mind Communication.

Our readers ask

Every man I date has major problems, such as they spend more money than they earn, or they have drug abuse problems. I tried to repair their lives, but in the end it was me who got hurt. What’s wrong with me?

-Megan, 29 years old

Amy’s answer

You may see the potential of people. You naturally want to help them do their best. However, you cannot repair people who do not want to change their lives. It is important to understand why you are attracted to certain people and how to change your behavior so as not to continue to be hurt.

Why we are attracted to certain people

You are attracted to people with problems for a reason. Your relationship with your parents may be the first place to look for clues.

Maybe you have a mother dating a man in need of repair. By observing her, you understand that love means solving problems for people.

Or maybe your father is a good person who is battling serious problems. Now you are dating men who remind you of your father.

It is also possible that “fixing people” will greatly distract you from your life. The more you focus on helping others solve problems, the less time you spend solving your own problems.

Take a moment to think about possible reasons for dating someone you think needs help. Whether it is healing old injuries or avoiding current problems, a better understanding of your behavior will help you move forward.

If you cannot solve it by yourself, consult a therapist. Talking to someone may help you clear your mind.

Don’t fall in love with someone’s potential

People who have serious problems and don’t want to solve will not be your good partners. You become more like a parent, he must encourage them and help them find their own way, rather than an equal partner.

Of course, you may see the best in your date. If it wasn’t for the problems they encountered, you might know that they have a lot of potential.

However, you cannot fall in love with a person’s potential. They may not have any desire to create the changes you want them to make-you know that these changes will make their lives better. Therefore, you may fall in love with someone they will never actually be.

Work for myself

Have you never been in love? It is important to set aside some time to focus on yourself. During this time, set goals, develop hobbies, and spend time with friends and family.

When you are in a relationship, working hard for yourself will help you become a better partner. This is the key to developing healthier relationships in the future.

Focus on being your best self, and you will reduce your responsibility for making others the best self.

Watch out for red flags

Everyone encounters problems in life. There is nothing wrong with dating someone dedicated to self-improvement.

But when you meet a helpless person, don’t do their job for them. If you intervene and do what they can do for themselves, then you are not actually helping someone.

Doing what they can do for people is facilitating, not helping. Remind yourself that when you worked harder than them to solve their problems, you didn’t help them.

Commit to helping only those who are willing to help themselves. If you start dating someone and you really want to fix them, consider this as a sign that neither of you are ready to establish a relationship.