How to Stop Being a Rescuer of “Needy’ Men
“Shanece” and “Alphonso” met at the hospital where they were both employed. Alphonso was deeply scarred by his troubled childhood and was emotionally unstable. Shanece had always been drawn to down-and-out guys. She figured if she could rescue him, he’d adore her forever. So Shanece became Alphonso’s girlfriend/therapist/caretaker/mother. Just like previous boyfriends, Alphonoso ended up ditching Shanece because all patients leave their caretakers when they start to feel better.
WHAT WENT WRONG:
Romantic relationships require that the partners be peers. If one plays the role of “caretaker/parent,” it’ll make enough emotional distance between the two of you for real intimacy to be impossible. Caretaker types are often unaware of the reason for their co-dependency: they don’t believe they possess much that can attract and sustain a man’s romantic attention. So they offer their services instead of themselves. The arrangement is lopsided in another way too: It means 90 percent of the relationship centers on the broken person’s needs and feelings. But once a hurting man has been helped back to strength, chances are he’ll start looking for a mate who matches his new and improved status. He figures, “I deserve an even better woman now, because look how much better I’m doing.”
If you have a history of dating wounded men, there is help. Look to a good therapist or a minister, and your closest friends to help you understand the roots of your rescuing behavior and how to break the habit. When next you’re dating someone new, ask yourself honestly, How much is this guy, like the last guy? And always get candid feedback from some men in your life who are themselves in healthy relationships. They can tell you how you may come across, which helps far more than merely trusting your own assumptions.