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Do you prefer a partner you can "save"?

(83 Posts)
Anonanonon Fri 22-Jan-21 00:01:31

A bit controversial, I guess, however its something I wanted to ask after something a colleague said. Basically, she admitted a big part of what attracted her to her new(ish) partner is the fact he professed to admiring her intelligence (she has a Masters degree, he left school at 16) and the fact she felt she could "really make a difference to his life" (he was unemployed and living with his ex on a council estate when she met him). Her previous relationship, which she finished to see this new guy, was actually pretty egalitarian - she has nothing but praise for her ex and it struck me how that's often seen as the ideal on these Boards. Yet, it wasn't what she wanted. Her new guy doesn't really contribute as much as her ex and is much more the traditional male "emotionally reticent" type (e.g. sulks when he gets upset rather than communicates) but this really doesn't seem to bother her (though I guess, with her ex providing a lot of child care, she doesn't need as much help)!

Then there's another friend, who seems to always date guys where there's some kind of "mothering" involved. The first had serious phobias, the second was a student 15 years her junior and the last was significantly on the ASD spectrum.

I'm not judging their choices - I know love is blind, etc - but it just struck me how these (and other) women seemed to actually prefer and seek out men that would be labelled "cocklodgers" or a "manchild" on these Boards. And, when I see all the complaints here about these types of men, how few decent men there are, how many posts to "LTB", etc I just find myself completely baffled as to why? Do some people just prefer to be the one playing a more parental role in a relationship? And is that necessarily wrong?

OP’s posts: |
Aquamarine1029 Fri 22-Jan-21 00:05:44

Some women choose a project over a real partner. It may not be wrong, but it is most always a complete waste of time. You can't fix people.

PickAChew Fri 22-Jan-21 00:07:20

She's being fucking naive, at best.

MissMarks Fri 22-Jan-21 00:09:09

Nope. It is very hard to fix broken people and why you would want to do it in your personal life is beyond me.

WitchWife Fri 22-Jan-21 00:10:36

I think I’ve subconsciously picked partners in the past who I felt I could offer something to - maybe a low self esteem thing? Them liking me made sense if I had other things on my side like more education or decent social life etc. Still nothing like what your friend is doing and I think she’s nuts.

TedMullins Fri 22-Jan-21 00:10:57

I’ve always been instinctively attracted to people with emotional trauma, but that’s because I’ve got a personality disorder, not because I want a ‘project’. I realise how unhealthy this is and it’s something I’m working to undo. I think people project their own traumas onto other people perhaps, and use the notion of ‘saving’ them to distract from their issues and get validation. But it doesn’t sound like that’s quite what’s happening with your friend, maybe she just enjoys feeling superior?

Bailegangaire Fri 22-Jan-21 00:12:49

No, I’m happy to buy fixer-upper houses, but I expect partners to be functional, solvent, emotionally-literate adults.

Anonanonon Fri 22-Jan-21 00:15:38

@WitchWife that's a really interesting insight - it makes a lot of sense. And thanks everyone else for your responses too. A lot of food for thought.

OP’s posts: |
katy1213 Fri 22-Jan-21 00:26:18

Oh, god, no. Not in a million years. If they're not solvent, educated, mentally stable, functioning adults with their own homes - they needn't apply here.
Drugs/prisonrecords/unemployment/chips on shoulder/neediness - sorry chaps, but I'm not the big-hearted type!
Not much good at DIY projects either - but at least a fixer-upper house can be sold on for a profit!

katy1213 Fri 22-Jan-21 00:31:22

Is it a power thing, do you think? If you pick an inferior specimen, you're assured of keeping the upper hand in that relationship?

AquaTorfana Fri 22-Jan-21 00:34:37

Sounds more like a project than an equal partner. My husband is my equal in most ways, although superior in some ways and I superior to him in others. We match because we compliment each other and there isn't some massive perceived disparity or the mentality of 'fixing' each other.

BaggoMcoys Fri 22-Jan-21 00:40:32

I guess it's not wrong but it sounds kind of patronising or something... I suppose it depends how much of a thought through and calculated move it is to date people who need "rescuing", or whether the person is unaware that their preferences seem to swing that way.

I've had way too much drama in my life to want a project as a boyfriend. I want someone who I respect and love and trust, and who respects, loves and trusts me in return. I think those are the main qualities I'm after, along with sexual compatibility. I don't mind so much about academic status or job, as long as the person is decent and intelligent enough for me to hold a decent conversation with - and they don't need a degree and a top flying job for that. I wouldn't class a "cocklodger" as a person who is treating me with respect, however if I were in the position of falling for a man who earned less than me, I'd be fine with it. As long as he wasn't lazy and didn't have a problem with it himself. I've known some men who can be very funny about women earning more than them - again I'd not class that as being respectful.

Wanderlusto Fri 22-Jan-21 00:44:55

Sounds like something a narcissist would say (first friend) I'd give her a wide berth.

Mintjulia Fri 22-Jan-21 00:46:49

God, No. I'd like an equal. A functioning thinking, human being who can feed himself, provide for himself and doesn't expect me to organise his social life.
He doesn't need to be a world class chef or a captain of industry, I don't need a meal ticket. Just someone normal who can have a laugh and not think porn is real life.

goldielockdown2 Fri 22-Jan-21 01:00:04

People who try to fix people need fixing. Issues on both sides should be addressed- but not together.

Faith50 Fri 22-Jan-21 01:06:35

I was a bit of a rescuer in some past relationships. I had low self esteem and liked to feel needed. I did not have the confidence to seek men who were highly academic or high earners. I do recall resenting the men once I realised I would forever be taking the lead in the relationship. It always ended soon after.

Pipandmum Fri 22-Jan-21 01:14:00

Ugh no. Nothing would turn me off more.

Stationfork Fri 22-Jan-21 01:15:52

Yes I do this. I'm doing some work on myself currently to unpick why and understand it.

I had an incredibly neglectful upbringing followed by an abusive first marriage and had dc with him.
I choose partners with mental health issues or addiction issues, usually.

Look up codependency OP, quite insightful.

mistletoeandsigh Fri 22-Jan-21 01:17:55

No, I'm attracted to people who is competent, intelligent, proactive. I struggled with an ex who was very kind but needed a lot more support than I was used to giving a partner.

mistletoeandsigh Fri 22-Jan-21 01:18:09

*who are

Wheresmykimchi Fri 22-Jan-21 01:25:38

Not in those circumstances, but I definitely have a history of emotionally troubled men who I can "fix".

DeeCeeCherry Fri 22-Jan-21 01:33:53

Do you prefer a partner you can "save"?

Not at all. I find it unattractive in all aspects. Never been a Rescuer.

Gemma2019 Fri 22-Jan-21 02:21:15

It's the Karpman drama triangle - she likes to be the rescuer to have a project and avoid confronting her own issues and problems. Trying to fix someone else makes her feel better about herself.

I do tend to be a people pleaser myself and give too much to people but never in relationships. Nothing would turn me off more than a weak man.

Wheresmykimchi Fri 22-Jan-21 02:21:41

What's that triangle people talk about? I've seen it before. Rescuer, victim....?

Palavah Fri 22-Jan-21 02:49:32

The first friend's comment sounds weird.

The second friend's behaviour sounds predatory/abusive.

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