I used to be a fixer. I stayed in bad relationships, attracting the same type of men—men who needed to be fixed.

I know so many women in the same position. We attract cheating men, commitment-phobic men, emotionally unavailable men, emotionally damaged men, alcoholics, drug abusers, narcissists and sociopaths.

It’s like we are a magnet for men whose pieces are shattered all over the place. And for some reason, we feel compelled to put these pieces back together.

But I must admit, I have failed every single time.

I never gave myself a chance to sit back and question my motives. Instead of asking why I constantly felt obligated to pick up someone else’s broken pieces, I ran to pick them up without a second thought. Being selfless made me think that coming second didn’t matter because I was putting someone else’s worthiness first. And in the end, rank doesn’t matter, right?

I realized that the reason I was attracting these types of men was because I believed I could save them.

As selfless, thoughtful, giving women, we think we will be “that woman”—the one who will change them. We think we can turn a cheater into a loyal boyfriend. We think we can help him walk away from the drugs and alcohol. We believe we can help him get over his commitment issues and aim for a stable future with us. We trust that we can get rid of the emotional baggage that he has been carrying for years.

We attract these men because we believe they need us. And to leave them would be selfish, insensitive and ruthless.

The sad news is, we constantly blame ourselves when they don’t change. Every time they fail us, we think it’s because we failed them. Their hold on us becomes stronger; they keep us around knowing they have nothing to offer us.

We look at our own flaws and try to figure out what went wrong. It’s like we are paddling a boat that is stuck on a rock—the boat isn’t going anywhere and all we are is tired. But, I ask you as I have asked myself: why do we feel the need to help someone else get their boat back in the water?

I think the reason is that there’s a truth we must acknowledge, a pivotal reality we must see. We are attracting men who need to be fixed because it is only through these men that we can unravel this reality.

These men are here to teach us that it’s okay to be selfish.

These men are highlighting the work that needs to be done within ourselves. There is an urgent need for us to start looking after and loving ourselves. We need to stop wanting to pick up other people’s broken pieces.

It’s time for us to realize that a man’s happiness isn’t our responsibility. We deserve men who don’t need fixing, who are complete. The moment we realize we are not responsible for a man’s issues, we will keep walking past his shattered pieces.

Because a man who is worth loving won’t accept you leaning in to pick up his pieces. He knows that if you do, you’ll only hurt yourself.

I tell you, as I have told myself, to stop worrying about other people’s misery. Bring the focus back to you and attract the man you deserve.

I know it’s a tough job to break our habits, but breaking this particular pattern will save us a lot of heartache in the future. Instead of saving men, we’ll be saving ourselves.

So how do we save ourselves from men who need fixing?

  1. Acknowledge these types of men. The signs, traits and behaviors are all there, we know them by heart. Once we sense a bad vibe, we must run. And no, not run to pick up the pieces—run away.
  2. Ask the right question. Before asking “How can I save him?” ask, “How can I save myself?” Being selfless is a wonderful trait, however there is a thin line between selfless and settling. Realize that rank does matter and we should always come first.
  3. Follow your gut. Your gut is your best friend; it tells you when something is off, so don’t stay, determined to fix things. Nothing will ever be fixed with the wrong man, not by you or any other woman.
  4. Remember who you are. We know what we deserve. Learn to love and need yourself again. When we do, we won’t accept fixing anyone because we already know we are the ones who will be destroyed in the process.

And never hate the wrong man. Thank him, because if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t have realized it was time for a change. He highlighted what we needed to fix inside ourselves. Because of him, we realized that we are only responsible for our own issues and happiness. Through him, we learned that it’s okay to be a little selfish.

We must thank the wrong man, because thanks to him we will be ready to meet the right one.

Written by Elyane Youssef

This article has been republished from Elephant Journal, click here to view the original copy.