One of the guys I used to date was named Alex. Alex seemed like a dream come true to a girl like me at first glance. He was nurturing, and sweet, and would always come to my rescue whenever I needed help.
At the time, I was not in my best situation. I was struggling with loneliness in college, a serious substance problem, and other issues, too.
Alex was always there for me. He was my hero… until I got better. When I got better as a person, the relationship quickly turned abusive. Finally, when he broke up, he dropped the bomb on me. He told me “I don’t think I ever really liked you. I liked fixing you. I’m sorry.”
And it all made sense. He liked to see me broken because I made him feel important.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few guys out there who are just like Alex. I call them “Fixers,” because they literally are just looking for women who can be “fix up projects” like cars. Unfortunately, women are not cars, and men who do this tend to do so out of a need to control, get validation, and feel like a hero.
Here are 12 signs he doesn’t love you, he just loves fixing you:
1. When you two first met, he was really interested in your personal issues.
You should always be worried when guys seem to be overly interested in things like your drug habit, your self-injury habit, or your eating disorder. Most of the time, guys who do this are looking for someone they deem vulnerable, controllable or a “fixer-upper” they can save.
2. You get the feeling he has low self-esteem.
Most fixers are fixers because they feel that the only value they add is by saving others. By continuously keeping you and being your lifeline, they think that will make you stay with them. And if you always need saving, you’re also controllable, and that’s something that guys with low self-esteem want in a girl because it makes them feel strong.
3. He seems fixated on “saving you” or defending you.
This is also called “White Knighting” online. He may talk about how he will whisk you away, give you a better life, and also help you overcome all your problems. A good indicator that he’s trying to “save you” is telling you how he’ll “help you get better” or “make you into an honest woman.”
4. He nags you to do healthy things.
Does he regularly tell you to hit the gym, eat less, or quit drinking after a single glass of wine? This is one of the most common signs that a guy is trying to “fix you” and it’s also a subtle sign of abuse. You don’t want a guy who has to nag you like this. If he’s dating you, he should be happy with what he’s got.
5. You’ve gotten into arguments with him about what you want in life.
If he’s telling you what you’re supposed to want in life or steamrolling you when you say you’re OK, he’s a fixer. Moreover, this is also a major sign that he’s abusing you via gaslighting. Should this happen, you need to leave him immediately. There’s no way to save a relationship in which your voice isn’t heard.
6. He’s sabotaged your attempts at actually getting better when things were getting promising.
When a fixer is actually successful in helping someone overcome things, they tend to panic. In order to keep you from getting better completely, they may end up doing something to set you back. For example, a fixer who actually helped a girl get off drugs may offer her drugs just to keep her as his “project.”
7. You often think he acts like a self-appointed life coach and personal trainer.
This is really controlling and shows that he’s more interested in fixing you. You can’t be in a partnership if one guy clearly thinks he knows what’s better for you than you do. In a healthy partnership, one partner doesn’t see the other as a project or a broken appliance. Why would you settle for that with him?
8. When your life does improve, his interest in you wanes.
Does he seem blue when you’re happy and finally making a success of yourself? This is a major danger sign that he doesn’t actually want to see you happy. Most fixers don’t want happy girlfriends, even though they claim they do. After all, if their project is complete, there’s nothing left for them to fix — in their minds, that leaves them as unnecessary to you.
9. He regularly offers unsolicited advice on what you should do.
To be honest, this is a major pet peeve of mine and it’s one that I honestly think says volumes about the people who do it. You don’t need improvement advice unless YOU want to improve. If you’re happy being you, who’s to judge? No one who can’t accept you as is shouldn’t be around you. This includes guys who do this.
10. He’s claimed that doctors were wrong to diagnose you as something, or that he can do better than what doctors did.
This is a very, very dangerous sign that means you need to bail immediately. This suggests that this particular fixer is way more dangerous because he also has grandiose delusions that he’s more well-equipped to heal people than doctors with decades of medical training. He will not listen to any proof to the contrary, and he may even get dangerous if you try to contradict him.
Related Stories From YourTango:
11. He makes a habit of talking about your “issues.”
This is often done out of “faux concern” and maybe his way of getting into your head and playing “psychotherapist.” Unfortunately, he’s not a psychotherapist. He’s just a psycho you should dump.
12. He says he’ll fix you.
Does it get any more obvious than this? He’s not Bob the Builder and you’re not a house. Tell him that you’re not broken and walk away.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.