How To Stop Seeing Men as Projects

Deep down inside, he has so many great qualities-sensitive, intelligent, kind-and once he works through a few issues, he'll be able to let those qualities shine.  You are the perfect candidate to help him bring those qualities out because you see him for who he really is.  Sound familiar?  Uh-oh.  Here are a few tips on how to stop seeing men as projects.

  1. A boyfriend, not a rescue mission.  Remember that you are looking for a boyfriend; you are not on a rescue mission.  Here are a few characteristics that a boyfriend needs to have:
    • Consideration
    • Sensitivity
    • Loyalty
    • Maturity
    • Strength
    • Honesty
    • Appreciation of you

    If he hasn't developed the ability to treat a woman well on his own, there is nothing that you can do to bring these qualities out in him.  It is not that he has not found the right woman yet; it is that he has not developed these qualities within himself.

  2. Magical thinking.  Much as you might want to believe that you can be the one to draw him out, help him move on, keep him faithful, or even, god forbid, get over his issues with his mother, if he were going to change in any of the ways you imagine, he would have done so on his own.  Seeing yourself as the one who can "save" him or help him to improve is magical thinking at its worst....his issues are his, after all, and need to be addressed from the inside out.  "But he's a diamond in the rough," you say?  Well, don't forget that diamonds are the hardest natural material known to man.
  3. What's in store for you if you date him anyway.  If you've had the opportunity to observe any of his previous relationships, then what happened with his last girlfriend will likely happen with you.  Did his girlfriend want to commit but he could not quite bring himself to?  Get used to the idea.  Did he end up describing her as "too needy?"  That will be how he sees you as well.  Have his girlfriends been the doormat and he the foot?  Prepare to unroll.  Observe how he treats others and then put yourself in the others' shoes.  No matter how special and unique you are-and yes, no doubt you are-he will treat you in the same manner that he treats others, because how we treat people is more a reflection of who we are than it is of the other party.
  4. No one wants to be "fixed."  Ever had a friend who tried to "improve" you?  Annoying, isn't it?  If you enter into a relationship with the intention of changing the other party, you are doomed from the start.  We are each the master of our own destiny, evolving at the rate that best suits us. 
  5. Why you choose to take these projects on.  Perhaps you have a soft spot for underdogs and like to advocate for those people in life who have gotten a bum rap.....may I suggest social work?  Sorry to break this to you, but if you have a history of dating men who are projects, then the real project is you.  Perhaps there are issues of your own that are easier to ignore when you are focused on the problems of your partner.  Or perhaps you are a giver who has not yet learned to receive.  (A relationship should at least be in the ballpark of 50-50.)  Maybe you grew up in a household where women were second tier.  No matter your issues, they are nothing to be ashamed of......just get into counseling already and get to work. 

You can't change anyone but yourself.  If you're really serious about ending your tendency to take on men who are projects, you'll probably need to take a break from dating for a while and start working on yourself......instead of your partner.


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