You’re Looking For A Partner, Not A Project

I give a lot of unsolicited advice. It’s one of my many demented ways of showing love and support and, to be quite honest, the framework for most of my writing.

I’ve pretty much always been this way. I share my thoughts no one asked for on various life dilemmas hoping something I say might stick, saving another from the rubble of whatever self-inflicted or general “shit happens” chaos happening in their life.

Until recently, I figured this was just an annoying personality quirk I’d grow out of, much to the relief of my friends, my mother, strangers on the Internet, and admittedly my therapist. This has not been the case, however.

My endless quest to prove my worth has transferred to my romantic life as well. In college and the years that followed, I would seek out dudes who had blinding red flags and decided these made them all the more endearing. Because I could *~fix him~* if he’d let me!

It never worked out, and now the only broken pieces I have to repair are my own.

In short, I’d fall for projects. Maybe at one point or another, you have as well.

A project is the beautiful albeit emotionally unavailable guy you think you can love into loving you back.

(He doesn’t.)

A lovesick gal who would do anything for you but nothing for herself, no matter how much you beg her to try.

(She won’t.)

The person who has so much potential, but no means to actualize it.

(They never do, at least not with you.)

Here’s the thing: You’re looking for a partner, not a project. You’re not there to fix them. You’re not meant to save them. You can only love them. Be there. Care deeply. Show up consistently. Hold space. That is your role. Nothing more, nothing less. Otherwise, you’re flirting with enmeshment and falling into codependency which helps absolutely no one.

Healthy love is meeting people where they’re at. It’s seeing someone as they actually are, not as who you wish they would be. It’s falling for a person, not a portrait. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to be who you need them to be. Either they are or they aren’t. You need to take them as they are or let them go.

Healthy love is also making room for someone to save themselves, and understanding they’re more than capable of doing so. You’re the support system, not the savior. You’re not the artist, you’re the admirer.

Life is, and always will be, difficult. Your partner shouldn’t be one of the things that make this true. After all, love is not a rescue mission. It is a homecoming.