5 Tips To Stop Dating ‘Fixer-Upper’ Guys


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If you found your way to this article, it may be because you are the type of woman who constantly finds herself trying to “fix” a man, or entering into a relationship with someone who is not quite on your level of maturity or emotional stability. But that’s okay, because you’re going to change him and make him be better.



I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with women who have found themselves in a situation like this and have become increasingly frustrated that he is still facing the same struggles as months earlier when they first got together. This is probably because, well, you can’t change someone. You may be their reason to want to change, which is a beautiful thing, but they have to do it themselves.

So if you have found yourself in a pattern like this in the past and are unable to find a happy, healthy relationship because of it, how do you break the cycle?


Pay attention to his past.

How a man has lived his life up until the point he met you is a road taken that you cannot change. Similar to walking into the woods for 10 miles and expecting to be able to walk back out in 1 mile – it’s just not going to happen.

If he has a long history of short-lived negative relationships, perhaps a bad or nonexistent relationship with family (consistently revolving around him), or is always placing the blame on women for failed relationships, then I am sorry to say that by willingly dating a man like this you are simply putting yourself in the middle of his destructive path.

Like the person who steps off of the tracks in the movie at the last second when the train is coming, it’s time to get out of the way.

Stay away from what feels too comfortable to you.

Being comfortable with the person you’re with is, of course, of the utmost importance. But that also depends on what kind of comfort it is. If you are the type of woman who is drawn to these types of men, then familiarity is not necessarily a good thing. If he reminds you of an ex or brings back the same hopeful feelings of being able to help him that you recognize from your past, turn around and walk away.

You have got to be honest and ask yourself how these scenarios have turned out for you before. If you were successful in helping someone change and lived happily ever after with him, then you wouldn’t be back out in the world looking for another project.


You fall for who he “could be” if he would just try.

The right person for you will absolutely support and encourage you on your journey to become who you’d like to be, while still loving and accepting you as the way you are today. But seeing potential in a man who doesn’t see it in himself and is doing nothing about it, is asking for trouble.

If you are going to try to help him open his eyes to who he can be and what he can become, then you are basically attempting to paint on a blank canvas. This is much different than a man who has his path in life carved out and is following after his dreams and ambitions. If you feel that you need to be a mother figure to him and take care of him in order for him to get to where (you think) he should be, you are setting yourself up for disaster.

Understand that lack of a challenge is a good thing.

If you are a woman who falls into these patterns, you are probably drawn to the challenge of changing a man. If he would just listen to your guidance and be driven by your love, he would finally become who he should be, after all of these years…wouldn’t he?

If this is the case, you probably shy away from men who don’t challenge you in this way. You may even find them boring because they don’t “need” you. If you recognize this pattern in yourself, then you can begin to recognize that someone who doesn’t need you is a good thing and is probably exactly the type of man you should be dating instead. Because let’s face it, your current pattern has not brought you the happiness you expected it to.


Start listening to your intuition.

A woman’s intuition is a pretty amazing thing. Yet, so many choose to ignore it. There may be something that immediately draws you to a man in terms of his appearance, stature, personality, whatever it might be – but when you begin to know him on a deeper level you will find yourself having more thoughts than how well-tailored his suit is.

If you start finding yourself taking on more of a therapist role than you do as an equal in a relationship, it is a clear and immediate sign that you are choosing another ‘fixer-upper’ who will, in the end, more than likely frustrate you and leave you wanting. Again.


Many people struggle in life and need support sometimes – myself included. We are not perfectly evolved and we all have our flaws, but it is our responsibility as men and women to handle them ourselves and seek help in the right places, the best we can. As someone’s significant other, this is not your role. Your role is to love and support them as an equal, but not to fix them.

Once you realize this, you will find yourself being drawn to healthier, more emotionally stable people who are able to give you the love and support you need in return as well. Someone who has not yet fully formed themselves will never be able to be your teammate and true equal – and that is exactly what you need.

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  1. Andreichel on September 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Have you ever thought about writing about abusive women? It seems like the table always turn on men.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • James Michael Sama on September 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Andreichel, while this article isn’t about abuse or abusive men, I would have to educate myself further on the topic of abusive women before writing about it.

      But I will do some research and see what I can put together. Thanks for the suggestion!

      – JMS

  2. Courtney on September 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I found your blog after a friend told me about you.. I had just gotten out of a three year relationship where I wasted three years on a one sided relationship with my boyfriend. I wish I would have known about your blog or read most of these articles while I was in my last relationship, I think it may have helped me see the big picture that I never saw or wanted to see. Now, a month later I am stronger and much wiser already. Thank you for the inspiration, so many of your articles are perfect for me!

  3. Mary Brown on September 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Hello good afternoon,I agree with you.however one thing that’s concerns me if you are a good gentlemen and I’m a good woman why haven’t you ask me out? 🙂 just saying.I have heard all these beautiful sweet somethings but brother you are not showing me no action.I believe in action 🙂 you want me to take you as a serious candidate show me something don’t tell me please thanks.always great good words of wisdom show me you mean what u r saying.

  4. rickyzg on September 12, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    Hey James I see you got some fanatic upstairs. Good article, and sometimes fixer must be fixed.

  5. rlcarterrn on September 12, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    So, so true! I’ve watched so many friends try to fix men, only to realize they couldn’t. It never ends well. I wish everyone would follow this advice.

  6. bryanelewis18 on September 13, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Mr Sama,
    I am normally in line with your thinking and believe you are doing wonderful work. I felt compelled to express my concern involving your first point. First you are absolutely correct that there is no room for a person in your life that does not take responsibility for their own mistakes. Poor choices lead them to poor relationships so if they are blaming the women from their past then they have not learned the lesson. I am myself a repeated dater of your described “fixer upper” woman, or maybe woman that just weren’t compatible with my beliefs. I self prescribed to the insanity of attempting to “fix”, I was going to be the one that could cure their depression, help them change their abusive behaviors etc….. I believe that your past teaches you, but does not necessarily dictate your future. If I had been judged on my past I would certainly not have the honor to be with the woman I am with now, nor if I had judged her on her previous dating experience would I have dated her. The test is how they are treating you know, and how they continue to treat you. Old sayings ringing true: “Experience is for those unwilling to sit at the feet of a mentor” and “Life will continue to teach you those lessons you fail to learn”.
    Important you make a distinction between those making excuses and those who life has repeatedly attempted to teach a lesson, (Ladies, they might have learned the lesson, that’s why they are now with you the stable compatible friend, partner, lover, mate, confidant). The only way to tell that a person is going to treat you right is they treat you right and keep doing it, PERIOD.
    Thank you James for the effort you put forth. The world is a better place with you in it.

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