Recently, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who have tried to "fix" or change a partner how it went and what they learned. Here are some of their replies.
1."For all I 'fixed,' he broke in me."
"I got him to speak with and mend relationships with his family; he tried to tear me away from mine. I was his longest relationship because I refused to give up; in return he cheated and lied and broke my trust and my heart. ... Lesson: Don't try to fix people...people aren't projects. Either accept them for who they are or find someone new."
2."He was in a low place, and I took on the therapist/'motherly' role for him. We both grew up in toxic households, so with me being younger and him not knowing what to look for in love, it started a very toxic cycle."
"By the end, I was in as bad of a mental state as he was when we met. We cared about each other the most but were probably the worst part of each other's lives. We did decide to cut off contact, so I hope he's doing well."
3."After almost 18 years together, 15 of those married, two kids, a million jobs and housing situations, I’m finally starting to get to a point of knowing that I will never fix my partner."
"Drinking has always taken priority in their life and the denial and problems have increased over the years. ... I’ve felt that if only I say the right thing or find the right therapist or doctor...it’ll get better. But they won’t change if they don’t want to. ... I really wish I hadn’t naively convinced myself in those early years that if I was good enough it would make everything OK. I was convinced when we got pregnant that their willingness to settle down and get married and start a life and family together meant they’d permanently change. ... It doesn’t work that way!"
4."My ex tried to 'fix me' because he found my anxiety and depression 'really hard to deal with.'"
"He couldn't be the support I needed, and after nine years he broke up with me. Interestingly, I haven't needed therapy since, so I think it was actually a case of both of us needing to accept we weren't the right people for each other anymore. ... I think this narrative of 'fixing' others is incredibly toxic. We're humans, not robots."
5."I'm the one that needed to be 'fixed.'"
"I had issues from my childhood. Well, my ex thought...loving me and inviting me to hang out with his friends and family would fix me and let me be unguarded. ... After four years of this, we broke up. I just grew tired of watching him put himself in pain to know me. ... Not everyone wants to be fixed."
6."[I] had a two-plus-year relationship with a guy. At first I thought he was just some party guy; then, as time went on, I realized he was struggling with alcoholism and he was abusive to me."
"I thought I could get him help via a therapist or doctor, and despite all the threats to harm himself if I left, he never wanted to see anyone to help himself. ... It’s OK to be with someone who needs you to help them work through their struggles. But you are NOT their punching bag, you are NOT their therapist, and you prioritize YOURSELF."
7."The father of my oldest children. I went [in] knowing he had bipolar disorder; I was willing to do my best to deal with that. However, what I didn't know was that he had an opioid addiction."
"I thought he'd eventually get better, if not for me then for the kid we shared. It took a lot...to realize he'd never be able to stay clean for us. ... I truly gave it everything I had, and from the bottom of my heart wanted to fix him, but I lost myself in the process. I barely recognized myself by the end. ... Several months after leaving, I found my forever."
8."I dated someone who was perfect in every way...until alcohol or coke entered their system."
"We had the most beautiful moments together, and then they would disappear, no show, or cancel with bullshit excuses. ... I thought love would change the person, but at the end of the day, addicts are incapable of loving someone more than their drug of choice."
9."It didn't start with me trying to fix him, but I still ended up trying."
"He didn't know how to cook [or] grocery shop like a responsible adult. ... [He was] horrible with money; he was angry and prone to rage and outbursts. ... [He was] super lazy. ... In the nine months we were together, I tried to help him. ... I suggested therapy...support groups, self-help podcasts, and books. ... When I asked what he wanted to do, he said nothing, so I left. ... I gave him a lot a grace [and] was very understanding of his traumas, but lines have to be drawn."
10."I convinced myself I could fix my ex-boyfriend. He had been in some pretty bad relationships prior, has two kids and some major commitment issues, but I thought I could make it work."
"I got him and his kids gifts, lent him money when he couldn’t afford rent because he spent the money on weed, spent so many nights comforting him while he cried. ... A few months ago, he said he hated his job, so I offered to get him a job where I work. All he had to do was call and set up and interview. ... And he never did it. He was too busy getting high every day. ... I wasted two and a half years, and I promised never to try and fix anyone again."
11."[I] dated a guy when we were 18; he dropped out of high school at 16. [He] lived with his dad. [He] did and sold drugs."
"But he was so loving, and kind, and he supported me in finishing school and going to college. And I helped him study for his GED to get into trade school and get a job. I was ready to marry this guy. Then he cheated on me and was late to a date because he was hooking up with his neighbor."
12."One guy I dated in college definitely had an alcohol problem. He would go out every day of the week and black out, and it just wasn't healthy."
"I would bring up that he went out a lot and spent a lot of money. He had a lot of personal issues to deal with, and we stopped seeing each other after a few months. He had a bad habit of pushing people away who tried to help him."
13."[I] met my now ex-husband on Craigslist. ... He ended up being obsessed with threesomes [and] tried for years to push me into them."
"I figured...maybe if we get married, he will grow up. Nope."
And finally, two positive stories that prove partners CAN change, but only if the relationship is not abusive, and the person is willing to truly work on themselves:
14."I didn't go into the relationship trying to fix my partner, but I realized he wasn't given the skills that his parents should have given him."
"I taught him how to budget [and] helped him get out from under his parents (who were holding him and his brothers practically financially hostage). We've been together for four years, and he's enrolled back into college with a stable job."
15."I knew this guy once back in school who was a few years older than me, and we took a liking to each other. But looking back, I realized he was really manipulative."
"I ended up dropping out and changing schools. ... But then we met coincidentally at a wedding a few years later. ... The guy actually turned out to have a lot of trauma...and that was why he had acted out the way he did, which I came to understand since I had realized so much about MYSELF since we had last seen each other. We actually ended up dating again, and even though it was a ROUGH path and not without its troubles, he was willing to change, I had changed, and we found our healthiest selves together. ... We’re still dating today."
To read people's full responses, check out the comments here.
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.