She Didn't Need To Be Saved. She Needed To Be Loved For Who She Was.

Photo: Dmitry Molchanov / Shutterstock
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Maybe years of us idolizing fairy tales and dreaming of some swarthy man stepping in to "sweep us off our feet" wasn't the best way to declare our expectations for a functioning relationship. We can't expect some magical person to come along and fix all our problems as if he doesn't also have problems and flaws of our own. 

Here's an example: One of the biggest complaints I've always heard about men is that "they just don't listen," when really, the disconnect often comes from a woman wanting to vent and her partner responding with solutions to the problem, which then get misinterpreted as "being dismissive."

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They aren't all negligent jerks, you guys they're fixers. Most of the time, they see we're hurting, they want it to stop, they want to give us tools they assume we don't have (again: "Damsel in Distress" conditioning), and they want to be the hero to our mini-stories.

This leads to a lot of "mansplaining" followed by confusion when we answer back with frustration at being talked down to. Thus, the played-out stereotypes of men and women being from different planets continue way past their expiration date.

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Inherently, the idea that women need to be "tamed," "fixed," or "saved" is pretty detrimental to not only our relationships but even how seriously we're being taken in the grand scheme of things. We are not some project that a bored man can try and fix so we can fit into some unattainable fantasy he has of women.

It's problematic when anyone looks at another human and believes "I can fix that!" because, as I've mentioned before, people are completely capable of saving themselves.

Attempting to run renovations on another person's life or mind never works out and is really creepy and controlling in effect. Everyone knows it really says more about how insecure you are if you're attempting to mold someone to your ideals.

I know this because I used to be one of those self-hating types who tried to change her partners because I believed they could be "better" than how they were acting. (Regardless if they could or couldn't, it was disgusting behavior on my part and only resulted in resentment from both sides.)

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Any woman can save herself if that's what she really wants, but the greatest gift her partner can give her is a hand to hold and encouraging words during her journey. She doesn't need anyone to set her goals or give her ultimatums and deadlines.

All she needs is what all of us need: someone who believes she's great before she believes it herself.

If you can't love a woman for the work-in-progress she will always be, then for everyone's sake, step aside and let someone through who is strong enough to.

Liz Pardue-Schultz is a writer whose work has appeared in Huffington Post, Time Magazine, XOJane, Ravishly, and ThoughtCatalog.