It occurs to me that most people are a work in progress, but when it comes to relationships, finding a ‘turn-key’ man (one who is move-in ready) can be near impossible. So the question arose among my panel of wonderful women here in San Antonio as to whether or not they would date a “fixer-upper”; a man who has potential but may need a little work?
I know, it sounds like buying real estate instead of starting a romance, but much like choosing the right home, picking the right man involves checking off some of the same items on a property check list.
Starting with the foundation, you have to check and see if it’s cracked. In people, that might mean some emotional damage caused by a previous relationship or family issues. Depending on the depth of that crack (or severity of the emotional damage), a woman has to decide if she has what it takes to invest in filling in that crack and bringing about some stability. Many people would say you shouldn’t try and fix/change someone, but let’s face facts; some folks have issues that can sink a relationship before it even gets started. The problem with not facing up to those issues, heeding the warning signs, is that those personal problems can blindside a new love and then the damage spreads.
So you’ve inspected it and the foundation is solid. What about the plumbing? Yea, we’re talking about sex here. Are the pipes rusty or can he still supply the water pressure? Only one way to find out, sister! Jump in.
How’s the roof? In this case, the roof can be likened to his job security. Yes, that’s important to women, as it should also be important to men in this world of double-income families. Make sure there are no leaks, no wasteful spending or large accrued debts. Such can be indicative of financial fights between partners down the road. The roof can also be compared to what kind of head he has on shoulders. Is he intelligent? Does he possess common sense? Or is he flighty, self-centered, and selfish? Always pay attention to how a man treats his friends, family, and even strangers in daily interactions to gauge his character. If he’s rude, dismissive, or patronizing, even cruel to animals and children, walk away!
You can imagine that not only did the ladies have some input on whether or not to date fixer-uppers, but the men had something to say as well.
Maria shares “Absolutely not! I’ve married and divorced a couple. My husband now is so NOT a fixer-upper; a total gem from the word “go”. My advice is make sure however you find ’em is how you can live with ’em.” while Bev says “Depends on how much ‘fixing’ he needs!”
Richard, an older gentleman, offers “don’t mean to horn in if this is a ladies only thing, but my $.02 is if you like him, and you don’t feel the need to try and change him, go for it. (’cause you know he won’t change).”
Kim lends the wise married woman’s wisdom “It took a while but I got Dave out of tighty whities and the deck shoes he wore into the water to go boating and again out later to go out with me. He still likes his jeans and golf shirts/t-shirts and interchanges only about 7 shirts, but presents himself well. He just doesn’t care about fashion. Don’t go looking to change a man. Accept him as is, and maybe tweak a little, but anything more and you’ll be disappointed.”
Kim does offer one disclaimer; that if a man has bad teeth, either get them fixed or expect a woman to ‘tweak’ him into getting them fixed. “A good smile is the first thing I notice” she says. And let’s face it; no one wants to kiss a mouth with bad teeth. Whitening Strips and regular cleanings, fellas. Just sayin’!
Dru, who has been married and divorced added “I thought they all were (fixer-uppers)!”
The truth is much like Kim pointed out. Small tweaks, aesthetic fixes, are expected, like fashion choices and maybe a few health-related issues that he needs to be talked into dealing with. Major changes such as how a man behaves, what he enjoys doing, and what he believes are areas that just can’t be changed by another. Those changes must come from within, if at all.
So in the world of dating a fixer-upper, make sure the man you choose already embodies the attributes you seek. Remember, you could be considered a ‘fixer-upper’, too!
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In addition to this local column, and her work as a Freelance Journalist in San Antonio, Michele Gwynn is also the National Animal Rights Examiner. Her love of pets began at an early age with a stray cat named Harvey, and a dying field mouse named Tucker. She is a pet parent to four cats, and an animal rights champion to all critters, large and small. Visit her animal rights column here.
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