I've never been one to thoroughly examine my romantic love life. It takes years for me to look back on past relationships and think, "Was that really the greatest fit for me? For them?"
I'm uncomfortable discussing the aspects of my romantic life with other people, regardless of how close I may be with them. Introspection unnerves me, nearly as much as the analysis family and friends offer me about my personal relationships does. I don't want to be "that girl" who can't focus on anything other than romance, thus combating it by giving 0% of my attention and effort to that cause.
And then, about a year ago, it hit me. I don't want to examine my choices in romantic partners because I know my process is faulty. I fall for "bad boys" because I want to change them. I fall for "bad boys" because I want to be the one to fix them.
You see, I've struggled with codependency issues for as long as I can recall. Alcoholism runs pretty rampantly in my family, so from a young age, I've been conditioned to love those who are struggling. While I am proud of this, as I believe it makes me a compassionate and understanding person, codependency has found its way into my adult relationships, and not always for the better.
Because of this, I often fall for people who are struggling with addictions, or mental health dilemmas or are otherwise working on themselves. I want to be the person they turn to at 3 a.m. when they feel like relapsing. I want to be their verbal punching bag when their depression, anxiety, PTSD, MPD, or anger issues come to the surface. I want to be the support system that urges them to do better for themselves so that they can live to their full potential.
It took years for me to come to terms with why my romantic love life is sort of sketchy, for lack of better words. It took years for me to realize that wanting to "save" somebody does not equate to romantic attraction. It took me years to realize that loving somebody will not spontaneously change their life for the better.
It took me years to realize that you can't change anybody, that they have to do it themselves because they want to.