Maybe women choose men who need saving because we feel useful when we help others. We are naturally inclined to care for things and nurture. We love animals, children and apparently, caring for adult men, too.
The mother inside all of us, despite being brought up in a world that creates femininity to be the "damsel in distress," eventually turns us into rescuers. This goes against heteronormative expectations, but begs the question, "Is it necessary to have those 'fixer-upper' qualities in your lover/partner?"
I've seen it in myself, my friends and my family. Whether we know it or not, we consistently go out and find a romantic interest who's carrying some baggage that did some serious detriment to his person, be it past or present. Do we seek out these fixer-uppers to fulfill a sense of purpose in our lives? Why is it so thrilling to feel like you're changing someone for the better? And who is to say what is better or worse?
If you've ever been in a situation where your significant other needed "saving," you probably received a lot of criticism or advice, such as, "He needs to love himself before he can love you," or "Don't be his mother."
In a sense, I do agree with these statements. I believe people cannot love another until they know themselves. Loving yourself is a lot harder to do than to say, and most of us have to work on that daily. But until you genuinely know who you are to your core, it's essentially impossible to really love someone in the selfless way that is required for a forever partnership.
On the other hand, there is a notion for females that if you become too over protective of your SO and show that you care too much, you become "motherly." I've heard the phrase, "You don't want to be his mother," too many times to count.
Even the variations like, "Boys don't want another mother," or "Its unattractive when you act motherly," demonstrate the complexity we as a generation have added to relationships. There was a time when "motherliness" was what men looked for in a partner because it demonstrates a personality that would be beneficial for their gene pool.
Having a wife with a strong motherly essence was once a positive thing. So when did we create this fine line between showing you care and being a "mother" to your significant other? It is frustratingly perplexing.
You're supposed to stand by the side of your partner through thick and thin, and you're supposed to help them find the right path. You're supposed to be there for them. Abandoning someone in their time of need just to avoid being like a "mother" makes no sense to me.
If you're an important person in your SO's life, if you know them better than anyone else and if you loves them even when you hate them, you truly want what's best for them. Regardless of where the two of you end up, you want them to be happy, healthy and safe.
There's a big difference between calling and asking if they've brushed their teeth, and asking if they'll be at your grandmother's 98th birthday party. There are "motherly" qualities in caring for a person's health, both physical and mental, but that doesn't make it wrong to do in a committed relationship.
For instance, one of my best friends has been with her boyfriend for three years. She brought him a care package of medicine, tea and throat lozenges when he was sick and still had to play in his college baseball game. That is considered cute and thoughtful, but it's also something that a mother would do. So, what makes being "motherly" so wrong?
My point is, I don't think we choose to act in motherly ways with our significant others because we feel like their main caregivers, or have the desire to be their main caregiver, but rather because we want to show this person we will always be there for them. And who showed us what that looks like? Our mothers.
As long as the relationship is give and take, there is no problem in needing to help rescue someone. I needed rescuing, he was there for me and nobody said anything about it. But when he needs rescuing, and I'm there for him, suddenly I'm doing the wrong thing and acting like a mother.
The double standard that men have to do everything on their own is bogus. We all need help sometimes. However, we aren't always brave enough to ask for it. Sometimes it has to be forced upon us in order for us to accept it, but we do. And then, we move on and we learn.