Very good. I could have actually written this myself. It’s even more interesting, because even as a man, I have found myself exhibiting the same behavior when it comes to dating women with “potential”. For a period of time I would find myself involved with addicts. My sister was/is an addict, and in my inability to help her, I found myself trying to help these women that came into my life. Researching addiction, participating in Al-Anon, spending time talking to addiction counselors, etc. I wasted huge amounts of time trying to force and help people get better that would only happen when they themselves decided to get better. One day, I sat down and evaluated how many years of my life had been spent trying to “rescue” them. I spent a good portion of my 30s and 40s trying to form and grow relationships with very little input from the other party. When I realized how much time had been wasted, and how very “unbeneficial” it had been, I stopped. I still consider these women my friends, but there is no longer an involvement based on building a relationship. My potential, was being hampered by trying to get them to realize their potential.
The most important part of what you wrote is the analogy about mirrors, which I couldn’t agree with more. The hopes I had for these women were hopes that I had for myself. I never forgave myself for not being able to help my sister out of her addiction. So I was spending a lot of effort trying to make up for it by trying to rescue other women from whatever issues they had so that they could see their own potential. Life is truly a vicious circle.