Dear Christiana, this is a great article and I’m touched by your openness. My experience tells me that you’re completely right about “men with potential” What I would like to add as well is the fact that even when you’re not dating so-called “losers” per se, every relationship choice you make is a mirror of your desires for yourself in some way or another, and these are not always about filling painful gaps. I’m often attracted to people who are displaying character attributes that I’m trying to emulate at a particular time, like patience and managing conflict or kindness (these are just the good ones I’m choosing to share….☺). So, I can clearly track my evolution from my twenties to forties through the gaps I sought to fill, by finding a practice partner or mirror through a romantic relationship with a man. This might seem like a good thing, which it is in many ways, but often it also stops me from seeing the “whole” man or the context where the attributes show up etc. It’s can be selfish and judgemental and ultimately manipulative, if not managed properly.
My lesson or practice now is to TRY to follow the way of the great contemplative thinker Thomas Merton, who says “our job is to love others, whether they deserve it or not.” This means that I’m learning to observe myself closely in any mirroring process. To “Do no harm” to myself and others, because, whether in right ways or wrong, we all seek relationships to enhance co-evolution.