Why do we make (and repeat) bad relationship choices?
Most of us have, at some point or another, been in love with someone who wasn’t good for us, and to us. Some have done it once and learned the lesson, some are still doing it and can’t understand why they keep choosing the same pattern, the same bad boy or girl over and over again.
It can be very painful to live like that, but often we persist because we don’t see a way out. We get attracted to a new partner hoping it will be different this time around, but they end up treating us badly just as the one before.
Maybe you keep dating guys that openly and persistently flirt, or even cheat on you. Or you always end up in relationships with jealous and possessive girls who follow your every move and try to control your life. Maybe you are dating an emotionally detached guy over and over again – and keep wondering why is he so distant and cold and why is it so hard to get close to him. Maybe you repeatedly date women who criticise everything you do, making you feel small and unappreciated.
So why do people do this? Why do we end up in relationship patterns that don’t do us any good? Why do we stay with partners who make us feel miserable – why don’t we just get up and leave?
It’s because we believe we can’t do any better. We pick partners that treat us like doormats because we don’t believe we are worthy of being treated nicely. It’s usually not a conscious choice – often we don’t know we should ask for more love and respect, because we’ve always been treated this way (in our families, schools, social environments).
We stay with wrong people for the same reason – we don’t think we deserve more. And if we’re at the same time scared of being alone, we can easily stay in hurtful relationships for a long time, numbing our pain by telling ourselves that ‘it could be worse’ and ‘at least I have someone’.
Sometimes we even confuse this toxic addiction with true love. We believe it’s the greatest love of all – because no mater what our partner does, we still madly love them. We think that’s pure, unconditional love – but it’s mostly just lack of self-respect, insecurity and low self-esteem, and this partner, no matter how bad they are – at least makes us feel like we’re worth something (because somebody wants us).
When we do break up – or they break up with us, we again go for the same type of person because we don’t think our relationship choices are deliberate in any way. We are either convinced we just have bad luck or we believe it’s OK to keep getting attracted to the same type – because we can’t control who we get attracted to.
Well, that is true to a certain extent.
We can’t always explain what and why gives us the hots for someone. But there are many elements of attraction that directly depend on how we feel about ourselves, and what we value in life, and in other people.
Let me give you an example. In a recent discussion on this topic I talked to a women who claimed that she can only get attracted to dark men. When asked why, she said it’s probably because her uncle was this great male role model for her, and she sees him as the archetype of a ‘real man’. Of course, he has dark hair and physical features that she always falls for. Her conclusion was that because she admires her uncle so much – she is bound to always see dark men as more attractive than fair-haired ones.
This can be fine, if your specific =attraction preference is broad so you can find enough candidates that fit some other, much more important criteria like personality, lifestyle and emotional maturity. But what if your role model was an aggressive father or a controlling mother? What if the patterns you’ve grown accustomed to, and still get drawn to today – are hurtful and abusive? You only have two choices: put up with it, or – work on changing your attraction criteria.
Changing what you like is only possible when you realise you do have a choice. When you understand you don’t need to be with partners who don’t respect and love you for who you are. Only then the change can happen – and it will happen spontaneously. You’ll just wake up one day and you’ll stop being attracted to people who can’t love you. They just won’t do anything for you any more, and instead – you’ll start getting the hots for all those nice people you’ve never noticed before.
So how can you get to that point? How can you consciously start changing your attraction mechanisms? There is only one way – learning to love and respect yourself more. When you treat yourself with love, you’ll see there is no reason or need to let anyone else treat you otherwise. You’ll see you don’t have to settle for less. And you’ll know there is no need to worry you’ll stay alone. Because when you know what you’re worth – there will always, always be somebody special out there who will recognise it too.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Do you feel you get attracted to partners who are not a good match for you?
Do you think it can be changed or there’s nothing you can do about it?
Please leave a comment below. Thank you!