Why do I keep dating wrong people?

You know that thing Google does when you start a phrase in the search box, gives you suggestions to end it based on most popular searches? Well, when you type “Why do I keep dating…” this is what pops up to complete it: narcissists, losers, sociopaths, jerks, the same type, wrong guy/girl.

See, you’re not the only one guilty of kissing frogs while hoping they’ll become princes(ess). Many of us have been there. Myself included.

I used to be the classic nanny/mum/therapist girlfriend. I kept looking for men to “save”. As a result, I attracted partners who were immature and irresponsible boys. Or the ones with a deep dark emotional trauma. Or both.

We were perfectly suited for each other. I wanted to sort them out, and they were in equal parts thankful and irritated by that.

It was only when I realised I had to look for more than a charming personality in a guy that I broke the spell of constantly falling for the Peter Pan type. And when I learned (the hard way of course) that I can’t change my partners, and I don’t have to, as there are already men out there that posses the qualities I want.

Contrary to popular belief, love and attraction doesn’t happen randomly. We all have a set of triggers that make us fall in love, and to an extent, we can change that set intentionally.

There are of course some mysterious workings in this equation – we can’t force ourselves to fall in love with someone. But we can influence the rest, so when that inexplicable part gets activated, it does so from the right reasons.

Think about what got you drawn to someone when you were 15 versus 25 versus later in life. We change and grow and mature, and so does our criteria. But sometimes we get stuck repeating the same mistake over and over again, and that’s where we often start wondering why we have such bad luck.

But it’s not luck we have a problem with. You choose and attract certain people and not others for a reason, and your partners do the same. You don’t get paired up by some cruel universe lottery. You are very much the creator of your love choices, but it looks so random because you are mostly doing it subconsciously.

And if you’re not happy with what you’re attracting, here is why.


If you have no idea what you’re looking for in a partner and you never thought about it that way – do it. Come up with that list. Decide what you want and what you don’t want. It will help you avoid wasting time on people who are clearly not your match and help you understand what went wrong in the past.

Having a list is a great start, but sometimes it’s not enough.

That is because we often don’t really know what kind of person will make us happy. Our criteria can end up being too heavy on the lifestyle side (looks, jobs, interests, wealth and such)  and not very well thought through on the personal qualities and character side (responsible, trustworthy, caring, honest, warm, etc.).

Or we put too many things on there which are in conflict with each other (well organised and adventurous – for example), and we end up looking for a mix of qualities that’s impossible to find.

Or we insist on qualities we are not able to provide back (completely honest, emotionally stable etc.) – and it backfires on us because we can’t get what we can’t give.

Don’t get me wrong, you need the criteria. But try to not be too rigid about them, and prioritise. The most important ones are those that will keep you happy and satisfied with that person for years to come, that will put a smile on your face every single day. Those things that won’t go away because they are ingrained in that person’s character. You have to love that part, because that’s what you’ll be waking up every day.

However, the biggest clue here is to understand that you need to posses the qualities you want in a partner. That is key. If you’re not a princess, you won’t find a prince.

So if you want more than you feel you can give, work on developing those qualities in yourself. The more you have to give, the more you can ask in return.


Relationships, and especially romantic ones are often a learning opportunity. They are a way life challenges us to change and grow into stronger and happier individuals. So it brings us people that will do just that – challenge us to become better versions of ourselves.

Which is often through love and support, but equally so through painful experiences. Heartbreak, conflict, power games, disappointment, betrayal. Yes – all those things you thought you will get away from when you find that one person who truly cares for you, you get in a much stronger dose with that same person.

Why does that happen? Like any other challenging situations in life, it’s there to help us grow and heal so we can become happy. And unfortunately there is no way around that process. Partners are not there to make us happy and fulfilled. We have to do it for ourselves, only then we get those partners we can be truly happy with.

In romantic relationships we can learn the fastest, because they are so emotionally intense, so it takes less time to see where we have a weak spot. Even though it’s a hard way to learn, it’s an efficient one. If we see our romantic “failures” in that light, we understand that it’s all a part of the journey. And we start making the most of those lessons.

If we don’t want or fear looking inside to start the change – we end up repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Because the challenge won’t go away until we face it, and resolve it.

For example, if you have a fear of closeness, you will attract a partner who will make it even harder for you to get close. If you have a problem with trust, you will meet someone who will betray it. And so on. This will keep happening as long as you address the fear inside you.

So when you keep repeating the same pattern, choosing the same type of partner – think about what part of you is choosing. What fear, what insecurity, what trauma is behind it. That’s where you’ll find the answers why you can’t seem to stop dating wrong people.

I know that’s not how we normally envision love – we think it’s there to free us from hurt. And it is. But only once we start looking for it inside, not outside of us.


Do you feel like you are dating wrong people?

Is there a type or a pattern that you noticed?

Please share!

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4 Responses

  1. anne says:

    wish I just could find some one after 15 years of being alone I just get sad not to have some one to share my life with.

  2. Lesley says:

    Yes. I feel like I’ve dated the wrong people. But I thought they were right at the time! I definetly go for people that I think need fixing… Which of course they don’t!!
    Four years single is a long time. It’d be nice to date someone.

  3. Erika says:

    Oh gosh, I’ve definitely dated a ton of the wrong people, some for many years. My blind spot is that I’ve prioritised passion and chemistry, allowing myself to overlook bad qualities such as mean-spiritedness, lack of willingness to fully commit, bad work ethic etc. Now, at 30, I’m at the point where I can see that character is more important than charisma and that initial chemistry. If a guy is not emotionally available, kind, honest and willing to pull his weight in the relationship, I’ll be giving him a wide berth 😉

    What you said about being able to give what we want for ourselves is so important. By really looking at whether we really are that great catch that we want for ourselves we are paving the way for more success in the future. Thanks for your inspiring posts!

  4. mary says:

    i think it’s very interesting that having a fear of closeness brings you to someone who makes it hard to get close. definitely my story, and we are divorcing.

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