Why don’t we just learn already? Why are we as humans so determined to repeat the same stupid habits? It drives me mad. We all do it. We break up with someone and then we turn around and date someone exactly the same. Some of us date someone worse than our ex!
The very first relationship I got into after my divorce was horrible. I dated someone not only just like my ex, but a 2,000% magnified version of him. Seriously? Did I really just go through a long separation and divorce only to jump right back into another equally (if not more) miserable relationship? Whoops.
We finally get out of a bad relationship and feel free, and then all of sudden we find ourselves back in the same boat. We make the same unhealthy choices we made when we entered into our previous relationship. It’s almost as if we need a reminder of why we went through hell in the first place and got out of an unhealthy relationship. Have you found yourself in this situation?
Have you found yourself in yet another unimpressive and unhappy relationship? Just when you’re all excited about that second chance it’s like the light bulb goes off. You think, oh crap. What have I gotten myself into? I’m in yet another crappy relationship.
How Did I Get Back Here?
You find yourself back in the same situation and wonder how did this happen? How did I allow myself to get into another relationship with a person just like the one that I left? Or the one that left me, even?
We’re creatures of habit. It’s so difficult to break bad habits, but not impossible. We basically pick the same type of person our entire lives. Sure, they may have a different hair color, or body type, but you will notice that we generally choose the same character traits. We generally go for a “type” and not just a physical type.
We all have a character type as well. We pick someone with the same personality traits, bad habits, good habits, discipline level, happiness level, you name it. If you’re anything like I was as a young adult, you may simply have a bad picker.
I had a very bad picker. I was so naïve! I was brought up to be a good person and I had no idea how brutal some people can be. I wasn’t able to foresee anyone doing bad things to me, because I was incapable of doing awful things myself. I also dated men I thought I could fix. It was so dumb. I had a lot to learn over the years about what a partner should be. I really had no idea how to pick a partner at all. I kind of just dated whoever seemed to come into the picture. I didn’t realize at the time that I needed to completely reevaluate the kind of person I should be with.
The real question is “How do you stop the insanity?” You know the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This most definitely applies to relationships. This most definitely applies to the type of person that you continue to date.
How Do You Break the Cycle?
We often gravitate to this same type of person because it feels familiar. It feels familiar so it feels safe, even though it’s not. We get excited and tend to jump right in. We jump right back in with the same type of person that we shouldn’t. It’s a viscous cycle.
So, how do you stop the cycle?
Sit down, get a pen and paper and start writing. Seriously, go get one now! If you’re recently divorced, or ended a long-term relationship, think about the person you were with.
Sit down and write out what attracted you to him or her. What did you like the most about this person? What were their good qualities? On the next page, sit down and write out what made you feel unhappy. What did they do that brought you pain or hurt you somehow?
(Seriously, don’t say you will do it later! Do it now and just get this shit done. Start to make changes and move on with your life already.)
Now, look at your first list. What is this list comprised of? I know it’s difficult if you’re hating on the person right now, but just try. What are the qualities? Are they physical?
Are they true?
Sometimes what we think someone is all about, turns out to be false. Sometimes, if you’ve been with someone for a very long time, they simply change. For example, were you with someone because they had a child and so you thought they would be a family person? Did that initially attract you to this person? Did it turn out to be true?
Are all of the qualities, physical? Are they personality traits or are they physical attributes? If you have a lot of physical attributes then you need to knock that off. Just stop. Stop dating people because of how they look. That’s dumb. I know most of you know this, but some don’t.
Cross off the stuff that isn’t helpful or true. For example. You loved that person’s eyes. Okay who cares. Cross it off the list. Totally irrelevant. Did this person turn out to be not so much of a family man? Was he emotionally available for his child or for you?
Did you notice that you fell in love with your perception of who you wanted them to be? A lot of us do this. We make assumptions based on circumstances. For example. He is older and has a child therefore he must be mature. Nope, that’s not a given.
Maybe he has a house and a nice car, so he must have his shit together? Oh wait, maybe he drinks too much and can’t handle the stress? Maybe, it’s all about the perception on the outside appearance, but inside the home there is serious disfunction? You get the idea.
So I ask you again, did you fall in love with truth or your version of the truth. A lot of us fall in love with the perception of who someone is. Then we’re shocked when it eventually falls apart. All of the little falsities we based our relationship on start to crumble one by one. There’s simply too much evidence to the contrary to keep up our false reality.
I used to do this.
That is what happens when you don’t truly know yourself. When you don’t truly know yourself, you don’t truly know how to know someone else. You’ve created a false sense of reality about yourself, so you cannot possibly have a realistic view of your partner. You create perceptions based on circumstances. You create a version of someone in your head and that is who they are. Or is it? Well, we find out sooner or later, don’t we?
Okay, now look at the second list of qualities. I bet those aren’t physical attributes? Are they? Stop that too. That’s dumb. For most of us, it isn’t about how someone looks but more about how those bad qualities made us feel. What did that person do to you that was unacceptable to you going forward? What did that look like? What did that feel like? (write it down) Pay special attention to how that made you feel. (That is a reference point for your gut later on) What actions did they take to make you feel bad?
Is there anything you could have done better? Is there anything that you could have done to make some of the bad stuff better, or simply go away? Worse, did you contribute to the bad stuff? Maybe the answer is no. Maybe the answer is yes and maybe, just maybe, it’s a little bit of both.
The point is nobody is perfect. We’re all a little crazy. I like to say that “You’ve just got to find your kind of crazy.” Nobody is perfect but there is someone out there that is perfect for you. There’s even someone out there who shares some your weird idiosyncrasies, or your “crazy stuff” rather. 🙂
Why Did You Write All of This down?
Why did I ask you to sit and think about all of this? You need to figure out what doesn’t work for you anymore. If you don’t sit down and write it out, it just fumbles around in your head and doesn’t really form a structure of thoughts. When you write it down, it becomes more real. When you write it down it simply becomes more clear to you. When you write it down, you have a list and can refer back to it when you begin dating someone new. When you write it down and pay attention to how you felt when you experienced the bad behavior, it helps to establish a reference point for your gut. When you pay attention to how it made you feel, your gut will scream at you when it experiences that again.
Pay attention to your gut. More importantly, follow your gut! Don’t ignore it. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut. Your gut is your best friend. It’s our brains sometimes that trick us! We try and rationalize poor behavior, which only works for a little while. Eventually your gut will take over, whether you want it to or not. That bad gut feeling turns into unhappiness and despair and you can only ignore it for so long. It will take over eventually.
When you write down the bad stuff and how that looks and feels, it will stand out more if the new person you’re seeing begins to do the same stuff. It will be easier to identify the poor behaviors. You’ll be able to more quickly identify when you’re headed down the same unhealthy path.
As soon as you begin to get that bad feeling in your gut. Listen to it and then go back and review your list. Seeing the same patterns? Get out and break the cycle.
Think You’re in Too Deep?
Let me tell you something. You’re NEVER in too deep, unless you’re married and have children. Then that’s a total different ball game. It’s not just about you anymore if you have children. If you’ve been married more than once and you’re back in the same boat, you need to slow it down mister! (or sister)
Slow down, refer to your list. (make your list please) Get out before it really is too late. Everyone deserves a second chance, but if you don’t make the effort to create changes in your life and better yourself, then it’s nobody’s fault but your own.
You’re responsible for your own happiness. That means if someone is treating you badly, and you stay, it’s YOUR fault you’re unhappy. Not the other person’s. Unless of course they’re holding you hostage and you find yourself chained up in a basement somewhere. Then yes, I’ll give you a break.
Don’t be a creature of habit. Don’t sit around and wait for some amazing person to float into your life. The only way you will find your dream guy or gal, is to put in the work like everyone else. Don’t date someone just because you have a hard time meeting people and this person will do. Be proactive. Make changes in your life. Get a life and start making changes in your life. Nobody else is going to do it for you. If you don’t do it, it will never happen.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Think you need to work on yourself first in order to deserve someone better? Get moving! I did it. I know you can do it too. Make sure you’ve done the work on yourself FIRST, and then go find someone who brings additional happiness and fulfillment into your life.
What are you waiting for?
Are you having a tough time attracting the type of person you would like to date? Read Be Who You Want to Date.
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