“I’ve done it again. I’ve chosen the wrong person once again.” Does this sound at all familiar? Do you keep falling into the same relationship rut? Do you keep choosing partners who have the same problem as every other partner you’ve been with?
If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. We humans are creatures of habit.
We like routines and familiar behaviors, even when they disrupt and distress us, therefore many of us keep choosing the wrong partner. In order to learn how to break the wheel and stop this pattern, we reached out to our Relationship Expert Marwa Rakha to help us have a fresh start in relationships.
Is it possible that someone engages in the same relationship pattern over and over with every new partner?
It is actually the norm, rather than the exception, that people tend to follow the same pattern when choosing a partner.
To simplify matters, one tends to say: “this is my type” or “that is my style”.
This pattern could be as superficial as choosing a man, or a woman, who look like your ex and the “ex” before and the ones before.
It could also be as funny as choosing partners who share the same name! It could be as dangerous as falling for those who hurt you, or abuse you, in a similar way.
Why do some of us get attracted to people who are wrong for them?
These patterns of choosing a partner are related to a person’s childhood, teen years, and certain experiences. For example, a person whose needs for unconditional love and security were neglected as a child is more likely to struggle in relationships than someone who grew up in a loving nurturing environment.
The struggle is of a dual nature; that person has low self-esteem and deep-downfeels that he/she does not deserve to be happy and respected in a relationship. The other side of the dilemma is that although that person needs love and security, he/she gets into relationships with people who only provide the exact opposite.
Childhood is not the only cause of choosing wrong partners. If a person in his/her teen years got involved with an abusive partner, most likely, that person would continue choosing abusive partners in adulthood.
Incidents like rape or non-consensual sex, substance abuse, losing a parent early on, being a part of a traumatic divorce, teacher-student affairs, and similar impactful incidents, shape a person’s views of himself/herself; thus, impacting their future choices.
How to break the pattern and start looking for someone who is right for you?
The best way to break the cycle is to find out what is causing it. Sometimes the cause is easy to find; for example, having sex with a teacher or an older relative in your early teens.
But most times, the root causes are deep within a person’s black box. That is why therapy and self-help books are a good place to start.
If a man has been neglected by his mother as a child, and his soul is aching for love and acceptance, instead of getting attracted to women who make him feel loved and accepted, he gets attracted to those who make him feel the pain he used to feel as an infant and a child when his mother rejected him.
How can you convince a man that he deserves love and that he needs to stay away from women who ignore him? How can you convince a woman that her current boyfriend is emotionally, or/and sexually, blackmailing her? If that is the only type of love she has experienced as a child and as a teen, how can she recognize that this is not how a loving relationship should be like?
How can you stop a woman from constantly dating married men who are as old as her father? How can you stop a man from only getting attracted to single mothers?
Most of the time, the “right” type of partner is right in front of you, but because of the way you perceive others, and think about yourself, you do not allow yourself to love and be loved by that person. Most of the time, the right person is friend-zoned!
In other times, not as rare as one would hope, that right person is the person you abuse! Yes! It is only natural that the “abused” becomes an “abuser”!
Having said all of that; let me remind you that we are all human and that our experiences shape who we are and how to interact with others.
We have all played different roles in relationships; abusers, victims, and saviors! We have all followed wrong patterns, and that does not mean that we have to continue following those patterns.
It is not easy at all! It would take years of sessions and cognitive behavior therapy to heal our childhood gaping wounds, and to change our self-image and self-worth.