Do You Keep Dating the Same Type of Partner?

Do You Keep Dating the Same Type of Partner?

Do you find yourself dating the same partner over and over again?  Does it seem you found someone different until a few months in and then BAM, a replica of the last partner is back?  It is human nature to repeat cycles and choosing partners isn’t much different.  It is an unconscious motivator, out of our control, and unless we become aware of it, it will repeat itself.  In this article I am going to assist you in discovering your relational cycle and strategies to starting choosing the RIGHT partner!

The Relational Cycle.  We choose what we know, even if it is dysfunctional, as we are comfortable with the predictable.  To change your selection of partners you need to become aware of the motivators of your cycle.  Often we repeat what we observed growing up. These observations create expectations and define normalcy in our developing minds. In terms of relationships, this means you are likely to mirror the relational behaviors of your parents and grandparents. We call this phenomenon the family of origin cycle.  So look more closely at your family.  Are you modeling the relationship of your parents or grandparents?  Was mom in the role of caregiver as you are?  Was your father not good at asserting himself so you have learned to please other people first? Do you have an alcoholic parent and tend to be codependent? Do you sabotage good relationships because “relationships don’t last?” Did your parents fight all the time so you became the peace maker? I want you to map out your family and examine the relationships.  A tool I give my clients is a genogram. The genogram is a family tree mapping out the family relationships.  What did these relationships look like? Are you finding any similarities in your own life? Focus on what you learned from your family of origin.  What did you learn about conflicts, decisions, relationships, and sexuality? By asking yourself these and similar questions you can start to identify your relational patterns.

Developing the Ideal Relationship.  So now you have discovered you relational cycle. But you are still unsure how to pick the partner for your ideal relationship. To help you identify what is most important to you I want you to create an ideal relationship list.  On this list there will be three areas: essential, negotiable, and avoid at all cost.  I have included an example list below:

Balance of power
Physically affectionate
Non-traditional roles
Sexually adventurous
College degree
Wants children
More time together than separate
Has support system outside relationship

Enjoys running
Likes traveling
Enjoys reading about current events
Abuses alcohol and drugs
Close to family
Separate hobbies
Future goals

Avoid at All Cost
Verbally abusive
Sexually forceful
Physically abusive
Abuses alcohol/drugs
Untreated mental issues

When you have a list to refer to it is easier to recognize how your man stacks up to your ideal one. We often pick partners without knowing what we want and then become disappointed later when they do not meet our expectations.  If the person you are dating does not have your essential qualities or has items on your “avoid at all costs” list it is time to end the relationship. You will not change him or her to fit your ideal!

I have given you two steps to finding a better partner above: becoming aware of your family of origin cycle and to create your ideal relationship list.  Both steps will help you find a partner that will be a good fit, creating something different.  Now you might start to realize, even after becoming aware of your cycle, that your people pleasing, caregiving, co-dependency, relationship sabotage, etc. aren’t changing.  This is when I would suggest you to seek a therapist for assistance.  A therapist can create more positive thought patterns and change destructive cycles.