Feel like you keep falling into bad relationship after bad relationship?You’ve read all the books and done all the therapy — but nothing is paying off. By now, you’re frustrated and probably ready to give up. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In short, there are 3 core reasons things keep playing out this way. Address one (or all) of these issues, and you’re on your way to getting the relationship that you’ve always wanted.
The 3 main reasons you repeat bad relationships.
At a very basic level, you can boil most major relationship patterns to a few core things: your self-esteem, your knowledge & skill, and your own coping mechanisms and behaviors. Correct the root of your problem, and you can get yourself to a place of building more fulfilling and rewarding partnerships.
You have low self-esteem
Self-esteem is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) factors behind repeatedly bad relationship decisions. When you don’t think you’re worth an excellent partner or partnership, you settle for people who don’t respect you or your needs.
While the abusive behaviors of the people we settle for are never our fault, our choice to settle for people who keep us from happiness is. Before we ever begin our search for a relationship, we have to make sure we’re aiming high enough to hit our needs and expectations.
By working on resolving our patterns and our trauma, we can find the strength to build boundaries and better relationships. But it all boils down to learning how to love and support ourselves. Without that core sense of self-love, the world can’t learn how to love you, either.
You weren't taught differently
There are many people out there who know they’re in terrible relationships, but they think so poorly of themselves that they don’t do anything about it. For others, though, the truth is not that clear.
Too many people in the real world keep repeating toxic partnerships because they don’t know any better. It’s true. Many of them either had awful examples or no examples as children.
They watched their parents bounce around in abusive relationships, and they watched them settle for less than they deserved. So they normalized it. Then they repeated those patterns in their own adult lives.
If you’ve never been shown what a healthy and balanced partnership looks like, then how could you possibly build one in the real world? Those who don’t know any better often have the hardest journey of building healthy relationship skills.
You may be toxic too
Don’t be fooled. It’s not all low self-esteem and lack of awareness. Sometimes, your terrible relationships result from your own repeated toxicities. Yep. You can also have a lot of toxic behaviors and coping mechanisms that bring more of that chaos into your relationships.
Be honest. Have your insecurities created a clingy monster that emotionally punishes their partner any time they feel fearful? Do you tend to be controlling? Immature? Do you drive partners away and push them away before they can get close enough to hurt you?
At some point, you have to be honest about the role you’re playing in your repeating cycles. Sure, toxic and abusive partners are responsible for their behavior. But we’re responsible for settling for them and our own poor behaviors. We’re responsible for choosing the people who populate our lives.
What you should take away…
Our bad relationship patterns don’t happen by accident. They are built over time on the back of our experiences and our subsequent beliefs. When those experiences and beliefs are warped, damaged, we wind up repeating toxic cycles that keep us reinforcing our worst behaviors and perspectives.
Time and time again we come to partners broken, unsure of ourselves, and knee-deep in our own toxic habits. Getting real about all of these, addressing the core issues behind our insecurities and our fears, is how we break out of these habits and into better relationships.
Just like terrible relationships are built on fear and all the things we don’t know, good relationships are built on self-knowing and learning how to live and work with others. Build a core sense of self-worth. Fall in love with yourself so that you can give healthy love to a partner. Embrace a better way of being and loving so that you can finally create the future you’ve been working for.
© E.B. Johnson 2022