Humans come out of the womb hardwired to love and be loved – to be in relationships. We wouldn’t survive infancy without others.
That said, you’d think we’d be better at selecting partners who we’re compatible with. But all you have to do is look at your relationship history to know how untrue that is.
As a shrink, the two most common questions I get are:
Why do I pick the wrong partners?
Why do I stay in relationships with people I know aren’t right for me?
The answer to these questions requires you to take a long hard look in the mirror. So go on… walk over the mirror. And as you gaze at your gorgeous self, ask yourself which of the reasons below sounds like you – because you can only change something when you’re aware of it.
5 Reasons You Pick the Wrong Partners:
1. You see potential.
And you’re hoping your partner will change. This is also known as minimizing the red flags, hoping they’ll go away (or that they aren’t as bad as they appear). You know the fine print that’s on every car’s side view mirror – objects in mirror are closer than they appear – here’s how to apply that to a partner: Negative traits are far larger than they appear to be in the first 3 months of dating someone. Stop trying to change your partners. As you can see from the title, it never works.
2. You think all you need to do is pick better. You’re going to attract and be attracted to people who are on the same developmental level that you’re on. Which means that until you change yourself, i.e., get into therapy, learn relationship skills, or fucking grow, you’ll keep picking the same person over and over again. They may come in a different looking package (hell, mine even came in different genders), but before long you'll notice the same issues coming up. You are the common denominator. Get into therapy or a relationship skills training program.
3. You invest, which makes you invested.
It’s a correlation: The more time and energy you invest, the greater your desire to see a positive outcome, the more resistant you are to pulling the plug on the relationship. It seems like wasted energy and time to just walk away, so you hang in there – changing nothing – hoping for change.
4. You haven’t done your own work.
This will initially sound like #2, but it runs deeper: Your last partner (or partners) may legitimately have been assholes. Maybe they were even sociopaths (which I’d argue begs the question, why are you repeatedly attracted to sociopaths?). But if everything was and is their fault, then you’re powerless to control your own destiny. I’m going to repeat that: Unless there is something for you to personally change in yourself, you’re screwed. Because it means that you have to hope that you pick better – and although that’s the name of this post, I don’t know how reasonable that is, unless you apply these concepts to yourself and learn how to pull the plug when you recognize these patterns.
5. You’re not receiving the feedback you’re getting.
If you listen, your past (or current) partners provide you with very important information. Let’s call it growth opportunities. But most people are too (emotionally) armored up to hear it. Do this: Go back to your last relationship and try to remember the 3 biggest complaints that partner had. Then repeat that for the 2 partners that came before the last one. That’s the feedback that you’ve been resisting.
Most of us are so busy defending ourselves when we hear ‘feedback’ that it flies right our brains like Teflon. Often this happens because our partner’s delivery sucks and allows us to become distracted from the underlying message they’re trying to communicate.