Updated: Jun 1
Is it them or is it you?
Perhaps you’ve just gone through a breakup. After a while you go on a dating app, strike up a conversation with someone, and eventually meet in person. There’s something about the other person that’s familiar that’s comforting. You go on a few more dates with this person and realize you’ve done it again. You’ve fallen for someone who has the same issues as your last partner.
If you find yourself dating the same type of person over and over again, you’re not alone. Many people in the dating world are continuously attracted to the same type of person and tend to repeat patterns without realizing it. The good news is there are things you can do to break this cycle and become more aware of your own subconscious undoing.
Why we pick people who are wrong for us
Before we delve into how to break out of repeated unhealthy dating patterns, let’s take a look at why we continually date the same person. Here are some factors that can contribute.
Not taking stock of your own role in a breakup
After a breakup it can be easy to blame the other person. Maybe they did something to hurt you or you feel they didn’t make enough of an effort to stay connected. If you find yourself placing all the blame on the other person, though, it might be time to take a look at how your own actions and behaviors contributed to the outcome. We’re not suggesting you take the blame for things you didn’t do, but when it comes to breakups it’s almost never solely one person’s fault.
Usually it’s a series of actions on both sides that eventually leads to a breakup. Often, it’s not that either person did a lot of “wrong things” but that you are not suited to each other. If you don’t take the time to examine your role in a failed partnership, you might be doomed to repeat the same habits.
Along with not recognizing your own role in a breakup, you may find yourself jumping into new relationships too soon. If you get back out into the dating world before you’ve had a chance to process what happened, you’re more likely to seek out someone similar to your last partner. It’s familiar and familiar is comforting. Before hopping back onto the dating scene, you need time to reflect and self-assess, which will lead to a much deeper understanding of what you want and require.
How to break the cycle
If you want to stop dating the “wrong” person over and over, there are some things you can do to help stop the repetition.
1. Identify your patterns
Finding a good therapist is key in helping you identify your patterns. It can be hard to see ourselves and our own actions clearly but a therapist can help you broaden your perspective. Working with one will help you understand what attracts you to the wrong person, why they are wrong for you, and how certain habits and beliefs can contribute to relationships going awry.
Some questions to ask yourself when trying to identify your patterns:
What about this person is attractive?
Who from my past do they remind me of?
Do they mimic patterns from my mom or dad?
Once you’ve identified the unconscious patterns you tend to fall into, you’ll be able to make different choices.
2. Move past the superficial
Many individuals fail to recognize red flags, fail to ask the right questions, or get caught looking at the wrong things.
We may be initially attracted to another person’s exterior – whether it’s how they look, how educated they are, or their wildly successful career. But it’s important to get to know your partner on a deeper level. Can you develop an authentic connection? Do the two of you share similar values? Just because you have some common interests or you make sense as a couple “on paper” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re right for each other.
3. Set healthy boundaries
It can be difficult to set boundaries and communicate them but it’s an essential process for any healthy relationship. Carving out time for yourself and your own needs allows you to show up as your best self in your partnership. If you’re not taking care of yourself, it will eventually affect your relationship. Once you set boundaries and start tending to your own needs, you may find your attitude toward your partner changes. You might crave more physical or emotional intimacy or realize the areas of your relationship that need work. Again, a therapist can be instrumental in helping you identify and communicate boundaries. The right mental health professional can work with you to clarify your unique needs as well as offer tools and techniques for sharing these needs with your partner.
Therapy and relationship coaching from Love Discovery Institute
Dating the same “wrong” person is a common phenomenon but it doesn’t mean your romantic life is doomed. Taking the time to look within is important and if you need support in this process there are many therapists that can help. Counseling can help you enter a relationship ready to be a good partner to someone who is right for you. Contact us today to make an appointment.