For some, dating follows a cyclical structure that results in bad relationship and heartbreak every time. It is easy to acquire bad habits that contribute to a string of unhealthy relationships, and can even prevent us from moving forward with our lives. Many of us are guilty of having at least a few negative behavioural patterns that may hinder us finding true love. We will wait around looking for our future partner in the wrong people. To maximise chances of finding luck in love, it’s important to take a good look at oneself and our past dating history to truly understand what hasn’t worked in the past and why.
This article is not purposed to point the finger or inspire self-blame. However, with eyes wide open I hope to encourage you to start making better decisions when it comes to the type of people you spend your precious time with. What I’m trying to say, is that if you keep getting burnt by the same flame, maybe it is time to look at the kind of person holding the iron rod. That was not a euphemism.
Do you fall too quickly?
You’re still at the ‘talking stage’ but you have already planned out your first holiday, wedding and how many children you will eventually have. Relax and enjoy things for what they are. The whole point of dating is to get to know each other – if you find that you like what you know so far, that’s great! However, it’s important to keep a level head and not mix courtship with love. You don’t want to get your heart broken now, do you? As soon as you start looking too much to the future, you will put unnecessary pressure on the relationship before it has had a chance to begin. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get excited in the early stages; but don’t put all your eggs into a basket when you don’t know what it’s made of.
Do you give yourself enough space after a break up?
I once read a poem in school, “Love after love,” by Derek Walcott and its message has stuck with me to my twenties. It’s important to take some time out after an ended relationship to lick your wounds, reflect on the relationship and find out who you are as an individual – post break up. There will be love after love, but rushing into anything while still heartbroken is a big no-no – even if you’re convinced the new union is more than just a rebound. To the serial monogamists reading, learn how to be single. I know it sounds totally counterproductive but you have a life outside of your partner – and if things haven’t worked out, you will need to rediscover that. Never miss out on an opportunity to be fabulously you. Also, this is the best time to deal with any resonating emotional baggage in order to get your shit well and truly together and move on for good.
Do you always date the same type of people?
Do you still go for the bad boy or the pretty girl with no personality? Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time. This principle can be applied directly to the dating game. If you continue to date people with similar flaws, how do you expect anything to change? You may only be attracted to a certain type of person, but do yourself a favour and start dating outside your usual tastes, you might surprise yourself. It’s time to accept that you can’t change anyone, and there are different types of people that can stimulate you mentally and romantically.
Do you also have a “type” that doesn’t waiver no matter how badly things have gone with your exes? Sometimes you have to listen to the saying “trick me once, shame on you. Trick me twice, shame on me”. This is not to say that we can generalise people into groups, however when looking at the common personality traits of your exes – what were good and what were bad? Is it possible that you are more attracted to the people who keep you at arm’s length? If the answer is yes, why not mix things up and go for someone that lays out all their cards on the table instead?
Do you listen to your pal’s advice?
So your friends know you the best, right? What advice do they give? Have you ever really taken it on board? It’s easier to give guidance then to take it when the heart is involved, but appreciate an outside perspective for what it is – impartial (or so it should be). Your friends and family only have your best interests at heart – maybe it’s time to have an honest conversation about what went wrong in the past and what they think you could do to avoid bad relationship. This can be a tough pill to swallow. But it’s all part of the journey.
Do you communicate with your partner?
If something bothers you, do you let your other half know about it? Even the most seemingly perfect relationship can fall apart because of a lack of communication. This can be a difficult one as everyone has a particular way of expressing themselves – whether in an argument or just general living. If you are clear about the things you expect and vice versa – you can build a strong foundation needed for a lasting relationship. Never be afraid to express how you really feel, but my advice is that there is a way to word everything. Always treat your partner with respect and be considerate of their feelings. If you’ve neglected to do this and shut your exes out in the past, recognise and work on it.
Are you too giving or too clingy?
There is such thing as being too giving or too forgiving towards a partner who is not giving back 100% effort. If this is a consistent issue, speak up. Someone who is not prepared to meet you half way is only wasting your time, or doesn’t respect you. It’s so important to value your own worth and know what you deserve. If you feel like you are always bringing up the same types of issues and starting to feel like a nag, then kick his ass to the curb honey! You can do better.
It’s not easy to look in the mirror and hear home truths, particularly if your past relationships have taken a downward spiral. But the fact that you are reading this article means that you are curious about opening yourself up to meeting someone new, even if it means taking a different approach to your love life. While we can’t protect ourselves from other people’s actions – you can encourage yourself to have healthier behavioural patterns and do everything in your power to meet the right types of people, and keep them around.