IN THIS ISSUE:
How to Stop Attracting the Wrong Type of PersonBy Betty Russell
Congratulations! You have jumped back into the dating pool. Doing so takes guts and vision and a joyful, optimistic heart. In fact, your optimistic confidence that you will find Mr. or Ms. Right is totally justified. But maybe you are losing that optimistic outlook because you notice a recurring theme - as you attempt to enter serious relationships, you find that they all seem to go down the same rabbit hole.
For instance, do you seem to be attracted to emotionally needy people who demand so much of your attention that you lose sight of yourself? Or do you repeatedly become involved with emotionally unavailable people who shut you out no matter what you do? These and other repeated scenarios inevitably result in your unhappiness and eventually a break up. You wonder, "Why does this keep happening?" It's always the same game, just a different player.
The answer: you're attracting the wrong type of person through a familiar habit. That habit was likely formed because it confirmed something you believe about yourself.
Maybe you are a rescuer. You think you can save someone, or help him or her in some way. Your nurturing personality fits perfectly with the lost puppy syndrome. If every person you are drawn to becomes a project a habit is formed. You become the "only one who can save him or her."
Or, if you keep finding yourself linked to someone who is emotionally distant, and you feel inadequate as a result, how do you behave? You no doubt do anything in your power to get that person to respond to you, to care for you or show the caring you know is there deep down. Here, too, your needs are not being met. But your belief in yourself as unlovable or undeserving may be confirmed in such a relationship, without your even knowing that is what's happening.
First of all, realize that it is not okay for your needs and desires to be shelved. Realizing that this is what has been happening and recognizing the recurring themes in your love life are huge steps to getting you back on the path to finding true love.
Changing your beliefs about yourself and thus your relationship habits is not necessarily easy to do, but it can be done! There are steps you can take to empower yourself as you reframe your relationship strategies, beliefs and, finally, outcomes. Below are some strategies for getting off that merry-go-round.
Develop self-awareness. Know who you are and be that authentic self. I don't mean to sound glib. We are all on a path of self-awareness. Perhaps you do know yourself but have not been paying attention. Maybe you are too busy focusing on the other people in your life! Time to focus on you.
Identify your core values. Your values, whether conscious or unconscious, determine the decisions you make. You have values for all aspects of your life-family, health, career, and relationships. When you live your life aligned with your core values you will feel on track and fulfill one of your highest needs: for your life to have meaning. Write your values down in order of importance. Doing so will help you understand your priorities and recognize a partner who shares those key values.
Identify your limiting beliefs about yourself and decide not to accept them anymore. For instance, if you believe you have to be the caretaker, and never nurtured in return, know that about yourself so you can release that belief and find a life partner who aligns with a new belief that you are worthy of attention and love.
Be your authentic self. If you are able to identify your core values and limiting beliefs, you've taken the first step towards being your authentic self. Embrace your core values and overcome your limiting beliefs and voila! You will find that you are attracting like-minded people and automatically deterring those who do not belong in your life. You will have created space for the right person to show up.
Knowing what makes you "you" will help you recognize when you are acting to maintain a relationship in a way that goes against your grain. That self-knowledge will warn you when you act in opposition of your core values. It will also alert you when you are reacting according to limiting beliefs. When you notice either of these things happening, stop and remind yourself of your end goal a committed long term relationship that supports, enriches and warms you- and act accordingly.
Identify your needs in a relationship. First of all, not only is it okay to have needs, it is normal, and thus vital that they be recognized and acknowledged in order for you to be happy in love! You may have needs for affection, openness, communication, consideration, commitment, and trust, to name a few. Think of a time when one of your needs wasn't met in a relationship. Did you feel hurt, angry, frustrated, unappreciated or something similar? Being aware of your needs and that they are legitimate will help you to know when they are not being met. Awareness will help you quickly recognize when and if you are slipping into your old familiar pattern of not caring for your own needs first. Changing the automatic response patterns you've developed over the years requires mental intervention and physical action.
Know your relationship requirements and settle for nothing less. Those non-negotiable, black or white deal breakers. Perhaps you fooled yourself into thinking there is a limited number of possible partners, and that you have to take what you can get or be alone. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is a limiting belief and a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you expect less, you get less. So define what you want. The whole package. Figure that out and then persevere. Trust that if you apply yourself you can get what you really want in your life. Remember, you must be able to say NO to what you DON'T want, to be able to say YES to what you DO want. Be aware. Don't let limiting beliefs keep you from your relationship requirements. You have the power to choose who, what, where, when and how, and get the relationship you really want.
Develop a dating strategy and act upon it. Set your dating GPS to get to the relationship you deserve, and then follow the steps until you arrive safely. When you catch yourself veering off course and falling into your old familiar patterns, recalculate and get back on track. Going against the innate response of a learned pattern will feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first because it's been well practiced and is all too familiar. Do it anyway. You can consciously decide to break that nasty habit.
Getting off the merry-go-round of failed relationships with the wrong people takes some reframing, some stubbornness and a strong belief that you can find the right person. And you can. That much I know for sure!
Copyright © 2013 by Betty Russell. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Betty Russell is a Dating Expert and a Board Certified Life Coach. She provides dating and relationship advice for serious minded singles. Getting it right the second, third or fourth time around.
Why do I end up fighting with the guys I date?
It seems like every time I get involved with a man, the first few weeks are great. We get along and we're happy. Little by little, we start fighting over little things. We end up arguing until we finally break up. What am I doing wrong?
Sheryl responds ...
The first few weeks or even few months of any relationship are generally referred to as the honeymoon period. That phase is wonderful, yet it is very short term. The phase that follows is real life and real challenges and issues will begin to show up and you start to see the chinks in each other's armor. The trick is to figure out early on whether or not you are compatible partners - well before either of you are invested in the relationship
Some things to consider - Are you clear about what you need for a relationship to work for you and do you screen for those qualities early in the dating process? Are you moving into an exclusive relationship too quickly? Are you being your authentic self right from the start? Are you able to easily communicate your thoughts and feelings or do you hold back until you know each other better?
Why not use the next dating relationship as an opportunity to take your time and discover who you are as individuals, whether you share the same values and life vision, and if you can be great life partners. If so, enjoy the honeymoon!
Sheryl Spangler | www.heartandsoulmatchmaking.com
Randy responds ...
What you are experiencing is called "infatuation." It's very normal.
You both are putting your best foot forward, with high hopes and high (probably unrealistic) expectations. After a few weeks, or a couple months, reality will set in, followed by disillusionment, which often leads to fighting.
This is a "perfect storm." He is not as good as he makes out to be, and not as good as your expectations. A double-downer. The solution? Patience. Keep expectations low and wait 90 days. Date others. See if it turns into something good or fades away. If it fades, as most will, don't get down on yourself. You have to kiss a lot of frogs, so this will happen repeatedly. Not everyone is right for you, and it takes time to know.
If it survives 90 days, then it's probably not infatuation but true chemistry. There are still tests ahead however, related to your problem solving ability. As a minimum the relationship needs to survive the two year "power struggle" before you can feel any degree of confidence.
Are you doing something wrong? You are probably misinformed about love (by friends and the popular media). You will need to rectify this to succeed.
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
Susana responds ...
Brenda, it's easy to get along when we are in the initial throes of hormonal love. We all succumb to the rush of good feelings.
Sometimes we kiss a lot of frogs on the way to the prince.
That being said, you are the constant in all your relationships. Are you communicating your needs and wants clearly to your partner or are they coming across like complaints and judgments? Are you truly open to listening to your partner's request for change from you or do you shut down?
Learning to communicate about what we need and want as well as what annoys us is critical to moving from dating to a more committed relationship.
Perhaps it would help for you to check in with a singles coach to evaluate your speaking and listening skills and use this time as a single to become the best communicator possible and thus break the cycle.
Only you can decide if you are as good a communicator as you want to be or figure out your part in this repeating cycle in your relationships. The great news is, with good coaching, there is no doubt you have control on how to create your future relationship.
Susana D. Gonzalez| www.completerelationshipcoaching.com
Nina responds ...
What are your beliefs about yourself and relationships that would cause you to sabotage them? Make a list of what you want in a relationship and then finish the sentence: "I can't because...". List the reasons why you can't. Notice that taken together they follow one of three general ideas:
"If I try, I'll fail", "No one will like me", or "I'm not worthy".
Now take each item on your list and turn it around and ask your mind good questions like "Why am I so successful in relationships?", "Why am I so likeable/loveable?" or "Why am I so worthy of a lasting, loving relationship?"
These questions will start turning your old negative beliefs around because they act like a Google search for your subconscious mind. Better to get 100 pages back on why you WILL succeed than on why you won't.
When you disagree with your mate, make sure you aren't making him wrong. If you disagree, by definition, you're BOTH right. You each have your own perspective and if you're making him wrong for his, then you're driving him away.
Discover his perspective first and you'll be more agreeable when you disagree.
Nina Potter | www.ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org
Noelle responds ...
I applaud you for taking the time to seek insight into your relationship concerns. Rather than blaming you or past partners for the end of your relationship, I encourage you to put the focus on the relationship. I am sure you heard it takes two to tango. In the beginning stages of the relationship everyone plays nice, and often forgets about their needs in order to keep peace. If needs have not been communicated with each other then resentment occurs.
The result? Little squabbles and arguments occur because the individuals' needs have not been addressed. The recommendation for your next relationship is for both you and your partner to communicate effectively during the honeymoon stage. By setting up the stage for good communication early on, will allow your relationship to progress to the next stage. Good luck!
Noelle Shoemate | (917) 359-0650
Denise responds ...
The intimate relationship is the fertile ground where we seek to get unmet needs met. When that doesn't happen we argue, become angry, unfulfilled, or critical.
We may then blame our partner with statements like "you never", "why don't you", "you didn't". This of course leads to conflict. Its human nature to unconsciously expect our partner to fulfill all our emotional, physical, sexual, and relational needs, whether we date casually or intimately. Some of these needs have gone unmet for years.
Many times we don't feel empowered to meet them ourselves. We may unconsciously carry around the limiting belief that we feel disempowered in our intimate relationship since we are relying on our partner to automatically know our every need and meet them.
When this person lets us down, and they will because they are human, we feel neglected, disrespected, not seen or heard. This leads to dissatisfaction, fighting, and eventually breakups.
To the extent that you are intimately aware of your own physical, sexual, emotional, and relational needs, are able to express those needs calmly, and able to independently meet those needs, then that is the extent that you may experience less conflict and enjoy satisfaction in your relationship.
Denise Wade Ph.D. | www.sweetharmony.net
Anita responds ...
When it comes to dating, a mistake people can make is sweeping their old and unhappy experiences under the "relationship history rug" instead of looking back, and learning what works and what clearly doesn't.
We don't always know what our accountabilities are in terms of the fires we stoke, or olive branches we pluck and offer. And we aren't always aware of how we handle words and actions that thrill us or emotionally kill us.
Try looking back: How quickly do you move a new date toward commitment? What are you qualifying and limiting?
Change your perception! Release the pressure in dating and allow yourself to view each experience as an adventure, learning what works and what doesn't.
Dating isn't only to learn about others, but more to learn about yourself in the process. We often jump into relationships to claim love, marriage and everything in between, but neglect the self-work, awareness and ready-ness required to reach optimum performance and longevity.
Do an inner-scope, and keep dating. There are bad apples among good ones in an apple tree, but if you stay aware and confident, you'll gain the power to choose a wonderful, delicious and nutritious apple.
Anita Myers | www.innerscopeconsulting.com
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
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