Another man? Another disappointment? You could be sabotaging your relationships. Here's how to halt another heartache. By Nita Tucker
Finally, you've met the perfect person. You have the relationship you've always wanted and everything is picture-perfect. But soon, the first cracks begin to appear. He makes too much noise when he eats. He has irritating laugh. He's stingy. He's bossy. You start to fret. You get resentful. You start looking for the EXIT signs.
Don't panic. The relationship may not be falling apart and you may not have hooked up with the wrong person. It may be just your collection of bad attitudes that you've been carrying with you from relationship, and that collection may have started as you observed your parents' relationship. Many people find that their partnerships are replicas of less-than-perfect relationships they observed as children. These childhood impression can be so deeply routed that it doesn't occur to people to try to break out of them. They simply resign themselves to the limitations of fulfilling partnerships and say, "It's the way marriage is."
When you enter a new relationship, you bring any negative attitudes, opinions and fears with you. For instance, if the man you’re dating tells you he’d like to spend some time apart, it’s could mean he’d enjoy doing some things on his own or it could mean he’s sick of being with you. You opt of the latter, because you’re building your case that “men always leave”. And your paranoia and need for constant reassurance make it more likely that he will leave.
If your behavior you controlled by the negative attitudes and decisions you’ve made, exposing your negative attitudes is the first step you can take towards being able to have the kind of relationship you really want.
The next step is to become aware of how these have been holding you back. Sometimes our unconscious attitudes and fears come in the form of “sabotage patterns” – the particular ways that we go about destroying our relationships. The first thing to know about your pattern o sabotage is that it’s hidden.
So finding out how your sabotage will help enable you to stop. Here are seven ways you may sabotage your relationship, as well as the reasons you may do so – and what you can do to change your behaviour in your relationship:
Sabotage situation # 1:
“I love a guy who’s a real challenge”
Are you always attracted to guys you can’t have? Do you lose interest in someone once he falls for you? Are you easily bored in relationship?
There are several variations to the “liking the chase” pattern: Going after the most popular or unattainable guy, but when you ‘get’ him, feeling as if you won the booby prize; having a string of relationship that fall apart because you lost interest in each man after a while; liking guys who treat with indifference, but when they act nice to you, feeling as they’re clingy.
What really going on: This pattern is nothing to do with liking a challenge. It is all about low self-esteem – yours. Groucho Marx used to joke, “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” If you have this pattern, you wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with anyone who has poor enough taste to be in love with you. But if you can’t love someone who loves you, you’re not going to be able to have much of a relationship.
What can you do about it: Next time a partner start being appreciative and attentive, don’t run away screaming. Instead, try this tact give yourself a chance to see how it feels to be liked. Instead of running away, remind yourself that liking you is a sign of someone’s good taste.
Sabotage situation #2:
“Guys walk all over me”
Do men take advantage of you? Are you always the one who “gives” in a relationship? Do you think most men are “takers”? You’re always there with patience and understanding when they need you, but they don’t treat you the same.
What’s really going on: If you have this pattern, you’re no happy unless you’re mistreated, so you manipulate others into doing just that. To keep your partners from being as good as you are, you ask them to do things for you when you know they have no time. Or you ask in such an accusatory tone that they have to say no. When they do try to do things for you, you don’t react graciously-you complain that whatever they did wasn’t done right.
What you can do about it: It’s important to keep a close watch on your actions in order to resist your tendency to “gives” as means of manipulating your partner. When you do give, don’t keep score. Stop looking at what he is doing or not doing for you, and when he does something nice be appreciative.
Sabotage situation #3:
“I’m always getting dumped out of the blue”
Are you always surprised when a relationship ends? Did you think it was really going well? You know you never do anything that drives them away- you never nag or expect too much. And you’re always careful to avoid conflict.
What’s really going on: People with this pattern have their heads buried in the sand. Mary, a 25-year-old accounts assistant used to be classic ostrich. The last boyfriend she had before she took seminar (I give “How not to stay single” seminars in different parts of the world) Left her suddenly, just like the others. For her, his departure “came out of the blue.” She thinks that he left her because she was going through a quarter-life crisis.
What she realized in my seminar was that by avoiding conflict, she had not addressed many of the problems that existed in the relationship. She though if she ignored them would go away, but of course they didn’t.
With her unwillingness to communicate about anything uncomfortable, the wasn’t much to talk about. Her “don’t rock the boat” attitude made her relationships boring and mundane.
What you can do about it: Start noticing when you want to ignore the issues that arise in your relationships. Stop letting them go by. When your discomfort threatens to keep you from communicating, remind yourself what refusing to confront issues costs you.
"I'm just trying to be helpful, but guys think I'm nit-picking"
Are you always offering helpful advice? Do you tend to become your boyfriend's 'adviser'?
What's really going on: This was my own personal pattern. I tried to 'help' men by pointing out how they could improve and by constantly correcting them. If you have this pattern, you probably consider yourself to be very perceptive. You think you're using your insight to help the people you date, but what you're actually doing is constantly finding and pointing out theirs faults. The message the get from you, however subtle, is that they're not okay to you.
What can you do about it: Start using your intelligence and perceptiveness to build people up instead of down. For example, if he asks you, "What do you think of this," instead of giving your usually brilliant answer, ask him what he thinks instead. when he tells you, don't disagree and don't offer a better solution.
Sabotage situation #5:
"I'm always get clingy and needy when I'm in a relationship"
When you get involved in a relationship, do feel that you need to be together all the time? Do you become thoroughly dependent on him? Do you become intensely focused on him?
What's really going on: You are dependent on others for your own identity. You feel that you're "nobody till somebody loves you".
What you can do about it: Just admitting you feel this way is a great first step. Next time you notice the desperate or clingy feelings coming over you, take a step back and see if you can nip that feeling in the bud.
Sabotage situation #6:
"I'm always fall in love with guys who never love me back"
Do you fall for men you can't have? Do you become obsessed with them? Do you think once you find true love, your life will be complete?
What's really going on: You aren't in love with a person; you're in love with your image of one. Your fear of rejection lies at the root of this pattern. The fact that your fantasy lover doesn't return your affection isn't a real rejection, because you think if he really knew you, he would love you.
What can you do about it: Next time you find yourself falling into an unrequited love affair, ask yourself if you would rather have a fantasy relationship or a real one. Then face reality: If the person you're crazy about isn't asking you out, he probably isn't interested.
You need to stop dwelling on these 'dream' people. Resist the impulse to fantasies about them and don't feed your tendency to get obsessed by keeping things around that make you think of them or frequenting places where you might run into them.
Sabotage situation #7:
"I'm always get involved with guys who screw me over"
Have you been burned one too many times? Lied to? cheated on? Have you decided that you're not going to let someone get close to you unless you're sure that he won't violate your trust?
What's really going on: Yes, you've been hurt, and yes, by protecting yourself you won't get hurt again. But the protective fortress you've erected around yourself is keeping Mr. Right out along with the people who might hurt you. The requirement that someone prove his trustworthiness before you'll allow yourself to get close keeps you unavailable for relationships.
What you can do about it: You have to be willing to risk getting hurt. In order to fall in love, your heart have to be open enough that it could be broken. Getting to know someone and letting someone get to know you is the only way to find out if you're right for each other.
You may have clearly recognised your pattern among those described. You may even see yourself in several of them. so once you identified it, you can begin to turn it around. But don't expect to see it disappear overnight. You may always need to be aware of your pattern so that you don't fall into it again.