How To Avoid Bad Relationships

Here are 6 tips on how you can avoid getting yourself jammed into a bad relationship.

I can’t tell you how many times I have talked with a client who seems to have an addiction to bad relationships.  Can bad relationships or marriage be avoided?  Are there tactics that can be used by individuals and couples to avoid negative outcomes in their relationships.  After counseling with these clients for a number of years, I have learned to understand that there are patterns of predictability that can be discovered concerning the partners we sometimes choose. I definitely can speak from personal experience on this, but just think about it for a moment,  have you found a trend in the personalities of men or women you have chosen to date or marry in your life. Have you found yourself choosing a man or a woman who is narcissistic, self-centered, very critical, blaming, condescending, or just MEAN!!

Examine Who Your Relationship History

Sometimes we need to search our relationship history and ask ourselves the question, “who is it that I am attracted to.” The answer to this question can be quite interesting, and sometimes embarrassing, but as the old saying goes, knowing is half the battle.

Some of us end up finding that we are attracted to people who take advantage of us, act entitled, or who are flat out abusers. We don’t necessarily profile these types of individuals pick them out based on these characteristics, but it just turns out at that at the end of the day we seem to end up in a bad relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to have a desire to work things out the way we might suggest.

There is a deep psychology that explains why we often are attracted to the same types of personalities over and over and over again. Why is it that most of the men and women we choose to date and/or marry can’t support themselves, or maintain a steady job. Why is it that every person we have dated or married always cheat on us.  “Are all relationships like this,” we might ask, “or is it just me?” Is it me that is the problem?

Believe it or not, more times than not we are attracted to individuals that feel familiar to us in one way or another. Most commonly I find that most individuals are attracted to elements of personality characteristics that they have observed from their parents or caregivers in some form.  So maybe if your mother was controlling, you marry a controlling spouse.  If you had a parent that was very manipulative, your spouse may also share these characteristics.  If your father never kept his promises and therefore you didn’t feel good enough, then you marry a spouse you often refer to “a liar.”   So often our selections are more of an action than what we are aware of, and this is why we often repeat relationships and even marriages with new partners.   In counseling, we talk more about the unconscious aspect of things, but in this article, I would like to explore a few conscious actions that you can take to avoid bad relationships.

Date Someone Different 

Have you thought about ending your current relationship? I’m primarily speaking to those who have not yet married.  Considering we may often and perpetually date individuals that we feel are unhealthy for us,  one consideration is to remove yourself from the relationship that has been continuously causing you grief.  If you are in a toxic relationship, it may be time to move on.  Another consideration for the future is to date someone different from the personality type that you have most often been attracted to. Now this may be awkward at the start, it may even seem weird, but as the old saying by Albert Einstein says, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Let’s face it, what you have been choosing is not working a lot!

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that you should start dating individuals that you are not physically attracted to, rather I am suggesting that you should start dating a partner with a different profile. Try dating someone that you don’t have to fix, someone who is not narcissistic, a cheater, or always thinking about themselves first.  Try a relationship with someone whom you feel is out of your league, or maybe too nice and not as rough around the edges.  See if you could be attracted to someone who has their own stuff!!   These characteristics in most cases are not what we generally want in our relationships or marriages, however, these are the people we so often choose.  If you are looking to get into a new relationship or desire to be married in the future, try choosing someone with a different profile.

Pay Attention To Your Gut 

How often do you listen to your gut?  Do you allow your heart to change your impressions? Have you been used to giving others the benefit of the doubt with no benefits?  Pay attention to the gut, not the heart because it is often deceitful, and will lead you into places you don’t want to go. The gut is always on point, but it doesn’t always try to talk you out of what you have already made up your mind about.

The gut will let you know from the start, “Red flag, veer to the left.” The gut tells you, “ hold up!!! You have seen this before, and it never ends up good…run!!!” You may not be desperate, but when you are desperately want to be married or desperately desire a good relationship, do you really listen to your gut?

The fatigue that often comes along with being desperate for a good relationship, makes us vulnerable to falling a victim to the heart that says, “ maybe it will be different this time,  “ maybe she won’t be a Golddigger with me. I know she was married when we first starting talking but he wasn’t treating her right.  Maybe she wouldn’t do the same thing to me. Wisdom says “ The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who could know it.” My advice is to Stay away from the heart and try to stick closer to the gut. It almost never lets you down.

Avoid Taking On Relationship Projects

Taking on relationship projects can get you moved into the projects.  People are who they are, why do we feel it is our call to fix them, especially when they don’t see anything being broken. Fixing others is often a distraction from fixing yourself. It places one in the position of expert, coach, mommy or daddy. What you need is a lifelong partner, not someone you can lead, heal or fix that makes you feel validated for your help.

It is rare that relationship projects work, but some times they do. One big problem with having a relationship project is that many of us make it our mission to search out relationship projects almost exclusively.  It is as if we feel that we can’t move into a ready-made luxury home.  It’s like we are saying that there is some crime in choosing someone who is good for us and ready to go.

Have you ever thought about what happens when the mission is accomplished and the project is completed? What happens is that you are not needed anymore.  There is no feeling of anxiety scarier than fixing up a relationship project and having nothing more to fix.  Once that project is nice, shiny and has improved its value, we then begin to have anxiety and fear that the project will recognize its worth, gain its confidence and walk away all good and doesn’t need us anymore and how comfortable of a feeling is that for a fixer, that now has no project. One can often run the risk of feeling useless and unneeded. This can lead to thoughts of insecurity, depression, and anxiety.

Date Above Your Potential

Dating below your potential is a clear sign of insecurity. Sometimes there’s just something in us that tells us to just stay in our lane.  You may be searching for a relationship and you see someone that comes with all the bells and whistles. They have all kinds of stability, they are smart, articulate, active in the church, educated, attractive, and genuinely seems to love people, but for some reason, we let this type of person walk on by. When trying to choose a spouse, what is it about A man or a woman who has their program together that is so intimidating or unattractive. Why is it that we choose relationship partners who just show up, people who just show up empty-handed, bringing nothing to the table of a relationship. The only thing that is really attractive about them many times is that they are human, they are alive, and they are showing interest. Why is that? Ask yourself the tough questions about why you choose someone who chooses not to reciprocate what you put out.

When searching for “the one” in a relationship or for marriage, one way to dig yourself into a hole of further depression, anxiety in singleness is to date below your potential. The truth is is that there is something inside of you telling you that you are not good enough to have the full package in a relationship.  That voice is silently telling you that there’s something lacking in you. Rebuke that voice!!

Recognize You Are Good Enough, Now Believe It!!

There is a quote by Neil Anderson that says, “No person can consistently behave in a way that’s inconsistent with how they perceive themselves.” The ones we choose to date or marry are most often a clear image of where we rate our self-worth. If you are dating below your potential, it’s likely because you have unconsciously determined that this mess is what I deserve. Can you talk to God about that for me?

Avoid believing the lies about your self-worth that may roam through your mind. Test our your potential. See what happens when you take a moment to step up your game and participate in some serious screening of your relationships. Give yourself time not to just settle. You will be surprised at what might walk through the door once you refuse to settle. I am a witness.

About Choya

LICSW Social Work Licensure Supervisor and Mental Health Counselor in Huntsville, AL 35806

Choya Wise, LICSW, PIP is the owner of Aspire Counseling and Consulting Services a mental health clinic in the Huntsville, Al area.  As a licensed mental health professional Choya specializes in individual counseling, marriage counseling, and anger management counseling.  He also offers Social Work Supervision in Alabama.

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