We’ve all been there. We date the same losers despite the unhappiness it creates. We discover that no matter how different these partners initially seem, they all end up possessing creepily similar character flaws. If you find yourself in this situation, perhaps it’s time to turn the spotlight on yourself.
It’s no coincidence that you keep falling for the same type of dating partner. Subconsciously, something about these people simultaneously comforts and destroys you. Why? Because events from your past magnetically draw you to these people today, and the truth is you sort of enjoy the pain it creates.
But the longer you avoid confronting the mistakes or traumatizing events of your past, the longer you'll keep running around on your little dating hamster wheel. This is because it’s human nature to be comfortable with the familiar, no matter how mean or white trash that familiar type of significant other may be.
When I took a hard look at my ghosts of dating past, I finally saw the eerie similarities between all the men I was pining over. For instance, they were all alcoholics, emotionally unavailable and manipulative. And guess what else? They were exactly like my parents! Never discount the effect your parents have on your dating life. Your parents are the first people you love, so it's no surprise that they shape your view of love later in life. So if their parenting screwed up your view (which most parenting does), it's your job to be a big kid and fix it so you don’t end up marrying a crazy person and screwing up your own children.
So how do you delve into your past? It's a long and tiring process, as well as an emotional one, but it involves several key points:
1. Write down all the good and bad qualities of your parents. Then make that same list using your dating partners. Note any similarities? Freud was on to something.
2. Write a list of the outcomes of all your relationships and how they made you feel. Do you want to keep feeling like this? Of course not!
3. If you had any sort of trauma in your childhood or any event that could have messed up your dating life, go to therapy! It's not just for insane people.
4. Raid the self-help section of the bookstore. It's cheaper than therapy and still effective.
Think of your past as a research tool for your dating future.