Dating the same person over and over again just with a different face? Break the pattern.
Almost everyone in the dating world readily admits that they have a type. Men might admit to liking blondes or girls who are tomboys; women might admit to liking men who are built or unforgivingly ambitious. While most people are fine showcasing the exterior of their type to anyone who asks—I'll only go for guys who make me laugh—they don't showcase (or perhaps even notice) the inner demons of their type—I'll only go for guys who make me cry.
What this means is that men and women have a tendency to date the same type of person, even when it has lead, over and over again, to an unhealthy relationship and ultimate heartbreak. Perhaps you've seen it in yourself or your friends—Sally always goes for guys who are emotionally unavailable and Jeff only goes for girls who are after his money. This tendency, as you might have guessed, is not a good thing—it leads to a pattern, a pattern of frustration, heartbreak, and, eventually, cynicism about love.
When this pattern finally becomes too ridiculous, those following it go one of two ways: they settle for someone who doesn't really make them all that happy or they give up on love entirely, concluding that all romantic comedies and Shakespearean plays are essentially full of crap.
While this may certainly be the glass half empty viewpoint, there is a brighter side. In short, patterns are not finalities: they can be broken.
But, like the breaking of so many bad habits, breaking a bad dating pattern is not a one step process. Rather, there are three steps that need to be taken before the pattern is even feeble enough to snap in half. And it all begins with understanding why you date the way you date.
- Ask Yourself Why? — There is a reason you go for the people you go for. Maybe you like drama, maybe you like a challenge, but, most likely, you are attracted to that type of person because they resonate with some sort of deeper vision of yourself. People, whether it's in the dating world or working world or even deciding what they have for breakfast, like familiarity: it makes us feel safe. A great deal of this has to do with childhood. If you didn't like your parents, you may find yourself dating people who are the polar opposites of them. If you did like your parents, you may find yourself dating people who are similar to them. Either way, you're letting familiarity dictate your choices. If, on the other hand, you're able to bring consciousness to why you're falling for a particular person, you are better able to break the cycle of the same old person, and venture out to something new.
- Notice How You Speak to Yourself — Regardless if you talk to yourself out loud or you simply think quietly, you are constantly speaking to yourself one way or another. People who often feel the most familiar to us are the people who echo the inner dialogue that is running through our own mind. They speak to us the way we secretly and sometimes unknowingly speak to ourselves. So, what kinds of things do you tell yourself? What do you think you deserve? How do you react to failure or rejection? Do you find that the people you date reinforce that self-talk? Something is holding you back from changing the types of people you date. Once you figure out whatever this thing is (or these things are), you'll be able to choose people differently.
- Consciously Practice Loving Yourself — No, this type of loving yourself doesn't involve battery operated toys or stocking up on hand lotions. Rather, it involves loving yourself without a mate. Lots of people have a tendency to fear breakups because of their fear of being alone; conquering this fear is a key to breaking the pattern of bad dating. So, take some time to deal with yourself head on and crush that fear of being single. When you're comfortable being single, you are no longer running back to that familiarity that makes you comfortable and safe. When you're comfortable being single, you can change your dating dynamic by choosing who you want to date based on what you feel, rather than what you fear.
When it comes down to it, the most important relationship we have is the one with ourselves. When we are able to develop this self-relationship, we are able to improve our relationship with others. We are able to turn unions into platforms of self-expression, love, and kindness, instead of pillars we rely on merely to remain upright.