How To Detox From Dating Drama To Find 'The One'


Dating: Are You Hooked On Dating Drama?
Tired of going from frozen to burned with Mr. Hot and Cold? Find out how to stop the drama.

Do you feel as if you seem to continually attract the same person again and again? I went through a good, solid three year period where I seemed to attract the same guy. Let's call him Mr. Hot or Mr. H. for short.

Mr. H. was always charming, and rakish. Sometimes he called, and sometimes he didn't. The big similarity was always an exciting, short term relationship where he became unreliable in equal measure to how high I got my hopes up. I was always confused about why this pattern happened, so after each failed romance, I would try to look for widely different types of guys to date.

I met Mr. H's who were artists, military men, members of academia, engineers, lawyers, and guys who worked at the local coffeehouse. I was trying, and seriously failing to get a different dating pattern into my life. Time and again, these mini relationships would follow a predictable pattern even though the actual man involved varied.

Like clockwork, the newest Mr. H. would arrive on the scene, say and do a lot of flattering things which got get me hooked right before he became maddeningly unreliable. Mr. H. should have had "hot and cold" tattooed on his forehead. Our pairings were super exciting, filled with lots of roller coaster peaks and depressing calls to girlfriends where I rambled on and on, trying to get to the bottom of why yet another guy had pulled away.

This pattern continued like clockwork until one day I realized something that hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was hooked on the drama. I was allowing Mr. H. to wreak havoc, because I had bought into Hollywood's concept of relationships where romance involves a lot of pain right there alongside the pleasure.

No one would show up to the theater to watch the happy couple be happy, day in and day out. Thus, there is the introduction of on-and-off relationship conflict. For example, our hero is "conflicted", and finally realizes that the heroine REALLY IS the one for him while she goes through a lot of drama. Once the realization that she was "the one" all along hits our hero like a lightning bolt, they ride off into the sunset together. But not before a heap of conflict, does this happen.

This pattern looks romantic on the surface, but it actually involves a lot of hot and cold, unreliable behavior that is allowed to continue. This is how I thought that relationships were supposed to work. Hence, this pattern was not only acceptable, but a normal part of my dating life. I figured that eventually the right Mr. H. would arrive, do his conflicted back and forth dance, and finally realize I was the one. Unfortunately, this is not how one fosters a healthy relationship.

Since this pattern is actually painful, why do people continue to allow it? There is a term in psychology called intermittent reinforcement that helps explain why the hot and cold pattern is like catnip.

Intermittent reinforcement comes from B.F. Skinner's work on conditioning. Skinner found that when he provided reinforcement to animals only some of the time, with no recognizable schedule, this was the best way to get them to continue the behavior.

To explain it in more real world terms, intermittent reinforcement is why people play the slots at the casino. They are rewarded for playing only some of the time, but they continue to play in HOPES that they will be rewarded. Rewards come randomly, but they come often enough to keep us sitting there, feeding the slot machine in hopes of a big payoff.

In a relationship with Mr. H., when he's great, he's really great— so much that we think, "well, maybe next time". We hope that things improve. If he pulled out all of the romantic stops, and everything was absolutely amazing last night, the next morning we are a lot more forgiving if he's hard to get ahold of, or if we sense something is off. When there is no discernible pattern of good behavior, we both continue to give him the benefit of the doubt, AND want to see where the path leads.

Before we know it, we're totally hooked. Then we call our girlfriends wondering what it was that we did to make him disappear, without considering that our real part is being hooked on excitement (and willing to participate), and waiting for crumbs.

In order to break this pattern, it is then 100% necessary to reprogram ourselves to respond to consistent love and attention. Especially if you've heard yourself say, "I only attract jerks", and feel like you always end up in these dramatic, go-nowhere relationships.

It's time to detox from the drama, and embrace a healthy experience of love. Only then we can finally say goodbye to Mr. H. for good.

Have you dated a Mr. H.? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Wondering why the guys you like pull away? Find out what to do here.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.

More dating tips on YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elizabeth Stone


Ever feel like your heart just got ripped out and your guy danced the samba on it?  Do you want one more chance, to make things amazing again? Let me help you rewind your relationship back to the way it was at the beginning, before he pulled away and became cold and distant.

I know what it feels like to wake up with sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, hoping, wishing that you could turn back the clock and make things better again.

Find out what to do when a guy withdraws from you and turn your relationship around now.

Location: Las Vegas, NV
Credentials: BA
Specialties: Dating/Being Single Support
Other Articles/News by Elizabeth Stone:

11 Signs You're Mothering Your Man A Bit Too Much


Usually women don't even realize they're doing it, but as a once-great relationship wears on, it becomes painfully obvious that the woman has gone from sexy love magnet to treating her guy like he's five. To him, mothering represents a total loss of respect. If you're subtly treating him like a child, this doesn't demonstrate that you value ... Read more

15 Signs You Aren't Over Your Ex


It's incredibly common for people to be stuck on their exes for months, even years after a relationship ends. Are you still living in the past? Here are 15 of the most common signs you still aren't over your ex: They Are The First Person You Think To Contact When Something Happens Even if you don't act on it, it takes a while to ... Read more

Think Calendars Aren't Sexy? Think Again!


I don't have to mention that regular sex between a couple is incredibly important. Regular sex is often the glue that keeps a relationship working happily. Two people might have a lot in common and enjoy each other's company, but except in uncommon cases, when the sex stops, if the relationship continues, usually one or both of the partners becomes ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Most Popular