Did you ever feel like you’re in the movie Groundhog Day when it comes to your romantic relationships? Although the movie is a comedy, it contains a serious message. The Bill Murray character does eventually, after dozens of failed attempts, to do some things right and get his woman. The movie is a parody of what most people go through in their relationships. In his case, it was with the same woman. For the rest of us, it’s a different person with the same personality traits. Because you’re going through the same patterns with different people, it may take awhile to notice that you are in your own private Groundhog Day.
How can you identify your patterns and shift them into healthier ones that will help you attract a partner who brings out your best and supports you fully? These steps will help:
- Get a piece of paper and make three columns
- In the first column, make a list of your most significant romantic partners (at least 3)
- In the second column, list what attracted you to each person. Try to move beyond physical traits to personality traits and qualities.
- In the third column, make a list of what ended the relationship (or makes you want to end it if you’re still in it).
- Circle all the commonalities between each partner. If you don’t have any exact matches, circle things that are similar. For example, jealousy and controlling behavior are similar.
- On a second piece of paper, complete this sentence: “When my partner acted this way (pick one of the negative traits), I made it mean.... about myself.” Repeat for all the common negative traits.
- Complete this sentence: “What I really want from my next partner is...”
Commit to giving that to yourself for the next 30 days. For example, if you want respect from your next partner, respect yourself. Eat better, get enough sleep, follow up on your commitments to yourself. If you really want your next partner to be adventurous, take yourself on an adventure. Be the thing you want from your partner for yourself first.
What we want from our romantic partners, we really want from ourselves. You can’t expect someone to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. You can’t expect someone to be amorous toward you (after the honeymoon phase is over) unless you love your own body, and unless you’re willing to reciprocate.
Contemplate your answers to step 6 over the next week and see what other revelations come to you. This exercise will tell you a lot about yourself: how you think, how you feel about yourself, and the assumptions and expectations you bring into your romantic relationships. You can then use this information to make changes.