Why We Repeatedly Choose The Wrong Relationships


couple in a bad relationship
How do you get out of the cycle of bad relationships?
Do you pick the same type of terrible partner over and over again?

It seems so simple – two people are attracted to each other, and they either get along and the relationship grows or not, and so they break up and move on. But how often do relationships actually work this way?

On one hand, there are couples who have been unhappily married for 30-plus years, and on the other hand, everyone knows friends who break up with partners every two months, only to date the next, eerily similar candidate. So, why do people pick lovers that break their hearts?

More from YourTango: How To Get Your Partner Into Couples Therapy

The devil you know. People tend to be drawn to the familiar. Whether it's a former boyfriend, your mom, dad, or brother – regardless of how crazy they may have been – basically, you've become an expert in managing life alongside them. It was tough, but you learned how to handle (or elegantly avoid) them.

Craziness no longer scares you. Maybe you've played a key role in maintaining sanity in your family, and if so, you may take pride in that. You've survived and mastered that challenge, and now it is familiar, even comfortable to you. So when you meet that type of person, you're naturally drawn towards him/her.

The dysfunctional duo. Sometimes the reason you're with somebody is not for all the rational reasons you think, but instead because that person meets a subconscious need in you. The problem is that it can create a bad dynamic. If you're struggling with depression or boredom, a "drama queen" (or king) makes you feel alive, but also turns your life into a roller coaster. If you're a wallflower, a charming narcissist might help your social status, but he's hell to live with.

These are some of the reasons people get into these bad relationships, but the next question is: Why do we stay in bad relationships? Let's look at some reasons. Keep reading...

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More from YourTango: Getting Your Money's Worth in Couples Therapy

Get even more insights about how (and why) to ditch your "type" and free yourself from unhealthy attachments -- so you can finally find the love of your life.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Julia Flood


In my San Francisco practice I help couples in crisis break out of the vicious cycle of hurting and getting hurt. Call me at (415) 820-3210 or email me at

Location: San Francisco, CA
Credentials: LCSW
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues
Other Articles/News by Julia Flood:

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