The Painfully Honest Reason You Continue To Attract Toxic Men

Why you keep dating people who are narcissistic and non-committal.

Rules of attraction Josh Sobel, Brock Wegner | Unsplash

Narcissistic people are everywhere, but does it seem like you keep finding them all and getting caught in one toxic relationship after another? If you want to know the rules of attraction that will net you, someone, without narcissistic behavior or have you noticing signs of a toxic relationship a few short months after you meet a new man, then there are some patterns in your love life you need to pay attention to. Attraction works simply in love and relationships, and the rules of attraction are this: What you put out into the world you're going to receive back into your life. Narcissists will show you signs of attraction very early on so that you may not realize it's a toxic relationship until it's too late.


But what if there's a reason you keep falling for these guys? Does it seem you're attracting the same type of person — narcissistic or non-committal — or that your relationships have a similar vibe in that you only know how to attract men who are bad for you? It’s not uncommon for people to notice they always attract addicts, narcissists, or emotionally abusive men. 

It becomes hard for them to imagine meeting someone different — an appropriate and healthy partner they can thrive in a long and prosperous relationship. A significant part of figuring out how to change negative patterns is to explore why they keep happening. Next, is to develop a plan of action to do differently. Looking at the “why” helps you gain the self-awareness and insight necessary about the reasons you may attract and accept emotionally unavailable and inappropriate partners. Many of the reasons lie with your subconscious mind beneath awareness.


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Here are 3 ways you keep attracting toxic men:

1. Explore your early family history

What was your parent’s marriage like? Do your romantic partners have negative traits of either of your parents? Was there someone consistent and reliable in your life? Do you experience chaos or abuse? As a child, were you given adult responsibilities? Reflect upon how these early relationships and your family’s communication styles may have influenced your partner's choices. There is often a comfort level or a familiarity about it that feels normal in a romantic relationship even if you know on some conscious level that it is unhealthy or making you unhappy.

2. Discover the themes in your dating and love life

Write down each significant romantic relationship you've had. Include ones that were short but perhaps intense or ones where you were infatuated, but the feelings were not reciprocated. Include anything you think is important. Write down the general traits of each partner. Also, think about how each relationship ended. Are there similarities and themes you notice about the relationship or the individual? What does this information tell you?

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3. Acknowledge your contribution to the relationship dynamics

Do you tend to be overly anxious or insecure? Do you create drama or chaos in your life? Do you play the victim role? Might you be sabotaging potential healthy relationships? You may have traits and behaviors that perpetuate these patterns as well. You should also look at your expectations in relationships, understanding that believing in a perfect union or a “soulmate” will lead to disappointment. If you only blame your partners, you may not fully understand how you get stuck in the first place. Insight without behavioral change is useless. Therefore, figuring out how you will act differently once armed with this new information about yourself is a crucial piece.

Here are 3 ways you can stop attracting the wrong kind of love:

1. Take a positive and cautious approach to dating

Look at dating as “meeting another human” and nothing else. If there is a spark, that’s great, but you still don’t want to crank up your hopes about this person you just met. Slow down and think about what’s essential: Similar values, life goals that align, no obvious red flags, and so on. Don’t ever rush a romantic relationship. If it is meant to be, you won’t be ghosted or treated poorly just because you took it slow.

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2. Believe you deserve a loving relationship where you are treated well (even if you don’t feel it yet)

People tend to have what’s called a “confirmation bias.” This is the tendency for you to interpret new evidence or information as confirmation of your existing beliefs. For example, if you believe you are unworthy of love, you will filter out information that tells you that you are worthy of love and instead accept the evidence that supports this negative view. This bias is a dangerous one that will also keep you stuck in the same patterns. If you begin recognizing the positive information you're ignoring, you may begin to change how you view yourself.

3. Focus on what you can effectively change, control, and fix

Another person doesn’t fall into this category! You can’t change the past either, but you can learn and grow from it. You can make better decisions in the future. You can rewrite your life narrative, which now includes partners who are consistent, reliable, emotionally engaged, and trustworthy. You can also have a fulfilling and purposeful life with or without a romantic partner. Science tells us that we are wired to repeat problematic behavior. This is a psychological and physiological drive to resolve the problem once and for all. The obvious concern is when you apply the same solution over and over after seeing it didn’t work the first time.

Figuring out new solutions and patterns takes a conscious effort, or your brain keeps firing down the familiar neural pathway it always has. This is true for many things you do and why habits are hard to change. Your love life is not exempt from this fact. This is also why you repeat patterns even when they cause you pain and don’t help. When you try a new relationship strategy, it may feel strange and uncomfortable, but that should provide some assurance that you are moving in the right direction.


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Dr. Marni Feuerman is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, relationship expert, and author of Ghosted and Breadcrumbed: Stop Falling for Unavailable Men and Get Smart about Healthy Relationships.