Did you just have to break up with another total loser and are you wondering how to stop choosing the wrong person over and over so that you can, once and for all, be happy?
It happens to all of us. We so want to find the person we will love forever and yet we repeatedly choose someone who not only isn’t good for us but who is often JUST like the person we dated last time.
Seems silly, right? It is but it is very common. Luckily, you can stop this tendency in its tracks with a little bit of awareness and action.
#1 – Know what you want.
You know when you go shopping for a car or a new house, you have some idea of what you want. Automatic or standard? Red or Black? Ranch or Cape? City or suburbs? Either way, you head into one of the biggest decisions of your life knowing what you want.
Of course, we can’t always get exactly what we want, and sometimes what we want ends up being different from what we thought we wanted, but knowing mostly what we are looking for at the outset is important.
People always say they want someone who is attractive, funny, intelligent, financially secure etc. What I always encourage people to look at, however, is how they want their person to make them FEEL.
For example: instead of someone being attractive, someone who makes me smile when I see them. Instead of someone being funny, someone who makes me laugh out loud. Someone who is financially secure meaning someone who makes me feel safe.
Knowing how you want someone to make you feel is way more important than looking for specific traits in someone. You know that guy who is HOT and then he opens his mouth and what comes out makes you want to run for the hills? That is what I mean.
As you work to stop choosing the wrong person over and over, take stock of what it is you want, how you want your forever person to make you feel.
#2 – Look hard at your past.
Okay, this part is really important. You know the phrase ‘history repeats itself?’ It does, in more ways than one.
If you take a moment and take a run down of your last few lovers I am betting that all of them have at least one thing in common. Perhaps your first reaction is to think that I am wrong here but I am most likely not. Think harder.
One of the biggest issues in my marriage was my husband’s drinking. I swore to myself that I would never choose a guy who drank too much. And what happened? Almost every guy I have dated since my divorce drank too much (except for one, who was in recovery). I also promised myself that my next life partner would have a healthy relationship with his family. Again, this was not a common thread between my partners.
Unless we learn, we tend to choose the same people over and over. We make the same mistakes over and over. This is why so many second marriages fail – because we don’t learn a thing from our first marriage and we plunge in again quickly and blindly.
So, take a serious look at your past. Get out a piece of paper and write down the pros and cons of the last few people you have dated. Note their similarities and vow to yourself that you won’t get involved with someone similar again.
#3 – Don’t ignore red flags.
What are red flags, you ask? Red flags are those things that you notice that, as your relationship develops, causes concern. Perhaps your person isn’t nice to their mother or spends a lot of money or struggles to hold a job or doesn’t like your friends. You know what I am talking about.
The thing about red flags is that they are ignorable and, as a result, they get ignored. We see the flags and look past them, hoping that we are wrong or hoping that our person will change or hoping that if we just love them enough those red flags will disappear.
Unfortunately, red flags rarely just go away.
So, if you see red flags that give you pause, that make you wonder if this person is the person you want to be with, don’t ignore them. You probably ignored them in relationships past but I encourage you not to do it again if you want to stop choosing the wrong person over and over.
#4 – Listen to your friends.
How many times have you had someone in your life and your friends told you that that person just wasn’t good for you? How many times did they see the things that you didn’t, or weren’t willing to, see? How many times did they encourage you to stop taking so much shit and move on?
It is essential that, if your friends, the ones who know you well, see issues with your person, LISTEN TO THEM. More often than not, your friends only want what is best for you. Yes, they might have extreme ideas about how bad your person is for you but their ideas are, more often than not, based on the truth.
So, even if you don’t trust yourself to stop choosing the wrong person over and over, trust your friends to have your best interests in mind and look out for you. That’s what friends are for!
#5 – Don’t be scared to be alone.
One of the major reasons that we choose the wrong person over and over is because we are willing to take whatever presents itself to us. We are so scared of being alone or we believe that the person in front of us is the best that we can do that we try to make them be more than they are.
Because we are scared of being alone, we ignore red flags, we don’t listen to our friends, we talk ourselves into believing that this person can be who we want them to be if we just love them enough.
So, a key part of how to stop choosing the wrong person over and over is to know that it’s okay to be alone. And it’s essential that you believe that you can, and will, find someone else.
What I can promise you is that, if you stay with someone who is wrong for you, you will waste time not being single and available for when the right person comes along!
Good for you for wondering how to stop choosing the same person over and over.
We all do it. We all go into dating knowing that we want to be in a couple but we don’t necessarily know what we want. Furthermore, we don’t look at our previous relationships to learn from past mistakes. We ignore red flags and our friend’s advice and we compromise because we are worried that we will be alone forever.
The right person is out there for you. Follow these steps and you will find them and you too can live happily ever after!
You can do it!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.