Ever gone through a string of failed relationships and wondered WTF? This could be the culprit.
The pattern is a familiar one. At first, things are great. Your new boyfriend looks he might be the end-all, fantasy relationship that you’ve been searching for.
After a while, doubts start to creep in, until they grow too big to ignore. Then, in the final death knell moment, you dump them for greener pastures and venture into the great dating unknown to find… nothing great. Regrets abound. The “I-never-do-anything-right” demon makes a visit and you might try in vain to get your ex back, but to no avail. Or, you might move on to a new relationship to find that it’s shiny and great… until.
Humans are creative beasts. We are able to change situations completely with our minds. This power is both heaven and hell, it simply depends upon how it’s used. If you’re prone to self sabotage like I used to be, it’s a downright destructive force.
If you’re not quite sure what’s ailing you when it comes to failed after failed relationship, see if you have any of these destructive mindsets.
1. This Isn’t Shiny Anymore, So It Obviously Sucks
My personal brand of relationship self sabotage looked a lot like this one. It was like once the initial feeling of roller coaster courtship excitement wore off, I was left with a lingering feeling of “this might not be right since I’m not enthralled and excited, every single moment.”
If this is you, consider whether you might be addicted to dating drama and unable to accept it if things are just run of the mill “good.”
2. The Grass Must Be Greener
It’s easy to compare your day to day boring interactions with someone else’s perfect Facebook life, or how your BFF seems to always date people who would crawl over broken glass to make them happy.
This can cause you to start to think “I could do better” in relationship to your mate. Whether you could or you couldn’t do better, the idea that you’re somehow missing out can burrow into your brain and run amok.
3. I’m Not Worthy
“Hello fractured self confidence. I see you’ve chosen to rear your ugly head today and wreak havoc here. Welcome to the party!”
This brand of self sabotage is what people are really talking about when they prattle on about loving yourself first before you can love anyone else. It’s not that you have to be texting yourself love notes all day long, it’s that a crappy self image can help you tank everything good in your life faster than virtually anything else. Believing that you don’t deserve someone who treats you well will repel just that— and cause you to hit the kill switch on something that could be great if you’d just stop messing with it.
4. I Didn’t Realize You’re Not Perfect… Until Right Now
After enough days of watching anyone toss their socks on the ground at the front door after work, it’s easy to start thinking of your lover not as the mythical being that they were in the beginning of your relationship, but more like a real-life human with foibles and quirks.
Having your beloved step down from their pedestal can be a jarring experience that can make you question your attraction to them. The fact is, we’re ALL flawed. We’re ALL a work in progress. And most of us wear socks.
5. This Isn’t What I Ordered
Movie cliches, comparison, normal day to day interactions can all lead to a growing sense that the life you expected to have after you fell in love doesn’t quite exist in the way you thought it would.
6. You’re Cool, But Most Of Your Kind Is Not
This destructive mindset can be applied to any potential suspicions you might have about men’s motives. It’s incredibly difficult to have a good relationship with someone who you deep down don’t trust because they’re “one of them.” This can rear it’s ugly head at really bad times– so when things start to get rocky and you aren’t exactly sure why, an underlying belief that men are untrustworthy can definitely be the problem.
Here are the best ways I know of to manage the self sabotage beast:
Manage your expectations.
When you think to yourself “this isn’t like I expected” or “that’s not how they’re supposed to act,” consider where you got your expectation and whether or not it’s realistic. For example, expecting that someone will treat you respectfully and kindly is non-negotiable. Expecting that they will contact you every day on a certain set schedule that they aren’t even aware of, is not. Thinking that every day of your relationship will be like a fairy tale, isn’t realistic either.
Give yourself reality checks.
If you’re feeling dissatisfaction or disappointment about your relationship, run your underlying beliefs past an insightful, honest friend. Don’t be afraid to ask the people in your life who have good relationships what things are really like behind closed doors. Hearing “we have awesome days and not awesome days,” is very real and can help you from letting your own expectations run amok.
Push back from social media.
Ever notice that you feel crappy after logging onto Facebook?
A recent study in the journal of Computers in Human Behavior showed that the use of social networking sites (like Facebook) was correlated with increasing divorce rates over the study period, even when the researchers controlled for other factors.
This finding is just another good reason (among many) to log off of social media and start living your life in person.
Keep your hobbies, friends and interests.
Happiness is an inside job. If you’re expecting your partner to magically fulfill your every desire and be “your whole world,” one of these days they’re going to disappoint you simply by virtue of being human. A good relationship should compliment your life, not be the all-encompassing force that sustains your happiness.
Work on your destructive mindsets about men.
Believing that all men are pigs is guaranteed to trip you up. You might be able to suspend your beliefs for long enough to start a relationship with a man, but sooner or later this kind of stuff is going to pop up and sabotage you. Either he will eventually sense it and be driven away, or you’ll show your distrust for him and firebomb that bridge.
If you feel like you’ve been wronged, get therapy, work on it, get over it. Don’t generalize your feelings to “all of them.”