If you could have one thing in the world, it would probably be a satisfying, loving relationship. You would like to bond with another human being on a deep level, to be completely loved, understood and connected. You would like to be able to trust one special person and count on him or her to be there for you when it’s important. Your actual relationships usually fall far short of this fantasy. You seem to get involved with one person after another who doesn’t seem to love you as deeply as you love him or her. You often feel ignored, neglected or even abused. Your significant other may often be an alcoholic or a drug addict. Your romances are frequently rocky and turbulent, but you hang on anyway, long after most people would walk away.
Repeating Patterns of Attraction to the Wrong People
It seems like every song and movie gives the same message — that love is the be all and end all of existence. Song lyrics frequently croon that you are not whole unless you are in love. The happily-ever-after ending of movies usually includes finding true love. The constant message we all get is that the only path to a full and satisfying life is by finding romantic love. You may find that instead, you are usually disappointed in love. Your relationships tend to be with people who are self-centered, addicted or abusive. Why does this keep happening to you? You may think that the universe is against you, or that you are the victim of perpetual bad luck. But it isn’t bad luck that causes you to repeatedly become entangled with the same type of person. You are most likely communicating a message to others on a subconscious level that you are an excessively nurturing person who puts the needs of others before your own. You let your partner know early in the relationship that you will bail him or her out of trouble and that you will put up with disappointment just to stay connected. Your insecurity or fear of abandonment is much stronger than your indignation at the way you’re being treated. Your pattern is to keep hanging on and hoping the other person will change into the loving partner you are hoping for.
You Think You Should Leave
You may call your friends or relatives frequently to complain about your unsatisfying love affairs. You tell them detailed stories about the horrible things that you are putting up with. Your bank account has been wiped out. Your significant other never came home and didn’t call. He or she embarrassed you by blatantly flirting with someone else, or wasn’t there for you when you really needed love and support. To your friends and family, the fact that you stay is a complete puzzle. Why would you put up with this treatment? They probably tell you that you should just leave. But leaving is not the point. To walk out of one abusive or disappointing relationship into another doesn’t solve a thing.
Finding the Way Out
The solution is to come to understand why you hang onto rocky relationships. Why do you settle for so much less than you want or need? There is a reason, and your most important job is to figure it out. If you keep getting involved with the wrong kind of person, you are probably a love addict. You are drawn to drama, trouble or the challenge of fixing someone whose life is a disaster. By focusing on the other person and his or her problems, you can avoid looking at yourself and the work you should be doing in your own life. Consider attending meetings of Al-Anon or Co-Dependents Anonymous. At these meetings, you can begin to understand what it is that is causing your relationship problems. You may want to work with a counselor who specializes in love addiction. With help, you can learn to overcome your attraction to troubled people. You can learn to have a relationship with yourself and refuse to settle for less than you deserve in the future. It will take time and effort, but you can let go of rocky romances once and for all.