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Throughout my life, I’ve always been lucky in one area of my life; love. I’ve never had trouble getting or keeping a boyfriend, which I always considered to be a good thing, until I realized that maybe my propensity for being able to generate an insta-relationship out of nowhere was not working in my favor. I started to sit back, think, and re-evaluate my past relationships and dating patterns.

 

The upside of always being in relationship? I was never alone, always had a date to events and parties, and of course the emotional and sexual intimacy that comes along with sharing your life with someone.

 

But the downside? I realized that I did not know how to be alone, I was repeatedly dating guys who weren’t really all that great, and I was spending way too much valuable time trying to “fix” them. The problem with devoting so much time to fixing other people is that it leaves you with little to no time to work on yourself. My own life was in a tailspin while I was dedicating so much time to fixing my boyfriends to make them who I wanted them to be. But that wasn’t working, so I decided to sit down and really think hard about my relationship patterns and what I could have been doing differently.

If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve been unlucky in love, here are a few questions that you can ask yourself if you think you have been practicing toxic relationship patterns.

  • Do I like who I am when I’m in a relationship?
    This was a question that I struggled to answer throughout all of my relationships, and until just recently, I finally had the courage to answer honestly; no. During my relationships, I was wound tight, worn out, and all out of whack. I was mean, short-tempered, and always feeling trapped by my own emotions (Having the “should I stay or should I go?” inner dialogue constantly, ugh!) I realized that even though I loved the idea of being in relationship, in reality, my relationships were taking a toll on me, and I could see it. Do you feel better or worse about yourself when you’re with that person? Do they bring out the best or the worst in you? The answers to those questions can help determine if you’ve been, or are currently in, a toxic relationship.
  • Do My Relationships Enhance or Complicate My Life?
          I am the type who puts my all into my relationships, which left the other parts of my life, like my family, friends, health, and hobbies, unattended. While putting so much into that person, I started to think, “How much am I putting into myself,” and more often than not, the answer was “Not enough.” The person that you’re dating should supplement your life, not complicate or make it worse. The people that I was dating were

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        m my joy, not adding to it, which caused unnecessary strain on me. Don’t forget that the most important person in your life is you, and you have to love you first in order to be successful in other areas of your life.
  • Am I Dating The Same Type of Person Over and Over?
    I’ll be the first to admit; I have a type. I usually date underachieving stoners with a great sense of humor, and every relationship with an “underachieving stoner” I’ve dated has ended the same exact way; me feeling unfulfilled, getting fed up with their crap, and kicking them to the curb. I didn’t even realize that I was dating the same type of guys until my best friend pointed it out. It was then that I mentally lined up all of my exes and realized that they were all cut from the same cloth! I was a little embarrassed at first, but then I was happy. As they say in the 12 Step Program, “Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery!” And I felt like that was my “first step” moment. Since then, I have been keeping my eyes, and heart, open to people from other walks of life and it has been interesting and enlightening to say the least. If you’re tired of dealing with the same type of relationship problem, stop dealing with the same type of people! That just might be the problem right there.
  • Do you feel power-full or power-less in your relationships? 

Often times, when we meet someone and they become a significant part of lives, they naturally begin to have some influence over us. This influence could be good (Encouraging you to go to church, work-out, being supportive of you) or bad (Getting you back into bad habits, not respecting your boundaries, pushing you on an issue). Someone who is a good influence over you will make you feel powerful. They will encourage and support you, helping you to become a better version of yourself. But someone with a bad influence over you will make you feel powerless. These type of people will make you feel overwhelmed, worried, stressed, alone, angry, depressed, and a whole host of other negative feelings that are not healthy. Take a minute to think about your past relationships; did they make you feel powerful or powerless? If you felt more powerless than powerful, you may have been dealing with some toxic ties.

I Want to Know:

  • Were these questions helpful?
  • What patterns have you recognized in your relationships?
  • Have you evaluated the current relationship you are in? What about the last one?
  • What parts of yourself do you still need to work on? How can I help you work on these?