Sep 192017 1 Response

Why You’re Attracted to the Wrong Guys

Allison has had a string of bad relationships. Her first marriage was rocky. It was on again off again for many years. Warning signs were present before the engagement, but those signs were ignored and after seven years the relationship ended.

The second marriage went much faster. After two years of struggle, they decided to break it off.

In her mid-30s, she is twice divorced and if she was honest with herself she would see she has never been in a healthy relationship. (See: Date Well to Marry Well)

As she begins the next relationship, her friends and family think, “Here we go again,” but to Allison, her new beau is different. He’s perfect in her eyes. She has a strong attraction to him and she assumes this will be her best relationship.

Of course, it’s not and she can’t figure out why.

How can someone be so attracted to the wrong person? Why can’t they see the destruction before them which every other person can easily foresee?

Part of it is the lack of objectivity. It’s always easier to see problems in the lives of others compared to the ones which should be obvious when we look in the mirror. Objectivity makes for clearer eyes. This is why we should have people in our lives who can tell us the truth. In love, they can speak the words we need to hear and not just what we want to hear.

But there is more going on with Allison than a lack of objectivity. Others have the ability to recognize when they are attracted to the wrong men. Still, others have the ability not to feel any attraction toward men who are incapable of meeting the basic needs which a healthy relationship demands.

Past Hurts, Present Attractions

Here is what Allison can’t see–her past has molded her definition of love and created a skewed view of who can’t meet her needs. Her early relationships with family, authority figures, and others leads her to be attracted to the wrong men. She is naturally drawn to people who have no ability to meet her needs.

Maybe she never received acceptance from her father and now she continually seeks the approval of men. She’s attracted to men who don’t give her approval believing if she can ever earn it from them, she will be validated. (See: 5 Signs She Doesn’t Love You)

Maybe she grew up with instability and learned very early on to take control of things. She desperately wants a husband who supporters her but is drawn to men she can control.

Maybe she grew up in a home with a high amount of emotional turmoil. She learned to never rock the boat. While she desires to be known, she is drawn to men who never confront issues beyond the surface. She feels safe with them, but never truly understood or loved.

Maybe she never felt a strong attachment to her mother so she continually believes that to be loved, she has to remain small and insignificant. She’s drawn to men who make her feel that way, but all the while she longs to be more.

Maybe she was raised by inattentive parents. She learned early that the way to get the attention she needs is by becoming needy. She’s drawn to men who will attend to her neediness, but she doesn’t realize how unequal of a relationship that becomes. Early on they meet those needs, but over time they simply start ignoring her.

Whatever the circumstance, her experiences as a child have negatively impacted her attractions as an adult. Her romantic relationships are being negatively impacted, not by the failures of others in her past, but by her own failure to recognize how those past relationships are influencing her current attractions.

Notice–she has to own it.

While she is not responsible for what has happened in her past, she is fully responsible for how her past is influencing today. She must recognize the struggle, do the work to unearth the truth, learn new behaviors and attitudes, allow strong people into her life to tell her the truth, and seek happy and healthy relationships with people who do have the potential to meet her needs. Without intention, she has little hope for change.

If It’s Broke, Fix It

Everyone has the potential for a bad relationship. We can make bad choices. Others can make bad choices. Timing can be wrong. Some people just aren’t a good fit. One bad relationship is life. Two bad relationships is interesting. The inability to have a good relationship deserves attention.

If you have not had a healthy romantic relationship or if that relationship ended on bad terms, it is worth asking the question–is my past hindering my present? Is it possible that you unconsciously choose people who are incapable of meeting your needs? Is your picture of what a good partner looks like skewed? (See: I Never Loved You)

Everyone is influenced by their earliest relationships with moms, dads, siblings, family, and authority figures. While we all would do well to consider our past, look at our current needs, and see how they are impacting our lives, for others, it is mandatory before they can have a healthy, mature relationship.

Two Nevers

Our past has a tremendous influence on our present circumstances. Here are two important things to remember:

1. Never underestimate the power of your past. Your upbringing is not the determining factor of your future. You can learn, grow, and change your future. However, our past plays a much more influential role in our present circumstances than any of us would like to admit. It takes a tremendous amount of work (often with others) to overcome the negative thoughts and habits our past has created in our minds.

2. Never stop discovering how your past continues to influence you. We are never finished learning about our past. It’s continually influencing us and we must continually consider its impact. We must continue to peel back the layers of our lives to understand why we do what we do. It’s foolish to believe we can deal with our past with one look and never have to think about it again. Instead, in every season of life, we must continue to understand our past and its current influence.

Struggling to find love? Maybe you need to reconsider what love looks like.

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