It always amazes me that there are no relationship classes on the curriculum of most schools, when without a doubt the fastest way to totally ruin your life, is to get into a relationship with the wrong person.
You don’t need to have masochistic tendencies or an adrenaline junkie mind-set, in fact you don’t need to do much more than just be yourself!
For many of us, sometimes even as early as when the dopamine high of the ‘honeymoon period’ wears off, we find ourselves faced with the prospect of financial ruin, shattered self-esteem and even homelessness or suicide, as the result of having married the wrong person!!
Sure it all looks like fun when you see the couple in their bridal finery, their eyes bright with hope and good intentions. Everyone is wishing them well, with the exception of the jaded divorcés, who pragmatically, yet accurately predict that there’s more than 40% chance of this not working out.
Probably an even larger number is retrospectively going to wish they’d saved all that money to buy a house with instead. It does seem like a lot of money to spend when you consider the odds, doesn’t it! Maybe society should collectively create a new tradition and only throw the expensive party if the couple are both truly happy to be celebrating 5 years together.
Anyway, choosing our partner is without a doubt the most important thing we can do for our future happiness and success, and is the most important interview we can conduct, yet almost half of us get it wrong, not because we’re incompetent but because we’re wounded.
All efforts to avoid self-sabotage end at the beginning of our dating interview, the significance of which eludes most of us.
Armed with nothing more than our hormones, and for most of us a highly dysfunctional Relationship Blueprint, the current trend is to show up alone to meet a perfect stranger, and for many of us women, as long as he’s relatively attractive, financially solvent and seems to really likes us, he passes muster!
For some well-intentioned yet misguided desire not to infringe on our freedoms each successive generation is left to their own device, to see what kind of catastrophe they can make of their relationship, with none of the insight gained by the generation before us, who have already made so many of the same mistakes!
Truth be told, they’re the reason we can’t have a functional relationship in the first place, as were their parents for them, and for each, the generation that went before them.
The biggest predictor of unhappy relationships, are unhappy experiences at the hands of our significant caregivers during our formative years.
Often unintentionally, and certainly thoughtlessly, at a time when they should have been giving us unconditional love, validation and protection, they either neglected us, criticized and punished us, or gave us a confusing mix of the two. Even those with happy memories won’t have been completely unscathed.
In order to survive this, both emotionally and physically, we develop coping strategies that, sadly, ensure that our most intimate future relationships will fail. (Download a free assessment at the end to find out what yours is.)
It’s pretty unrealistic to expect that, given what happened to so many of us as children, we should then be able to avoid making mistakes as we look for love as adults.
The best we can hope for is a true appreciation of how messed up most of our ‘love radars’ are, and how we do ourselves a disservice if we expect to fly on auto-pilot, allowing our instincts to run the show when we first start dating. Here’s a breakdown of the main problems for us.
Unlike those securely attached people, it doesn’t really occur to us to say after the fourth or fifth major disappointment, “you know I’m noticing a pattern here and I don’t think you’re right for me, goodbye”.
Instead, unbeknownst to us we enable the behaviour, because even if our tirades say “this is unacceptable”, our behaviour tells them otherwise when we stay. They also can’t help thinking “well if you don’t love yourself enough to leave me when I treat you that way, why should I love you enough to treat you any better. It may take ten years for us to realise what the securely attached person could realize by the end of the first or second date! We are so focused on them not leaving us, we fail to see that we should leave them. This is exacerbated by the next point.
If we can’t be ok with our own company and we don’t think we’ll find anyone else, the prospect of being alone becomes more than we can bear and there’s no chance of becoming available, so someone better can find you. Even then, this next problem will surely undermine us;
Our capacity to be loved and valued by another is directly proportional to our capacity to love and value ourselves.
How forgiving are you to someone’s mistreatment of you?
Don’t blame yourself, instead understand that you need to take that very unfamiliar step and start to treat yourself well.
How willing are you to consciously and consistently stop doing what your impulses tell you, and to rewrite your love scripts?
The first step is to understand the power of story, and to recognize the impact that our stories have on our lives.
I hope you’ll join me next week and we’ll explore why it’s vital to understand both how we’ve crafted, and how we share, our own life story.
You can hang out with me live and also get questions answered, weekly at 12pm UK summer time and 7pm HK time, at the Academy of Lasting Love Facebook Page. Like us and Facebook will occasionally let you know that we're live, follow us and it will always let you know on your Newsfeed.
If you’re feeling stuck in your relationship and haven’t already downloaded Your Relationship Blueprint grab it below.
Your Relationship Blueprint will help you identify your pre-programmed relationship style. It's the attachment style that was most likely formed in your family of origin during the first 6 to 18 months of your life. This exercise will help you understand how that attachment style might be holding you back from a blissful relationship and the love you truly deserve.
Find out what yours and your partner's Relationship Blueprints are now, and begin to understand how each of you unconsciously get stuck in your relationships.