We are all familiar with the pattern. The relationship starts out amazingly great, but ends in pain and misery. When relationships fail time and again, it’s best to remember that despite our initial rationalization, the world is not full of losers. Rather, the serial failing relationships usually is indicative that we’re just rotten pickers.
I don’t say this for the purpose of trying to make people feel badly. Rather, people can feel empowered, knowing they have the ability to examine their selection process, and why they are chronically drawn to the wrong type of mate.
Eight top reasons for repeated relationship failures include:
1. Not looking at the person’s past behavior. Past behavior is typically the best indicator of future behavior. Pay attention as to how s/he left past relationships. Is s/he kind to others? What is his or her relationship with family members/colleagues/neighbors?
2. Failure to ask questions. Is s/he forthcoming about his past issues? If not, what is s/he hiding? Do you really want to marry someone without first knowing about their 4 ex’s, 2 bankruptcies and current parole violation?
3. Letting chemistry do the picking. Physical attraction starts in the brain. If your feelings for the person decline, so likely will the physical attraction. You are then left with nothing. S/he won’t look quite so hot when the relationship is ‘not’.
4. Expecting the person to change. If you marry a smoker, you must expect a lifetime of living with a smoker. If your potential spouse is too attached to his/her parent, and hasn’t matured beyond the parental-child dependencies, accept that relationship as is. It is unlikely to change after marriage. Lasting changes occur because they see the need to change for themselves, rather than because they are smitten with their loved one.
5. No shared values. You don’t need to be attached at the hip, sharing the same activities. Having the time to pursue your own interests can serve to prevent stagnation and boredom from setting in to your relationship. However, if you do not share a compatible value system, you are likely to encounter non-negotiable conflicts. This will be evidenced in spending and saving money, raising children and respect for one another.
6. Avoiding loneliness. The alarm on your biological clock is ringing, all your friends are paired up, and you are tired of the dating scene. Marrying the decent but not-for-you person will not be an antidote for loneliness. Worse yet, you will likely find yourself lonely within a committed relationship.
7. Falling in love with the idea of love. Building a life together means preventing fantasies from being confused with the relationship realities. No one can ever live up to the expectations and perfections of fantasies. Worse yet, fantasy love inhibits the openness that is required for two people to come together and see each other as wonderful, unique people.
8. Moving too fast. It is only natural that we have our ‘party manners’ on during the beginning of a relationship. We act our best, put out our finest appearance, and are generously tolerant of our partner’s peculiar behaviors. What we forget to recognize is that the same is occurring with the other person. Relationships have natural cycles, and it is imperative that the friendship and trust be allowed to grow over time. Ignoring the fact that the ‘honeymoon phase’ of perfection will come to an end can result in regrettable premature life changing decisions such as impulsive geographical moves, pregnancies, or rushed marriages being made.
I encourage readers to add your own personal experiences, and what you learned about improving your romantic selection skills.