One of the most essential human need is to love and be loved. Since we are weird for a relationship from the moment we enter in the world, one would think it would be easy to pick partners that suit us well. But the truth is, many people repeatedly pick the wrong partner and end up feeling unhappy.
Why do we choose certain partners and ignore others who could make us happy?
For some, it’s easy to walk away from a relationship when it’s not right but for others, not so easy. Many people stay in relationships and are even aware of their unhappiness as they know deep down that their partner is not the right one.
Why do we stay in a relationship that makes us unhappy?
Reason 1: Fear – When it’s about making choices out of fear, we all can relate to it. Fear is one of the worst decision makers when it comes to choosing a partner. Fear gives us insecurity. Fear tells us that we better lock a partner down fast or we may be alone forever. Fear constantly sends us the messages that it’s too late to break up and start over. In our culture, no one wants to be the last single friend or the really old parent, or be judged for still being single. However, what we should fear most is spending the rest of our lives unhappily with the wrong person. One solution to working with fear is to lean into it, as uncomfortable as it might be, and be real with ourselves about how we feel in our relationship right now.
Reason 2: You don’t value yourself – We all go through periods of time where we feel high and low. It’s helpful to think of self-esteem as existing on a continuum that fluctuates over the course of our lives. However, in relationships, nothing interferes with the ability to have an authentic, reciprocal partnership like chronic low self-esteem.
Reason 3: Difficult partners mirror our personality – The opposites attract each other but, often, beyond a superficial controversy, there may exist an underlying similarity. This can be a positive factor for an erotic liaison. Still, in some cases, it can be annoying, since it brings us in front of our own weaknesses and flaws. Two egoists or unreliable partners will have a hard time loving each other. Once realized, one should regard the relationship as a chance to confront their one dark sides and surpass it. See a difficult partner that you really love as a gift of the universe and work together to overcome your flaws.
Reason 4: The real pressure – Society gives us terrible advice around our decision making power for choosing a partner. We are told things like rely on fate, go with your gut, and hope for the best. We’re bombarded with images on social media that make us feel behind in life. We are indoctrinated with the belief that we have to find a life partner before we are “too old.” While it’s true that pressure is real, remember, this is your life we are talking about.
Reason 5: You believe your relationship will complete you – There is a huge mistake that many people make when looking for a partner. It is the belief that a romantic relationship is a key to being happy. It’s not true. When you approach a relationship from a sense of emptiness inside, the people you’re dating will sense it and it won’t feel good to them.
Reason 6: Childhood – Theoretically we are a free bird to select the kind of person we love. And yet, at a psychological level, we aren’t free to love just any suitable person. We have a type, choice, and these types are often not those who stand a chance of making us maximally happy. Some very real constraints around whom we can love and feel properly attracted to come from a place we might not think to look: our childhood. Our psychological history strongly predisposes us to fall for only certain types of people. We look for people who in many ways recreate the feelings of love we knew when we were small.
The problem is that the love we imbibed in childhood was unlikely to have been made up simply of generosity, tenderness, and kindness. The goal in our relationships shouldn’t be to end a relationship just because someone has a challenge or negative behavior that we don’t like. The goal should be to learn how to deal with it by using the wisdom that we didn’t have when we when we first encountered these negative manners in our parents.
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