Lauren* was a busy professional woman who had always done what was expected of her…She had done well in school, went to university and got a great career. 

Her professional life was thriving most of the time, but in her relationships she was often drawn to men who were emotionally distant and Lauren found herself constantly seeking reassurance from them. She was often told that she was too much and too needy. Once again Lauren found herself single and wondering how she could change your relationship trajectory. 

Lauren grew up in the family where on the outside there was everything, but on the inside there was distance. Her father was withdrawn and would rarely interact with her, unless he was upset about something and became suddenly angry when he could not tolerate the kids being noisy. Lauren learnt that she needed to be a good girl to be liked. Be obedient, loyal and hard-working. Those were the qualities respected in her family of origin.

Do you find yourself repeating similar relationship patterns? Do you often find yourself in a relationship or “situationship” with a person who is not meeting you emotionally? Do you keep asking yourself: “Why do I keep attracting the wrong men?” 

For the past 15 years I have worked with both men and women and helped them with their relationships (and childhood emotional neglect and trauma). Lauren’s story is fairly typical of many of the single women I have worked with. Hence, I wanted to write this post to explain and help you to make sense why you may have attracted the wrong kind of men in the past. I also give tips on how to start changing your relationship patterns and find healthy and fulfilling relationships in the future.

Why are we attracted to certain people?

Research shows that two factors impact on our choice of mates in relationships. These are proximity and similarity. 

Proximity means that when we spend a lot of time together we get to know each other and over time if there is also a physical attraction and we share similar interests or are doing things together, then we may become interested in each other in a romantic way. This explains the curse of Strictly, where often relationships blossom between Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing With Stars participants and their dancing partners. 

Whilst proximity is not enough, a lot of time together often means sharing more personal matters with each other and potentially even something more vulnerable. Brene Brown talks about how vulnerability is the way to a deeper connection. 

So let’s then talk about similarity and how that is linked to attraction. Previous research has shown that women have been attracted to men whose facial shape is similar to their fathers’. 

Even more importantly as our brains are designed to save energy and prefer something that feels familiar to something new, we often end up recreating the same relationship dynamic as we had in our family of origin. 

We learn about relationships in our early relationships. Read more here How our early relationships impact our well-being and relationships. We learnt from our caregivers how we are viewed by the world around us, whether we are worthy or perhaps we felt unloved. 

 Often there is also an unconscious wish to repair the original pain cause by earlier relationships in our adult relationship. So you may have decided consciously that you want to have a different relationship as an adult to the relationship you had with your parents but unconsciously you may end up repeating the relationship dynamic. These unconscious desires are very tough to break but these patterns can be broken with a lot of awareness and conscious work. 

How can you change the future of your relationships and live more fulfilling life?

There are many things you can do to change your future and have happier relationships. 

  1. The first step to changing your patterns in relationships is self-awareness and understanding who you are and what type of relationship patterns you have engaged in. It is important to also understand the impact of your early relationships to you. 
  2. When you have gained understanding of yourself and how your previous relationships have impacted you, practicing radical self-love and self-compassion is key. 
  3. The chances are that you have tried to figure out our relationships by yourself. Perhaps this was a pattern from your childhood. Decide to do things differently. Reach out to support whether it is in the form of supportive friends or professional support to work through those relational traumas that keep tripping you up and making you attracted to people who are not emotionally compatible with you.

Finally, 

I hope you found this useful. If you would like to have more support in understanding your relational patterns and change your luck in love, check out my services page or book a FREE 15 consultation here. 

Warmly

Mari