Are You a Bad Picker?

Why do some highly intelligent, funny, attractive and successful women keep picking the wrong mate? Many of us choose the wrong partners because of false beliefs we have about who we are and what we deserve in life. Many times developed in our growing-up years, our false beliefs may originate from our family dynamics, ethnicity and/or culture.

There are many reasons why women choose the wrong partners. We may expect to change them, falling in love with their potential. If anything, we CAN expect people to change after marriage?for the worse. We may focus more on perceived chemistry than on real character. Many of us confuse “love” with “lust,” ignoring important character traits such as humility, kindness, responsibility and happiness, and substituting superficial traits such as looks, career-choice or salary.

We may choose the wrong person because he or she reinforces an (almost invariably) incorrect belief we hold about ourselves. Labeled as “Early Maladaptive Schema” and defined by Jeffrey Young as “a broad pervasive theme or pattern regarding oneself and one\’s relationship with others, developed during childhood and elaborated throughout one\’s lifetime, and dysfunctional to a significant degree,” the combination of early childhood experiences, the innate temperament of children, and cultural influences may lead to the development of these schemas. Early Maladaptive Schemas begin with something that was done to us by our families, or by other children, which damaged us in some way. When a belief is formed early and is accompanied by strong emotions, it can remain unchanged, festering really, in the subconscious until it\’s consciously addressed. Those beliefs that are formed in childhood and remain unchanged can cause us problems as adults. Long after we leave our childhood home, we continue to create situations in which we are mistreated, ignored, put down or controlled.

We may become addicted to bad relationships. There are several levels of addiction and everyone’s addiction is different. One common reason we continue in bad relationships is the belief that if we end the relationship, we will never find anyone else who could possibly be interested in, or love, us. We grow so attached to our partner that we forgot our life before him or her, making us afraid and incapable of being on our own.

Fear of criticism is another reason many women remain in bad relationships. We are afraid of what people will say, believing that ending a relationship means that we are failures. Other reasons include enjoying the financial support of a partner or having a child together. On a deeper level, we could be addicted to disappointing and bad relationships due to upbringing, or experiences we had as children. Perhaps we were not nurtured or loved enough and we now think it is normal to be neglected from love, care and understanding.

Rose-colored glasses obscure red flags. When we find ourselves “in love” we often overlook glaring signs that our partner is not what we interpret, or wish, him to be. One of the most important things women can do is to learn from their past mistakes. We need to enter the dating game with our eyes wide open. If we find ourselves on the same path we\’ve traveled before to a dead end, we need to, as the GPS-lady advises, recalculate our route. Albert Einstein is famous for having said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It is not until we change our patterns that the results may change.

One way to avoid repeating our past mistakes is to start thinking outside of the box. We must be conscious of our patterns and then break them. Identify our “type” and broaden our horizons by dating someone who is not that. This person may be the complete opposite of whom we usually like or date; he may not, on first glance, add up to anyone\’s perfect match; or his circumstances (ie. he\’s divorced, has kids, is too old or young, too short or tall etc.) may prevent us, initially, from considering him a good match. In order to change our habits, we might give these “outside-of-the-box” dates the benefit of the doubt. One thing to be aware of is that a good partnership brings out the best in both partners. This should be a conscious requirement of any relationship.

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