Love is challenging enough to find without self-defeating behaviors. As such, many women can’t find a successful relationship and they become their own worst enemy. After discussing the issues with over 250 women on Facebook, many were awakened to their own behaviors and how they were subconsciously destroying their chances for love. If you’re a woman, here are the top three ways you stop yourself from finding the relationship you deserve:
1. You put your ex on a pedestal .
After a breakup, we tend to look at our exes as perfect. We look past the issues that caused the breakup and remember only the good parts of a relationship. Even worse, we don’t see our own contributions to how the relationship failed. This rose-colored glasses viewpoint can have a detrimental effect on future relationships for a number of reasons:
- You think, “No one will ever be like him.” You compare future romantic interests to the good parts of your past relationship. As a result, you search for and find all the flaws in the new guy, and talk yourself out of discovering someone new.
- No self-reflection or transition past the relationship. By mentally staying in a past relationship, you limit yourself for the future. You subconsciously stay stagnant in the hopes that he might return and you’ll be back together.
- You think, “Nothing like my first love.” Even established relationships can be affected by an ex long past. If you still hold a candle for a first love, instead of investing in your present with a current partner, you can sabotage your relationship. You’ll struggle with unnecessary arguments, tension and disconnection because you’ll keep your current partner at arm’s length emotionally.
2. You make the relationship work … all by yourself.
Too many women get stuck in thinking that the relationship needs them to make it work. You may get treated well, but your partner isn’t actively investing — he’s just doing the bare minimum to keep the relationship going. This causes you to wonder what you’re doing wrong. Most often, this situation is the result of having your self-esteem locked up in that relationship. You think that if you do more, your partner will come around and love you. Then, you will finally be worthy of love. This is a self-esteem trap, and it leads to clinginess, insecurity and (in extreme cases) love addiction.
A relationship takes two people. If one is gun-shy — or not on the same page emotionally — there will be a disconnection, which can lead to this kind of cat-and-mouse game. You need to have a firm grasp on your values and your identity as a woman. If you don’t know how to be happy with yourself, you won’t know how to be happy in a relationship.
3. You have a vendetta against all men.
With the anger that can accompany some breakups — or if you’ve had a number of bad relationships in a row — you might try to convince yourself that all men are bad. With that mentality, you won’t need to invest, trust or develop an intimate relationship with anyone again. But it’s not healthy and it doesn’t acknowledge that relationships are made up of two people.
Even if he was the worst guy possible, you had your own contributions to what made the relationship fail (even if your only “contributions” were that you ignored red flags, stayed too long or allowed yourself to be in a disconnected relationship). For those women who have been in multiple bad relationships: They think they’ve had five bad relationships in a row.
But in reality, they’ve had one bad relationship five times. My advice: Get out of the pattern. Get into you. Change your environment and you’ll change your selection process. Other women fool themselves and embrace bitterness with statements like, “There’s no such thing as love. I just want to be single.” But what many are truly saying is, “I’ve been hurt and I’m not willing to put myself out there to be hurt again.” What they need to realize is that not everyone is the same. All relationships are different. Love is great, but they have to love and trust themselves before someone else can.
Moving past a bad relationship takes a concerted effort to accept (what happened and your part in things), forgive (yourself and others) and change. In the end, it becomes a simple choice. Either you choose to live back where you were or you choose to live where you are. This article was originally published at The Problem Is Men. Reprinted with permission.