How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

Everyone wants to be in a healthy and happy relationship. There is nothing like the feeling of having someone’s back and knowing they have yours. The feeling you get when your significant other walks into a room, calls you on the phone, smiles at you - all are instances of wonderful.

Sadly, not everyone enjoys these experiences. Either these people are in relationships that are lacking some vital element or they aren’t in a relationship at all. If you’ve been in a series of relationships and they’ve all ended in less than positive ways, it’s time to look for the common denominator. And don’t be shocked if that commonality is staring back at you in the mirror.

Yes, the problem just might be you. Now, this doesn’t mean you are a horrible person and should resolve to live alone on a desert island for the rest of your life. It means you need to examine your past decisions to see which ones prevented you from making better relationship choices. If you can pinpoint the issues and correct them, your next first date could be your last first date.

Do You Date Available People?

Are you attracted to men or women who are emotionally unavailable?

Are you looking for a commitment from a person who has no desire or plans to commit to a serious relationship? If so, quit it. These people, no matter how good a game they might play, will never be the person you need them to be. As soon as you realize this person isn’t in it to win it, cut your losses.

No, You Can’t Change or Save Them.

If you want a project, stain a cabinet. Crochet an afghan. Take up Irish Step dancing. People are not projects. You cannot take a person and turn them into the person you want them to be. Change comes from within. People only change if they want to change. Sure, some people might change because of another person, but it’s more because they chose to change, not because of anything in particular that you did. To-do lists are for the house, not the human beings in it. Don’t make or take on people projects.

Ask Your Friends … Or Your Mom

If you have good, real friends, if you ask them why they think you cannot land a serious relationship, they will tell you. Take their words to heart, especially if they are in healthy and happy relationships themselves.

This might be the perfect time for some “mom” criticism. We all know that moms generally don’t have issues with telling you what you need to change to land your dream guy or girl. So take a deep breath, dial her number and take what she throws at you. Then apply it – at least some of it.

Where Are You Meeting These People?

There’s a saying, “if you find ‘em in a bar, leave ‘em in a bar.” While this doesn’t mean that a successful relationship can’t start in a bar

– the earlier in the evening you leave the establishment, the better. If you meet a guy during last call and you’re working on your third, fourth or ninth gin and tonic, don’t be shocked if that relationship has a relatively early termination. Relationships that are built on common interests (other than going to bars and drinking) often have the most staying power. So, take a class or spend more time in places you enjoy. You just might run into the right person.

Know Who You Are

This is literally a case of leaving the best for last. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll never bring your best self to a relationship. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll never know what you need, what you want, what you have to offer another person, what you are willing to put up with and what is a deal breaker.

You have to know yourself before you can attempt to know another person and blend your personalities into a relationship. As unfair as it seems, our society tends to judge us by our relationship status.

Married equals stable and unmarried means there are flaws. This is not only unfair, it’s untrue. Buck the societal trend and spend some time getting to know yourself. Once you do that, many of the bad habits you accumulated over years of dating will disappear and you just might land your last relationship - one that results in happily ever after.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-12-2015, 02:48 PM
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Re: How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

Originally Posted by VS Glen View Post
If you’ve been in a series of relationships and they’ve all ended in less than positive ways, it’s time to look for the common denominator. And don’t be shocked if that commonality is staring back at you in the mirror.
Yes, the problem just might be you.
This is rough and makes assumptions that are not necessarily true. I bet most people reading this thread have been in multiple relationships, and I'll bet that NONE of their past relationships end in anything other than "less than positive ways". I mean, how many relationships end on a happy note? You don't need to be a math wiz to answer that one.

There's a lot of dysfunctional people out there and sometimes we need to go through a whole mess of them before we find someone whose got their head screwed on straight, and whose interests coincide with ours. Which is why people may have many relationships before they settle in with their life partner.

A series of failed relationships that ended in a "less than positive way" does not at all mean we need to look in the mirror for a common denominator, that's just presumptive and rather shortsighted, if not downright cruel to blame someone for something that may be totally beyond their control.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 10:30 AM
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Re: How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

Most relationships fail--most people will date and have relationships that come to an end. To conclude this means something is "wrong" with one or both people just defies reason. Most relationships end b/c most of us are not right for each other. Sure, if we all believed that any warm body is a good warm body, we'd all be snuggled up forever with the first person we met. While there seem to be a lot of young men ("She's says she wants a nice guy; I'm a nice guy--why doesn't she want me?) who are confused about this, most people eventually learn that it takes a lot more than being a decent human being to land a good, lasting relationship.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with healthy feedback and self-improvement--growing older doesn't mean growing up, all too often. But unless someone is stuck at the stage of the emotional development of a 16 year old, sooner or later, adulthood--emotionally speaking--arrives. I personally believe that most folks don't reach real emotional maturity until about 40 (insecurity continues to drive people until about then), which is (again, my opinion), so many marriages will fail after 15-20 years (one or both young people matured to find they had grown in different directions, or to find their partner hadn't grown at all).

Just my 2 cents worth--YMMV.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-25-2015, 03:13 PM
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Re: How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

Good response to the article.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-27-2015, 12:50 AM
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Re: How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

While I agree that it may sound harsh to assume that the all of the reasons previous relationships failed can be laid at our own doors, I'm going to say this: being hurt while in a dysfunctional relationship and being partially responsible for that are not mutually exclusive. And I say this after having been in a couple pretty dysfunctional, even abusive, relationships myself.

There are reasons we end up in multiple unhealthy relationships, and it's not just because there are dysfunctional people "out there" -- the thing is, a healthy person will not be attracted to a really messed up person, and wouldn't stand for the crap that goes on in a dysfunctional relationship. They will set up boundaries and they will end it. They will be far more likely to see the red flags early on and not get attached in the first place.

One of the biggest reasons we get into dysfunctional relationships is because we are attracted to, and we attract, people who are a good 'fit' for our own dysfunctions. There are many theories on this -- we subconsciously look for someone who has a personality most like the parent we had the worst relationship with, partly because we hope it will turn out better this time, and partly because it's what we know. Many of us have never seen a really good, healthy relationship, not in our families while we grew up, and certainly not portrayed in various forms of entertainment. So, we tend to miss the giant red flags that should tell us that this person is totally not right for us, or we have other issues with attachment or codependence that keep us from leaving an abusive relationship.

So, I totally agree that looking inside for patterns and/or early-life baggage that could be affecting our partner choices is a totally reasonable thing to do. Even though it might not be easy or pleasant, don't be afraid to confront your own flaws. It's the best way to assure you won't be sabotaging your own happiness.

I'm undecided on which pants to wear today -- smarty, fancy or sassy?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-08-2015, 09:09 PM
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Re: How to Tell if You’re the Cause of Your Relationship Problems

Sigh, where was this article and the internet 20 years ago when I really needed it?! (Of course, would I have listened? Probably not.)

Great article, IMO. I think you can choose a perfectly nice, decent person but not have a fulfilling relationship when you're picking someone who simply does not want what you want out of a relationship, and when you try to change who you are to win someone you're attracted too, rather than knowing who you are and that they're just not the right person for you.
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