Stuck in a bad relationship on repeat? Changing it is simpler than you think.
My friend called me crying. Again. She’d fallen for a guy she met online, and when they got together and began dating, he ran hot and cold. One week, he was thoughtful, charming and attentive. The next, he would say awful things and disappear for days at a time.
There was a rhythm to it.
I’d become accustomed to receiving her phone calls at odd hours. She’d begin the conversation reasonably in control. The moment I asked her what was wrong, the dam would break and she’d dissolve into tears again.
This “relationship” wasn’t the first time.
One beau after another, my friend would play out this unhealthy cycle. Meet someone, fall too quickly, get played. Around and around we’d go.
No amount of encouragement, hand holding or tough love seemed to stop the inevitable. Our conversations were redundant and exhausting. One day, I’d had enough.
“You know you’re dating the same guy over and over, right?” I asked. “He may have a different face, but it’s always the same script. Tell me you recognize this.”
She told me she did, but didn’t know how to change it.
I did. I’d been there.
The Definition of Insanity
People say that Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.”
Most of us have found ourselves in a feedback loop like this before.
Let’s say you’ve been stuck at the same income level for the last ten years. You‘re aware that something is wrong, and you want to make more, but keep making the same decisions day after day, hoping something will magically change.
Years go by, and you wonder why you’re still stuck in the same dead end job where you feel unappreciated.
You never made a conscious decision to do things differently.
That was my homegirl’s problem with relationships. The faces of her partners were changing, but she kept coming up with the same results. What was the common denominator in every bad relationship?
The man hurting her would change, but she remained the same. She went into every relationship empty.
Stop Showing Up Empty
When we aren’t committed to loving ourselves above all others, and creating the life we want as a single person before entering a relationship, we show up broken.
Brokenness manifests itself in a lot of different ways: neediness, possessiveness, lack of boundaries. It all stems from walking into the relationship believing you are lacking in some way – that you need to be in a relationship to be fulfilled and whole.
Do you know how powerful you are?
Whenever you enter into a relationship, your mindset – your state of being – stares back at you in the shape of your partner. The person you choose is a reflection of you and what you believe you deserve.
When you show up empty, looking for someone else to fill you up with love, all the other person can give is more of what you already have.
Two broken people can never create a whole relationship.
What to Do if You Are Single
If you’re single, stop right where you are and evaluate your past relationships. What negative patterns keep rearing their ugly heads each time you meet someone? Do they reflect things you feel about yourself?
Don’t even think about getting into another relationship until you take the time to heal yourself. Use your freedom as a journey of self-discovery.
– What do you enjoy doing?
– What do you want to achieve in life? Are you on the right path to do that?
– Are you filled to the brim with love for yourself? Have you done the work?
You deserve a love that lights you up in the morning and sends you to bed smiling at night. Isn’t it time you stopped waiting for someone else, and gave it to yourself?
This post is an excerpt from Ilena’s upcoming book, The Love Formula.
Photo credit: Getty Images.