“Oops! I Did It Again” – when another relationship turns sour

by Annie Kaszina on September 6, 2005

So you are licking your wounds. Your
relationship came to a bad end. Your fairy prince turned into a swine.
The romance that started magically in your dream castle ended up in a
grotty sty. As for your swain, well, he ended up smelling of a number
of things; but roses was not one of them.

Naturally, your
confidence has been dented. Somewhere along the line your judgement was
a bit skewed on that one. But you are not going to let it put you off
men for life. Besides, you are the kind of woman who needs to have a
man in your life.

"Oops! I did it again!"

It is all about learning from the experience,
you reflect. So you take a long, hurt look at the relationship and you
decide how you want the next man to be different. Maybe you will try
looking for someone who is the opposite of your previous partner, or
maybe you are looking for someone to sweep you off your feet and make
it all alright. Either way, things look pretty promising at the start,
and then you start getting a whiff of the sty all over again.

Oops!
It has happened again. Logic suggests that there is more to this than
simple coincidence. Now you start to feel concerned. What do you have
to do to stop falling for bad men from turning into a habit? Is there a
way to avoid these pratfalls in the future?  Is there a way you can recognise the signs before you get in over your head?  The resources available at www.joyfulcoaching.com specifically for abused women can provide you with useful indications.

The single most
powerful thing you can do to protect yourself from further heartache
and confidence-bashing failure is to acquire self-awareness. You need
to start becoming aware of the patterns that you keep repeating in
relationships; the patterns that keep attracting the wrong men.

You
may enjoy playing the little woman, but resent being dismissed as a
fluffy airhead. You may want your partner to be the masterful type, yet
resent feeling controlled. The strengths you are looking for in a man,
may be an attempt to compensate for your own shortcomings. You may want
a man to propel you out of your dull, routine existence into a more
exciting world.

One big problem women have with relationships, is
that they work on their assumptions. Now, there is a vast gulf that
separates intuition from assumptions. Intuition is that instantaneous,
inexplicable nugget of information that lands in your lap. You can
choose to act on it; or ignore it, at your peril. Assumptions are the
expectations that you hold of your partner, irrespective of the
evidence.

Assumptions are also curiously hardy creatures. They
can be proved wrong time and time again. Yet, instead of questioning
the assumption, the temptation is blame the person who has disappointed
your expectation. You say: He should have known: He should have done¦ I
should not have to spell it out.

It would all work perfectly if
your partner had a degree in mind reading. Unfortunately, he does not.
Neither do you, although you may sometimes act as if you did have. The
next most accurate way to have a clear idea about what is going on is
to ask questions, and keep asking.

Some of the questions you might ask yourself include:

What characteristics (not physical features) do I find attractive in him?

Are these the same characteristics I responded to in previous partners, at the start?

Does this person take charge of the relationships?

Are there niggles that I feel, but do not actually discuss with him?

Does he have a past history of people not appreciating him?  Do you?

Does he overstep boundaries by foisting opinions on you?

Does your body go into stress mode around him, ever?

Do you feel that things are starting to move outside your control?

Is he moving events on faster than you might wish?

Can you incorporate this person comfortably into your existing lifestyle, or do you have to drop people to accommodate him?

Most
of us seem to treat relationships like a hot tub at the end of a hard
day’s work – something that looks good when we are feeling tired and
grubby. So we dive straight in. We do not test the water temperature
too carefully. We do not check for broken glass, baby alligators or
other unforeseen hazards; because we assume they will not be there.

Generally,
we exercise some thought and care when we purchase a household pet. Do
you honestly take as much trouble to acquaint yourself with the needs
and requirements of a prospective partner? Or do you simply plunge
headfirst into the relationship? Is that another of your unhelpful
patterns? Acknowledging it is the first step on the road to kicking it.

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