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Turn Wrong into Right

March 15, 2020


A common question for relationship coaches is this: “Why do I keep attracting the wrong partner?” If that is a question you ask yourself, then keep reading.

To begin with, there are degrees of difference when talking about “wrong” when talking about life partners  On one end of the of the scale, it could refer to someone who doesn’t live up to your expectations. On the other end of the scale, it could refer to someone who is abusive, emotionally or physically. And then there is every other kind of wrong in between.

If your relationship dissatisfaction is on the “expectations” end of the scale, you could feasibly adjust those, couldn’t you? But as you move along the scale toward the other end, some deeper, clearer thinking needs to happen. And some decisions are required on your part.

Here are my thoughts about making the change you desire.

Change the Pattern

Your tendency to choose — let’s use the word choose rather than attract — unsuitable partners could be described as a relationship pattern.

It’s likely that your pattern in relationships started in early life, reflecting the kind of dynamics you experienced in your family growing up. But, most probably unconsciously, you’ve continued the relationship patterns of your childhood into your adult life, because it is familiar.

Put simply, your pattern in relationships probably began for one reason (no choice), but they continue for quite another (your unconscious choice).

And that’s where your responsibility kicks in. As an adult, you now need to make a conscious shift in your thinking and choices when it comes to relationships.

Forget Your Type

I’ll bet that you say, when rejecting a potential lover, “Well, he’s just not my type.”

And I say, “Forget your type.”.  Recall that your type is the kind of person that turns out to be Mr. or Ms. All-Too-Sadly-Familiar.

I’ll also bet that you reject out of hand anyone who is stable, loving, kind with no hidden agendas, because you think they are boring. Sure. The person may not be hugely attractive physically. They may not be Mr. or Ms. Excitement.  But they are a good person who is genuinely interested in you.

So, what I’d urge you to do instead is to focus on qualities, rather than achievements or physical appearance. Superficial qualities like good looks, charm, likeability and a list of accomplishments, for instance, can be misleading.  You should really be more interested in the person’s character (qualities like honor, strength, integrity, commitment).

However, bear in mind that his true character may take time to show itself. Therefore, get to know this person well before making any commitments.

Know Your Needs and Your Deal Breakers

Become really familiar with your own deepest needs (e.g. be loved just as you are, respected, safe in a relationship). Write your needs down. Look up the meaning of the words you choose. Then, consider discussing what you’ve written with a trusted friend to get their reflections on it.

You might also write down the qualities you seek in a partner. Start with qualities that reflect character (e.g. honest, trustworthy, respectful). Again, know the meaning of the words you write.

And keep this in mind: while sexual attraction is important, it needs to be balanced with other qualities.

Additionally, know your deal breakers – things that would absolutely rule out any partner. For instance, a deal breaker might be that he or she is currently in some form of active addiction.

Know Your Worth

Accept that you deserve, for example, reciprocated love, respect, safety and care in a relationship. You may not quite yet feel it in your bones, so accept your worth as a matter of policy going forward.

When you fall into doubt about your worth, remind yourself of your policy.  Remind yourself that you are worth reciprocated love with a person who is loyal, true and kind and that you won’t settle for less.

Be That Person

Be that person that knows his or her worth.  Calm the frightened little child inside you, step into your adult, wiser self and then walk through the world as a woman or man who knows their value.

If it means walking “as though”, then walk “as though” until you get it.

Remember that your value has nothing to do with your social or financial status, your accomplishments or your physical attractiveness. It’s who you are as a person.

Consider Getting Professional Support

When you’re trying to shift difficult relationship patterns, you could likely benefit getting some extra support. So, don’t feel shy about reaching out to a helping professional to jet-propel you into the change you desire.