Making the Same Dating Mistakes
Dr. David Hawkins
The Relationship Doctor
A recent letter to our Message Board comes from a woman who is tired of doing what she’s always done, and hopes she can break some destructive patterns. Let’s consider her issues.
Dr. Hawkins, I recently came through a very difficult relationship with a man that was emotionally unavailable just like my husband was and the man before this one was. Why do I keep choosing the same type of man to date? I know the old saying that we marry our fathers, but I hate to pin this one on my loving Dad. He was a gentleman and a spiritual leader in the home. I am sitting back and trying to recover from this break-up I have asked the Lord to take the desire from my life if marrying again is not in His will. I am at peace about everything, but I still would like to meet the right man and marry again. How do I avoid marrying a clone of my past mistakes?
Certainly we can all identify with this woman. We’ve all looked in the mirror and wondered why we’ve done what we’ve done. We want to do things differently. What is the answer?
First, there is no simple answer.
Many want quick fixes to their problems. Our tendency is either to pray for God to fix our problems, or to try some solution for a short time and then quit in exasperation. Change is not easy. It never will be easy. If it were easy, we’d all have far greater success than we have. Change demands a great deal of hard work.
Second, use the wisdom God has given you to seek solutions.
You are on the right track to explore your life for patterns. “If it’s predictable, it’s preventable.” One of the greatest gifts we have from God is wisdom, and He promises to give it to us generously if we search for it. (Proverbs 2) Many of us don’t so much struggle with not knowing what to do, but with the courage to do the things we know we must do.
Third, identify your troubling patterns.
With the help of wise counsel, explore your behavior patterns. If you tend to attract detached, unavailable men, ask yourself why. Do you have self-esteem issues? Do you feel that detached men are the best you can attract? Are you afraid of playing in a “higher league?” Since we teach people how to treat us, your behavior suggests you settle for less because that’s what you think you deserve.
Fourth, create clear goals for behavior change, being accountable to someone for those changes.
It’s one thing to understand our patterns, and entirely something else to set out on a new course of change. Insight only helps us so far—then we’ve still got to map out change strategies. Where are you going to meet “available” men? How will you attract men who are emotionally and spiritually ready for a relationship? A counselor or coach can be invaluable for helping you implement changes.
In my forthcoming book, Are You Really Ready for Love? I explore how many believe they are ready for love when, in fact, they sabotage those efforts in many ways. Are you really ready for love? These questions hold true for other desired behavior changes also—are we really ready to change those eating habits? Are we really ready to work out at the gym four times a week? Are we really ready to relate in healthier ways? Are we really ready to learn all we can about codependent behavior? We complain about our lives, and even pray for change, but then fail to create a long-range plan for change. Short cuts don’t work. Quick fixes don’t last.
I’d love to hear from you. What has helped you make lasting change in your life? How have you changed troubling behavior patterns? How have you been able to find and create healthy relationships?
About the author: He is known as The Relationship
Doctor. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, David Hawkins,
Ph.D., has a special interest in helping individuals and couples strengthen
their relationships. Dr. Hawkins’ books, including When Pleasing
Others Is Hurting You and When Trying to Change Him Is Hurting
You, have more than 300,000 copies in print.
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