How To Get What You Want In Relationships (But Not What You Asked For)
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we attract people into our lives – who we end up in relationships with, and so on. This applies both to intimate relationships, and more importantly friendships (since we generally have far more & are less discriminating with friends than lovers)
It’s pretty obvious (in hindsight) that while a bunch of factors determine our partners – very few of these are actually at the conscious level. You want a guy who treats you well, and yet somehow always end up with angry drunks? Huh?
Here are some of the reasons why this sort of thing happens:
If you look back over all your relationships, what recurring themes can you see? I don’t mean obvious things like age difference, or hair colour.
I mean things like – were you meeting damaged people & trying to fix them? Were you with people who supported you as much as you supported them, or was it all one sided? Did they respect you? Do you often find yourself in relationships with people that were selfish or self-centred? That have no money themselves but lots of ideas how to spend yours? People that are angry? Rude to waiters? Lazy?
The problem is – whether you’re aware of these patterns or not, whatever it is inside you that is creating them will continue to create them – at least, until you heal the patterns or otherwise clear them out.
For example, I know that until very recently I’ve had a very deep need for approval (Thanks, great-great-great grandma! Fortunately this is sorted now). As such, I’ve regularly got in relationships with “broken” people – not bad people per se, just those with a lot of issues I could then help them with. As I help them, they’re grateful, and voila, my need for approval is fulfilled.
Now, I saw this vividly in my very first relationship – with a suicidal bulemic – and swore I’d never do it again. At a conscious level, I chose to stay away from these situations, and yet – they continued to echo through my life regardless. Despite my best conscious attention, I’ve been involved with a violent alcoholic, an anorexic, sociopathic liars & many serious abuse victims. Most interestingly, none of these attributes were visible in the early stages of the relatonships. There was no way I would know until it was too late.
At some level, I was drawing these situations to myself, despite my best (conscious) intentions.
There are two people in every relationship (well, ok, excluding polyamory), so it’s worth remembering that any characteristics you have will attract people looking for those attributes.
Think about it this way – whatever you dislike most about yourself? There will be people who are drawn to that (for many reasons). You will be part of completing their deepest desires – even if it’s a part of yourself you don’t particularly want to be sharing with anyone.
One of the most maddening aspects of life is that you not only attract things that you desire, but also things you hate, or fear.
It breaks down like this – anything you place attention on – whether positive or negative – is drawn to you. Yeah yeah, law of attraction, etc etc.
So how does this pan out in relationships? Well, if you have (as I have for years) a fear of being used for your dosh? Sooner or later (or worse – very often) you’re going to end up with someone who is mostly there for the bling. Have a deep fear of jealousy – you’re going to end up with people who make you jealous. Trust me on this – like crazy. Afraid of being cheated on? Your partners will cheat on you. Afraid you might be a loser? You’ll attract people who believe you really are.
And so it goes.
pic by McNeny
What To Do About All This
This could get frustratingly depressing very quickly. Hold your hankies though! There is, as always, good news!
The first is to be aware that you always have choice. With the exception of family, every single person in your life is there because you (at some point) chose them to be there. So, you can also choose for them not to be.
It’s also important to realise that unless you’re VERY careful (on an energetic level) every person you interact with will affect you, at some point. Your friends that you see all the time? They’re going to have a huge, cumulative effect on your life. Your boyfriend gets angry at the traffic? You’re going to end up road raging along with him.
So, it’s worth thinking about who you want near you. It’s an important decision, and needs to be made for every significant relationship you have (not just your intimate partners)
Secondly, once you figure out the worst of the patterns, merely being aware of them will help you avoid the most egregious examples. While I may have not have successfully avoided girls with eating disorders, that was the last time I spent time with anyone (friend or partner) who was aggressively suicidal. These are small but important steps that will still save you a world of hurt.
Thirdly, by seeing the patterns, you’ll be able to track them back & heal them. There are tons of tools for doing this of course (heh, I feel like I’m always saying that – but I do keep discovering more of them every week).
Even just giving some thought to your most recent relationship – or your closest current friends, you’ll be able to see definite patterns. If you were using EFT, for example, you could start with something really general like “Even though I attract people that don’t respect me..”. Something non-specific like that probably won’t clear the problem out completely, but it will definitely give you enough traction to really find out what’s going on, & then kick that junk to the curb.
pic by Mark_2000
The greatest thing is this – if you’re, say, 30 now, you may live another 100 years (yes, the typical life expectancy for 30 year olds today is 125-150 years).
So, how many friends will you have in the next 100 years? If you make 5 new friends a year, that’s 500 friends. If you have one new partner every 5 years, that’s another 20 intimate relationships. So, even just clearing out one negative pattern will mean you straight away get 500 better friends & 20 better partners. How awesome is that? (answer: unbelievably!)
And if you really get into it? Why, the sky’s the limit! Awesome relationships all round, on the double!!