How to Break Out of Bad Relationship Patterns
These healthy ways to deal with a breakup will reduce problems in your next relationship
Have you recently broken up with a long-term partner and are wondering what went wrong? Or are single and perplexed as to why you have not found success in a relationship? Please know you are not alone! Many individuals struggle with finding and maintaining healthy and fulfilling relationships. There are many factors that may contribute to a relationship not working — maybe one partner was not faithful, maybe communication styles were different and conflicting, maybe each person's expectations for the relationship were at odds or maybe you felt lonely even though you were in a relationship.
Finding yourself single again can be hard. And it can be very frustrating to try and figure out why another relationship has not worked out the way you had hoped. When a relationship ends, often times people are tempted to push down their feelings or find a new partner to fill the void.
However, one of the healthiest things a person can do when they find themselves in this situation is to simply stop and evaluate what went wrong and contemplate what changes they can make to make their next relationship more likely to succeed.
Here are some steps to take after a breakup and before starting your next relationship.
Evaluate your past relationships before entering a new relationship
In my work with couples and individuals, I have found that many people are not aware of the reasons why their past relationships have not worked out. It is important to take the time to explore the reasons that your relationship did not work. While it may be tempting to focus on what your ex-partner did wrong, also explore what you could have done differently to make the relationship work. This is not always an easy thing to do but it is extremely helpful in terms of helping you grow as a person and partner. By exploring what you could have done in a different way you will learn what you may want to do differently in the next relationship.
Many individuals fall into similar patterns in new relationships because they did not make the needed changes prior to entering into a new relationship. Exploring your past relationships, especially with a trained professional therapist, helps you to change your dating patterns so you can find more happiness and fulfillment in your next relationship.
Change your dating patterns and expectations
Once you have explored the things you could do differently in a relationship, it is important to consider how you can change the dating pattern you keep finding yourself in. Do you think you are attracted to only ‘bad boys' but then are consistently upset with how you are treated in relationships? Or do you tend to date partners who are significantly more successful in their careers than you and then spend most of the relationship feeling inferior? These are just some of the many examples I have seen with clients that I work with in therapy. Often, individuals date people with similar qualities and end up in similar situations because they do not make any changes within themselves or their expectations for relationships. When individuals do not make any changes, new relationships tend to fall into the old, familiar patterns of previous relationships.
I strongly encourage my clients to think about breakups as a great opportunity to learn about themselves and what they can offer a potential partner. By changing your perception of yourself and what you bring to a relationship, you will also change the type of people attracted to you and will change what you expect, and ultimately get, from a relationship.
I hope these first steps to take after a recent break up will change how you think about the past relationship and how you approach your next relationship. Please remember there are many professional therapists that are available to help you through this process to offer support and guidance.