Before you can stop choosing men who aren’t good for you, you need to figure out why you’re attracted to them in the first place.
Here’s how to stop choosing men who are bad for you, and start thinking about what love REALLY means.
These tips are inspired by a reader, who said:
“I’ve been in an unhealthy relationship for over a year and a half,” says C. on How to Let Go of Someone You Love. “Actually, to be truthful, I’ve been in a string of unhealthy relationships ever since I was 15.”
The good news is that she recognizes her pattern: she gravitates towards wrong men and stays in unhealthy relationships. And, more good news is that there are so many books about changing your patterns and life habits!
Here’s a popular one: Why People Choose the Wrong Mate: Avoiding the 9 Deadly Booby Traps. In it, you’ll learn how to avoid the liars, cheaters, fakes, users and abusers. You’ll learn how to identify and avoid individuals who will leave you crying in the dark and regretting the day you ever met them. If you keep choosing the wrong guy to love, you need to read that book!
And here are a few tips for getting over your own bad decisions…
Why Do You Keep Choosing the Wrong Guy?
“Most times it is not just bad luck that steers women to the wrong man time and time again,” writes Lynn Norment in Why Some Women Choose the Wrong Man Time and Time and Time Again. “Sometimes the pattern of loser-lovers is indicative of a deeper, more serious flaw in the woman’s personality or character. Or the problem may stem from the woman’s family history. And it usually is rooted in lack of self-esteem and self-love. In addition, far too many women blindly get involved with man after man without stopping to assess what went wrong in previous relationships.”
Let’s tackle one of those reasons, and sprinkle in my own experience…
Family history – no or bad father figure
“Women who are unable to sustain romantic relationships almost always had fathers who could not be counted on, or who were emotionally or physically unavailable when they were growing up,” writes Relationship therapist and author Audrey B. Chapman in Getting Good Loving: How Black Men and Women Can Make Love Work. “A loving mother is not enough to offset those difficulties. A missing father can mean a lifetime search for daddy figures in every romantic endeavor. Too many girls grow up not being affirmed by a man, not knowing what it’s like to be nurtured, protected or acknowledged by a paternal figure. As women, they often seek love and closeness in dysfunctional relationships, tolerating distant, non-nurturing men who exhibit behaviors similar to those in their absent or fantasized fathers.”
I did the opposite.
I didn’t have a dad growing up – I was raised by a single mother. I didn’t go the “unhealthy relationships” route; I didn’t get close to choosing the wrong man! Instead, I avoided relationships altogether. Now, I’ve been happily married for almost six years to a great guy. How did I overcome my fear of intimacy? I saw a counselor every week for a year.
How to Stop Choosing Men Who Aren’t Good for You
“I’m starting to think I’m ‘unlovable,’” says C. “I see happy couples and friends who are getting engaged and married and I just want to know, why not me? What’s so wrong with me that someone can’t love me that much? I would like to know how I can learn to be happy being alone and how to have my guard up next time. Every relationship I give 100% of my heart and I want to learn how to protect myself from this happening again.”
Here’s my advice – and I welcome you to share your own in the comments section below.
Set your intention for your life and your future relationships
What do you want out of life? What kind of woman do you want to be? Who do you want to be with? How can you become emotionally, spiritually, and physically stronger?
To successfully set your intention for your future, you need to stop focusing on the reasons why you keep choosing the wrong men. Instead, focus on that which you want to create in your life – because your thoughts become things. If you want to be happy being alone, learn how to be happy being alone. If you want to learn how to choose better men and relationships, then dive into that.
You might also learn how to spot a man who will try to manipulate and control you.
Seek the right type of support
I was too scared to choose the right man because I didn’t know what it meant to be in a happy relationship or marriage. So, I went for counseling. I read books. I started hanging out with happily married couples, and asking them questions about what it’s like to be married.
What support you need? Maybe you need to build your self-esteem or improve your self-confidence.
You can stop choosing the wrong man – you can start making better choices in your life – but you have to step up to the plate. I don’t know what the right type of support is for you. A support group, perhaps, so you learn to recognize and stop your patterns? A self-defense course to empower and increase your self-esteem? Psychology classes, to give you insight and information?
The best tip for getting the help you need
The best way to get the right support is to try different things until you find what resonates with you. For me, it was counseling — the worst and best year of my life! I both hated and loved my counselor. She changed my life, so I ended up loving her.
If you need help getting over a breakup, read Starting Over After Your Relationship Ends – 8 Tips for New Beginnings.
Or maybe you just want to focus on finding love! But I think it’s better to work on yourself first, before you start searching for the right guy. Choosing the right man should be the result of being a strong, happy, self-confident woman. The right guy isn’t the solution — it’s the symptom of a deeper problem.
Your turn: what are your reasons for choosing the wrong man…and how will you stop?
If You Need Help With Your Love Life…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.