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Getting stuck in a dating trap


A girlfriend in Hollywood recently observed that all of her Internet matches have followed an almost identical pattern—she meets the guy after heavy online flirtation, they get together, then he loses interest in her. The relationship fades out as the man calls less, and eventually he just drops off. She’s been wondering if she keeps on attracting love ‘em and leave ‘em guys or if there’s something in what she is doing that is making these guys love her and leave her. It’s probably a little bit of both.

AP Photo/Ray Kugler

Many people present themselves to others with a conscious and a subconscious goal showing. Although you may say consciously that you want an attractive and considerate man or woman to get into a relationship with, you are probably telling yourself things subconsciously that make this goal confused or impossible. Some of these things you say unconsciously may reflect feelings you have about yourself (“I’m so stupid-ugly-dishonest-mean that I don’t deserve to have a real relationship with a good person”) or they may be expressed outward (“All women are controlling bitches/All men are two timing womanizers”). Either way the result is the same—you channel your subconscious desires through your body language to your potential mate, rendering the conscious things you’re saying you want almost moot.
Your partner has two choices when faced with these subconscious signals—he will either leave quickly, or he will stay and conform to the idea of your subconscious mind, forming a codependent relationship. Such a partnership could bring both of you down—because you cannot accept the idea that any good person would love you for who you are, you might feel an urge to turn him or her into a bad person in order to stay in the relationship. If you find yourself needlessly gossiping or complaining about the negative qualities of your mate, consider this as a possible reason.
A second type of pattern of the person who stays is that they might reinforce exactly what you thought was true about men or women to begin with—in this case you will consistently attract and enable abusers, alcoholics, spendthrifts, cheaters, commitment phobes, or whatever your ideal is. Even though you will say consciously that this is not what you want, you may hold onto images gleaned from parents or childhood experiences that lead you to believe subconsciously that this is all that is out there or all that you deserve.
Or you may find yourself in a pattern like the woman in Hollywood, where you watch partners leave quickly and wonder why. Instead of viewing those that go as bad people, you might want to take the contrarian view that he or she is too good to be compromised. Before you can move out of your pattern, you need to find that subconscious thing that you’ve been saying about why you don’t deserve a good relationship. Until then you’ll probably find yourself on a horizontal path: stuck with the same person no matter how many times you switch partners. That person is you!


  • Sarah Estrella, Sex & Relationships Examiner 5 years ago

    Another way to break those patterns: Give the Internet matches a rest and come back to the real world. I've had better luck meeting people at the salad bar at Whole Foods or by the magazine rack at my favorite bookstore! Great advice though: You have to break your patterns. "If you're going through hell, keep going" Love, Sarah