With every failed relationship we gain insight into who we are and what we desire in another human being. Of all the hardships and challenging experiences I have endured from relationship mishaps, there is not one that I look back on regretfully. I am grateful for the meaningful experiences I have had with those who I have shared myself with emotionally and have found more and more of myself throughout every relationship experience. A part of finding our sense of self is gaining understanding of what one appreciates in a partner and developing a clear conceptualization of expectations for a partner’s behavior and communication. Women and men are often dissatisfied in relationships because they tend to find themselves dating persons who present the same unwanted patterns of behavior. We have all heard the statement or said ourselves at some point “I am dating the same person over and over again” after a failed relationship. I have spent extensive time researching and psychoanalyzing what causes individuals to develop unhealthy relationship patterns and want to present ideals to prompt readers how to break the cycle.
With each relationship experience, it is our duty to ourselves to look at the relationship objectively and gain understanding as of 1.) how we expect to be treated by another human being and 2.) how we can meet our need of feelings of interconnection with someone else in a healthy manner. The foundation of William Glasser’s Reality Therapy thrives on the idea that all of our actions in life are attempts to meet one of the following needs: love and belonging, survival, power, freedom, and fun. Reality therapy provides a model of building relationships by creating a need-satisfying counseling environment that I seek to provide for my clients. I prompt individuals to think of how their maladaptive behaviors or relationship issues are attempts to meet their needs in an unhealthy manner. When one fails to do such, they will continue to be attracted to individuals who present the same maladaptive behaviors. Women often times get stuck in relationship patterns with men who are possessive or mistrusting and complain that “they always date guys like this.” It is not that this type of person is seeking the woman out, but that the woman is subconsciously choosing to be involved with others that she either thrives off attempting to change men or on some level appreciates the co-dependencies. These irrational methods of meeting the need of love and belonging are often developed from exposure to the roles our significant loved ones have played that have “normalized” unhealthy relationship dynamics and most be identified and restructured for patterns to be broken.
Someone once said “the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over and expecting a different result.” The purpose of each failed relationship is to gain understanding of how we expect to be treated by another human being, as well as self evaluate unhealthy ways we attempt to meet our need of interconnection with someone else. Every relationship happens to help make us more of the individual we are intended to be in the path of life if we will allow it to be so, but it will not shape us into our intended beings if we cannot learn from our experiences by gaining a stronger sense of self and clear conceptualization of what we want in someone else. At this point in my life, I know exactly who I am and what I am looking for in someone else from the insight I have continuously gained about my inner self from each relationship experience. Do you?