“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”
~ Iyanla Vanzant
Why am I always attracted to the wrong man?
This is the cry of women in pain that can be heard around the world. It is, unfortunately, an experience that is all too common.
But I suggest that it’s the wrong question, not the wrong man.
Each of us comes into this world with a set of challenges. In addition, the process of reaching adulthood presents us with even more challenges. In order to resolve these challenges, we need resources.
The universe supplies the resources we need to meet our challenges, but it’s up to us to see, acknowledge, and employ our available resources.
To clarify, I’ll share the story of Becky.
Becky was born with a personality type that tends to become clingy and needy. Her challenge is to find her own inner strength, courage, and independence. Becky grew up in a home where males rule. Her mother was subservient, as dictated by her husband and church.
Through the use of any means necessary, Becky’s parents trained her also to be subservient, dependent, unimportant. She spent her childhood trying desperately to earn her father’s respect and approval. (Mother issues are there, too, but they aren’t the focus of this topic.)
Now Becky is an adult, and every man she gets involved with has many of her father’s qualities—especially the negative ones.
- But what if these aren’t the “wrong” men?
- What if these men are simply resources the universe has sent her so she can learn to work through her father issues? – so she can learn how to develop and utilize her own inner strength, courage, and independence?
- What if these men are nothing more than opportunities to heal?
If this is the case, Becky should stop asking
“Why am I always attracted to the wrong men?”
and start asking,
“What do I need to do and who do I need to become to be attracted to (and attractive to) a higher quality of man?”
If she does this, she will be able to move out of the helplessness of Victim Mode and into the beauty and power of her True Self.
And she’ll realize how much progress she has made when the universe presents her with another opportunity to get involved with a “wrong” man, and she turns it down. She no longer needs it.
Dr. Loral Lee Portenier – www.linkedin.com/in/loral-lee-portenier-phd-62897b17
The first thing we want to do when we notice we keep attracting a certain type of partner, (players, bad boys, commitment-phobes, substance abusers etc.) is to point the finger outward.
Our egoic mind concocts the notion that it is someone else’s fault when in fact, it is our own. Ouch! I know…
Relationships are designed to show us ourselves.
They brilliantly serve as mirrors to bring into our consciousness the hidden beliefs, fears and inadequacies that we subconsciously have within ourselves.
In some cases it may be our unworthiness (lack of self-love) that inhibits us from believing we deserve better OR it may be that we are exhibiting the same type of behavior as our partner but only in a different form.
In the case of attracting non-committers, if we dig deep enough, we will uncover the place in ourselves where we can’t fully commit to others or perhaps ourselves.
Unless or until we do the necessary work to heal ourselves, we will continue to attract non-committers regardless if the man or story changes.
In my thirties, I attracted four back to back alcoholics.
Since I rarely drink, this was not about showing me my addiction. Instead, it presented the perfect classroom to show me how I was accepting the unacceptable in order not to be alone!
Because I wasn’t filling myself up with love and worth, the drive/need for a man to do it for me was foremost no matter what red flag I was seeing!
I would make excuses for their drinking (not really wanting to see what I was seeing) and I would choose to only focus on the crumbs I was receiving. Heartbreak after continued heartbreak, I just couldn’t understand why life was being so hard on me!
After a profound (but oh so necessary for my evolution) betrayal from my second husband, I decided once and for all to heal my wounds and love-less places in order to stop this insanity once and for all.
What amounted from my work was a deep and profound sense of worth that now naturally inhibits me from attracting or getting involved with someone of lesser character.
The pattern of attracting the wrong type of men will not stop, unless or until you do the work necessary to heal yourself first.
And once you do, you will be astounded at how your life and dating experiences will change!
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.sweetempowerment.com
Depending on how you were raised, the lure of the “bad boy” can be strong or stronger.
For some women, choosing a boy outside of what is expected can be an act (sometimes unconscious) of rebellion. It might be a woman’s effort to separate and individuate from her parents because she has not done so (successfully) before.
Society drums into your awareness what “Good Girls” do, wear, look like, talk like, and want.
This means, for some of you, that if you mix the pressure to conform with the lure of even one smooth-talking, hell-raising, handsome, sexually active young man then it is quite likely that something will start “brewing.”
Chances are great – especially in the strictest families – that you’ll be scolded: “Don’t ruin your reputation by being with him!”
We all know that with adolescence and young womanhood, there is an urgent desire and need for freedom.
To continue painting this picture, go ahead and mix in alcohol, partying, breaking rules. There – in the middle of the canvas – the bad boy figure is a ripe distraction ready to transform into a spontaneous combustion of a “thing.”
If you were raised with a “Bad Boy” Dad, or at least one who oozed his preference for not always following the rules, you might be choosing bad boys because they’re familiar and attractive.
Just one relationship with a man like this should bring to light that these guys lack the basic and best characteristics of a long-term mate.
If you keep having this problem, it’s time to pay attention to yourself.
- Are you aware of what’s driving you to the “players” out there?
- Are you finished with expecting anything better?
- Are you like your Mom and looking for the kind of man (or men) she thought were attractive?
Wake up and resolve to improve (no, end!) your pattern.
Checking Webster’s Dictionary, I gain insight from the definition of “to lure.”
One key component of this definition is the fact that “lures” are “decoys for attracting animals to capture.”
That definition is plenty full of what you need to heed. Bad Boys “capture” you/your heart and do not have a clue how to meet you and respect you.
Re-think this “animal capturing” idea and visit the idea that “taming” is a far more gentle and appropriate way for men’s and women’s “animal attractions” to last and prosper.
Dr. Annie Ready Coffey – www.replenishmentandchange.com
I have worked with many women in my Process Oriented Psychology practice who say,
“I am always attracted to the wrong man. There could be 50 men at a party and that’s the one I am drawn to even before I talk to him!
I know that when he gets to know me, he will change. Nice guys are so beige,” meaning boring.
So let’s talk about why are you drawn to narcissistic, self-absorbed men who won’t treat you well? What part do you play in this?
It could be a habitual pattern of going out with guys who are not going to commit or who move on quickly. Changing your pattern means that you will recognize them for who they are and won’t be interested any longer, because you know they will just bring you heartache and pain.
Maybe you are also attracted because you think you want to commit, but actually you don’t.
So you avoid facing that in yourself and date those who won’t.
Another reason is you want to save or rescue the man.
A version of ‘I helped or tamed the bad boy.’ They can also be exciting, thrilling and bring an element of ‘danger.’ Perhaps you want to explore the more thrilling side of yourself but don’t know how. It gives you permission to be ‘bad’ as well.
These guys appear to be interesting, confident, unconventional and charming. In fact they are insecure, manipulative and easily bored.
They are interested in ‘the chase’ and lose interest when you are ‘caught.’ They usually have a history of short relationships or infidelity. They create pain and chaos as they are often unpredictable and insensitive.
You may have low self-esteem and unconsciously think you don’t deserve any better.
You think that if they are with you, you have proved to yourself that you are worthwhile and special. Alternatively, without realizing it, you are re-creating and acting out the relationship you had with your father, if he was physically distant or emotionally unavailable.
If you have decided you would really like a committed, healthy relationship you need to change yourself as these guys are not going to change!
Develop self- respect and start being interested in good men that will treat you decently. The key to changing is to see men’s early signals and leave them if you have ‘fallen’ once again for someone who is more interested in themselves than in you.
Stop dreaming he will change.
These relationships don’t work. Don’t find excuses for his behavior when he acts in an uncaring way and doesn’t include you with his friends and in the rest of his life. Take care of yourself and be independent.
Believe what he does, not what he says.
Sherry Marshall, BSc, MAA – www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/connect/sydneyprocesscounselling
- Do you find yourself being attracted to the wrong guys?
- Do you have a “type” that you don’t want to keep finding?
- Do you want to be in a relationship but can’t find the right guy for you?
- Then you are going through what many women go which is finding Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right. So how do you find Mr. Right?
1. You become Mrs. Right
How does one become Mrs. Right? In order to attract the type of person you want, you have to become that person.
- If you want someone emotionally available, you have to become emotionally available.
- If you want someone to be authentic, you have to check your level of realness.
- If you want a good boy, you have to clean up any of your bad girl habits.
2. Find your happiness
Take some time to evaluate what you are doing in your life and how you can make improvements to certain areas. The happier you are in your life, the happier you present to other people and other people will start to take notice.
If you have a goal of doing a triathlon, do it now. If you have a dream of flying to France, book the trip today. Live your life to the fullest and other men who are living their life to the fullest will be attracted to you.
3. Clear up daddy issues
Childhood wounds will continue to come up in relationships with significant others until they are cleaned up.
- What are you still holding on to related to your relationship with your father?
- What can you do to release the hurts from the past?
If your father was emotionally unavailable as a child, the chances are that you will find yourself attracted to emotionally unavailable men.
It’s just what people do, despite their greatest attempts at doing it differently. Seeking out therapy from a trained therapist in inner child work can propel your healing.
4. Ask him the right questions
Be an investigator. Ask the right questions of them. Ask if they have had a history of being arrested, going to rehab, getting fired from work, etc.
Ask about their previous relationship history and what their exes would say about them. Ask about their relationships with their family members and friends.
This information will help to give you any signs for red flags.
- Are you willing to date someone who has been arrested?
- Are you willing to date someone who drinks on a regular basis?
- What does it say about this potential boyfriend that all of his relationships ended on a bad note?
Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself and know that finding the right person happens in the right time.
Take care of yourself every day. Work through any last holdovers from the past. Look for the red flags. Once you have a good idea of who you are, where you are going and what you want, the universe will align for you and you will meet Mr. Right!
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
The likely answer to why you are dating the “wrong guy” is a simple one, but the actual solution requires a lot of work.
It is possible to live your whole life blaming men for being generally uncaring, underdeveloped emotionally and over testosteroned (that isn’t a word, but humor me).
Many people do. That may be all the reason that you need, but it doesn’t typically heal the ache in your heart when yet another relationship disappoints.
Logical understanding does not cure sadness or heartbreak.
Heartbreak doesn’t reside in your neo-cortex. If it did, it would be called something else.
Here’s a question for you: Do you believe that you deserve to be loved?
See how you respond to that question. Do you brush it off as corny? Did you give a very affirmative “yes”? Maybe it was a quiet “no”. Maybe you can’t even make sense of the question.
Here’s question #2: Are there parts of yourself that you avoid showing people?
In other words, are there things about you that you have judgment around, or believe would be unappealing to other people.
Jung would address this as the disowned, likely unconscious “shadow”.
In this case though, we’re really just addressing perceived dark aspects that you are aware of, but choose to keep undercover.
Let’s focus on your answers to these two questions.
If they seemed easy to you, you might want to spend more time with them. As humans, we are brilliantly designed to choose the perfect partners for ourselves. Isn’t it a total head-scratcher when we realize we’ve sniffed out “the same type of partner, again!”?
Here’s the thing: if there is even the smallest internal voice that believes that you are unworthy, unlovable, or bad, you will find yourself gravitating towards partners who affirm that for you.
The root cause of this phenomenon lies not in men. The anecdote is not to fix the male population. The salve lies in embracing your “shadow”, and really, truly believing that you deserve to be loved.
Spend some quality time with that voice who doesn’t believe in you. How old is she? What care does she need?
Once you find room in your heart for all aspects of yourself, even the challenging ones, you may find that the world looks different to you.
You may find a partner who sees and values you, and you may find that you are happy to be seen.
Elizabeth Baum, M.A., MFT – www.elizabethbaumintegral.com
This question has undoubtedly resonated with almost every woman at some point in her dating history.
Truth be told, things will never work out with anyone until you are with the right person.
In this day and age, most people do not end up marrying their first love or high school sweetheart.
Whether it’s longer life spans, different gender roles, or more opportunities for mates, thanks to technology, people are marrying later in life than ever before in human history.
Statistically speaking, we will get involved with the “wrong” men, before eventually settling down with the “right” one.
But the real concern comes into play when you notice consistent negative patterns in the men you are dating.
- For instance, are you constantly attracting unavailable men, married men, commitment-phobes, or players?
- Are you getting involved repeatedly with abusive men, narcissists, or addicts?
We are all bound to attract the wrong men at some point or another.
The goal is to be honest with ourselves about what we see and feel intuitively, pay attention before we get too involved, and act accordingly.
When we get carried away with hormones, make excuses for poor behavior, and ignore red flags, we often find ourselves suffering unnecessarily. The sooner we see someone is not right for us, and end it, the less pain we will cause ourselves.
If you find yourself attracting a ”type” of wrong men, perhaps you should first take a look at your family history and see if there are any similarities.
People tend to repeat familial patterns unless they do a lot of work on themselves. This is called repetition compulsion. This can be very possible to work through in therapy.
The first step is awareness.
Often there is a disconnect between the type of men women find themselves attracted to sexually, and the type they would like to build a future life with.
Perhaps there are adolescent fantasies of a “bad boy” that linger in our subconscious, long after we have outgrown that reality.
As we develop and mature sexually, we create an image in our minds of what we consider attractive.
It is usually a montage of various male figures that we have lusted after. It creates a mental blueprint of an imaginary soul mate that we search for. In Jungian terms, this is known as the Anima.
Often, this occurs in our youth, and the image we carry around is a wild, carefree, irresponsible pretty boy. So, how do we become attracted to a nice guy with a real job who will help us change diapers someday?”
The good news is that knock your socks off chemistry can develop with someone that does not fit your “type” at all.
This huge breakthrough comes for women when they are able to step outside their comfort zone, release immature ideals, and think about what a real successful relationship needs to make it these days.
If you want to change your patterns, and attract the right guy in the future, first be honest about what it is you are looking for.
Here is some homework to start to attract the right guys.
Make a list of the top ten qualities you are attracted to now. Then, take a minute to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and try to visualize your ideal lifestyle with your future husband.
- What activities would you do?
- How would he treat you?
- Would you have children?
- Would you go on vacations?
- How would you spend holidays together?
Picture yourself feeling so happy and content with this man and your beautiful life together.
Now, take a look at your list again and see if there are any obvious discrepancies between what you are attracted to now, and your ideal future.
Then, ask yourself, what changes do I need to make within myself to attract the type of man I truly want?
Change takes work and commitment.
If you keep your mind focused on what it is you do want, the types of wrong guys you have been attracting will slowly disappear from your life.
What you attract reflects what you feel about yourself on the inside.
Try believing that you deserve happiness, and see what happens.
Alisa Ruby Bash, LMFT – www.alisarubybash.com
- Do you find yourself continually in the same relationship where the only thing that has changed is his name?
- Do you feel like you’re always attracted to the “wrong” guy?
Well, the first step is recognizing that’s what’s happening in your love life.
I invite you to consider and explore the following ideas to understand your love-life pattern.
1. What do you think you deserve?
Whoever you’re with and however they treat you reflects your inner-most beliefs about what you think you deserve.
If you think you deserve better or more you may want to revisit how you really feel about yourself if you find yourself in the same relationship dynamic time and time again.
2. What are you getting out of the experience?
As much as it may seem like you don’t like guys who are players, afraid of commitment, or general “jerks”, there is some aspect of how they act or the dynamic that you either like, receive a benefit, or that feels comfortable.
For example, even though you think you want to be with someone who is not afraid of commitment, perhaps you’re afraid of commitment.
If you’re attracted to players, perhaps you like the rush of being pursued and their air of confidence.
Until you identify what you’re getting it will be difficult to consider how to get that need met differently without the negative side-effects.
3. Family Patterns.
The relationships with your parents, the dynamics your parents modeled or did not model, how you developed attachment, and your teenage relationship experiences all influence who you are now attracted to.
The more you understand your past relationship dynamics and how you feel about them now, you will be able to better understand your current relationship choices.
Once you’re more aware of why you’re attracted to a certain type you can begin the process of making different choices.
4. Love is a Choice.
Who you’re attracted to may not change, but you do have a choice about who to be in a relationship with. The guy who seems mysterious or overly confident may always cause your heart to flutter, but you have the opportunity to pause and consider if he is the guy you really want to have a relationship with.
Love is unconditional, but relationships are not.
These questions and perspectives will help you begin to understand your pattern.
To adequately resolve and heal this issue I recommend finding a therapist or psychologist who can help you further identify and work through whatever emotional issues led you to being attracted to and staying in relationships with men who fail to meet your needs or wants. It will be challenging and worth the effort!
Laura Rinset, MS, LMFT – www.linkedin.com/in/laurarinset
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