“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Women are attracted to the wrong men when they still have unresolved issues from their past, especially related to their relationship with their parents.
When women are attracted to the wrong guy, women are looking for those men to fill the unmet needs they had as a child. Unconsciously, women are calling forward men who can help them feel unlovable, broken or unworthy.
Their logical mind might be telling them they are ready for a relationship; however their unconscious is telling them something entirely different.
It’s important to look for a theme in the type of men you are attracted to.
- How do they not meet your needs?
- What is it that you like about them?
- What is it you want to change about them?
- Why are they the wrong guy?
- Where are you meeting these men?
- What types of things are you willing to have in a relationship and what are deal breakers for you?
These questions are great openers for a journaling entry.
If you suspect that you are still harboring unresolved issues from the past, there are several things you can do in order to work it out.
- You can work with a therapist who has training in Imago therapy, a specific type of therapy that works this issue exactly.
- You can explore your childhood through journaling and learn to express the feelings of sadness you have.
- You can learn what your needs are and how to meet them yourself, instead of looking for other people to meet your needs.
What can you do today in order to explore your childhood wounds and how they might be impacting your choice of men?
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
If you are wondering why you haven’t met a great guy yet you may want to ask yourself why you keep attracting the same type of person into your life?
The answer is that you probably gravitate towards personalities, behaviors and appearances that are familiar to you.
Perhaps, certain types of men feel comfortable to you and you feel comfortable around them. You may like strong, domineering men because dad was that way or you think men need to be that way to make you feel secure.
Quiet, mellow, more feminine personality types just don’t excite you or ignite the chemical attraction you most desire.
Whichever you prefer, there is no reason to stay within that mold, because it usually ends the same way – in an unfulfilled, short-term relationship.
Without realizing it, your choices become an unconscious habit that is difficult to break without some degree of awareness.
If you find yourself dating the same type of person over and over again, you need to step outside the box and try something – and someone – new.
How do you do that?
1. Explore new venues for meeting people.
Are you curious about wine tastings, book readings, tennis matches, hiking adventures, etc, but never thought to check one out?
Now is the time to try these new activities, because you’ll be expanding your social network and meeting new people, who may be just different enough to break your relationship pattern.
2. Believe that your past relationships are not examples of what love is supposed to be and be open to men treating you in better ways you are not accustomed to.
3. Pay attention to what family and friends are saying about the men you are dating and then bring that awareness into your dating decisions.
Because other people can be more objective than you, it doesn’t hurt to listen to their perspective.
These suggestions can break your cycle of dating men who are not good for you because they are either abusive, toxic, uncommitted or just not worthy of all you have to give.
Don’t you want to meet Mr. Right – finally? Then you need to step out of your comfort zone and explore new possibilities with a fresh new mindset.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Finding a partner can be a long and challenging journey.
Think about how many things have to align to make it a positive and healthy relationship: you have to be attracted, feel attractive, be sexually compatible, emotionally connected, intellectually satisfied, and the list goes on and on. So, be much more easy on yourself when dating – it is difficult to find someone worth your time and effort in the dating arena.
Rather than simply focusing on the men you are dating, let’s focus on the common denominator – YOU!
- Is there a pattern within you making these available, nice, decent men seem unattractive, boring, unfulfilling?
- Are you unconsciously attracting men that make you feel badly about yourself because that is all you feel you deserve?
Women often repeat patterns in their lives based on past experiences.
- Could this be true for you?
- Do you truly and authentically feel that you deserve a nice, attractive, emotionally available man?
In my experience with women dealing with this problem, the deep-down inside answer is usually “no.”
If this is the case, you must turn inward and learn more about yourself and why you might not feel you deserve better.
Something else to look at more deeply within yourself is the idea that you might be sabotaging healthier relationships because unconsciously there is a part of you that does not want to make a commitment.
It is common for one part of us to desire freedom, while another part desires commitment. If you are typically in relationships with unavailable men that thrill you, but will not make a commitment, you are simply insuring your freedom (on an unconscious level, of course).
In summary, this kind of dilemma could simply be a numbers game, meaning you have to date more available, nice guys before you find one of them attractive.
It could be have something to do with your deep, unconscious (or conscious) belief that you are not ‘good enough,’ do not deserve a nice guy, or might be sabotaging relationships in favor of the part of you that desires freedom.
Kimberly Atwood, MA, LPC, LMHC, LCAT – www.KimAtwood.com
This is such a difficult issue. I don’t think women are attracted to “bad boys” any more than they are attracted to “good boy”.
There is a lot of complexity as to what creates attraction between people.
Probably the biggest single factor in partner selection is how intimacy was experienced in the family of origin.
For better or worse, we are all highly socialized by the families that we grew up in. Some families are closer than others. Some families are safer than others.
We unconsciously adopt certain roles that facilitate the functioning of both the family and ourselves.
In childhood we form attachments and behavioral patterns with both parents that will influence our choice of mate when we begin to feel sexual and emotional attractions. You may notice that even physically you probably have a type. That type is probably linked to the physical attributes of one or both of your parents.
Our childhood experience is helpful when we grow up in families that we would consider healthy.
But when our families are problematic we still develop familiar attractions and patterns of relating that can make our adult relationship choices difficult. It seems counter-intuitive that we would be attracted to men who resemble our alcoholic, or abusive father.
We tell ourselves that we won’t repeat the painful patterns that we had to live with when we were growing up.
But there is a powerful, unconscious drive to replicate those family of origin dynamics. We are instinctively drawn to what is familiar. We have spent years learning the rules and the roles. Is it such a surprise then that we would feel the most comfortable with partners who fit our family of origin dynamics?
Likewise, men are attracted to women who fit with their family experiences.
It is uncanny how astutely we are able to find the perfect person to replicate the family dance. Such finely tuned compatibility feels like love, which is why we are drawn again and again to the same type of man.
Different faces, same characteristics. We know that comfortable doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, so we are left with the dilemma of a powerful attraction to men whom we know from experience aren’t good choices for us.
What to do?
The part of you that feels the attraction is the emotional part of your brain.
That part is hard to reason with.
Intellectually you’ve learned that your emotions are likely to lead you astray.
You follow those emotions at quite a cost. But what is a relationship without passion? Pretty empty! Do you have to choose between the heart and the head? Sadly, for a while you probably do.
I think the more you work on your own family of origin dynamics, the easier it becomes to pick a healthy partner.
If, for instance, you are working to overcome your need to be a caretaker, eventually you will not feel attracted to a man who needs to be taken care of. And surprisingly, those needy men will no longer be attracted to you.
Life presents us with constant opportunities to grow ourselves up.
The lessons can involve some pretty painful experiences. We don’t get to choose our families. It takes work to learn how to differentiate enough from them to lose the automatic tendency to replicate them.
If you pay attention and keep working on yourself, you will eventually populate your adult “family” with healthier people. Working on yourself is the best way I know to avoid bad choices in men. It can be a slow process, but it can be done.
In the meantime, fill your life with good friends, and great adventures.
Wait until you’re really ready before you commit to a relationship. I also recommend a dog. They make the waiting a lot easier!
Sally LeBoy, MS, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Being attracted to or having chemistry with another person is a direct barometer to the relationship with you.
Who they are is how you are. If you do not treat yourself with respect then you will attract and be attracted to others who do not treat you with respect.
If you are healthy, whole and balanced then that is what you will attract and be attracted to for partnership.
I have gone through my own personal “bad Boy” phase and made it through to the other side. I can tell you for sure it is all about you. As I worked on healing myself the quality of men I attract and am attracted to changed dramatically.
If you are struggling with men who don’t value you or have anger issues, look at yourself.
The behaviors may be different but the underlying emotional patterns are similar.
- Do you treat yourself with respect?
- Do you have anger issues?
- How kind are your own thoughts about yourself?
- Do you provide proper balance to your self and your life?
- Do you listen to your intuition and trust yourself?
Identifying self-trust can be tricky so be careful.
Everyone I ask tells me they trust themselves but very few actually do. Self trust means completely trusting you to take care of anything that arises. A way to check is to assess how controlling you are. When you trust yourself there is no need to control your environment or others.
All of these things are a direct reflection upon the partner you attract and are attracted to.
Pay attention to the red flags!
When you see them it is ok to pass on the man even if there is chemistry. Then continue to work on yourself until the character of the person improves. It is ok to postpone your next heartache! All of life is a vehicle to self-exploration so enjoy the ride.
Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com
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