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Single Living

Are you frequently drawn to the wrong type of guy or gal?

Some people find themselves consistently (yet unwittingly) dating the wrong type of person. You are attracted to the strong, silent type…and then discover he’s emotionally unresponsive. Or you like to feel needed…but not by a smothering, jealous type. Or you always seem to fall hard for the guy who seems to care less about you.

Is it online dating?

Bad luck?

Or is it you?

In some cases, it may be temperament related. You may be unwittingly repeating certain temperamental blunders.

But if you find that you are repeatedly involved with the wrong type of person or continually enmeshed in unhealthy relationships, you may have to dig deeper. You may be unconsciously replaying childhood patterns.

 

An early impact

Some psychologists have proposed that the way we were raised – even as infants – can have a dramatic impact on our adult love relationships. Our attachment style, formed in early childhood, can affect the way we form emotional attachments. If our attachment style was insecure, we may wind up in a relationship with someone who is emotionally distant or unavailable, controlling or hurtful.

In most cases, our parent or primary caregiver was very warm and responsive and we formed a secure attachment. But sometimes (whether through illness, separation, abuse or other factors) the warmth and security was not there, creating an insecure, anxious, or even avoidant attachment.

As an adult, you might find yourself consistently in unhealthy relationships.

Sometimes, we unconsciously replay the same sort of situation that occurred in our childhood, perhaps hoping to one day fix it, to fill the empty heart or to heal the emotional wound.

Another reason we might fall into childhood patterns is that we want to control the unknown (such as a new relationship) by doing what worked in the past.

If Dad was an alcoholic who flew into rages without warning, you probably learned how to stuff your own feelings in order to keep a semblance of peace in the household. If you learned as a child that love was contingent upon performance, you might be a perfectionist in your relationships today. If you were abused by a family member, you may find it difficult to trust. You might use the same tools today that worked in your childhood; unfortunately, now they serve to maintain unhealthy responses.

 

The spiritual side

And sometimes, it’s a spiritual problem. We may feel frustrated by every partner because our expectations are impossibly high. That is, we expect a mere mortal to fulfill our heart’s immortal longings, which can only be filled by God. As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

If you find yourself repeatedly choosing the wrong type, it’s time for some serious soul searching. Instead of blaming all the guys on CatholicMatch or all the girls in today’s culture, ask yourself some hard questions.

Am I repeating unhealthy childhood patterns? Do I unconsciously sabotage present relationships? Do I choose people who will reject me, thereby proving I am unworthy?

Do I push people away by being overly clingy? Is there some benefit to being in an unhealthy relationship? Is there an emotional wound from the past that needs healing?

Am I expecting one person to be able to fulfill my deepest longings as a human being? Do I believe that God loves me and that my dignity comes from being created in His image and likeness?

After some soul-searching – and perhaps some counseling – make a resolution to break the cycle and begin a new pattern, a pattern of self-respect, humility, and trust in God’s loving plan.

(This post has been read 988 times)

3 Comments

  1. Vhie-763540 November 1, 2011

    Laraine, you clearly put out a nice analysis here. Childhood learning and temperament are the same with nature (genetic disposition like temperament) and nurture (childhood experiences), and both are important factors in determining ones attitude and behavior in creating a relationship. This reminds me of a book I read, Ten stupid things women do to mess up their lives. I like very much your suggestions on enriching spiritual level to know more of oneself. You know, how I wish I read this 30 years ago. I will share this writing. Thank you.

  2. Benjamin-148488 November 3, 2011

    Excellent article. So many true themes here that are undercurrents in many people’s lives, including my own. You know what it is funny? When I started truly being comfortable with who I really was and with God’s better plan for my life, I actually got less dates and had less interest…but the friendships, the quality of life, and peace of soul were off the charts in a great way as the shock and fear faded and time passed. I am in absolute prime position, as far as prime position can be achieved. The one thing I cannot control is God bringing the right woman in my path and life, but I’m not sitting here crying myself to sleep every night. Way too much life to live. My advise to everyone: be yourself! Even if “yourself” is not in a good place, it is a real place and can be “gotten out of”…God will not have it any other way!…

  3. Esther-532964 January 21, 2013

    Good article. It was informative.

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