I can leave them when I am proven wrong? If I continue like this, how will I know when I finally meet the right one?
I am concerned that I now have set a pattern that I cannot break.
There are several things in your question that I will comment on - and you might not like them!
You had a relationship years ago and it ‘failed’. I get the feeling that at the time you made some unconscious decision that you are not good at having relationships and that you now want life to prove you wrong and give you a perfect relationship.
Do you know the difference between love and infatuation? When you feel infatuation you place the other person on a pedestal. It takes a lot of energy from your side to keep that person on a pedestal, especially when you realize that they are as human as you are. Infatuation does not last. It will burn out, and it will make you tired. Does that mean you yet again ‘failed at a relationship’? No, it only means that you do not understand yet.
When you enter a relationship with expectations and those expectations are not met, the temptation is there to cut yourself off from the person who does not meet your expectations.
Some introspection will tell you that your expectations of other people are meant to divert your attention from yourself.
Where you do not meet your own expectations, you have various options:
· Find someone else to project those expectations on. Then you are off the hook and you have someone to blame when things do not work out.
· Lower your expectations - but what if that leaves you disappointed in yourself?
· Take ownership of your expectations and ask yourself why these expectations are so important to you. Do you really want a relationship that is exciting and full of “butterflies” all the time?
There is a time and a place for everything (and with everything I mean the lovely times that you want to remember forever, as well as the challenging times where you learned about yourself).
There are different things you can do to get a clearer picture of yourself - because this is about resolving your inner division which you project on other people.
Do this for each one of the relationships that you have had and ended, as well as for the relationship you are in at the moment. Draw two columns on a sheet of paper. The title of the first column is ‘Staying in that relationship’, and the title of the second column is ‘leaving that relationship’.
Then divide each of those two columns into two columns. Under the heading ‘Staying in that relationship’, name the two smaller columns ‘Advantages’ and ‘disadvantages’. Do the same for the two smaller columns under the heading ‘leaving that relationship’.
Now here is the important thing – you have to follow these instructions! Write down one advantage you had of being in that relationship. Then write down one disadvantage you experienced when you were in that relationship.
Next write down one advantage of leaving that relationship, followed by one disadvantage of leaving that relationship.
Repeat this process until you have completed at least 30 full lines with entries in all four columns. Of course there will be a temptation to quickly complete one column at a time, but the magic lies in completing one LINE at a time rather than one column at a time. You will know when the magic has happened, and then you can report back to me.
What will happen if you do not do this exercise? You will continue to collect one-sided relationships –and they are worth as much as one-sided coins.
Everything in this Universe has two sides. If you disown one side and remain infatuated with the other side, you will need a lot of all sorts of therapy – which incidentally will probably be as one-sided as a coin with no tail side.
Does this mean that in future you need to stay in a relationship even if it is very painful? Not necessarily. I am saying that it is important to understand the purpose of any relationship – both in love, career, friendship - you name it. When you experience love in a relationship, you bask in it and feel gratitude. When you experience hard times in a relationship, you need to detach yourself from the relationship and determine what the lesson is for you. We enter into relationships with significant people because they are our teachers. Their behavior and our responses teach us about ourselves.
If we miss the lesson, we feel like victims and ask ‘why me? How can they do this to me?’ If we search for the lesson, we take ownership and ask ‘what am I learning from this? How is this relationship helping me to change from who I was to who I want to be?’ This allows us to see the lessons, to grow and to experience gratitude rather than resentment when a relationship ends.
Who were you before each of your relationships started? What did you learn from those relationships about yourself? In what sense did you become wiser and more mature? What is it that you need to go back and thank those ex-girlfriends for, because without them you would not have grown as a person? As long as you ignore this, you will continue to have a pattern of “infatuation-depths of despair” with no balance and no gratitude.
Of course you can discard all of this and say you don't want to learn about yourself, you just want someone to make you happy. Do you really want someone else to ‘make you happy’? I would not want to add the burden of my own unhappiness to anyone in a relationship with me. When you take ownership for who you are and you accept yourself and your actions 100%, you will find someone who does the same. On the other hand, when you look for someone to ‘make you happy’, you will find someone who will expect you to ‘make her happy’. Such a relationship is exhausting because you jump around like a cat on a hot tin roof to meet someone else’s ever-changing expectations, while you get more and more frustrated because she does not meet your expectations. The end result? You guessed it.
Who said life is not hard work? But there is nothing as satisfying as when you ‘get the message’ and you feel immense gratitude for having been in a relationship that made you wiser and more mature.
To read more about dealing with relationship issues: