Why We Pick the Wrong Relationships and How to Change That

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2019

Please keep in mind that this was written in the context of general relationship conflicts and is not placing blame on victims of abuse.

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their relationships leave them lacking in some way, leaving them to wonder why they end up in the situations they do. They wonder what they are doing wrong, why they “deserve” to be treated in such a way, and if it can ever be any different.

The truth is that poor relational choices can be self-inflicted, but can be changed with a little work. Most people find themselves in one rotten relationship after another, and don’t stop to analyze why they make these choices. They just assume they are unlucky, often not considering there may be a better way to make choices in relationships.

Before we talk about choosing, though, let’s look at hurtful selections people make. What makes a poor choice? In a word — character. The quality of someone’s makeup determines whether or not they’ll be good in a relationship. We are attracted to someone’s outsides: their looks, their status, their intelligence, or achievements. But, we experience their insides: their character. The character makeup of a person determines what they’ll be like in a relationship. If they do not have the ability to do certain things that require good character, then they won’t be able to be good in relationships.

In working with many people over the years, I find that relational problems occur when one or both of the participants are unable to meet the realistic demands of a relationship. This is usually because they are emotionally undeveloped in certain areas. And the result is a lot of pain caused by unmet basic needs.


Need a safe place to relate to others about this topic? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups. 

Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries with Codependency
Boundaries in Dating
 
Boundaries with Parents
Boundaries with Adult Children
Boundaries After Divorce
Boundaries with Narcissists
Boundaries with Kids and Teens
Boundaries in Church

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