I speak to hundreds of women about heartbreak. While each woman tells their story as if they’re alone in their experience, the truth is, the issues they face are the same stories shared my many. My mission is to understand why these patterns keep coming up and what we can do to change them. Relationship patterns are tricky – because too often we are diagnosing the symptoms and not the cause.
You’re Troubleshooting The Wrong Thing
It’s not just about the guy being an asshole, narcissist or emotionally unavailable. It’s that you’re choosing the asshole, narcissist or the emotionally unavailable and staying in it. When the relationship eventually blows up (he meets someone else, you can’t take the pain anymore, etc), you replace that guy with another one. Then the same emotional experience repeats.
Here are the common symptoms packaged up in statements I hear repeatedly from women:
“I’ve been in a casual ‘relationship’ for a year…”
“He gets the girlfriend experience without being my boyfriend.”
“He was the one who chased me in the beginning, and then when he ‘got me’ things changed. Now I’m the one chasing him for his time, his affection…”
“He doesn’t prioritize me.”
“I feel like I’ve lost my power in this relationship.”
Do you relate to any of these statements? If so, can you identify what the commonality is? Each one of these statements are part of the same emotional experience:
I’m into someone more than he’s into me. I’m willing to settle for less because I don’t feel worthy of love. I’ll rationalize that this unhealthy dynamic is okay by hanging on to hope that he or the situation will change. I will change myself and do more (or play games) to earn his love. The validation from his attention is the substitute for me not having enough love for myself.
That’s the truth.
You choose (and stay with) people who are not equally invested in you because you don’t love yourself enough to not settle for breadcrumbs (aka casual).
All the addictive highs and lows, emotional turbulence and the mental gymnastics you’re doing to keep a guy, is distracting you from seeing this reality.
I want to point out – if you want a committed relationship, and the person doesn’t, it’s not mutually casual. It’s a dynamic dictated by him and you’re taking what you can get because you’re afraid of losing him.
You’re afraid of losing someone that doesn’t like you enough.
Let that sink in.
And if you struggle with your self-worth, if a guy doesn’t like you enough, you create a story about how this means you’re inherently not good enough. You feel inferior. So it becomes a much bigger issue – because rejection to you is taken personally like it’s a rejection of your worth as a human being. No wonder it hurts so fucking much.
The first step is seeing the reality of the situation. And the real root of the cause – which is buried in your belief systems.
The subconscious beliefs you have about yourself that range from the ones you have about yourself:
I’m not enough, I’m not worthy of love, I need to earn love.
To your beliefs about the world:
I’m too old, there’s no good ones left, there’s no one else out there I can love.
You can spend years in therapy to understand how you got to this, but you don’t need to wait years and years in order to make a change. Do the work to get to the bottom of the belief systems that are running your emotions and decision making. Get professional help, go to breakup bootcamp, get a coach, do something, anything – to start addressing those unhelpful beliefs. Work on building a stronger foundation that’s made up of self-worth, high standards, love, and wholeness.
And if you want to date while you’re in this process of rejiggering your foundation, fine. But commit to yourself to stop trying to convince someone to like you. Because you’re attempting to do the impossible. There’s NOTHING you can do to make someone like you more.
Don’t let an uneven power dynamic set precedent
When you start dating someone, stop giving the person 90% of your power so he only gives 10%. Do the math – there’s only 100% to work with – so if you show up giving, giving, giving, you don’t leave any room for that person to give back! That’s a behavioral change you can make right away – but – you still want to look into why you over give in the first place (I’ll give you a hint, it comes from the same place as why you settle for less).
You can only receive as much love as the love you have for yourself. If you are continually suffering in your relationships with this same pattern repeating, I recommend you stop investing your time into finding another match, and invest that energy into growing your capacity to love yourself.