Why you keep repeating the same unhealthy dating habits

Do you find yourself regularly repeating the same unhealthy dating habits in your relationships? Have some of your relationships been dysfunctional in pretty similar ways? Do you see similarities with your childhood relationships? 

If this resonates, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Humans are habit-driven beings who are influenced by what’s familiar, and relationships are no exception. It’s been found that patterns that we witness or learn in childhood play a very big part in our behaviours in adulthood.

We decided to spend some time looking why we as humans continue to repeat unhealthy habits and ways to break them. Here’s what we found…

So why does it keep happening?

The simple answer is we repeat what’s familiar. What does that mean?

  • Behavioural patterns and coping mechanisms developed or learned in childhood ingrained into our psyche and influence the way we think and behave.
  • People tend to repeat familiar subconscious and conscious behaviours because they know what to expect from them. 
  • Traumatized children often grow up with a mentality of thinking they deserve punishment so when good things happen, they self-sabotage over and over again.

How can you break the cycle?

With all things the first thing is identifying there needs to be a change but following these steps will also help.

1. Honesty – Be honest with you yourself

Being aware of what needs improvement is crucial for growth and change. You need to be committed to pushing yourself to challenge your beliefs, thoughts and values. Therapists suggest journaling as a good way of expressing your thoughts.

2. Discovery – Reflect on your past actions

Most of our patterns come from our childhood experiences. Spend time exploring your past. Think about family dynamics and how this influenced your personality and behaviour. How was your parents’ relationship? What did you learn from their relationship which has influenced your behaviours today. In some instances, speaking with a professional can be helpful with understand the impact of your childhood experience on your adult life.

3. Analysis – Take an objective look at your relationship

Look at your relationship in detail and identify the areas for improvement and the actions you need to take to make your relationship healthy. Be honest with yourself about what is realistic and if you’re not willing to make the changes. And if nothing more can be done it might be worth considering leaving at this point.

4. Growth – What did you learn from past relationships

Reflect on what went wrong and try to learn from the mistakes and understand what you need to change for future relationships.