Making bad relationship choices happens all too often and for many of us. But why? I have been helping people on a mental health forum for the last several years, and I see a reoccurring pattern: people consistently making very poor choices in partners.
I have done this myself, many times in my life. So why do we make poor relationship choices?
- Lack of fulfillment in life
All too often people are dissatisfied with their lives in some way. Perhaps it’s their job or career path, financial troubles, family troubles, a terrible living situation or perhaps it’s something missing within.
When we are unhappy with ourselves or with our lives, it’s easy to fall into a relationship – especially with the wrong person – just to feel some sense of belonging, love, security and companionship that is missing in our lives. We tend to gloss over and dismiss red flags and warnings because we are trying to fill a void.
A relationship can function as a band-aid solution for all the other problems we may be facing, but it’s not the correct solution.
Being unhappy often leads to making bad relationship choices. A person is more so in need of a relationship to fulfill what is missing or wrong, and when we are in need, we are not as careful about the person we choose to get involved with.
We should never need a relationship in order to be happy. We should feel generally happy and content in our lives first, before we can be happy with someone else.
So, if you find that you are in a rut of bad relationship choices, take a step back, look at what is broken or missing in your life and start taking steps to fix it. Work on your own life and make it better before jumping into another relationship. Find happiness on your own, then you will be in a far better position to make the right relationship choices.
- Lack of self esteem
When our self-esteem is suffering, we do not feel good on the inside, which is also reflected on the outside. People can pick up on low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is evident in how we live our daily lives, in how we talk to other people and in how we carry ourselves.
People with low self-esteem will attract others with low self-esteem, or they will attract an abusive/toxic personality type.
On the opposite end, people with strong self-esteem want a partner who is confident and secure in themselves.
So, when your self-esteem is off kilter and low, be careful of who and what you may be attracting. It may not be the type of person you generally want in your future. Work on rebuilding or building your self-esteem first, then find a partner who will be better matched for you.
- You are putting on love blinders
“Love blinders” happen when we are swept off our feet into early feelings of love and infatuation and when we dismiss and ignore red flags.
Let’s face it — romance is a great feeling! Who doesn’t love the early stages of romance? The butterflies, the excitement of someone new in our lives, the first few dates, and of course, the first time we have sex with a new partner.
It’s easy to get swept up in the early stages of romance, but it’s a big mistake and can often lead us into a pattern of bad relationship choices.
Getting caught up too early on and believing that this is “the one” or the perfect partner without getting to know the person first is a mistake.
That is why it is called putting on “love blinders.” Love is blind, as they say, but don’t allow it to be.
You must take your time in getting to know someone before deciding they are worthy of your heart and love. Trust must be earned over time – trust should not be an automatic. Behavior must be watched and observed over time.
People often put their best foot forward in the beginning of a relationship, and are on their best behavior. After the “honeymoon” period is when true colors really show. Know this going into a new relationship and take your time. If you feel swept up in the moment, step back and realize that you still need to get to know the person.
Sure, we all love the feeling that love brings us, but when we rush into a relationship too quickly, it’s easy to overlook red flag warnings and take heed to those warnings if we’ve committed ourselves too early.
So, don’t rush it. Move slowly. Take your time and get to know the person before committing your heart and time. Don’t rush into commitments.
- Pressure from society, family and friends
Often we receive pressure from society to be in relationship, or from our family and friends. We see people coupled up around us, and we may feel some amount of pressure or anxiety to be in a relationship ourselves.
Or, our family and friends believe we should have a partner and add to that pressure.
It is very easy to make bad relationship choices when the pressure is upon us. But don’t allow that to happen.
This is YOUR life. It is up to YOU how you want to live your life. If you are receiving pressure from others, create stronger boundaries and allow yourself the right to decide what is best and right for YOU. Don’t allow others to push you into a relationship because they think you should be. That’s when we can make poor decisions when choosing a partner.
If you prefer to be single, then be single! Only get involved in a relationship if it’s what you want, not because of what others want or because you feel you should be coupled up. This will only cause bigger problems for you, especially if you choose to marry the wrong person.
- Unhealthy mentally and emotionally
When a person is not healthy mentally or emotionally, that person will only attract others who are not mentally well. Like attracts like.
Similarly, emotionally healthy people will want someone who is also emotionally healthy.
A very healthy, stable person will not be able to tolerate being with someone who is mentally or emotionally unwell — not for long, that is.
If you find that you are not mentally or emotionally stable, and if you find yourself in a pattern of bad relationships, work on yourself first and foremost, without being in a relationship. Get yourself healthy again, even if it means working with a therapist and taking medications.
It is well worth the effort to make yourself healthy again before getting involved in another bad relationship.
When we are mentally healthy, when we are stable in our lives, and when we feel a sense of satisfaction and/or fulfillment and accomplishment, we will attract partners who are also stable, secure and happy.
Two stable, happy and healthy people will create a stable and healthy relationship. Two unstable, unfulfilled, and mentally unhealthy people will create an unhealthy, toxic relationship.
In sum, if you find yourself repeatedly making bad relationship choices, look at your own life first and see what is missing or needs to be improved upon. My advice is to work on your own life and on your inner self first, then you can find the right relationship that will be most fulfilling and healthy for you.
So here’s to overcoming bad relationship choices, to making yourself happy and whole again, and here’s to your happiness!