Experts agree that the reasons we choose the “wrong people” are varied and complex. After a lifetime with automatic pilot set on “seeking acceptance” and working hard to get people to love you, you may be so accustomed to offering up who you are and your power to win acceptance and love that you are not choosing well.
The strategy most people use is to find someone and then try and change or ‘fix” that person. The thinking here is that if he/she loved you enough it is only natural that he/she would change.
So you spend a lot of energy trying to change or “fix” him/her (to get him/her to open up, be more caring, pay attention to you, spend more time with you, have more sex with you, love you, etc). You read books, attend workshops and consult with experts because you believe that if only you do it right – behave right or say the right thing – you can get him/her to change.
The illusion that you have the “power” to get another to change keeps you stuck in behavior that not only does not work to get you what you want, but drains you of the energy you could be using to create a relationship environment that strongly encourages personal and behavioral change.
1. Accept that you can’t “get” others to do what you want them to do, even if it would be good for them and for the relationship.
2. Stop acting and feeling like you are a victim of other people’s behavior and instead start taking action to love, take care of and change yourself first.
3. If you still find yourself needing to make a request for a change in his/her action, communicate it lovingly and effectively but keep in mind that the other person may reject your request (and it’s his/her right to do so). You can request but you can’t demand change, it only creates more resistance.
4. Refrain from choosing people who are “wrong” for you and then trying to change or ‘fix” that person. If you find yourself always in stress-ridden relationships, the real cause is your inner attachment to conflict-ridden bonds. As long as part of you finds “familiarity” in stress and resistance you keep looking for others who will bring you that “high” or “fix” that comes along with stress resulting from resistance and/or conflict. Your attempted solutions will always take the form of “control strategies” or “fixing others'” which only leads to more, stress and stronger resistance.
The interesting part of choosing the right man/woman for you is that the people you attract and have a relationship with reflect back to you a part of yourself. If you can identify the problem in your internal programming, it’s much easier to solve. And the solution will take the form of an expansion of your awareness and/or a change in your beliefs, attitude and behaviour.
If you are already in a relationship, you may be surprised at the changes that occur. And if the other person decides he/she wants change for himself/herself, offer support and encouragement but do not resort to “fixing” him/her.
I tried hard to help him change but now realize is that there is nothing I could have done to change him, no matter how I tried. Thanks.
Great, practical advice. I look at my breakup and the reasons our relationship just didn’t work out are the same reasons I almost didn’t date him in the first place. Every time we breakup it is for the same reasons, but every breakup also reminds both of us how much we truly love each other. We both read your blog faithfully and have decided that this time we will ease our way back into the relationship and see what will work and what won’t.
So true! It will not work if you are repeating the same old patterns that didn’t work before.
The advantage of dating an ex is that unlike in a new relationship, you know what the issues are and can consciously choose to deal with them differently. I’ve seen many relationship become better and grow stronger after a break-up because both individuals realized how much they love and care for each other. All the very best!
I tried to “fix” him but now know that I fell for him because of my own issues. I can only fix myself, which is what I am working on.