Why You’re Afraid Your Next Relationship Will Look Like Your Last One…
Perhaps the reply is obvious: “Well, it ended. So you work it out.”
This is one part of life where people can be pretty hard on themselves.
Maybe you’ve been in the same cycle before: get into a relationship with a guy who is selfish, Type-A, career-driven, feel neglected, chase him harder, watch him pull away, and then…
You’re back to square one.
Then you look at friends and family in marriages and uncharitably think: “If these idiots can make it work, why can’t I?”
Maybe you chased someone who you knew deep down wasn’t what you needed. He didn’t want the family you wanted, he wasn’t kind and took out his insecurities on you, or he lacked ambition and didn’t like seeing you succeed…whatever the reason, after all the tears and intimate sobs between you and your pillow, you found yourself realizing: I make the same dumb mistake every damn time. I keep choosing/staying with the wrong people.
And then it happens…you don’t trust yourself anymore.
How To Trust Yourself To Choose Better Relationships
You might like the idea of falling in love again.
But a part of you is sceptical. It says, “you choose the wrong f**king person every time. Why should the next one be any different?”
These cases of broken self-trust can manifest in all sorts of ways. But ultimately it leads us you muting your own life. It leads to you playing it small and safe for fear that you might expose yourself to more pain later down the line.
A great boxing coach named Martin Snow once said that there are four responses to fear:
What you need to train is the first instinct. Fight. The instinct to keep moving forward.
And like every great fighter, that means keeping your cool. It means being smart. It means walking into the ring but knowing to keep your defences up and pick your moment to strike.
In other words: you can still protect your heart but keep advancing in love. Even if you need some rest and reassessment before you get started again.
The trick is to:
1. Do your training
If you dive back in the ring without any sense of where you’re going, you’ll take all the same hits again.
Even if the relationship anguishes we suffered weren’t our fault – gaslighting, neglectful treatment, emotional outbursts, unfaithfulness – we can still get clear about what behaviour we will no longer tolerate.
It’s important to write it down and really ask ourselves: why will I never settle for this again? What fears led me to accept this behaviour for as long as I did? What warning signs did I notice early on that I know for next time?
When you get clear about these answers, you’ll feel empowered because you’ll have located the major problem that you can avoid next time.
Most people just stumble from one chaotic situation to another. But if you’re smart, you can take the “failed relationship” and decide: where did I screw up in my own behaviour? Where did I allow bad behaviour to continue? What do I know for next time so I won’t bang my head against the wall trying to change someone who I’m better off without?
2. Get happy single
I’ve written about it before. And I still stand by it.
You make much, MUCH healthier, better choices about who you fall in love with when you no longer fear being alone.
Learn to have a blast in your own company, find emotional fulfilment in your own purpose, and surround yourself with people who “get you” and give you positive reminders of your value, and you’ll find it 10x easier to choose relationships that only enhance you’re already vibrant life.
Finding a relationship shouldn’t be about trying to create an amazing life, it should be about sharing the amazing one you already have.
3. Believe you are not the same “you” as yesterday
The most important part of self-trust is believing in your own ability to fix problems.
It’s not the naiive belief that you’ll do a 180-degree shift and be an entirely different person. That’s mostly self-help nonsense.
But you absolutely must have faith that the new version of you has learnt the lessons of yesterday’s you. Because she has. She is armed with knowledge that you simply didn’t possess before you made all your previous mistakes. Trust it. Know that you have been through pain so that today you are ready for the next challenge.
4. Visualize a bright future
As highly irrational as it might sound, one of the most important things you can do is envision better days ahead. That includes in your career, your happiness, and your relationships.
When you imagine a better future, you start making choices that actually lead to you doing kinder things for yourself. If you think of a person 5, 10, 15 years from now – it’s you – she’s smiling, happy, making something beautiful of her life. What do you do now to make sure she gets that? Who do you definitely not need around you for a second longer?
If you ever have that voice that tells you to return to comfortable (but miserable) relationship where your needs aren’t being met, think of that smiling person in the future and say, “if not for me, then for her”.
You’ll thank yourself later.
5. Confidently say “NO” to something being wrong
The best way to start trusting yourself is to do things that show you mean business.
You get crappy service? Speak up. Someone is flakey in their texts? Say, “you seem nice, but I don’t have time for someone who doesn’t know what they want right now. Take care.” Someone in the early stage of a relationship raises a massive red flag? Say, “I’m out.”
Just like that, you’ll start to build self-respect. You’ll get addicted to the integrity that comes from not accepting bullshit. People will notice your new standard and begin to act accordingly.
Treat your time, emotions, and energy like the precious finite resources they are.
Once you do that, you have control. And you can trust that this new version of you always has your back. And love won’t be scary, because you know you’ll only accept the right kind.
Ready to start finding love again? Download the free guide at 3SecretsToLove.com
For more updates follow Stephen @stephenhhussey