Attractions of Deprivation


Attractions of Deprivation

Do you have a string of romantic disasters trailing behind you? Do you often fall in love with the wrong person and your passion turns into devastation when you see your relationship inevitably fall apart? What gives? Don’t give up. You aren’t destined to die alone or in a dysfunctional relationship. You may be suffering from attractions of deprivation. The Imago model developed by Harville Hendrix states that we are attracted to those who embody the worst elements of our childhood caregivers, our parents or whoever raised us.

We have unresolved issues surrounding abuse, betrayal, neglect and manipulation from these caregivers. We desire to heal these wounds, subconsciously, and so seek out a mate with these qualities so that we may do so. Said another way, we are therefore most attracted to those who have the ability to hurt us psychologically the way we were hurt as children. Moreover, what ends up happening is instead of healing we get hurt in the exact same way, once again, this time by a lover instead of a caregiver. We want to have the same problem play out from our childhood but this time solve the problem instead of enduring the pain, and move past this incident, gaining closure and healing the old wound.

The first thing to do is to identify the negative qualities that pull you in in the first place. Look for qualities that all of your exes who matched this pattern had in common. If you are unsure ask friends, family members and confidants. Next, identify these exact same qualities in your childhood caregivers. Write them down in a list. Call it “My Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down anything that annoyed, upset or hurt you. Don’t worry if you were at fault in some instances, too. Just write them down. Put in physical characteristics that are attractive too but negative like over-confident swagger. Next, get another piece of paper. Entitle it “Profile of my Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down the exact type of person you are attracted to using these qualities. Notice that these exact qualities are both what turn you on and what end up stifling the relationship, such as arrogance. On the flip side, that person doesn’t care about you the way you do them. They aren’t considerate and don’t support you or make room in their lives for you. If you can’t think of anything, ask your friends. They’ll have a ton of things to tell you.

Underneath write “My Gifts.” Write down all of the positive qualities your exes never took the time to get to know about you. These are the very things that get stifled in these relationships. They are holding you back from personal growth. Keep this with you and the next time you are attracted to someone who is wrong for you, turn away. Find people you are attracted to instead, those that inspire you not deprive you. For more advice read, How to Avoid Falling in Love with A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart without Losing Your Mind by John Van Epp, Ph.D.

Are You Settling in your Relationship?

Image of young upset female in quarrel with her husband

Are You Settling in your Relationship?

There are lots of reasons people settle for less in their relationships. Some people believe they won’t be loved by anyone else. Others fear being single. Still others think that they’ve committed some unforgivable transgression and that they owe their partner. Your significant other may be good looking, successful, funny and charming. Others may have even convinced you to stay even though you’ve considered leaving.

Still, no matter how great they are if you still feel a cold, hollow place in your heart as you continue to stick with them, you may be doing yourself, and them, more harm than good. That’s because you won’t give the relationship your best. And those unfulfilled spaces will still need to be filled, whether you ignore them or not, which can lead to infidelity and a host of other issues. The relationship will eventually flounder because people put into them what they get out of them. If your partner senses that you are unfulfilled they will give less, you will do so in return and the relationship will eventually come apart. Often when we’re settling we justify it to ourselves and exist in denial. So how do you know if you are settling in your relationship? Here are the signs.

How do you feel when you think about the relationship? Does it edify you or make you sad? Does your partner challenge you, support you, and try to make you the best person you can be? The trouble could be that your partner is too focused on their own situation, or that they are too critical and this can weigh heavily on the relationship. Do you feel you have to become a different person, changing your dreams, values and objectives to be acceptable to your partner? Is there a level of physical or emotional abuse? If so, this relationship is codependent. That means you serve your partner, putting their needs, wants and desires ahead of yours. You definitely need to get out of a codependent relationship. They will try to suck you back in. But in the end this type of relationship is toxic. You will never enjoy it, nor will you be free.

Another problem you should never put up with is repeated infidelity. If your partner has cheated more than once, even after you’ve given them another chance or more than one, it’s time to kick them to the curb. They are not trustworthy, and trust should be the bedrock of any relationship. If you feel that you give too much and get too little in return, it’s a clear sign that you are settling. For more advice read, Don’t Settle for Any Old Soulmate by L. R. Lawrence.

Are you Giving Too Much and Not Getting Enough in Return?


Are you Giving Too Much and Not Getting Enough in Return?

If you are in a relationship where you feel emotionally drained bending over backwards for your significant other, while they hardly lift a finger for you than this isn’t real love. In fact, you are being taken advantage of. Some people are born givers and they don’t know where to draw the line. Some people are codependent. And although it may look alright on the surface, in fact this is a very unhealthy relationship for both parties. And some people have low self-worth and so let their significant other walk all over them. Or perhaps, someone could just be in the wrong relationship, where what they do for their significant other is no longer appreciated. Instead, they are taken for granted and don’t see much coming down the pike in the other direction. Traffic only goes one way.

Are you giving too much and not getting enough in return? Here are some indicators. See if these fit your situation. The first question is, do you agree to disagree on a whole host of topics? It’s hard for two people to agree on everything. Negotiation, compromise and commitment to one’s word are key for any relationship. But if there are a bunch of things you don’t like and are expected to ignore, you are giving too much. Stick to your priorities. Demand fairness. And if it isn’t possible or doesn’t come, perhaps it’s best to move on.

Do you apologize immediately when there’s a problem? Do you do this whether it’s your fault or not? In healthy relationships, people analyze the conflict or problem and only apologize for what they’ve done wrong. But if you do this you are over-apologizing. Your partner, whether they realize it or not, will soon feel free to take advantage of you. Instead, apologize for what are your mistakes or missteps only. Otherwise you are giving way too much. Are you in a happy relationship or an unhappy one? If you fight all the time, how long has this been going on? Codependent people stay in bad or tumultuous relationships for fear they won’t find anyone else. If this is you, seek professional help. This is a serious problem and can prove dangerous depending on who your partner is. You may be experiencing emotional or even physical abuse. If you are in a high conflict relationship get out as soon as you are able. If there are children involved take them with you too. How much do you prioritize the relationship? If your partner is all you think about, putting school, your job or career, friends, family and other things aside for this person, you may be codependent. Each person in a relationship should have their own lives. But if your entire life is wrapped up in the other person, but they don’t feel the same way, you are giving way too much and not getting enough in return.

When you go out, do you worry constantly whether your partner is enjoying themselves, that you can’t relax and enjoy yourself? If parties, clubs, bars and other social situations are a constant source of worry about your partner, but they aren’t concerned whether or not you’re having a good time, you are giving way too much and not getting enough in return. Have you changed your entire life to fit this person, while they have hardly changed, if at all, for you? If so you’ve given way too much and them not enough. Do some soul searching. Talk with friends and family. Then discuss it with your partner. If they aren’t willing to change, or don’t change, get out. Find your self-worth. And then find someone who appreciates you for the incredible person you are. Don’t accept this situation. You deserve far better. And if you don’t know it, find out how you can come to that realization and feel how great you are inside. It will help you one day find the person who will recognize it when they meet you. If you believe you may battle with codependency read, Codependency- Loves Me, Loves Me Not: Learn How to Cultivate Healthy Relationships, Overcome Relationship Jealousy, Stop Controlling Others and Be Codependent No More by Simeon Lindstrom.

Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?


Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?

7.5 million U.S. couples, mostly 20-somethings are cohabitating today as a way to make sure they’ll stay together, in hopes of preventing future divorce. The reason is most of them grew up in the 1980’s when a lot of divorces took place. Millennials and Generation Y growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s for the first time saw a record number of divorces due to a chipping away at the stigma and, what’s more, no fault divorce laws coming into vogue across the nation. These generations want to stave off marriage in hopes of making sure the person they are living with is the one for them. Divorce is of course a financially and emotionally shattering event in one’s life. But there seems to be some controversy in whether or not living together before marriage prevents divorce. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Meg Jay of the University of Virginia, who in a New York Times article wrote of what she calls the “cohabitation effect,” a phenomenon of cohabitating couples getting married and becoming less satisfied than those who did not live together, and so are more prone to divorce. According to Dr. Jay instead of getting married 20-something couples merely move into the direction of cohabitation instead of making it a point to focus on, discuss and decide on their relationship and where it is going, what she’s termed “sliding, not deciding,” meaning couples just drift into cohabitation rather than making it a serious decision as perhaps couples in past generations might have.

Sliding works like this: sex leads to leaving a tooth brush at someone’s place, then some personal care products and sooner or later the couple has moved in together. “Mission creep” is another term used for the same phenomenon. The couple seems naturally to fall into cohabitation. But according to Dr. Jay research has shown that the sexes view cohabitation differently. Women see it as an avenue to marriage while men see it as a way to have a relationship. What’s more, Dr. Jay says that the standards they hold for a spouse aren’t as high as one they hold for a cohabitating partner. As the relationship develops a new stage will sooner or later crop up, what Dr. Jay calls “lock-in” which she defines as, “the decreased likelihood to search for or change to another option once an initial investment has been made.” Once the couple is established, they are splitting the bills, have a group of friends, and even have pets. It is harder to extricate one’s self. Also, entering into dating after you’ve been lodged into this type of relationship is scary. If the relationship at home is of a lower quality than one would have if one were looking for a marriage partner, it seems as though it’s easier to settle for what you have at home than to get rid of that person and set out to seek a spouse. So people in this group settle for what they already have, says Jay.

Jay argues that 20-somethings and others stay in mediocre relationships for years, not being really happy simply out of convenience and a fear of the unknown. She says relationships that would have lasted only a few months now drag on for years, and so in her view wastes those 20-something years. Still, cohabitation seems likely to stay, not only for social reasons, or fear of divorce, but also financial ones. Lots of 20-somethings having to forgo marriage for longer bouts of education just to be marketable in the job market have staved off marriage for career. Some 20-somethings are so overburdened with work and school that they don’t have time to develop their love lives. In this sense, a default mode or staying in a non-traditional or even a non-monogamous relationship in order to get one’s needs met while still keeping one’s grades up and earning a paycheck could be more practical for 20-somethings. A whole shift in how people engage in their love lives is not based merely on the younger generation experiencing their parent’s divorce but in shifts in our economic system and other factors as well. People are also living longer today. Being married to one person for the rest of one’s life is looking less and less like an attractive option. What once only lasted a few decades can now go on and on for even half a century or more. There are many more options open today for young people due to the proliferation of internet dating and dating apps. What’s more, a generation of young women, college educated and able to support themselves are in a peculiar situation. Many don’t see themselves supporting a man. They aren’t tethered to men for financial support and so can choose and steer the course of their own romantic relationship with far less of the stigma that once occurred in the past. Dr. Jay may be on to something in one sense. But there also may be many more factors at play complicating the issue. Some psychologists and others are calling this the end of marriage. Others believe marriage will only change. Some are proposing different scenarios such as an open marriage, marriages that expire after a certain number of years but that can be renewed, even situations such as “monogamish” where couples have a few rules about when they can stray outside of the marriage. How marriage plays out in America in the future is anyone’s guess. One thing is clear, we are at the beginning of a tremendous transformation in this category of life that isn’t projected to change anytime soon. For more pick up a copy of the book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Megan Jay.

Dating Habits that Sabotage your Love Life


Dating, just like anything else is all in your perspective. It’s how you approach it. Some people just see it as a fun way to get to know other people and enjoy their life. They are lighthearted about it. Others want so desperately to be in a committed relationship that they go from one date to the next trying to find the perfect person to build their life together with. Some daters have a specific checklist of criteria their mate must adhere to or embody. Ultimately this person ends up bitter or disappointed. They may have commitment issues themselves and use a stringent evaluation process to show that it isn’t them, but their dates who are at fault. Then there are those who have been through a painful breakup or divorce and are trying to get back on their feet. Whatever your situation, there are dating habits that can sabotage your love life. The truth is that no one is perfect. We are all human and have faults. You need to find someone who has positive qualities that astound and amaze you, and shortcomings that you can mitigate and live with. If you avoid these habits your dating life will go smoother, and your love life will be more fulfilling.

Some people settle for someone whose bad habits that irk or frustrate them to no end. But instead of ejecting this person from their life and starting over, they stay with them, constantly complain and make both people, and all those around them miserable. What good is this situation? This person is afraid of being alone, and thinks this date is the only one they can get. It’s important to feel confident in yourself. You don’t need anyone in your life. And it’s better to be alone than unhappy. Find out what shortcomings you can come to terms with, even love in a partner, and which ones are a no go. But don’t torture yourself and everyone else by staying with someone who isn’t right for you. Lots of women play hard to get. It’s understandable. Men were traditionally the hunters. And who doesn’t like a good chase? It’s a great way to elicit interest and keep it going strong. But lots of women take it too far. If he finds that he will never win your heart he will get frustrated and move on. Then your tactic will have backfired. Give him a little twinkle, an inkling, and when he’s primed and ready, an in and your love life will take off. If you are in one of those on again, off again relationships, it can be an emotional roller coaster. Sure it’s exciting. But after a while everyone is sick of this ride and wants to get off. Don’t get stuck in this scenario. If you’ve gone around once and seen how the track is, and know that you’re going for the same ride again, get off. You’ll save yourself a stomach ache. To learn more about dating habits and the reasoning behind them, read Why Does He Do That? Why Does She Do That? by Dr. Paula Bloom and Dr. Reef Karim.