How to Break Unstable Relationship Patterns


“Being
willing
to
accept
responsibility
for
the
situation
you’re
in
is
the
first
step
to
a
more
fulfilling
love
life.”
~Renée
Suzanne

Remember
the
haunting
ballad
“Foolish
Games”
by
Jewel?

Jewel
wrote
the
song
when
she
was
sixteen.
She
kept
a
serious
journal,
and
said
in
an
interview
that
a
verse
in
the
song
was
“about
a
relationship
that
I
was
dramatically
involved
in
on
paper.”

That
pretty
much
sums
up
my
first
relationship,
which
was
a
dramatic
pseudo-relationship
in
many
ways.
I
was
sixteen
going
on
seventeen,
hopelessly
romantic
yet
shrewdly
skeptical
of
love
at
the
same
time.
My
emotions
were
wild
and
intense,
and
that
was
what
I
thought
“real
love”
felt
like.

This
drama
followed
me
throughout
the
few
but
memorable
relationships
I
had
in
my
twenties.
When
a
partner
was
rude
to
me
or
put
me
down,
I’d
think
that
I
somehow
deserved
it
or
that
it
was
a
challenge
to
do
better
with
a
quick-witted
comeback.
I’d
tell
myself
that
the
other
person
needed
“space”
to
“calm
down,”
without
giving
as
much
care
or
thought
to
what
I
really
wanted
or
needed.

Mind
games
and
second-guessing
are
part
and
parcel
of
an
unstable
relationship.

As

Anita
wrote
in
a
forum
comment:
“Maybe
you
are
testing
him
each
time
you
withdraw—will
he
go
after
me?”
In
my
mind,
I’d
rationalize
it
as
the
need
to
be
“reaffirmed”
that
I
was
really
what
the
person
was
looking
for
in
an
ideal
partner.

All
of
the
unstable
relationships
I
was
in
ultimately
failed.

In
hindsight,
it’s
no
wonder
why!

I
had
constantly
attracted
and
been
attracted
to
partners
who
lacked
commitment,
reliability,
and
emotional
stability.
Things
would
blow
hot
and
cold
on
a
regular
basis
in
either
direction
(“She’s
So
Cold,”
by
The
Rolling
Stones,
was
yet
another
song
with
lyrics
I
could
relate
to).

When
I
reached
my
early
thirties,
I
started
putting
in
more
effort
to
break
out
of
these
negative
relationship
patterns.
I
realized
that
I
had
to
accept
responsibility
for
being
in
horrible
relationship
situations
that
I
thought
no
wise
and
sane
person
would
ever
put
up
with.

I’d
like
to
share
what
I
learned
in
the
hopes
that
my
experience
may
help
someone
else
who’s
desperately
trying
to
move
forward
from
a
troubled
dating
history.

5
Lessons
About
Breaking
Unhealthy
Relationship
Patterns

1.
Observe
your
thoughts
and
their
actions.

When
I
observed
myself,
I
noticed
that
my
own
thoughts
about
love
and
relationships
were
full
of
negative
or

anxious
associations.
I
believed
that
it
was
close
to
impossible
to
be
in
a
healthy
relationship
or
that
I
would
always
be
attracted
to
unstable
types.

This
anxiety
carried
over
into
my
behavior
on
a
daily
basis.
I
was
always
skeptical
to
the
point
of
being
paranoid.
Being
too
trusting
is
a
fault,
but
I
saw
how
the
other
extreme
could
be
just
as
damaging
as
it
didn’t
give
me
much
of
a
chance
to
see
the
good
side
of
others.
I
couldn’t
expect
my
relationships
to
improve
if
I
had
such
low
confidence
in
ever
being
in
a
fulfilling
relationship.

I
also
had
to
recognize
when
someone’s
words
and
actions
didn’t
line
up.
A
glib
speaker
might
be
able
to
use
words
to
perfectly
express
or
explain
something,
but
it’s
a
person’s
behavior
that
really
matters
at
the
end
of
the
day.
A
partner
who
proclaims
they’re
the
greatest
is
an
egomaniac
if
they
fail
to
see
how
their
hurtful
words
or
behavior
affects
you.

2.
Get
clear
on
your
boundaries.

Think
about
what
makes
you
feel
sad,
uncomfortable,
drained,
or
diminished
as
a
human
being.

My
list
of

personal
boundaries
includes
the
following:

  • I
    need
    a
    partner
    who’s
    financially
    responsible.
  • I
    need
    a
    partner
    who
    won’t
    resort
    to
    belittling
    my
    mind
    and
    opinions
    should
    we
    have
    a
    clash
    of
    opinions.
  • I
    need
    plenty
    of
    alone
    time
    to
    rest,
    recharge,
    and
    dedicate
    to
    my

    creative
    projects.

You
need
to
understand
what
your
personal
boundaries
are
so
that
you
can
maintain
them.
More
importantly,
it
helps
you
keep
a
distance
from
people
who
don’t
respect
your
limits.

Boundaries
don’t
exist
because
you’re
selfish
or
because
you
want
to
make
life
difficult
for
others.
Boundaries
are
a
form
of
self-care
for
your
mental
and
emotional
health.
If
this
makes
things
“difficult”
for
others,
perhaps
they’re
not
the
people
you
should
be
spending
most
of
your
time
and
life
with.

3.
Get
clear
on
what
you
want.

When
you
have
a
better
idea
of
what
you

don’t

want,
shift
the
focus
onto
what
you

do

want
in
your
relationships.

Think
about
the
time
and
energy
you’ve
poured
into
unstable
relationships.
If
you
spent
as
much
time
and
energy
on
seeking
a
healthy
relationship,
wouldn’t
you
have
a
reasonable
chance
of
success?

To
enjoy
a
stable
relationship
with
someone
mature
and
available,
consider
the
deeper
values
you
and
your
partner
need
to
be
in
alignment
with.

Do
you
want
to
have
kids,
or
are
you
looking
for
someone
who
can
also
be
a
stepparent?
Are
you
adamantly
childfree
and
need
a
partner
to
respect
this
choice
of
yours?
How
financially
responsible
would
you
like
your
partner
to
be,
and
what
are
your
financial
expectations
in
a
relationship?

These
aren’t
exactly
romantic
questions,
and
you
don’t
want
to
be
unrealistic
with
a
never-ending
list
of
points
that
a
potential
partner

must

check
off.
But
knowing
what
your
deal
breakers
are

before

entering
a
relationship
can
save
you
a
lot
of
time
and
heartache.

4.
Don’t
give
up
on
yourself.

You
may
feel
like
your
dating
history
is
akin
to
scorched
earth,
where
there’s
nothing
but
rubble,
ashes,
and
a
rancid
boatload
of
chronic
low
self-esteem.

No
matter
how
bad
it
is,

don’t
give
up
on
yourself.

You
are
a
unique
individual,
and
the
story
of
your
life
is
up
to
you
to
create.
There
may
be
setbacks
and
failures,
but
you
never
have
to
lose
sight
of
your
dreams
and
goals.

To
lose
yourself
in
a
relationship
is
a
sad
way
to
feel
out
of
touch
with
who
you
really
are.

Spend
the
time
to
not
just
get
to
know
yourself,
but
to
know
what
really
motivates
you.
This
self-understanding
will
serve
as
a
source
of
inspiration
whenever
you
need
to
remind
yourself
of
your
gifts
and
strengths.

5.
Choose
wisely.

You
always
have
a
choice
at
the
end
of
the
day.

Instead
of
self-destruction
through
an
unstable
relationship,
you
can
choose
self-love
and
commit
to
leaving
unhealthy
relationships
behind
you.
Choose
peace
over
drama
and
emotional
rollercoasters
when
it
comes
to
romantic
partners.
Choose
relationships
where
you
feel
free
to
be
your
authentic
self
instead
of
needing
to
walk
on
eggshells
for
fear
of
saying
something
that
will
set
your
partner
off.

Above
all,
choose
to
be
with
someone
who
is
kind
and
respectful
toward
you.

Your
failed
relationships
help
you
to
recognize
the
negative
patterns
that
you
need
to
break
free
from.
This
freedom
allows
you
to
begin
healing
from
within,
and
it
helps
you
move
on
in
wisdom,
not
anger.
You’re
then
able
to
face
each
day
at
an
optimum
level
with
the
knowledge
that
you’ll
be
able
to
handle
whatever
comes
your
way.

Realize
that
it’s
not
impossible
to
break
free
from
negative
relationship
patterns.
Know
that
life
has
more
to
offer
than
unstable
relationships,
and
that
you
are
worth
a
whole
lot
more
than
someone
else’s
self-destructive
tendencies.

About

Jess
Chua

Astrologically
speaking,
Jess
Chua
has
a
Venus
in
Scorpio
(which
probably
explains
most
of
her
tumultuous
relationship
experiences).
Jess
writes
and
edits
content
for
the

Optimal
Living
Daily
personal
development
podcast.
She
blogs
about
introverts
and
related
topics
on
her
personal
site,

Inner
Life
Goals.

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