Welcome back, my loves. Let’s talk about why you keep ending up in the same relationship pattern over and over and over again in your dating life.
This is the main thing that I speak to clients about; when someone comes to work with me on dating or relationships, this tends to be the undercurrent of what’s happening with them. They tell me that they’re sick of being stuck in this relationship pattern, attracting the same people over and over again, and they want a conscious relationship.
They want a relationship that is healthy, monogamous, and committed, yet they keep attracting these emotionally unavailable partners or avoidant partners or people who are simply not a good fit.
Essentially, they’re trapped in this relationship pattern of cycling through what seems the same exact person in a different skin suit.
Let’s get into why this keeps happening.
The first reason we keep falling into this relationship pattern is that…well, at the end of the day, it’s familiar. We as humans believe that it’s better to deal with the devil you know, which means it’s better for us to stay in something that seems familiar, even if that thing fucking sucks.
Because of this tendency to flock around the familiar, we actually will seek out partners who remind us of our parents in some way, shape, or form.
That can include positive attributes, but also negative attributes. This isn’t something you’ll see right away, but there’s this unconscious thing that happens where if your caretaker was emotionally neglectful, you are going to unconsciously seek out partners who are also not attuned to your emotions. You’ll choose people you feel that emotional neglect with.
Basically, it’s an opportunity for you to heal. I go much deeper into that in my program Connected Woman, so I won’t go too deep into it here, but just know that comfort equals safety for most people. We find comfort in what we know, even if what we know fucking sucks.
This is why we need to understand our relationship patterns, because the only way that you can break free from these relationship patterns is to do that inner work.
So if you are attracted to guys who give you the bare minimum, the first point we would look at is, well…why? Why are you attracted to men who give you the bare minimum? Why is that exciting for you?
For some people, this dynamic excites them because it feels like a challenge. They feel like they can change them. For others, they feel like they can help this person heal, or that they’re going to love them so strongly that this person will fall right in love with them back.
From there, we take a look at childhood, then take a look at mindset, then move on to taking action.
This is actually where a lot of people get stuck. They get into this healing trap where it’s all about more healing, more healing, more healing, more healing. And while that healing is beneficial, if you’re not also taking action, then you’re still going to end up with the same type of men.
For instance, if you keep attracting emotionally unavailable men, and then you do the healing work, you understand why it’s happening…but if you continue to entertain emotionally unavailable men, guess what? You’re just going to get the same type of relationship that you’ve always had.
The next reason you keep falling into this relationship pattern is if you place more value on aesthetics than your actual values.
Let’s say that you always go for the same guy. You go for a gym junkie or a tradie or whatever, and when someone asks you what your type is, that’s what you would say. “Oh, I love big guys with muscles who are tall and tanned and love the gym” and all of that, but that’s just your aesthetic type. That’s your type on an external level. Your actual type, if we dive deeper into it, is emotionally unavailable.
Your type is actually someone you have to chase or prove yourself to, or someone who ends up ghosting you in the end…whatever the thing is for you, there’s some sort of relationship pattern there.
In my program Swipe Right, we go very deep into the mindset and the action work, and one of the exercises that I have you do is look at your values.
That is the core foundation of a healthy relationship, but what most people do when they make their list of non-negotiables, and they list physical attributes. “He’s tall, he’s tanned, he’s fit, he loves the gym,” whatever. And while you can hold a value of health, that you want a healthy partner, there’s something different about only basing your decisions on how physically attracted you are to someone.
While physical attraction is obviously very important, if you do not have the basis for a healthy relationship, you don’t have a relationship. You might be having sex for a while, but in terms of care, respect, admiration, love, and appreciation…you don’t have that. You don’t have that when you are basing who you’re looking for completely on aesthetics and physicality.
This is where we need to actually have a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves where we’re actually picking and choosing potential partners based on shit that actually doesn’t matter in the long term.
Does it really matter if he’s tanned? Probably not. If you find a guy who’s meeting every other value you have and he’s a little bit on the pale side, are you really going to say no to that? I would hope not.
The next reason you keep falling into the same relationship pattern is that you’re more attached to external validation rather than creating a healthy partnership.
Imagine this scenario: it’s Saturday night, you don’t have plans, and you’re feeling a bit lonely, so you start swiping on the dating apps. Every time you swipe and match with someone, you’re getting a little hit of dopamine. And rather than asking deeper questions or wanting to have an engaging conversation, it’s super surface-level. You’re not actually going deep. You might be accepting communication that is less than ideal.
Maybe he’s gearing the conversation more towards sex, and you feel uncomfortable with that, but you’re not going to say anything about it.
This is where you can get into situations where you’re settling for casual sex, even though you really want a relationship.
Now, here’s the thing: there is absolutely nothing wrong with casual sex. Live your best life. If that’s your true desire, by all means. You still get to have those foundations of respect, care, communication, all of those things, even in a one-night stand. Just because it’s a one-night stand doesn’t mean your boundaries go out the window and they get to be violated.
The issue that I have with casual sex is when women say, “Yeah, I’m so fine with casual sex,” but they actually really want a relationship with this person. That’s the fucking issue, because your core desire and your actions are incongruent.
Again, when you end up here, you need to have a really difficult conversation with yourself. You need to realize that you’re more concerned with keeping that instant gratification of external validation, and you’re willing to sacrifice your true desires just so you can get that hit of dopamine, just so you can have someone affirm your worthiness to you.
That’s what external validation is; you think that you’re building your self-worth by someone saying, “Oh, you’re so hot, you’re so beautiful, you’re so intelligent,” but you’re actually not, because you’re not building it from the inside out.
External validation is a bottomless pit. You will never hit a point where you go, “You know what? I think I’m good on external validation. I think I’ve had enough.” Because if that’s what you’ve built your self-worth on, you’re always going to need more and more and more and more and more.
The last reason you keep ending up in the same relationship pattern is that you are afraid to truly be seen. You don’t want to be vulnerable, because there’s a belief that if you are vulnerable, you’ll lose this person’s attention and validation.
So if you were having casual sex and you said, “You know what? The truth is, I have feelings for you, and I really want to be in a relationship with you,” they might turn around and say, “Well, that doesn’t work for me.”
Guess what happens then? You no longer have their validation, because they’re going to go off and do their own thing.
So instead of being real, women will often stifle their feelings and “go with the flow.” They’ll insist they’re fine, even though they’re fucking miserable, and bam: relationship pattern resumed.
There’s this idea that we really want a man who’s open, who’s honest, who communicates…but if you actually find this man, and he gets close enough to truly see you, he’ll see that you’re not good enough and he’ll end up leaving you.
It’s so much easier for you to stick with this relationship pattern and keep entertaining guys who only see you for the mask that you’re presenting, because you never allow those guys close enough to truly see you. So if and when they leave, it doesn’t hurt as much, because they didn’t actually see the real you.
Here’s why we need to break this relationship pattern and fully be ourselves from the beginning: if someone sees the whole of us and says “Mm, I don’t really like that,” then cool. Moving on.
But when someone does see all of you and still wants to be with you, you will know that they like you for who you truly are rather than the act you’re putting on.
If you put on a mask in order to hold their attention, then a few months into the relationship, you realize you can’t sustain that picture and you start to be yourself, you know what happens?
They don’t think they know you anymore. They go, “Why are you being like this? This is so unlike you. This is so out of character,” and to them, that’s the truth. But to us, it’s proof that the real us was never lovable in the first place, even though that’s not true at all; we just weren’t honest about who we were at the beginning.
Like I said, in order to break these relationship patterns, the first thing you need to do is get aware of them. As long as you continue to play into them unconsciously, you won’t be able to break out. And if you want help with this, be sure to check out my programs Connected Woman and Swipe Right.
Join Swipe Right, a 6-week program for women who want to date with intentionality so they can meet the man of their dreams: https://michellepanning.com/swipe-right
Ready to do the work? You can find all courses, masterclasses, and more right here: https://michellepanning.com/all-offers
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”