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when you realise it's not coincidence but a pattern how do you change?

(13 Posts)
Secretservice Mon 12-Sep-16 16:09:13

I'm not even sure that the subject makes sense!
I've been seeing a counsellor for six weeks or so following a shitty year - coming to terms with marriage failure, redundancy, DD2 self harming - to name just a few of my least favourite things!
Anyways, talking to her today I realised that my relationships have followed a bizarre pattern since I first started dating - almost 40 years ago <gulp>
It seems that at the start of all my significant relationships I had a choice: kind, generous, thoughtful men/boys or the one I chose. None of the choices were 'bad' or abusive but for one reason or another forced me to fight for their attention, were niggardly with their love and time and basically unreliable. Great when I had their attention, but otherwise lackadaisical.
So, given that's 4 pairs of men in several decades, is that simply coincidence?
If not, how do I break the pattern? I'm faced with a similar choice at the moment but how do I choose a man I like but find dull in large doses and not fanciable over one who I find exciting and irrestible, without turning him into some sort of emotional experiment?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 12-Sep-16 16:16:11

"It seems that at the start of all my significant relationships I had a choice: kind, generous, thoughtful men/boys or the one I chose. None of the choices were 'bad' or abusive but for one reason or another forced me to fight for their attention, were niggardly with their love and time and basically unreliable. Great when I had their attention, but otherwise lackadaisical".

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents.
What was your relationship with your parents with particular reference to your dad like when you were growing up. Was your dad as described above?.

given that's 4 pairs of men in several decades, is that simply coincidence?

I would say no.

"If not, how do I break the pattern?"

Work on you more via this counsellor and unlearn all the damaging crap you have learnt about relationships along the way. Think the last thing you need at the moment is another relationship, none of those men you write of sound right for you.

Secretservice Mon 12-Sep-16 16:30:35

You'll not be surprised to hear Atilla that my counsellor asked about my dad too! He was in the forces so absent for long periods, came home laden with toys and sweets then lost interest after a couple of days.
When we were older it got worse as he seemed to confuse his teenage children with his junior soldiers.
I was also openly known as 'daddy's little girl' even though I had three siblings. I hated it and it can still cause issues among us now. He died 24 years ago, six weeks before I got married.
I'm already 52, how long will it take before I'm fit for a relationship? Will I still be able to dance with them?grin

maggiethemagpie Mon 12-Sep-16 19:11:22

The only way I broke my bad patterns in relationships was through psychotherapy. Counselling didn't touch the sides with me, unfortunately.

If you really want to change and are willing to put the work in, it's entirely possible.

Myusernameismyusername Mon 12-Sep-16 19:14:12

Yeah this is me.
Zero attraction to someone nice
I basically didn't date anyone and no sex for a very long time until I felt a lot more confident about the choices I would make. It's almost like I didn't even trust myself at all to make a good choice.

My dad is a wanker as well.

You will get there as seeing the pattern is half the battle! Good luck X

HandyWoman Mon 12-Sep-16 20:09:48

Another vote for psychotherapy. If you find a good therapist it needn't take too long, either.

Secretservice Mon 12-Sep-16 20:34:53

Thank you. What does psychotherapy involve? Will it cost a lot? (See comment re redundancy)
Can it really change who I fancy, who makes me laugh?

HandyWoman Mon 12-Sep-16 21:36:28

Yep. It has the potential to do that. Those same people will make you laugh but you will not be so keen to enter relationships with them. Although you have to work hard to make new habits through a deep understanding of where the old habits come from. Not easy but very freeing and absolutely life changing. My therapist charged me £35 which is vastly cheaper than the going rate. I couldn't have done it, otherwise.

Am in a new relationship and approaching things very differently now.

Annnnd very, very happy and still independent and self-fulfilled. That's the goal.

Secretservice Mon 12-Sep-16 21:49:41

I don't really understands how it works. Have a been walking around blinkered since the age of 16, only really seeing the men who will treat me poorly - or the dull, unattractive ones - and missing the attractive men who would treat me well?

maggiethemagpie Mon 12-Sep-16 21:54:35

secretserviceI got a package for around £500-600 IIRC. It's all done over 16 sessions so you know when it will come to an end. I didn't think it was prohibitively expensive, and worth the money a thousand times over in retrospect as you can't put a price on happiness.

This is the therapy I had

www.acat.org.uk

maggiethemagpie Mon 12-Sep-16 21:56:35

sorry wrong link

www.acat.me.uk/page/home

Secretservice Mon 12-Sep-16 22:09:47

Thanks Maggie that looks very interesting. Scary but interesting!

HandyWoman Mon 12-Sep-16 22:27:06

Looks very like the therapy I had. My therapist was very down-to-earth and generous with her input. We talked through things in a matter of fact way. She gave me a new interpretation of a lot of the relationships in my life and of my family of origin. We did a lot of work very quickly.

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