Life has an uncanny way of showing us what we need, regardless of whether we’re paying attention or not. From an early age, we learn patterns of behaviour by trial and error, by our personal perceptions of our unique situation, and by watching and imitating the adults in our lives. We don’t always have the greatest role models or circumstances to show us what’s really healthy for us individually, and thus bad habits can be formed. We end up repeating the same mistakes, not being satisfied with the outcome, while not even realizing the extent to which we can create our emotional surroundings. Dating and relationships are extremely common arenas for people to live out their unhealthy behaviours. So how do we change bad dating habits to ensure more success and our goal of happier, healthier relationships? Here are some tips to break bad dating habits.
1. Don’t race to the finish line. Do you tend to jump into relationships without really using your head? Often when we rush into a relationship, it’s a sign that we’re impulsive and suffer from insecurity. Healthy relationships tend to have a steadier pace, where both partners are present for the journey, using their heads as well as their hearts. When a relationship develops too quickly (often because we jump into bed too soon), partners can be “in love with love”, and stand a higher chance of burning the relationship out. Take your time – get to know the person for who they really are so you can make an informed decision as to whether you’re a good match or not.
2. What’s your type? Consciously or not, we often have a pattern of picking the same type of person as a partner. They could be needy, unreliable, selfish or aggressive, and yet we continue to be attracted to this type of person. Our partners are our mirrors in a manner of speaking; they show us where we’re at are emotionally. The bad habit is when we live in a state of denial, and blame someone else for how they treat us, instead of taking responsibility for how we allow ourselves to be treated in the first place. Take a good look at how you imagine your ideal partner to be, vs. the type of people you’re usually in a relationship with. If there’s a discrepancy, be the one to acknowledge you’re not making the best choices for yourself.
3. Are you dating your family? Patterns are usually traceable to childhood. When we figure out for example, that we date emotionally unavailable people because of our own issues with parental abandonment (emotional or physical), it all starts to make sense. Only then can we begin to make the deep-rooted changes needed and stop reliving the past.
4. Always be good to yourself. Check your emotional temperature regularly. Are you happy dating this person? It’s that simple. If you’re not, it may be that you’re reliving a tired old habit. Even though it might be a familiar place for you to be, if you’re not happy and secure for the most part, it’s probably not the best relationship for you.