Are you ready to settle down, just not with any of the guys you've been dating lately?
Below, relationship experts share seven reasons you may be attracting the wrong types of men -- and how to break out of your relationship rut and find Mr. Right.
1. You fear being alone.
When you think of "single" as a dirty word, you're prone to date people you should stay clear off, said Elisabeth J. LaMotte, a couples psychotherapist and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center.
"Women who know how to enjoy their own company and build an independent, fulfilling life are in a much better position to choose a worthy and suitable partner," she said. "When you feel anxious or afraid to be alone, you usually haven't developed a strong enough sense of self. That can lead you to choose romantic partners from a place of desperation rather than a place of strength."
2. You haven't given any thought to your relationship deal breakers.
What are your deal breakers -- the laundry list of things you simply won't tolerate in someone you're thinking of getting serious with? Figure out which character traits get on your nerves and you'll be better equipped to avoid guys who possess them, said Jennifer Barrows, a wellness coach based in Boston.
"Before you fall for Mr. Wrong all over again, do some thinking about your values, what you want in a partner, and which things would break the deal for you," she said.
3. You think you can change him.
Let go of the hero complex: If your instinct is to "fix" every guy you date, you need to reevaluate your approach to relationships; you can't love away his problems, no matter how hard you try. Change ultimately has to come from within, reminded Barrows.
"If you are already saying to yourself that you can change him, think about what that really means," she said. "It means that he has smashed right up against one of your deal breakers. He won’t change, you will give up one of your core values in trying to change him and there will only be conflict and heartbreak in the end."
4. You haven't figured out what you need in life, independent of relationships.
You can't change him but you can do the inner work required to get a handle on your own issues, said divorce coach Kira Gould. In fact, it's probably the most important step you can take to break your old dating patterns.
"We will continue to make the same mistake over and over again until we learn our lesson -- whatever that mistake might be, including dating the wrong type of guy," she explained. "Do you have daddy issues you haven't addressed? You might continually fall for a guy who treats you like a little girl. Not sure what your purpose in life is? You always find yourself with workaholics. If we don't pay attention to what our core issues are, the lessons just keep getting louder and the guys get worse and worse."
Address your own issues and you'll attract guys with considerably less baggage themselves, said Gould.
5. You choose guys who have eerily similar qualities.
We gravitate toward what we're familiar with -- but if what you're familiar with is men with mommy issues and an inability to hold down a job, it's probably time to date outside your type, said Barrows.
"It goes against logic to keep choosing guys that will ultimately hurt you, but matters of the heart are not always logical," she said. "You’d like to think that you won’t go for someone whose values rub you the wrong way, but if you’ve done it 10 times before, it has become familiar and you might mistake it for feeling right."
6. You may be afraid of commitment without even realizing it.
Can't understand why you're continually drawn to overgrown frat boys and men with commitment issues? It may be because you have commitment issues of your own, said LaMotte.
"People sometimes reject wonderful partners who exist in plain sight but are not recognizable to them because of their fear of commitment," said LaMotte."Sometimes they're not even fully aware of this fear."
The good news? When you are ready to commit, it's possible to break the pattern and find someone you consider marriage material.
"You can practice giving kinder, more available men a chance. You can learn new approaches to dating and relationships," LaMotte said. "The fear of commitment is quite solvable."
7. You don't think you deserve better.
The types of guys you date are a direct reflection of the value you place on yourself, said Brenda Della Casa, the author of Cinderella Was a Liar: The Real Reason You Can't Find (or Keep) a Prince.
"It really comes down to us and what we feel we deserve, which is something that can only be worked out internally," she said. "If you're constantly finding yourself in relationships with people who devalue or disrespect you, the question really becomes, 'What am I getting out of this?' Is it reinforcement that you're not good enough, can't do better or aren't worth more?"
Ultimately, "the question is not how to change your partner but how to make changes that will attract (and make you attracted to) healthier partners."
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