Is there a magic formula for relationship success? What makes one relationship work long-term where many others fail?
When we enter love relationships, both partners bring their fair share of emotional baggage, good and bad.
Karmic imprints, insecurities, sub-conscious fears, self-sabotaging behaviors, as well as all the beautiful, amazing stuff that makes us unique, loveable, and attractive to our partner.
First, let us look at…
Who we Choose as Love Partners and Why?
You may think you are consciously choosing love partners based on what qualities you are attracted to and how they make you feel.
Often there is much more going on at a subconscious level in who you are choosing and attracting to you.
We each have a relationship attachment type that is formed in early childhood based on how consistently and appropriately our needs were met by our caregivers in terms of care, love, and protection.
When caregiving is unpredictable or insensitive, we learn to manage as best we can in these types of relationships. And we don’t learn how to form secure bonds.
The impacts can show up as low self-esteem, insecurities about self, fear of rejection, abandonment, poor boundary setting, emotional vulnerability, and pushing people away when they get too close.
There are four recognized attachment types – secure, anxious, avoidant, and anxious-avoidant. See if you can recognize which type you are?
Secure Attachment Types
Secure Attachment types are formed when we receive adequate love, care, and attention as babies and children by our primary caregivers.
As adults, we are comfortable displaying interest and affection in relationships. We are comfortable being alone and independent and can set healthy boundaries.
We find it easy to trust and are loyal and trustworthy. We can accept rejection and move on, knowing a relationship or person was not right for us.
Anxious Attachment Types
The Anxious attachment type is developed when as an infant, we experience unpredictable caregiving. You may have had your physical needs met, but not all your emotional needs for love, affection, and protection.
You can feel nervous and stressed about relationships and need constant reassurance and affection from your partner. You may have trouble being alone or single and can attract unhealthy or abusive relationships.
You may have trouble trusting people, and your behavior can be irrational and overly emotional. You can feel emotionally needy and anxious in relationships and exhibit weak boundaries.
Meaning you may do things you are not comfortable with, fail to speak up and express your boundaries, or change who you are to be in a relationship and loved.
Avoidant Attachment Types
This attachment Type develops when the needs of the infant are frequently not met, and the baby comes to believe they have no influence on the caregiver on getting their needs met.
Avoidant attachment types are independent and usually uncomfortable with intimacy. They are commitment-phobes and can feel suffocated when people try to get close to them.
They often have an exit strategy and arrange their lives to avoid commitment, like working long hours, dating lots of people, and not wanting anything serious.
Anxious-Avoidant Attachment Types
The anxious-avoidant attachment type develops when an infant suffers abuse or neglect. As adults, they can suffer from substance abuse and depression.
Anxious-avoidant types are afraid of intimacy and commitment. They lash out at anyone who tries to get too close to them. They spend a lot of their time alone or in abusive, dysfunctional relationships.
Why do I keep Choosing the Same Type of Love Partner?
We typically choose the same type of partner according to our Attachment type.
You can display qualities of more than one attachment type but will be predominantly one.
For example, you may exhibit behaviors of the anxious or avoidant types when relationships are under stress. And at other times, you can feel secure.
These are the common types of bonding with Attachment types:
Secure Attachment types can bond with both Anxious and Avoidant types. They are secure enough within themselves to support the Anxious type and help make them feel more secure in a relationship. And confident enough within themselves to allow the Avoidant types to have their space without feeling insecure.
Anxious and Avoidant types tend to be drawn to each other because the Anxious type is usually emotionally needy enough to put up with the behavior of the Avoidant type. The Anxious type will typically chase the Avoidant type, who will then emotionally distance themselves. And the Avoidant type knows this type of partner will wait around for them, despite their avoidance behaviors. Whereas someone balanced and secure would not put up with someone who keeps avoiding emotional intimacy.
Anxious-Avoidant Types of people usually only date each other or the least secure types on the anxious and avoidant scales. These relationships are often highly dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful. The Anxious Avoidant type tends to view themselves as unworthy, mistrust their partners, avoid intimacy, and suppress their feelings.
Our attachment type explains a lot about why our relationships succeed or fail and why we keep having the same problems come up in relationships time and time again, just with different partners.
Can we Change our Relationship Attachment Type?
Yes, the good news is we can change our attachment style by improving our self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
By learning how to set healthy boundaries for ourselves with others and raising our expectations of how we want to be treated in relationships.
Learning to recognize our self-sabotaging behaviors in relationships and the triggers, including flight and fight responses where we push people away when feeling overwhelmed or emotionally vulnerable.
And discovering how to hold ourselves when we are feeling emotionally vulnerable and finding better ways to manage and healthily express our emotions.
By recognizing the patterning playing out in your choice of love partners who are not healthy for you, you can recognize red flags early on and consciously making better choices for yourself.
Do you take the Time to get to Know Someone first?
As exciting as love is, you can often rush in without really getting to know someone first. Not taking the time to find out the intentions of the other person, what they are really like, and what they are looking for.
You can find yourself in situations that do not meet your relationship needs because you have not openly asked what the other person is looking for in a relationship.
You may jump into intimacy too soon and feel devasted when you think you are in a relationship and it turns out to be casual, or worse still, you are ghosted.
Whilst you cannot control the behavior of the other person, you can set healthy boundaries and standards for yourself in relationships.
In the early dating stages, allow yourself to get to know someone and find out if they are the right fit for you and looking for the same things.
If someone tells you something difficult for them to confess in the early stages of dating that may be a deal-breaker, recognize this as their truth.
Do not ignore it and think it will change over time, or that you can change them once they get to know you better and fall in love with you.
Ask yourself can I live with this? Will this connection meet my relationship needs?
If not, cull early and save yourself some heartbreak. There will be someone better out there for you, no matter how charming or attractive this person may be.
People can also be complicated to get to know and may put on a false front that will only be revealed in time about finances, co-dependent behaviors, and how they show up in relationships.
This is part of the relationship journey of getting to know each other.
Have you Cleaned up your Past Emotional Baggage?
When you or the person you are connecting with jumps into a relationship too soon without healing from the past, it can create all sorts of problems.
Either by not being emotionally ready for someone new or bringing trust issues into the relationship that are baseless. One may not be over their Ex and are not fully open to the new connection, making the other feel insecure.
Generally, when you are not ready, you will attract someone to you the same. It may be a Soulmate partnership but is likely to crash and burn rather than last the distance.
Give yourself the gift of time and healing so you are ready.
Do you Know your Partner’s Love Language?
Another success factor in future-proofing your relationship is to learn your partner’s love language.
What makes them happy in a love relationship and feel loved? What makes you happy in a relationship and feel loved?
One partner may need to hear love expressed verbally, and another may express it through touch and intimacy.
Your partner may show they love you by doing things for you or giving you things as their love language. You may like to receive things.
Problems arise when partners do not know each other’s love language.
For example, if you like to hear the words “I love you” and your partner rarely says it but shows their love by doing things for you or through intimacy, you have a mismatch.
They feel like they are showing their love constantly, but you may not be feeling loved because you need it expressed verbally. It can happen on both sides.
The best way to fix this situation is to have an open discussion and find out each other’s love language is?
What makes you happy in a relationship (each of you) and what are your deal breakers? Deal breakers are those things you would leave a relationship for and are non-negotiable.
For example, cheating and what constitutes cheating for each person? It can be surprising to find out what your partner’s deal breakers are and them yours.
Plan a session together and write down what you discover about each other. Then you have a road map for making each other happy and know each other’s boundaries that will make or break your relationship.
Watch out for Control & Criticism in your Relationship
When one partner wants to control the other in a relationship, it is usually a learned behavior, a karmic imprint.
They have generally witnessed and modeled this type of relationship dynamic from how their caregivers related to each other or applied to them as children through to adulthood growing up.
Control often stems from insecurity within self and can affect communication styles, trusting a partner, and allowing them to maintain their interests and friendships.
It can expand further to not trusting a partner to do things in the home to a certain standard, including the caregiving of children.
For those that control, they may choose a partner they can control who does not stand up for themselves and has weak boundaries.
For the one being controlled, it can create resentment, anger, loss of freedom, and fear of rejection.
They may hide their feelings and activities with friends, and it creates conditional love in a relationship where love is threatened to be withdrawn if they do not comply with the control and demands of the other partner.
To fix this issue, both partners need to have a good sense of self-esteem, trust, and respect for each other, including friends and interests.
If there is a pattern of criticism playing out in your relationship by you or your partner, this can lead to one feeling like they cannot make the other happy no matter what they do.
It can lead to emotional distance and withdrawal in a relationship and affect the other person’s sense of self-esteem.
It can be learned behavior, unhealthy relationship patterning, or where the action is not taken on an issue that is important to the one criticizing.
What may have started as a polite request turns into a pattern of criticizing when one feels like they are not being heard or stonewalled by the other.
If you are the one criticizing, try to remember what you loved about your partner in the first place: their good qualities and all the things they do for you versus focusing on the negatives.
Is the issue important, or can you let it go?
And if you are the one being criticized, then it is important to discuss with your partner how this makes you feel and to put healthy boundaries in place and keep reinforcing them.
And a Final Word – Have the Difficult Conversations
Never has there been more angst and worry in a relationship when you ignore problems and red flags, suppress feelings, and fail to have honest and open discussions when things are bothering you.
Whether it is you or your partner.
It can lead to assumptions, misconceptions about someone’s feelings, states of illusion, loss of trust, and fears of rejection or abandonment if you express your true feelings.
Which can then build up as resentment and discontent, spoken or unspoken. It can create emotional distance between partners and states of withdrawal in the relationship.
The easiest way to clear up issues and problems is to have the courage to have difficult conversations, speak your truth, and be emotionally vulnerable with each other.
Make sure to create a safe space to have open and honest discussions where both of you feel heard, even if you differ in opinions. And try to see each other’s point of view.
Sometimes you may have to wait until emotions have calmed down and you can talk about it, where both of you feel comfortable to discuss the issue without being reactive.
And if it is not the information you hoped to receive, then at least you can make an informed decision based on what is in your best interests.
I hope you found this article helpful,
Much love and light,
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