Another Dead End Relationship? Take These Steps to Break the Cycle

You’re putting in far more than you’re getting from this relationship. You’ve tried talking it over, you’ve been patient, but nothing has changed. You start to pull away, and then he starts being attentive, charming, affectionate. For a week or two everything seems great. He’s finally realized how much he cares about you! And then things go back to normal. You finally break things off for good this time.

Where to go from here? This has been just another dead end in a series of dead end relationships. Is dating even worth it anymore?

Where does the dead end relationship cycle begin?

Frequently we seek in a relationship qualities that we believe ourselves to be lacking. Our love for another person precludes our love for ourselves, and we feel incomplete without our loved one.

You feel a solid connection with this person at the beginning of the relationship, but as time goes by, you find yourself realizing that your needs are not being met and you’re not emotionally satisfied.

That’s when you start thinking “maybe he’s not doing enough for me because I’m not doing enough for him.” You start dressing more alluringly, letting him off chore duty, and doing anything you can think of to make him happy, even if it means pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. He feels smothered, he breaks things off, and boom! You’re single, lonely, and susceptible to yet another unhealthy relationship.

Does that sound like you? If so, read on for ways to stop the dead end relationship cycle.

Breaking the dead end relationship cycle

1. Avoid temptation by having an action plan

Try something called “if/then.” Changes are more apt to be lasting if you implement them with a certain amount of specificity. If you tell yourself “don’t call my ex even if I miss her greatly”….You might end up calling her at some point anyway. Instead, say “if I feel myself missing my ex, call my friend Dave from college” or “if I feel upset and lonely, go for a jog.” The “if/then” action plan is like killing two birds with one stone, since you’ll be avoiding temptation and replacing emotionally damaging activities with rewarding ones, like being fit or catching up with friends.

2. Define your goals

This means really writing them down. What are your goals for the relationship? How do you want to feel when you’re with your partner? What kinds of long-term issues do you want to be in agreement upon?

3. Wait it out

Whatever pressure you feel internally, or externally, from well-meaning friends or family members, don’t feel like you have to be in a new relationship anytime soon. Sometimes the fear of being alone can lead to bad decisions, like getting back together with an old flame, only to repeat the mistakes of the past. Another dead end relationship. Look forward, not backward as you strive for something more emotionally satisfying.

Waiting it out helps you get a more realistic sense of yourself and of your past relationship. What to do while waiting for time to pass? Get involved in some new activities and meet new people. Try new things and learn more about yourself. You may be surprised!

4. Learn to love yourself

Loving yourself is the most important part of ending the dead end relationship cycle. There’s no shame in putting your needs before the wants of others. When you enter into a relationship with confidence, you avoid types of people who share the same behavioral traits you found unpleasant and unkind in previous partners.

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