I don’t proclaim to know everything there is to know about choosing the right person. I’ve been single for two years now and I still haven’t gotten the hang of dating in the digital world of social media. I am much more cautious than I was when I was younger. I also feel that the ability to hide behind technology makes it difficult to figure out someone’s true intentions.
But, I recently found myself in a situation where I had to examine how much I trusted my own ability to choose the right person for me. I realized that I didn’t trust it very much at all and that isn’t something I can blame on technology. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years even during my relationships.
I read an article that talked about the psychology behind picking the right partner. It talked about how if someone was missing something in their childhood that it becomes a blind-spot in their adult relationships. An example described if you felt safe and secure as a child, then you will feel relatively safe as an adult. If something dangerous happens, then you may alter slightly to adjust to the new red flags, but you will still feel relatively safe. However, if you didn’t feel safe, you won’t even recognize the red flags of not feeling safe. In fact, you may gravitate towards what is making you feel unsafe because it feels familiar. I thought, how can you recognize something when you don’t even know what it is supposed to look like?
Another aspect is our subconscious desire to work out the problems we experience in our relationships. We will continue to be attracted to and pick partners who give us an opportunity to work through the issues of the last unsuccessful relationship. We hope that we can resolve the issues and win in the new relationship despite them being the same issues we were unable to resolve. It’s looking at fixing the other person instead of figuring out what is going on within ourselves. It adds up to another blind-spot and many times, it is a familial relationship we are attempting to resolve through our adult relationships.
My new enlightenment showed me why I didn’t trust myself to pick the right partner. I was most likely to pick another partner who would disappoint me when I couldn’t fix him. I also didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to recognize a good partner for me because I didn’t know what red flags I needed to identify to avoid choosing someone who wouldn’t give me what I needed in a relationship. I wasn’t even sure where to start to deal with this problem.
There was a satisfaction I longed for in convincing them I was worth intimacy. There was a satisfaction in not receiving it, because it confirmed everything I believed about love and suffering. In addition, I didn’t trust myself to pick someone who would support my emotional needs. There was no trust from the beginning of the relationship.
I decided to start with what were my most familiar arguments in my last relationship. What was the thing I was always asking for, but never felt like I received? I realized the things we argued about the most were emotional support and intimacy. I didn’t feel secure in our relationship because there felt like a distance between us in our understanding of emotional needs. I didn’t feel like mine were being met which caused me to shut down. As I thought about it more, I realized this echoed through my relationships and my childhood. And, I realized that I was chasing someone who didn’t make me feel secure while ignoring people who represented the possibility of the things I say I want.
At the heart of intimacy and emotional support is trust, I didn’t trust the men to emotionally support me or give me intimacy so I was attracted to men who offered no hope of it. There was a satisfaction I longed for in convincing them I was worth intimacy. There was a satisfaction in not receiving it, because it confirmed everything I believed about love and suffering. In addition, I didn’t trust myself to pick someone who would support my emotional needs. There was no trust from the beginning of the relationship.
I also determined there was safety in chasing someone elusive or emotionally unavailable to me, because I wouldn’t be in danger of risking my heart. I understand that I feared true intimacy because I don’t even know what it looks like or if I’m good at it because I’ve never had it. On the outside, I could tell myself that the elusive person was the problem, but deep inside I was terrified of anyone actually getting close. And, I didn’t have to take the risk with anyone else because I walled off my heart and opportunities by wrapping up my feelings in someone who would never return them. To put it simply, I was afraid of getting my heart broken.
I have intellectually figured out all of this, but I am emotionally still doing the work to bring down the subconscious limits that prevent me picking the best partner for me. I hope to get to the point where I trust myself to make the best decision for my life rather than trying to resolve old issues. But, I always believe awareness is the first step and I’m sharing this so maybe someone else will see the cycle they may be in.