If you ask anyone what kind of “type” they’re into, chances are, you’ll get an answer. Everyone has a “genre” of people they’re attracted to, whether it be artsy brunettes or athletic blondes or tattooed musicians or pseudo-hipsters. Physical types are usually the response people give, but occasionally, you’ll get someone who delves a little deeper into what the ideal partner – their go-to partner – would have to offer.
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On the flip side of things, you have the types you can’t stop going back to, even if you know better. Maybe the tattooed musician is secretly a major jerk who talks about his “art” like it belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but he can never get off the couch. Maybe the athletic blonde is shallow and manipulative and makes you feel bad about yourself. Maybe the pseudo-hipster is condescending and arrogant. These are the “types” you want to avoid, but you don’t know why you keep coming back for more!
Figuring out why you’re constantly picking the wrong guy (or girl) is vital to understanding how to stop the pattern. There are a lot of reasons we choose things that are bad for us, and bad relationships and boyfriends can come up in our lives again and again – until we learn how to stop them.
20You get bored easily
When you think of “nice guys”, you think of the guy who’s respectable, clean-cut, funny without being offensive, smart without being condescending, attractive without being sexy, and perfect to take home to Mom and Dad.
Oh, and he just so happens to be super boring!
The “nice guy” narrative is a dull one, and so you move on from them quickly, even when you know that they’re good for you. You get bored easily and so try for something more interesting, more challenging, more exciting. Your attention span with the nice guy is limited, whereas you have all the time in the world for the bad boy. Failing to give the nice guys the benefit of the doubt and jumping ship the moment your interest wanes is why you also find yourself falling into the arms of the other guy – he was waiting there all along!
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19You like feeling needed
The guys you should get involved with are the type who have their stuff figured out, but that’s not nearly as fun or interesting as being drawn to the man who doesn’t have his stuff together. As women, we’re biologically programmed to be nurturers, but that doesn’t stop with puppies and babies. We like nurturing our men, too – even if we don’t like being their mom. Feeling needed is attractive because it gives us a sense of importance, both about ourselves and about the relationship.
The thing is, a dude who desperately needs you is not the kind of guy you should be getting involved with. Everyone knows that you need to work on yourself before getting involved with someone else, but you weirdly always ignore this fact in favor of feeling like some man’s necessity.
18You undervalue your emotions
In an argument with a guy, you get told that you’re overreacting. You’re blowing things out of proportion. You’re crazy. Why are you making this such a big deal? Relationships that are full of this kind of gaslighting can create a pattern in which you undervalue your own emotions and make excuses for your SO’s behavior. Was it really that hurtful or are you exaggerating? Are you actually upset over what he did or are you being emotional? Did he really mean that or are you misinterpreting things?
Undervaluing your own emotions in a relationship means that you’re not taking regular stock of how you feel, and so you just ignore what makes you uncomfortable. In the end, you put up with more than you should for longer than you should, because you think that what you’re feeling isn’t significant enough to make waves.
17You don’t take breaks
You know the old advice, “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else”? Yeah, that is definitely not the case. On the contrary, getting involved with someone new to erase your feelings of the last person is more likely to cause confusion and conflicting feelings about yourself and everyone else involved.
Being single from time to time is necessary to figure out what you really want in a relationship and in life in general, but it also lets you have your own life outside of your SO. Being a serial monogamist or the kind of person who runs from one fling to the next can confuse your perception of relationships and what you should be looking for in them and expecting from them. Singlehood can give you some much-needed perspective and enough breathing room to recalibrate your heart.
16You ignore your relationship deal-breakers
One of the biggest reasons we fall for the wrong guy is that we ignore our relationship and dating deal-breakers. Maybe you gloss over the fact that he behaves jealously or possessively; maybe you ignore when he has more drinks than is necessary during a night out; maybe you look the other way when he hides his phone from you. Whatever your red flags and deal-breakers are, when you ignore them, you’re doing yourself a disservice, not him.
It’s important to note that deal-breakers are different from your laundry list of things you look for in an ideal partner. Sure, it might be nice if he had a dog, but if he prefers cats, that’s not a deal-breaker. Ignoring your gut feelings and instinct to run the other way will just have you running into the wrong guy’s arms.
15You confuse drama with love
Thanks in part to movies, TV, books, and love songs, a lot of us expect a grand kind of love. We want the love that makes people want to tear their hair out and cry over a weekend apart. We think that love means showy gestures and well-written declarations, bedrooms full of roses and proposals done with the perfect music and perfect candlelight.
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We also expect relationships to have the kind of blow-out fights that make the other person storm out, the passionate makeups and breakups that give it color. Because of those romanticized ideas, we often confuse drama with love. If it’s loud and passionate – even when it’s hurtful or painful – it must be the real deal, right? A relationship that runs smoothly has you thinking that something is wrong, and so you go back to the guy who makes you cry and rage and – you think – love.
14You think you can change him
Part of the reason you’re drawn to bad boys over nice guys is the idea that you can change him. Whatever his issues are, you can fix them. The thing is, people aren’t projects, and treating a relationship as a way to change someone – and make yourself feel better – is just asking for disappointment.
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When you fall for someone, you should really be falling for every part of them, not just the stuff you kind of like while thinking you can alter the rest. The hero complex of being a man’s savior or transforming him into a better version of himself will just lead to frustration on both ends, and likely a pattern of you thinking you failed because he didn’t mold himself into what you wanted. Instead of looking for guys who are fixer-uppers, look for the ones who have qualities you already desire and admire.
13You like a challenge
Similar to enjoying the chase aspect of a relationship, you also love a challenge. The cat-and-mouse game of a relationship thrills you. You love flirting and dancing around the idea of getting together, and this can be fun in small doses, but when it becomes a challenge to figure out where you are in a relationship with another person, it can turn toxic.
Defining the relationship is nerve-wracking, but if you’re pursuing men who are emotionally or physically unavailable, you’re asking to be left out in the cold. A challenge is one thing, but when you chase dudes who have zero interest of being what you want, it’s a fruitless endeavor. Getting attached to unavailable men sets you up for disappointment and a decreased sense of self-worth because you think that if you were just enough for them, that would be all that they needed. News flash: it’s not.
12You’re afraid of commitment
We blame men for being the commitment-phobes, but have we ever stopped to think that maybe we’re the ones who are truly afraid of commitment? Chasing after f-boys and bro types you have no future with is a way of sabotaging your relationship without even knowing it. You know that these guys aren’t endgame, and so you don’t run the risk of getting hurt by someone you truly care about.
Relationships involve a degree of responsibility and maturity, but hooking up with losers eliminates this, making it easier for you to jump from one to the next. Then, naturally, you complain about the fact that these guys never wanted to settle down, but you knew that going into it – even if you didn’t want to admit it to yourself.
11You have daddy issues
Sorry, but it’s true! It seems that people tend to choose partners with similar qualities to their opposite-sex parent, which is both a good and a bad thing. For example, if you have a father who is ambitious and career-focused, you might prefer someone who has goals in life. The downside of that could be that he’s emotionally immature and will always put work first – something your mom already dealt with and that you witnessed firsthand.
Choosing someone who is similar to your own dad could be a way of rectifying the treatment you experienced (or witnessed) as a child. You explain away the behaviors that might otherwise be red flags because they’re not only familiar, but they were normalized and rationalized to you from an early age!
10You don’t think you deserve better
You know that saying of you get from the world what you put into it? Well, it kind of works the same way here. If you have low self-esteem or a sense of self-worth, you’ll put that negativity and pessimism forth into the universe, and so it’s what you’ll get given back to you. It’s a fact that as much as 80% of women are dissatisfied with the way they look, and feeling like you’re not good enough can lead you to make bad and risky decisions because you think you don’t deserve better.
Choosing men who can exploit your vulnerabilities and insecurities is par for the course when you have low self-esteem, because you don’t think you’re good enough for the good guys. Instead, you choose the ones who will make you feel worse about yourself because hey, you should be lucky someone even looked in your direction, right?
9You haven’t learned to be independent
If you’re like most millennials, you haven’t had to truly exert your independence yet. Chances are you went from your parents’ house to a dorm then perhaps back to your parents’ house or else living with roommates or a partner. This can cause a lack of independence on your end because you’ve never had to truly be on your own.
We’re not saying that you need to live alone in order to be independent, but having a life outside of your parents/roommates/partner is important in order to discover who you are in your own right. Giving yourself an identity that is linked indefinitely to someone else means that you won’t be able to discover who you are and what you want. Relationships can be comfortable, but if you’re finding yourself falling for the same type of guy over and over again, it might be time to address who and what it is you really want.
8You don’t learn from your mistakes
Mistakes are a learning experience and a fact of life. It’s good to make mistakes in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t. However, if you’re constantly ignoring your mistakes, then how are you going to learn from them?
Maybe you’re into bad boys and you will date one after the next and still be unable to figure out why it never works out. Maybe you date party animals and then get upset when they’re never sober around you. Maybe you go after guys who are already attached and then bemoan the fact that they never leave their wife/fiancée/girlfriend. Learning from your mistakes and determining your dating pattern is the first step towards breaking it, which you need to do if you’re constantly picking the wrong person.
7You’re afraid of being alone
Thanks to movies, books, TV shows, music, magazines – you name it – we think that the worst thing in the world is to be alone. To be alone is to be unloved, unappreciated, unwanted. To be alone is to be lame, a loser, boring. To be alone is to be lonely.
When you’re in relationships – even bad ones – it can feel terrifying and intimidating to leave it and go out there on your own. You worry about not being able to find someone else, you worry you’re too old to date again, you worry that all the good ones are taken, you worry that you won’t have time for a new relationship or that you’re setting back our timeline to have a family. Many women would rather stay with guys who make them unhappy or who just aren’t right for them because the alternative has been universally accepted as worse.
6You love getting it on
Any good relationship requires some quality intimate time, but when you’re putting that above everything else, that’s when you run into problems. Getting it on is great, but if you’re hopping from bed to bed without a thought – or only falling into bed with a guy and not doing anything else – you blur the lines between intimate activity and actual intimacy.
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It’s great to have a healthy personal life, but relying on getting it on to make a connection can be a bad precedent to set in relationships. All those hormones flying around can have you thinking that you’re more connected to the person than you actually are, which can make you fall faster for them even though they don’t necessarily feel the same way. Hey, don’t blame us – blame the oxytocin!
5HOW TO FIX IT: Figure out your patterns
The first step towards avoiding falling for the wrong guy is to figure out the type of guy you always go after and what they have in common. Going after a career-minded dude seemed like a good idea, until you learned that you would always come second to their work. Dating men who liked to travel the world sounded great until you discovered that they were flighty and flaky. Chasing men who resembled your father felt like fixing the past, until you realized that the past can’t be changed.
Determining your patterns – who you go after, what kind of dates you go on, what you ignore about them – is essential in figuring out your brand of the Wrong Guy. Once you know that, you can avoid him because you’ve already figured out who he is!
4HOW TO FIX IT: Deal with your insecurities
Before anyone else can love you, you need to love yourself. We all have flaws and while you don’t have to love every single thing about you, recognize that your good parts are way more important than any “bad parts.” We are all our own worst critic and the anxiety and self-esteem issues that come with that can get us down a lot of the time. In all honesty, it is something you’ll likely have to deal with forever – and that’s okay! Understanding your shortcomings and your triumphs is what makes you amazing and will help you understand that you do deserve someone great, even if you’re not your biggest cheerleader 24/7. Do whatever you need to do to accept and deal with your insecurities – inside or outside – and you will feel that much better.
3HOW TO FIX IT: Set healthy boundaries
Instead of ignoring red flags and making excuses for appalling behavior, set healthy boundaries. Don’t want a dude to come home on the first night? Don’t let him guilt you into it! Don’t like the fact that the two of you never have dates and are strictly a Netflix-and-chill thing? Say something about it!
Confrontation is a scary thing and women have been conditioned to avoid in it order to appear agreeable, but failing to set healthy boundaries in a relationship will decrease your freedom. Setting healthy boundaries from the get-go can also help you understand the markers of an abusive or unsafe relationship so that you hopefully don’t become so deeply enmeshed that you can’t untangle yourself. If the guy is a good one, he’ll listen to your feedback without taking offense to it.
2HOW TO FIX IT: Learn to do things for yourself
Independence is so important when it comes to avoiding the wrong guy. It can be all too easy to become reliant on one person for all your needs, even if that person isn’t good for you. Starting small on the road to independence is simple, from getting groceries by yourself to learning how to drive.
It can be scary to learn to do the basics of life without someone there to guide you every step of the way, but learning to live on your own and do things without someone there to hold your hand is just a part of growing up! It’ll remind you that you CAN take on the world by yourself and that you don’t need someone else to make you feel capable. Then, if the right person comes along, you’ll be a grown-up lady who isn’t afraid of making her own doctor’s appointments.
1HOW TO FIX IT: Accept your fear of abandonment
Look, everyone is scared to be alone. It is frightening to navigate the world without someone by our side. Even the introverts among us know that we are hardwired to seek connection with others, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of our own wellbeing.
Accepting our fear of abandonment and being alone is necessary for us to realize it’s not the end of the world! In fact, there are a lot of amazing things about being on your own so that, while you may be alone, you don’t have to be lonely. Discover things that you like to do with just you to make it feel like a happier state to be in, like going to a movie alone that you’ve been dying to see, treating yourself to lunch, or going shopping solo. You deserve happiness – with or without someone else.