Relationship Patterns

Have you ever woken up or sat and wondered whether someone has put your life on rewind and that the only thing different are the changing characters? Have you ever felt like the friendships or relationships you’re have a thick thread of similarity running through them, especially the ones that don’t seem to work out?

Well, you are not alone if your answer is yes. (If your answer is no, please go on your knees and give thanks to whomever you give thanks to spiritually!). An Eve decided to try and break what she felt was the ‘recycling curse’. I mean, she had dated three Adams consecutively and they all ended up withdrawing, being unavailable and eventually breaking off the relationship (actually, she broke off the third relationship but the Adam did not stand up in court to yell ‘objection!’). As she was perusing through a women’s magazine, she decided to take a ‘relationship pattern’ test and see what was the ‘trap’ that she kept falling into that resulted in the same unfulfilling and short lived relationships.

After answering a number of questions about her childhood, her parents’ relationships and her adult relationships, she came up with this summary:

As far as her adult relationships were concerned:
*Adam 1 was unavailable, uninterested and argumentative.
*Adam 2 was unavailable and uninterested, and avoided confrontation.
*Adam 3 was withdrawn, uninterested, and avoided confrontation.

As far as her parents’ relationship was concerned:
*Her father was unavailable, uninterested and avoided confrontation.
*Her mother argumentative and blaming.
*Her father was not around for her, not wanting her, and left the family eventually.
*Her mother told me all men lose interest and leave.

So she cross-related her answers and came up with the following diagnosis of her relationship patterns:
* Her father was unavailable to her and her mother; therefore she finds men who are not available.
* Her father was uninterested in her and her mother; she finds men who lose interest in her.
* Her father avoided confrontation; two of the three relationships were with men who avoid confrontation.
* Her father left; she attracts men who eventually leave. And her mother told her they would.
* A man who is argumentative is the opposite of her father, but just like her mother. One of the men she dated was argumentative.
* She was programmed to have a relationship pattern where her partner will become unavailable, losing interest in her and eventually leaving.
* She is exactly repeating the pattern in her parents’ relationship.
* Sometimes she has done the opposite of her parents’ relationship, but got exactly the same result.

At the end of the self-test was a long list of things that Eves and Adams can do to break their bad relationship patterns. Eve had found the outcome of the test somewhat true but also scary; more importantly though she was left wondering whether this is something she could do anything about. Could she say to herself that she was going to avoid all these unavailable and uninterested men who would withdraw and eventually leave her? Do they come with a specific mark on their foreheads? How would she recognize them? Is it her behaviour towards men that would need to change?

In this day and age, psychology has become commonly accepted as a way of understanding what goes on in our lives, least of all our familial and other relationships. But does a theory like ‘relationship patterns linked to your childhood experience’ really hold water and are there any answers (remedies) out there?

It’s been said time and time again that in life and even in relationships, you can change only YOU, how YOU behave, how YOU react, and only YOU can accept or reject. But the notion of a relationship pattern being seemingly intrinsically linked to your past experiences seems scary.

Adams and Eves, do you think it is possible to recognise what is the ‘source’ of your relationship and friendship patterns that makes them not work and break the cycle? Or is this just ‘psycho-babble’ that should be left to the experts in the field (and we don’t mean Mathare mental hospital here :))?



13 thoughts on “Relationship Patterns

  1. Sometimes these psychological classifications can be a bit generalizing. We all find elements in our relationships that are influenced by the relationships we grew up around but if you find that you are drawn to what is not good for you, what can you do?

    • i think it all dependes on whether you believe in the psychological talk and if you look at your relationships and notice a certain streak that is recurring, you may want to evaluate how you are a part of a relationship. After all, you can only change you 🙂

  2. Hi Joyce,
    This is a good piece. A lot of the ‘patterns’ we notice about our lives tend to occur due to influences surrounding us while growing up. The only way to break the vicious cycle, like you mentioned, is for an individual to change their mindset and approach to life. This will stop the predictable negative outcomes and result in more positive results

    • I like your comment, Sly. Joyce, I think – psychobabble aside – it is often true that women marry their fathers.

      While the deck has already been stacked for many of us who read your blog, I think that any man reading this blog should purpose to be the kind of man that he’d like his daughter to marry.

  3. I think people can in fact recognize bad patterns and walk away from them…..however,a lot is shaped by what we see around us/ our experiences

    • I agree that people do recognize bad patterns but sometimes it is the walking away that can be difficult….

  4. Hi Joyce,
    Love the article, Your so right my dear and i feel you on the topic, I’ve dated the same adam twice recognized the signs the second time but kept thinking he was different from the first one, but now when i think back to the relationship the signs are always there and they cycle continues and breaking it is what is hard and the hardest part is walking away and the fear of failing yet again in another relationship.

    • Hi dear. Thanks for dropping and weighing in. They say that realizing the need to walk away is always the first big step. Take courage and don’t be too hard on yourself.

  5. This is damn scary. I have dated 3 men who are too identical. Now am on a break to check in on me and read affirmations on a daily basis. Let me google; relationship patterns+test

  6. @Vivacious, it can be scary when you keep dating identical men and it doesn’t work out and as you’re saying, sometimes one may need to figure out whether there is a pattern that isn’t working out. Interesting link….thanks for weighing in.

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