Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.

— Leo Buscaglia

There’s a great line in a Sex and the City episode about relationship patterns, where a woman says something like:

I don’t think I’ve been dating the same type of guy over and over. I mean, sure they were all broke, struggling artists with alcohol and drug issues, but in my opinion, the painters were MUCH different than the sculptors.

Love is so blind, right? It takes courage and an intentional mindset shift to be able to see our patterns.

You’re reading this because something in you knows it’s time to break your pattern. Whether it’s choosing partners that make you feel smothered, bailing when things get serious or playing the “rescuer”, you know it isn’t working and you are ready to change.

You won’t do this alone. I’ve got your back. 

Get out a piece of paper and a pencil, take a deep breath, and let’s start changing your life.

Step #1: Identify your pattern.
You know you can’t break the pattern if you don’t know what it is. We are going to do that by creating a Mind Map, which is much easier than it sounds. Click here to see one.

  1. You put a circle in the middle that says “ME” and then another circle around that one for each of your Honeys (past and present). Keep it to about 5 total Honeys – that will give you plenty of clarity. 
  2. For each Honey, you do another little circle outside of his/her circle for each of these life areas: career/job, family (of origin), marriage, looks, sex, money, kids, breakup. 
  3. Write something in each life area for each Honey. (see example)
  4. Look at your map carefully. What things come up more than once? How about 3 times?
  5. Make a list of the things that come up 3 times or more. These things make up your relationship pattern. 

Step #2: Clean up your act.
Now that you know what the pattern is, you are going to change it. Changing patterns is hard work, so we’re going to get you ready first. 

Take responsibility. This step is crucial, especially if you don’t like your pattern. For some reason, you’ve created and allowed a situation in your heart that doesn’t make you happy. Ask yourself why you are allowing that. This is the hardest step for my relationship coaching clients, but it brings the biggest rewards, because once you do this everything changes. 

Start taking care of yourself. Instead of looking at your romantic relationship, refocus for a moment. What do you need that you aren’t getting? Can you get it somewhere else? Brainstorm here for a bit. The idea is to get yourself the healthy stuff you need instead of being disappointed that someone isn’t giving it to you.

  • If you want to be appreciated, could you create something that helps people and share it?
  • If you want to be pampered, could you schedule yourself some massages?
  • If you want to be heard, could you join Toastmasters or a similar group that helps you build the confidence to speak to others?
  • What daily self-care rituals could you start? You can meditate for 3 minutes in the morning, by just closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and asking yourself “What do I need to know today?”

Step #3: Choose differently.
You know your pattern. You know it’s time to take responsibility for yourself and practice some self-care.

Now it’s time to look around with your new eyes

You’ve been choosing the same pattern repeatedly right? So now you’re going to look for new things in new places

Here are some new ideas to consider:

  • Different surroundings: Do you usually find dates in the same places? Do you usually date coworkers? How about stepping outside of that and physically going somewhere new?
  • Different channels: How could you connect with people in a new way? Meet-ups and online dating make it easy to find people who share your interests. 
  • Different mindset: Look around you. Is there someone who is interested in you whom you’ve always just thought of “as a friend”? If you want a long-term relationship, friendship is GOOD. It gives you a headstart on trust and real knowledge of the person, which is the foundation for real love. 

Remember, it’s about baby steps. Real change takes time and practice. 

But you owe it to yourself to GET STARTED NOW. 

Don’t be one of those people that has all of the tools and never uses them. 

Now it’s your turn. What is the relationship pattern that you want to break? Let me know in the comments. 

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