Same Problem, Different Relationship

It’s always a surprise, but it shouldn’t be.  Our friends and family, though, can see it coming a mile away.  In the meantime, you’re kicking yourself for falling for the same type of person who just broke your heart.

See, it’s tempting to think by kicking your Ex to the curb that you’ve learned your lesson and you’re going to do better the next time around.  Your new love just seems so perfect.  So different.  What you don’t remember is how your Ex also seemed so perfect when you first fell in love.

“You complete me” – Jerry Maguire

There are two parts to this equation.  First, according to relationship experts like Harville Hendricks, we fall in love with people who replicate our childhood wounds.   Since I have discussed this previously in What Every Couple Should Know Before Getting Married and Blessings of a Dysfunctional Marriage, I will just summarize to say that we fall in love because, on some level, we feel that we’ve met the person who will heal our childhood wounds.  When we realize they won’t is when the trouble, conflict and discontent occur.

The second part of this equation is your choice.  You can either blame your partner and get all your friends to agree what a horrible person she is (see A Random Act of War, Part 2), or you can heal your own childhood wounds.  By healing your wounds, you also help your partner heal hers, and thus strengthen and reinforce your relationship (see Do I Stay or Do I Go?).

“You bet on me like I bet on you” – Rod Tidwell, from Jerry Maguire

If you choose blame and denial about your role in your troubled or failed relationship – guess what? – you’ll go and repeat the cycle with your next partner.

If you don’t believe me, go out and try it.  Or maybe you have already.

“How’d I get myself into this?” – Jerry Maguire

If you’ve gone from failed relationship to failed relationship, ask yourself:  what is the common denominator?

If you’re now launching into a 20 minute answer, then maybe you’re fooling yourself.

You don’t know what it’s like to be me” – Jerry Maguire

If your answer is “me”, then you know what to do.

“Show me the money!” – Jerry Maguire

How to do it is another story, and is a major theme of this and many other blogs, books and therapy sessions.  Know that it is a life-long journey that is filled with wonderful discoveries, beauty, joy, and forgiveness.   Remember:

It’s about the journey, not the destination” – Dad

(If you need a Jerry Maguire quote the only thing I could find that works is, “If you fuck this up I’ll kill you.”  It just seemed wrong.)

4 thoughts on “Same Problem, Different Relationship

  1. It’s been my experience by just observing my friends over the years that those with childhood wounds look to inflict them on their partners. Those of us who aren’t sure what our childhood wounds were or if we even had very many always seem to fall prey to the first group of people I mentioned. I have yet to observe two people who came into a relationship where both were expecting and wanting to be happy, without trying to fool one or the other.

    1. Very true. But my philosophy is that most of us don’t recognize what those wounds are. They’re subconscious and drive our hot buttons and behaviors. We can only successfully manage them if we identify them and deal with them.
      It sounds like you think most people know what their wounds are and how they affect them? Like it’s more conscious and intentional?

      I can only speak from personal experience from what I’ve observed in myself and others that it takes some time and effort to understand.

      1. No, I do believe that most people are not conscious or perhaps refuse to admit what it is that they are doing…they must be aware on some level. Perhaps it is that they cannot stop themselves or have an overwhelming compulsion. I also do believe that some of us don’t have any wounds or at least not ones that we consider unhealed. Of course, I could be wrong! 🙂

  2. Haha, I’m sure you’re quite right about that. But – how does one know if you don’t have wounds or healed wounds OR if that belief about their absence is in response to a childhood wound? Perfectionism is usually a response to childhood wounds. It’s like some kind of cruel existentialism paradox…:)

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