Repeat Relationships: What Story Do You Keep Retelling?

Warning: When Participating in Relationships You Run the Risk of Getting Hurt

That’s what they say- if you don’t want to get hurt, lock yourself in your boudoir or something. When I was younger, the more someone warned me not to go out with a person, the more I wanted to go out with them and to prove the other person wrong. I thought I was Cinderella when her evil step mother locked her in the basement to keep her from meeting the prince. I thought maybe they were trying to keep me away from the guy because they were jealous and wanted him for themselves. Nope. They were worried, and they had reasons.

I heard a wise man talking about the way we repeat the same patterns over and over again in our lives; the same scenario but with new people every time. It is the same, he said, as when a small child wants you to read them the same story over and over again. I can’t stop thinking about this. It is a significant statement, but I don’t know why. It may be the key to me breaking jerk-dating pattern. I remember when I was a child I would want to read the same story over and over again or watch the same movie over and over again. Each time was equally if not more satisfying than the first. It never got boring. Why?

In my own life I can’t help but wonder, after experiencing my most recent dating let down, how and why I keep having the same thing happen to me. “They always are really interested in the beginning and then they suddenly disappear on you, Hayley. The only common denominator is you.” Thanks Adam, but seriously my friend Adam is right.

I grew up in a home where my mother didn’t really love me or even like me. She had some sort of mood disorder and six out of seven days of the week she made me feel like crap and didn’t want much to do with me. There was always one day of the week where the guilt of being so nasty to me me must’ve finally got to her and she started to be really nice to me, but by that point I felt so on edge, I was afraid to fall for her ruse. Of course, the second I caved and responded to her kindness she slammed the door in my face and the pattern of six days of misery began once again.

Perhaps this is why what’s happening to me keeps happening to me. Maybe other women date the same types of guys as I do, the ones who come on strong and then slowly become unreliable, but perhaps most women respond differently. While I hang on blaming myself and wondering what is happening, what I did wrong, and how I can fix the situation, a sane person is sayin’ “don’t let the door hit you on the way out, jerk.” It is emotionally excruciating for me to live through time and time again. Each time it is worst than the last and the only reason I stay in for so long is I want the pain to subside. I want to be wrong, maybe they really were busy or they fell asleep, whatever. Maybe he really is the nice guy who he was in the beginning. I keep my chips in there because when he finally responds and I see a glimmer of who I saw in the beginning, it is so utterly gratifying. Well, it is for about a minute, because then the inevitable fear and panic as to when the cycle of crap is going to start again ensues.

Perhaps this all has to do with the relationship I had with my mother. Maybe the first several hundred times I read this story, it was with her. It always had the same sad dissatisfying ending and ending I came to not only accept but expect. I grew up and still lived the story, although now I was living it by choice: I was no longer a five-year-old child trapped under the care of a neglectful parent. No. When I began dating, I read the story over and over again with each new guy. Every one of them let me down slightly one way or the other in the beginning but then redeemed themselves. I was happy and satisfied momentarily, maybe they weren’t so bad after all, only to have them let me down again.

The pattern continues and eventually I get tired of waiting around for things to turn good. Yet somehow even when I get out of it the story it plays out again in the next relationship.

Why can’t I put this book down? Do I enjoy the rejection? One friend suggested that maybe I do not think I am good enough for a nice guy and a nice relationship. I don’t think that. I know I am good enough but some how always try hanging in there with these men who turn out to be unreliable waiting until they do something nice again. Why? I think part of it is I fall for the man they portray in the beginning when they are being nice and I keep playing the tape over and over again trying to pause the movie at that highpoint but no matter how many times I rewind it, the pause button doesn’t work and the movie just plays out to the bitter unhappy ending. It is like being home alone in a warm house on a snowy day and getting locked out: no matter how many times you bang on the door there’s no one there to let you back it. It is very frustrating.

With my mother I remember how mean she would be and how I would work hard to get in her good graces and how nothing I did would make her like me. Then I’d give up around day seven and she’d be kissing my butt. Like a mouse in one of the cheese/ electric shock experiments, I was afraid to even nibble the cheese when she started being nice again. I have since improved the relationship I have with my mother. This took years but I like her more than ever before and she is a little nicer to me now.

So then, why do I still read the story? Is it because it’s familiar?

I know part of why I take it so personally every time this happens with a guy I’m dating is because it hits so close to home for me, but I still have trouble understanding how and why I end up there time and time again reading the same book.

I think the solution is in the thought that most people wouldn’t put up with this type of treatment as long as I do. They would put the book down right away at the first glance of that chapter, hell they might throw the book in the fireplace.  There were times when at the first sign of Ass Clown I told them to lose my number, but I inevitably went back to being weak and vulnerable. Hopeful, if you will. Pathetically, ignorantly, hopeful. I should just slam the door in their face at the first let down and not settle for any less than being treated like the Queen I am. Ya that’s right I said it. Her Royal Highness, HRH, I was born with those initials, but seriously, I wouldn’t expect any less treatment than that because I wouldn’t give any less treatment than that: that is how I treat the people in my life, with loyalty, respect, and dignity. I think I am done with this story. It has been done over and over again for 26 years and you know they say nothing is like the original so why bother to keep up with these revivals? I am ready for a new story. Now excuse me. I think I have to go delete someone from my Facebook friends list….



Filed under Fairy Tales, relationships

2 Responses to Repeat Relationships: What Story Do You Keep Retelling?

  1. I saw you post this on facebook and found it interesting (I think we used to have writing classes together at the U of A years ago) because I recently experienced the same thing, but as the guy instead of the girl. Initially she was very into me, and I was too but I was trying to be cautious because I have not had many girls that ever made me feel like they TRULY cared about me. Eventually I fell into the trap of reciprocating the love and attention I thought she craved, and I’m pretty sure that lead to her getting bored of me (silly me to think she would like me more if I gave her what she wanted). She claims she broke up with me to ‘focus on school’ more and that only seeing me once every week or two “is not a real relationship” to her (is this just a lame excuse or the lamest excuse ever given to break up with someone?)

    Now moving forward I can’t help but feel I will have a hard time falling back in love and really fully giving myself to another girl because my faith and trust were abused by someone who I thought loved me and would work with me to get through the hard times. Maybe these guys went through something similar to myself? They think that by pulling back or away they will avoid what happened to me? Often times in relationships with girls I feel that I am supposed to do the opposite of what feels natural in order to maintain their attraction. It is all a big stupid game and I fail to see the point of it. I don’t have the emotional capacity to get burned like that again and I don’t have the ‘game’ or desire to whore myself about in emotionally devoid relationships, therefore I am convinced the key to happiness at this point is to be A-sexual and not think about relationships at all. Besides, 60% of the people our age we see getting married on facebook are going to be getting divorced by the time we are settling down with the RIGHT person who will treat us like the Queens and Kings we are :) Hang in there, there’s someone for both of us, we just have to be patient and worry about being the best versions of us we can possibly be.


    • Hayley Rose

      Hi Cole! How are you? Good to hear from you! Wow. You sound a lot like me. My emotional capacity was at it’s max before this last bummer so you can imagine how I’m feeling. I find one thing you say interesting- how asexual is the only choice that makes sense- because the relationships in which u have feelings never work out and by the same token it is pointless to participate in relationships in which you have no interest. I think with my guy he was a BIG LIAR and is back with his ex, though he told me otherwise ( but I am like judge judy in the sense I am a human lie detector). I gave him too many breaks starting a few weeks ago. My policy is going back to one strike/ no mercy as we speak 😛 haha but anyways if there was one thing I learned in this entire debacle it would be not to ask anyone else for advice and to just go with how I feel 100% of the time. So if I feel game-playing is necessary to “score” I might do it. I have been genuine, sweet, and nice for too long. Another thing I learned is don’t get your emotions involved until the other person proves that they’re not an Ass Clown.

      Thank-you for your kind words. I know you will find someone great- just by the way you poured your heart out on this comment I know it won’t be long before a genuinely nice girls snatches you up :) Don’t let this harden you and turn you asexual- I am going to try to not and do the same

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