The Transition Phase: From Chasing a Relationship With Unlikely Sources To Dating Decent People and Giving Them a Hard Time
Posted Oct 04 2010 10:30am
In my last post I talked about getting over someone after a breakup where you’re worrying about when and if you’ll ever get over them or why you’re not over them yet. Every day, I hear from women and men who persist in relationships that serve to detract from them where they don’t get treated with love, care, trust, and respect. I ask them what they want and they’ll say that they want to feel and be treated a certain way, they want commitment, babies, marriage, steadiness etc and then they describe the object of their affections and attention and it becomes apparent that there is a major gap between what they profess to want and what they actually get.
Think of the person you’re with or the person you’re struggling to get over and imagine that loving relationship that you want and ask yourself:
If I want a loving relationship with mutual love, care, trust, and respect where I can be myself instead of having to transform, twist and morph, and where I can love and live with boundaries, why am I trying to get it from X?
Make no mistake: there are men and women who are capable of being in loving relationships out there. Every, single, solid day, people forge relationships with healthy people who they share similar values with and want the same relationship. I don’t doubt there’s a lot of dubious types out there but the world is not all about cheating, emotional unavailability and being treated badly – what we notice out there in the dating environment is a reflection of our beliefs. There was a time when I wouldn’t have recognised a decent guy if he bit me in the bum!
If you have a consistent pattern, for instance, of being with emotionally unavailable men and/or assclowns, but you’re saying that you want to be in a healthy, loving relationship, you have to ask yourself:
Why haven’t I attempted to have a relationship with someone who is actually capable of giving me what I profess to want? Why have I instead tried to ram a square peg into a round hole and effectively tried to get someone to change into the person that I want?
You don’t want to get love, care, trust, and respect from someone who is actually capable of this – you want to get it from someone that mirrors your beliefs and your relationship pattern.
This is like trying to draw blood from a stone.
Or…you can imagine that many of you are trying to drill for oil where there is no oil. You have a mindset that’s decided that it’s not that there is no oil, but more that the right person hasn’t attempted to drill for that oil. You don’t want to accept that there is no oil because it would mean you’d need to find a new purpose and direction. This is entitely self-defeating behaviour.
You can get hooked on righting the wrongs of the past. This can be, for instance, dating reflections of one or both of your parents and trying to validate and correct stuff that you couldn’t as a child and possibly still can’t with them as an adult.
You can also get hooked on trying to be ‘right’ - This is about seeking validation and trying to stem the feeling of rejection. It’s also a byproduct of being with someone who you know deep down is ‘lacking’ and feeling like you’re the one to show them the ‘light’ and teach them the error of their ways through loving them and possibly fixing, healing, and helping them.
When you start distancing yourself from your old pattern and end an unhealthy relationship, you may find yourself dating other people and behaving in ways that are reminiscent of your old partners. You don’t want the old type of partners you used to date but you find yourself in No Mans Land – I get so many emails from women, for instance, who have dated a Mr Unavailable, started dating a pretty decent guy and then found themselves behaving in ways that they hated to be treated themselves.
Why do we give the Nice Guy/Girl a hard time after leaving our own painful relationships?
You’re strong enough to know that you don’t want to be in the type of relationships that you were in in the past but you’re not quite healed from your experiences and are trying to stay in control and reduce your vulnerabilities. This manifests itself as you being difficult, aggressive, flip flapping interest etc
Giving new, decent partners a hard time is a self-protective measure that lets you stay in control.
Look at this type of behaviour as being the ‘transition phase’ between unhealthy partnerings and healthy partnerings.
The key is not to let the transistion phase derail you and instead identify why you need to behave in the way that you do – what fears and beliefs are you tapping into?
For me, I am someone who experienced the transition phase a couple of years before I got wise about myself and used my seeming disinterested in the decent guy as a sign that I was better off with my ‘type’ – Mr Unavailables and assclowns, as if I was doomed. Being with him wasn’t my finest hour and he was a bit damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Many people get ‘punished’ for things that previous partners have done because in being a bit stronger, we can sometimes feel a bit of belated anger. However I think invariably it’s about being self-protective.
You see the thing is that in actively and passively choosing people that reflect our beliefs, even when they don’t behave very well towards us, we do identify with them on a number of levels. For instance, when we’re with someone who is emotionally unavailable and persist in it, we have to examine our own ability to being emotionally available. When we persist in being with someone that repeatedly tells us lies, we have to examine our own ability to not just buy into other peoples lies but to lie to ourselves.
When we are stronger but haven’t fully worked our way through the hurt and/or our beliefs, we can end up carrying the excess baggage of some lessons that have been learned from the emotionally unavailable and assclowns:
That, for example, being aggressive, dismissive, and distant are ways to stay strong and protected in a relationship, after all, it seems to work for them – just ask the readers who have expressed their frustration at feeling like their ex got off scot free and landed on their feet while they were left behind picking up the pieces.
This is why it’s important to not only have an honest conversation with yourself but an ongoing dialogue. If you’ve come far enough to recognise how unhealthy a relationship or a pattern has been, don’t give up on yourself when you hit some of these awkward spots. Yes, there is a possibility that during the ‘transition phase’ you may ‘scare off’ a potentially decent person but if you can meet one, you can meet others – just because they were decent and not emotionally unavailable and/or an assclown, doesn’t mean they were ‘The One’. We get the relationship that is right for us at that time and even though some of those relationships will be a pain in the bum, they serve to teach us about ourselves and show us the lessons that we need to learn.
If you’re wondering why you don’t like someone who is for all intents and purposes a pretty decent person and are even treating them in a less than favourable manner, step back and address your own fears and beliefs. Ask yourself what you associate being strong in a relationship with? Make sure they’re not negative things. Ask yourself what you associate being vulnerable with, because trust me, if you associate being vulnerable with some terrifying trap, you can be damn sure that the moment you’re in a position of being vulnerable, you’ll be doing everything in your power to minimise it.
Remember: take the focus off them and bring it back to you. You don’t need to be worrying about the who what, where’s and why’s of what they’re doing because that only stops you from dealing with the stuff you can handle and change – your actions.
And before anyone asks how to spot a decent person – remove all the familiar, whacked out behaviours that you put up with in unhealthy partnerings, add love, care, trust, and respect, plus integrity, your boundaries intact and the ability to like and love yourself, and you’re around a decent person.