I have been in and out of relationships over the last couple of years but they all end up in break-ups. No matter how hard I try to be nice and understanding to men, all my relationships just crash after about 4 – 6 months.
I am worried something could be wrong with me and this is really affecting my self-confidence as well as my interest in relationships. I really don’t know what it is I do wrong and always do my best to put my boyfriends first.
Lydia, this is somewhat common where you find men and women who for one reason or another cannot keep or hold on to a relationship. It can affect your self-esteem and self-worth. This affects both sexes for different reasons. For today, I will only focus on the reasons that may be leading to this kind of situation for you.
Reading through, I picked up several elements that may be important in informing us and this include break-ups within 6 months, you are always as nice and understanding as can be e.t.c. These are good traits to have but I will also point out that sometimes too much of anything is not good. Yes, men look for those traits you have but overdoing it brings you out as “needy” which can be a problem. When you appear to be too good, always putting them first, this sets off an alarm for many men. You may have also noticed that it is actually the good girls like you that have trouble keeping men.
You may need to try a different approach towards being more of yourself and go easy on this “want-to-please-everyone” syndrome does not really cut it. I encourage you to turn the tables around and focus a little more on yourself. Focus on your happiness, what you want, what you can live with as well as what you cannot. Be ready to walk away from some relationships and you will see people starting to take you more seriously. Men often find relationships with ladies that are too good to be true boring and without any challenge and thus they don’t take them seriously.
The other thing that could be leading to this is that you may be looking for love in the wrong places. What this does is that it could be leading you in to the hands of .men that are out there seeking anything else apart from love. Unfortunately, they promise love and heaven but their only focus is sex. Many good and gullible ladies fall for this only to be left wondering what it is they are doing wrong. My advice is that you make that critical shift to stop trying so very hard to please others and focus on pleasing yourself first. If you are really not happy with yourself, you cannot please anyone else.
Simon is a relationships counsellor
Why are you judging yourself so harshly? It takes two people to make a relationship work. I strongly believe that your self-judgement is out of proportion.
Firstly, you make it sound like you have been in so many relationships. This may not necessarily be the truth. In a couple of years, with a relationship lasting between 4-6 months as you have stated, may not leave a trail of relationships.
Secondly, it’s not possible that the people you have dated are ‘angels’ as you want us to believe. Did they have all the qualities on your ‘checklist’? During dating, it is perfectly in order to end a relationship if you are not fully convinced of your compatibility.
Thirdly, you say that you have been trying hard to be nice and understanding. These are qualities we all would get attracted to. But the ‘trying hard’ to be that is suspicious and repulsive. It shows that you are not being yourself and that you could be hiding something. Now, when people sense any insincerity, they tend to run away because we all want to relate with a natural and real person.
Before you move to another relationship, I encourage you to take time to reevaluate yourself. Identify your strengths and positive attributes. With this list, take time to reaffirm yourself. Do this until you change your view of yourself. When you are aware of your personal worth, you will begin to appreciate your value and role in any relationship. This waym you will never see or feel like the other person is doing you a favour by being in a relationship with you.
In addition, always strive to be natural. Be true to yourself. Any relationship that does not allow you to be this is not viable and should not be pursued. I believe you’re a great person and there is someone out there you would be an answered prayer to.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology