How Race Plays a Role in Therapy
Most of us, at some point or another, have experienced some spooky relationship deja vu. It starts off all spark and sizzle—we’ve got chemistry and romance and it feels like this time it’ll be different. We start to make plans. Get comfortable. Then it happens.
We start spotting the red flags—usually ones we’ve seen before. Maybe we realize we’ve been trying to ignore them, or maybe it’s something else entirely. We all bring our own baggage and history into new relationships. Sometimes we pick situations and people that rhyme, sometimes it’s our own behaviors and patterns that bring trouble to paradise.
If you’re stuck in a relationship loop and looking for a way out, here are some tips to get free:
Look for Patterns
It’s pretty easy to float from one relationship to the next—but when we do that, we aren’t always taking the time to learn lessons from the one that just ended. Think of your relationship history as a whole. Are there any patterns that emerge?
Some patterns to look out for include:
- Are you having the same fights and arguments in your relationships?
- What role do you play in bringing those patterns to the relationship?
- Are you picking similar partners, and expecting different outcomes?
You can’t control your partner’s behavior, but you can recognize patterns in personality and behavior you may be drawn to—and it’s important to be aware of that so you can spot those issues early and approach them differently.
Many of us also carry our own history into our relationships. A fear of rejection and abandonment can color how we behave in a relationship. It can lead us to do some crazy things, or to accept an awful lot of abuse before we finally stick up for ourselves.
These patterns probably stretch back into your childhood and upbringing. Consider how you might be bringing those patterns into your relationships. Are those patterns still serving you, or is it time to let go?
If you’re caught in a loop, it’s time to take a new approach. Whip out a notepad and organize your thoughts on paper. What are your values? What are your deal breakers?
Conflict almost always comes from a lack of communication. It’s all in the expectations. Think about the feeling you get when you’re expecting something in the mail and you open up a package and they sent you the wrong thing. Relationships are like that. You want to know that what you’re buying is what you’re getting.
By the same token, you need to make sure that you are what your partner is looking for. You should be asking questions about what they want and need in a relationship, and you should be honest with yourself about whether or not you can provide that to them.
Good communication & setting expectations is one of the key ways to keep your relationships running smoothly—and it’s important to revisit these conversations even if you’re exclusive, because your needs may change.
Learn Your Languages
When it comes to relationships, we’re all speaking different languages. This is true in a few different ways—you may have heard of love languages before. Some of us love through touch, others through acts of service or words of affirmation—it’s important to make sure we know our own language and make sure we ask for what we want.
It can also be helpful to know your attachment style. Some of us avoid emotional connection, others desperately crave it. Knowing how we get attached (and why!) can help us avoid those triggers that turn our relationships into wild emotional rollercoasters.
Interested in Learning More?
If you’re interested in a deep dive into any of these tips, reach out for a consultation for relationship counseling.
We work with a diverse group of clients to help them shake themselves free from old patterns and start living to their fullest potential. It might feel like you’re stuck on a wheel, but there’s still time to get off.