An excerpt from one of my favorite books, “Are You the One for Me” by Barbara DeAngelis
We all think we know what we want in a mate. We don’t want any unhealthy or negatives qualities, just lots of great ones. So we get frustrated and disappointed when we end up in a relationship with something different from, and usually much less wonderful than, our ideal.
I’m sure you’ve read the “Personals” in the magazines and newspapers, those columns of ads where single people advertise for the kind of mate they would like to meet. If you had to write an Emotional Want Ad describing the kind of partner you were looking for, it would probably sound something like this:
Attractive, sensitive, caring person for permanent relationship. Must be emotionally open, able to talk about feelings, unafraid of intimacy. Successful but not a workaholic, with a great sense of humor. Knows how to make me feel really loved and appreciated. If you are healthy, honest, faithful and ready for a commitment, I’m the one for you!
The truth is, if you had to match your Emotional Want Ad to the partners you have actually ended up with, they might read more like this:
Are you married? Engaged? Unable to make a commitment? Then I’m the woman for you. I’m looking for an unavailable man for a long, painful and frustrating relationship. No time or energy required. I’ll do all the work. Call anytime, day or night; I’ll be waiting. If you like being dishonest, stringing me along, and thinking only about yourself, you’re my type of guy.
Obviously none of us would ever write ads like this or even agree to accept these kinds of relationships into our lives. And yet, we often end up with partners who fit these descriptions. It’s time to understand why you choose the partners you’ve been with or you are with now.
The following exercise will give you and overview of the relationships you have been in. Please read the instructions carefully, and take all the time you need to complete each portion… Here’s how it works:
Step 1: On a blank piece of paper, list the names of each partner you have had a significant relationship with, including the one you are with now. Don’t include someone you dated only a few times. DO include anyone to whom you were very emotionally attached. Leave space after each name so you have room to write. If you have had only one partner in your life, just put down that name.
Step 2: After each person’s name, make a list of their most negative qualities, those parts of their personality you dislike the most. Don’t write a whole sentence—rather, sum up the quality in a word or two. Example: Marcy’s boyfriend could never keep a job during their four years together. So Marcy should write “jobless” on her list. DO NOT list positive qualities.
Step 3: Once you have finished, read over all your lists and circle any words of qualities that seem to repeat themselves from one person to another.
Step 4: Make a “summary list” of the words or qualities you used more than once or stood out to you.
Step 5: Take some time to think about your summary list and your individual lists. Ask yourself the following questions:
-Are there some patterns in my relationships of which I need to be aware?
-Is there a trend I can see in my relationships over time? Getting healthier? Getting worse? Getting better then a relapse?
-Were some partners easier to list negative qualities about than others?
- Is my present partner significantly different from previous partners? Better? Worse? The same?
CREATING YOUR EMOTIONAL WANT AD
Now that you’ve made your “Love Choices Chart” and worked on your summary list, it’s time for you to face the truth about the kinds of partners you’ve chosen in your life.
TO FIND OUT WHAT KIND OF PERSON YOU’VE BEEN SEEKING, LOOK AT THE KIND OF PARTNERS YOU’VE ENDED UP WITH.
-You don’t end up with mates by accident
-You don’t attract someone because you have bad luck
-You don’t find the same type of person over and over again by coincidence.
YOU GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR
One of the most effective ways to sum up the kind of person you’ve been unknowingly seeking, whether in you past or today, is to create your own Emotional Want Ad. You’ve actually already found the ingredients for your want ad in your Love Choices summary list.
Here’s what to do:
Write a wan ad using the characteristics you have on your summary list. Make the ad as direct and as humorous as you can. It’s okay to make fun of yourself and your past choices. In fact, the more dramatic an outrageous your ad is, the more it can help you break free from the negative emotional patterns that have been hurting your love life.
Writing you Emotional Want Ad can be very confrontational because it forces you to look at the message you’ve been giving out about the kind of partner you are willing to accept. But it is a powerful way to break your own negative programming by taking what has been unconscious and making it conscious.
LOCATING THE PERSISTENT, NEGATIVE PATTERNS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS IS THE FIRST STEP TOWARD ELIMINATING THOSE PATTERNS.
OK SO NOW THAT YOUR AD IS DONE…. IT’S TIME TO NOW FINALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR EMOTIONAL PROGRAMING… CLICK HERE FOR PART 2 OF THIS EXERCISE…
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