It is rare to find a couple who connect quickly and carry on with a healthy, happy relationship. Most of us carry some baggage from childhood, family relationships, or past romantic relationships which can affect how we show up in a new relationship. That baggage is both neurological and emotional.
Current research seems to indicate our behavior is often affected by neural pathways that form from past learning. But those pathways can be overridden with new emotional and mental patterns.
Become familiar with old, unhealthy patterns so you can replace them with new and healthy ones.
You can learn to recognize the familiar feeling (the pathway) of meeting and feeling attracted to someone. Notice the thoughts and feelings that arise when becoming close with someone new, and do your best to stop any negative patterns by saying something like “I don’t want to get into this same argument” or “This feels like that time when I…”
Also become familiar with how you participate in a relationship. If you stop viewing yourself in a victim role (“Why does this always happen to me?”) and instead focus on your strengths, your energy in that partnership will change. Be wary of comparing yourself and your relationships to others. You and your partner are unique beings with unique histories and viewpoints.
Many people enter into unhealthy relationships out of fear of being alone. In these cases, it can be very helpful to explore therapy or counseling to learn to participate in a healthy way with the most important relationship you will ever have…with yourself.
Allow yourself to grieve the past so you can move through it. Let go of expectations and allow any new relationships to unfold naturally and easily, without force or control. Know yourself intimately – what you want in a relationship, what your vision of a happy, healthy relationship really is.
You have so much of value to bring to a relationship. Look for common values and ethics, not just common interests. When you truly believe you are worthy of love and happiness, it becomes easier to make better decisions about any type of relationship, and about how you live your life.
Focus on someone who accepts and loves you for who you are, “warts and all,” without wanting to change you. And learn that in turn – you must love the other as he or she is. Communicate openly, respectfully, and honestly with each other, and allow a natural growth and progression to the relationship.