Some women have terrible taste in men. It's not necessarily their fault -- there are subconscious forces at work in how we pick a partner. A woman who consistently goes for drunks, lowlifes, abusers, or otherwise unworthy men is often caught in the grip of an unacknowledged struggle with herself. She's doing something called "repetition compulsion" wherein she tries to recreate the dynamics of her past in order to finally gain mastery over them. For example, if her father was distant and unloving, she'll find herself consistently drawn to distant and unloving men in an effort to "right" the wrongs of her childhood -- to finally "win" the love that daddy should have given her. This type of thing can go on for a very long time, possibly forever, unless the woman finally wakes up to what she's doing and learns how to overcome it. Here are 6 ways to break the cycle and choose better men.

1. Listen to your inner voice. If you're a woman who consistently chooses men who are all wrong for you, listen very carefully to your inner voice when you first meet a guy you like. You may first think something like, "He's cute" or "I like his biceps," but then be quiet and listen to what comes next. You may start to think something like, "He seems sad and like he needs someone who cares" or "He seems like a badass, but I can tell he's really just hurting." If you are thinking these things, you are already choosing a project, not a man.

2. Does he "feel familiar"? If you come from a dysfunctional background, where your parents couldn't meet your emotional needs for whatever reason, it may be common that you are drawn to men who also can't meet them. You'll pretty much know from the get-go that he can't meet them because the man will feel "familiar" -- like a long lost friend, or like someone you "understand," someone with whom you feel "comfortable," even if you don't like what this man is saying or don't agree with his values, ideas, or goals. If you get this "familiarity" feeling, walk away until you learn how to choose better.

3. Falling in love with his "potential." Lots of women who come from dysfunctional backgrounds became the caretakers, guardians, and pseudo-mothers of their families. This then becomes the only way they know how to love, so they constantly fall for guys they can "take care of" instead of equal partners. If you find yourself feeling like you want to jump in there and straighten out a guy's life, then be wary. If you feel like he's a mess, but he's got so much potential -- potential that will blossom under your love and guidance -- then run.

4. Listen to what a guy says about his background. Is he 40 and has never had a long-term relationship? Does he not get along with anyone in his family and yet has never sought professional help to cope with this? Does he talk about how women always betray him, never understand him, always abandon him? Is he always losing jobs for reasons that are never his fault? Consider that there is something wrong with HIM, not everyone else.

5. Go for the guys who "bore" you. Women who are charmed by the challenge of a dysfunctional man will naturally feel kind of restless and bored with guys who don't need their "help" and support and who seem to have figured out their lives already. If you're a woman who chooses poorly and you meet a healthy guy, you may have a feeling like, "What can I do for this man? Nothing. He doesn't need me. Boring." Or you may feel restless, not knowing how to get in there and fix all of his issues because he doesn't seem to have any. Hang out with this guy for awhile -- just as friends if you can -- and see if your "boredom" dissipates. A guy who doesn't immediately inflame your passion is probably a good thing. This might be the kind of guy you need to be around more often.

6. Get outside support. Get into therapy with a counselor who specializes in relationships so you can learn to see your patterns, what type of person attracts you, and slowly learn to veer away from those men. Also consider joining a group like Al-Anon if you grew up with alcoholics, or Overeaters Anonymous if you have eating issues.

Do you choose men who aren't good for you? Are you trying to change that?


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