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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Learning to Make Better Choices in Romantic Relationships

As a psychotherapist in NYC, over the years, I've see many clients, both men and women, who come to therapy in despair because they continue  to make unhealthy choices in their romantic relationships. Most of them want very much to be in healthy, loving relationships, but they keep choosing the same type of romantic partners who are almost certainly guaranteed to disappoint and break their hearts. Usually, they say they'd like to be with a kind, loving person, but they're often attracted to just the opposite type of person--emotionally unavailable, selfish, narcissistic, mean or abusive.

Looking at this phenomena on the surface, you might wonder: How can there be such a disparity between what they say they want or who they're attracted to?  It just doesn't seem to make sense. But looking below the surface at the underlying reasons that drive the attractions, we find the unconscious forces that make these unhealthy choices so compelling.

Usually, when there's such a disparity between the type of romantic partner someone says they want vs the type of people they're actually attracted to, these attractions are driven by early, often preverbal, bonds to their earliest caregivers, usually a mother or father.  Of course, this isn't always a negative thing.  Many people were fortunate enough to have loving, nurturing parents. But if you weren't so fortunate, your early bonding experience might be getting in the way of your h making good choices for yourself.  You might be caught in a cycle of basing your relationships on unhealthy attractions.

For people caught in this cycle of wanting a healthy relationship, but continuing to choose emotionally unhealthy people, the dilemma becomes that, on the one hand, even when they meet people who are potential health partners, they're not attracted to them. There's no spark or chemistry, so there's little motivation to pursue these relationships.  On the other hand, when they meet the type of person they say they want to avoid, fireworks go off.

This can be a very discouraging dilemma.  But it is possible to change these dynamics  in therapy.  Using hypnotherapy, Somatic Experiencing therapy and dynamic talk therapy, it's possible to not only understand why you're continuing to make poor choices but also to learn to have attractions be more in synch with what you know is emotionally healthy for you.

I am a NYC psychotherapist who provides therapy for individuals and couples, including dynamic talk therapy, hypnotherapy, Somatic Experiencing, and EMDR.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Photo credit: Photo Pin