When I reflect on my dating habits, I recognise that I had some pretty twisted ideas about how to forge relationships. I believed I was compatible with most of the Mr Unavailables and assclowns I dated. These men ticked the boxes with good sense of humour, exciting, drama, ‘passion’, and blah, blah, blah. In fact, I often chose partners for utterly ridiculous reasons that meant nothing in the grander scheme of things because they were no good for me or a relationship.
The people I claimed to be compatible with were incompatible with my happiness, sense of self, and self-esteem. We fundamentally would not have worked, no matter how long I tried to ram a square peg into a round hole or morphed and adapted to suit their whims. My relationships lacked substance because I didn’t look for enough of the things of value and importance.
My notions of what sharing something in common with partners meant were pretty toxic.
While, at the time, I didn’t know it, my type was Mr Unavailables with the occasional bit of assclownary thrown in for good measure. I thought my ‘type’ was tall, exciting men who were sometimes a little quirky looking. They needed to be clever and have a good, stable job. They also needed to fancy me and say they loved me, even if their behaviour ultimately indicated something different. Or, even if they hardly knew me.
My type made me miserable though. It derailed me, and I’d wind up hating myself in my relationships. I also did foolish and painful things that only served to further detract from me. It turns out my type was toxic.
I thought that I had a lot in common with my past relationship partners. To be honest, most of them bored the crap out of me. Going out, dining out and drinking, sharing the same book, movie, TV and musical tastes, travelling, or whatever the interest—these were my idea of having a lot in common. I latched onto these seeming commonalities as signs of connection and to justify my investment in the relationship. Often, their interests became mine. In turn, my interests were often forgotten and subsumed by theirs.
Truth be told, while we had some surface interests, we didn’t share the common interests of the relationship and each others‘ wellbeing. More importantly, there were little or no shared values. In fact, values didn’t really enter into the relationship so it was fundamentally flawed. There were no boundaries and far too much illusion. Ultimately, the fact that we both, for instance, liked Thai food, R&B music, and reading about globalisation, didn’t help our relationship.
When you decide to break the cycle of your relationship habits you quickly discover that much of what you thought mattered really don’t.
When you think you’ve got your type all figured out but then bemoan how they behave, you’re still catering to old whims, patterns, and fears. You’re treating compatibility, type, and common interests as though you’re ticking boxes on a dating profile.
I’m compatible with someone who loves, cares for, respects, and trusts me; who I share core values with and who isn’t trying to fight being a decent person in a decent relationship. It’s more of a turn-on to be around someone with integrity who’s emotionally connected. I want to be with someone who’s truly getting to know me for me with no illusions. I’m compatible with someone who I can lean on emotionally and them me. I like not living in fear or catering to my fears. I don’t have to (or want to) pretend anymore. As a result, I can get on with being me, enjoying my life, and being happy now.
More importantly, I’m not compatible with bullshit and, to be honest, that’s what all of my poor relationships were.
In this five-part series, I want to discuss ‘compatibility‘ and how we’ve often claimed to be compatible in unhealthy relationships. I’ll talk about how having a ‘type’, particularly when, so far, it hasn’t led to a mutually fulfilling relationship, is just another example of Relationship Insanity. I’ll also revisit this common interests malarky that so many of use to justify and cling to relationships that hurt us.
Remember, if you’ve been involved in unfulfilling and unhealthy relationships that give you a familiar feeling, be nervous
Oh…and often, the excitement we think we’re feeling is actually the sensation of someone catering to our fears.