In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about one of my favourite subjects: not getting hung up on one particular thing that you look for in romantic partners (or even in friends). Time and again, that characteristic or quality that hooks us in often proves to be a blind spot.

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5 key topics in this episode

  • What we’re drawn to and value in others to us is shorthand for other characteristics and qualities. As a result, we mistakenly assume that because someone is in possession of said characteristic that ipso facto, we are compatible and will have a successful relationship. 
  • Looking for The Opposite to What You Had Before can be an overcorrection that backfires. When it feels as if no matter what you do, you keep winding up in variations of the same situation, it’s easy to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Side note, there isn’t.
  • We often overvalue a particular trait because it belongs to a parent and/or we value it in ourselves. Or, we’ve internalised messages through social conditioning that the trait is high status. Humans are all about needs, and we are particularly driven by safety and security, so we need to belong.  On some level, we don’t think we’ll survive or be successful without that trait in our partner.
  • Going out with someone who reminds us of our parent(s)/caregivers could be our attempt at meeting unmet needs. Or we might replicate one parent’s habits in an attempt to do ‘better than they did’. It could also be us showing our love and loyalty by choosing partners just like them or repeating their choices. 
  • When we’ve had painful experiences with our parents and caregivers, The Polar Opposites Game can show up there too. In being aware of a particular quality that frustrated or appalled us about them, we might strive to go in the total opposite direction. And if the thing we’re correcting for isn’t really at the heart of our past problems with this person, we can find ourselves in confusing and painful repeats of the very situations we’re trying to avoid.

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