Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au’s weekly column that solves all your romance problems, no strings attached.
This week, our resident sexologist, Isiah McKimmy, helps a woman who has trouble trusting men and how it’s preventing her from finding love.
QUESTION:I find it increasingly difficult to trust men. I think it’s everything that’s been in the media and in the public conversation since #MeToo and the stories that have come out about sexual harassment and violence and misogyny. I’m tired of men more than ever and it’s affecting my ability to find relationships. I’m afraid and I don’t trust myself to choose someone who has bad intentions and treats me badly. I know a lot of great people – my father, my brother and some close friends – but I’m scared when I meet new men. How should I be cautious and alert when I am open to new relationships?
ANSWER: The fear of choosing the wrong person is a real dilemma. I understand caution and not wanting to make the wrong choice.
The dynamics of relationships are changing now
A strong moment during this time. Women are realizing that what we have long tolerated as “normal” is unacceptable and are standing up and speaking out.
Women expect more in dating, around consent, as well as in relationships. I’m hearing more and more discussions about shared responsibilities between couples. People would rather be single than be in a relationship that doesn’t work for them.
I also want to admit that men say that this is a difficult time for them too. Most people don’t want to get it wrong and don’t think about how best to treat women with rapidly changing standards.
A failed relationship can leave us wary and tired
As we get older, so do the negative dating and relationship experiences that leave us feeling bored. We know there are good people out there, but finding them can be exhausting and difficult.
How not to get into a relationship with the wrong person
Your questions reflect a dilemma that many of my clients have shared with me. This advice has helped many of them find a happy relationship.
1. Do the “Work” on yourself
Reflecting on our own habits, feelings, and beliefs can help prepare us for more successful relationships. Most of us find that we have a “type,” a person that we relate to, even if it’s not healthy.
We also learn that because of these beliefs and patterns, we stay in relationships that are not right for us. Consciously changing these patterns and beliefs makes us available for healthy partners and relationships. Seeing a therapist can help with this.
2. Understand your complementary style
There are four different additional styles that we all add. Everyone has their own “default settings” for how we show up in relationships.
Our attachment style can influence the type of partner we choose, our relationship needs, how we communicate, and the type of partner we are attracted to.
Understanding your attachment style can help break any negative relationship patterns you may have.
3. Take things slow
We all want to find the right person for us, unfortunately our rush to do so can sometimes get in the way of our good judgment.
Especially if we have an insecure attachment style, we can quickly move on and catch emotions, making it difficult to end abusive relationships.
4. Learn to say no quickly
The truth is that you can’t always see a bad person right away. But once you realize that someone isn’t right for you, you can learn to say no.
Most people who have been in a relationship with a narcissist, misogynist, or abuser were concerned early on, but ignored the red flags.
Do not doubt yourself. If someone doesn’t feel well, say no as soon as possible. You don’t have to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
5. Keep your heart open for the right person
Dating is hard. Sometimes relationships go bad. But happy relationships are strong predictors of improved health and happiness.
When things don’t go our way, we can learn to be more resilient and take care of ourselves.
You have good people in your life, so I don’t need to tell you that they are there. Stay open to opportunities.