Are you a relationship addict?
Are you one of those people who has a long history of being in relationships? A serial monogamist who bounces from one long-term partner to the next, spending very little time on your own?
If this sounds like you, and you're currently single and desperate to get attached again, then take a step back and pause. It's not working for you and it's time to do things differently.
There are plenty of tell-tale signs that you're a relationship addict:
* You have a history of being in long-term relationships * You don't like being single * You need a relationship to feel worthy or happy * You try to spend all your time with your partner * You lose contact with family, friends, and interests when in a relationship * You schedule your life to fit in around your partner * You tend to let your partner lead and make decisions * You replace your individual goals with couple ones * You prefer to stay in a bad relationship rather than be single
Now if this rings true for you, it's time to step back and break this pattern. When you engage in this type of behaviour, it ultimately puts too much pressure on your partner and it will burn them out.
Not only that, when you do find yourself single you'll tend to pick the wrong types for future relationships because you're so anxious about being on your own. This will see you do anything just to get involved with someone, and that means making bad choices.
Instead of repeating this pattern over and over again, take some time now when you're single to learn a new relationship approach.
Start by spending more time on your own and becoming comfortable in your single life. Create your own interests and goals and stick to them - particularly when you meet someone new. Look back and identify your problem relationship habits (for example becoming too available to your new partner, losing contact with your family and friends or giving up your own goals) and make a commitment to break these habits.
Get clear about your ideal partner and then be disciplined about waiting for them rather than settling for the wrong type.
And finally, adjust your attitude about being single. Rather than looking at yourself as being a failure if you're on your own, turn this around and remind yourself that you're being selective and you have high standards. This will take the pressure off.
In the end, if you're going to get a long-term relationship to stick, you're going to need to get comfortable being in your own company and having your own life to live.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, as seen on Ch 9's series Married At First Sight, and the ABC doco Making Couples Happy. He is also the author of the book "Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track" (www.johnaiken.com.au)