Have you or someone you know ever been caught in a relationship déjà vu? You know the kind of feeling you get when you date different people but they all seem the same? Or perhaps a friend introduces you to her new guy and he’s just like her old guy. Not only that, but the relationship ends just like the last one ended. Wash, rinse, repeat–things keep happening the same way. I call this phenomenon a “Relationship Loop”–no matter how many different faces you date, they all seem to be the same person and the relationship leaves you frustrated and disappointed. It reminds me of the film Groundhog Day where Phil (Murray) is stuck in a time loop and illustrates the painful process of starting over.
Phil is stuck in a agonizing situation. Everyday is February 2nd. Everyday he is surrounded with the same people and same set of circumstances. Like many of us he is forced to make choices. He makes choices between hope and despair, selfishness and generosity, gratitude and entitlement, and love and loneliness. Through trial and error he learns to choose wisely and practices a new way of living that ultimately moves his life forward, reaping great rewards. He learns that the only person stopping him from achieving love and life satisfaction is himself. When he gets out of his own way and starts seeing each day as a gift, starting over get easier and there is a new found joy in his daily journey.
Some relationships may end prematurely due to one or both people feeling stuck and believing that starting over with someone new is the answer. This can lead to relationship loops–a feeling that regardless of the number of times you change relationships, you’re still with the same person that has a different body. Is it possible that instead of being with a new person you could focus on becoming a better version of yourself? Or could it be that you are with the right person but have the wrong attitude and the person who needs to change is looking at you in the mirror?
Many couples who are satisfied in their relationships have discovered that there will be ups, downs and plateaus along the way. How the couple responds at each of these stages can make or break relationships. Lasting love is attained by self-reflection, emotional self-regulation and self-improvement in the plateau stage. Making choices that support love, hope, generosity and gratitude, can produce a joyous spike that can carry you through whatever comes your way. It is by practicing these virtues that we achieve and maintain lasting love.
If you are experiencing distress in your relationships and would like to speak with a therapist please call 818-806-9170 to schedule a free 10 minute phone consultation.
To purchase a copy of Lisa Locke’s book Blockbuster Love – Part1: Romance: Lessons from the Movies on How to Create Lasting Love, click here.
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