I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m putting out in the world. Is it positive or negative? Should I be doing something differently? And what kind of person do I want to be? That last question always stops me because who the heck knows the answer to that? If you do know, please email me and let me know your secret, how you got there and so forth.
I would like to be a kind person, but I am not always this. I would like to be a smart person but again, this is not always achievable. I would also like to be a loveable person, and this comes with more difficulty. I have in the recent past, found myself attracted specifically to the people who probably would not be able to make me feel loveable, therefore making them the wrong people, but that doesn’t stop me being attracted to them.
I would say that there is a definite theme running through all my choices of potential partners, and let’s just say that them being ready for a relationship is not one of the themes. So when repeated patterns occur in your love life, you can’t help but look at yourself in the mirror and think – what exactly is it that I am putting out into the world, that is attracting all these wonderful (absolutely not right for me) people? Obviously one aspect is me being attracted to them, but another is them somehow finding me.
Am I a transition person? Like a professional rebounder? As in, am I the person you date after a serious relationship, until you find the next person who you really want to be with? This would make sense based on past experience, in which case, I really need to figure out how to make some money from this, and then everyone benefits.
I’m being only slightly sarcastic but I mean, I am the common denominator in the history of my relationships so who else is responsible? Oh all those men you say? Well perhaps, but it does take two to tango. I’m not saying I think I’m putting negative stuff out into the world in the form of tripping up strangers or not giving up my seat to the pregnant women on the tube, but there must be something that I am putting out there. Naturally I have been pondering this for some time and I think my conclusion has something to do with my previous career path.
I would say without a doubt, becoming a therapist somehow led a lot more acquaintances (rather than friends) to open up and share their deepest and darkest with me, unwittingly on my part to be honest. I tend not to ask people to share their secrets with me outside of a therapeutic setting; it can be something of an emotional overload if you haven’t prepared yourself for it. But being a therapist isn’t just a weekly job thing; it’s your 24 hour a day identity, and sometimes you can’t switch it off. And in a strange kind of way, people sense that about you; you and your willingness to patiently listen to someone who wants to share an issue with you. It’s a gift and also a curse if you can’t always stop it from happening.
So my theory is that I got older, I got more into my training, and suddenly the tortured souls I had vowed to avoid purposefully getting involved with of my own volition, were suddenly attracted to me on some subconscious level as someone who could help them figure out all their emotional issues. And the pièce de résistance of the therapeutic relationship is that you as the client are the focus and you are not required to worry about the therapist’s life or your impact on them outside of the 50 minutes you share each week. This is what makes therapy great. It also makes for a pretty terrible romantic relationship because you know, it’s one way. So it’s the ultimate occupational hazard – I go into the helping profession and I attract potential clients until the end of time; great for business, bad for the business of love.
So what the heck do I do about it? Well, I’ve been stuck on this question for a long while and no clear answers surface. You can’t help who you’re attracted to, but you can help who you choose to get into a relationship with. So far the only answer I’ve found is remaining single. Long term, this isn’t the ideal solution – especially if I ever want to re-enact that final scene in Dirty Dancing – but luckily I tend not to deal in the long term.
So I’ll keep trying to put good things out into the world and hope that someday it eventually gives me something good back. Or I leave the planet and try my luck in another part of the galaxy. One of the two I think.
Image credit: Bad Relationship by Michael A. Salter from the Noun Project