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Loving Broken Men: Rescuing Mr. Potential, Part 2

Changing your behaviors is key to romantic success

You can find Part 1 of this series here.

The only way to change who you’re attracted to is to change your behaviors first. If you find yourself attracted to broken men — men who have tons of potential but haven’t yet owned up to it — you repeat a pattern I call ‘rescuing wounded souls.’ In Part 1 of this post, I described who the rescuer is and how the rescuer feels in her relationships. Now, I’m going to review some behaviors that will help you solidify a new identity, one where you learn to say that you would never again waste your time rescuing a wounded soul. After all, unless you’re a paid therapist, it’s not your job to act like one.

Learning how to avoid men who are wounded souls and make yourself more attracted to men who are your actual equal isn’t easy, but it is possible. I spend many chapters in my book, Overcoming Relationship Repetition Syndrome, discussing specific tools and techniques you can use, but I’ll review two here that you can use to change your relationship patterns.

One critical step in changing is conducting interviews with people who have good romantic relationships, and those people could be friends or family members. The key is to ask only two or three people you can trust to be kind and not judgmental with you. Start by explaining that you’re dealing with a relationship problem that you want to solve; describe your problem (the pattern where you tend to rescue wounded souls); ask if your confidant was aware that you have this problem (even if you already know the answer); and ask your confidant why he or she believes that you engage in this pattern.

Why is conducting interviews important? First, because you need to admit to yourself and someone else that you have a problem; second, because you need to open yourself up to the idea that someone else might be able to help you solve the problem.

Another step in changing and learning to avoid broken men is to create and use daily affirmations. In mental health, therapists refer to this concept as self-talk, which describes the running inner dialogue that we all have in our minds in response to things that happen in our lives. For example, when something bad happens to you, do you tell yourself that you did your best, or do you tell yourself that you always come up and short and should have tried harder? What you tell yourself is your own self-talk, and evaluating the type of self-talk you engage in is critical when it comes to your romantic relationships.

Using affirmations — or positive self-talk- can make a huge difference in the romantic decisions you make, because you program yourself to feel good about yourself and to protect yourself from emotional pain. Some affirmations that help include, “Just because I haven’t had a good relationship yet doesn’t mean I can’t seek one out in the future,” or “It’s just a matter of time until I start making better decisions and meet a guy who’s my true equal.” Repeating these mantras to yourself, particularly when you feel down or start to question to yourself, can make a huge difference in your life. If you practice this technique on a daily basis, you will start to feel more confident and positive, and you will start to make better romantic decisions.

In my book, I review these and other techniques in detail, providing the foundation for significant and lasting change. If you're truly committed to learning how to have a relationship with a man who's strong and consistent, give yourself several months to practice these techniques. Quickly, you will start to see the differences in your love life, and you will find that the appeal of a wounded soul who offers little but potential is suddenly much less appealing.

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