How do I break the cycle of dating the same type of guy over and over? I allow myself to be a doormat for them even though I know better.
When this topic comes up, people love to jump to the low-self worth excuse. While that's possible, I think the more likely answer is that the toxicity creeps up on us. Yes, it definitely exists from the start in most cases (but not all.) However, I think we're fed small doses of it in the beginning, as most people are on their best behavior those first few weeks to months.
By the time the toxic nature of the relationship reaches unmanageable levels, we're invested. The analysis paralysis takes over.
Is it just me?
Maybe I'm being too uptight?
They apologized, so...
To avoid these people all together, I think where we need to start is with a list of forgettable and forgivable offenses.
FORGIVE: They cancel a date the day of or last minute but suggest a date and time for the raincheck.
FORGET: They blow you off entirely and reappear the next day or sometime in the near future with an apology and excuse.
FORGIVE: They ask you out last minute while acknowledging that it's bad form but their schedule opened up and they wanted to see you.
FORGET: They ask you out last minute with no explanation why.
FORGIVE: They're late to a scheduled phone or video chat, ask if you're still available, and plan another one for the very near future if you're not.
FORGET: They're late to a video chat with no apology or explanation or blow it off entirely.
FORGIVE: They communicate their decision to take things slow early on in the relationship, definitely before you have sex.
FORGET: They tell you of their unavailability once they know you're invested, usually after sex.
You get the picture. Important not: all those Forgives are contingent upon the person not displaying a cluster of issues, course-correcting and not making a habit of their inconsiderate behavior.
Once you have your list, now you need to focus on what underlying issues could you be grappling with that makes these sorts of people so attractive. Some of those issues could be:
A history of trauma - If you grew up in a toxic environment, that kind of dynamic might seem normal to you. Being with someone who withholds or berates you might also reinforce negative self-beliefs that you hold.
Attachment issues - If you find that you attract the same type of person over and over, you could be engaging in repetition compulsion. You may be subconsciously trying to recreate a previous toxic relationship from your past in order to gain closure.
A attraction to drama - Toxic people and the angst they bring to the party definitely livens things up. There's the push/pull, the mixed messages, the conflict. And, of course, the sex. Eventually, though, these people leave you emotionally depleted.
A susceptibility to their charm - Like romance scammers, toxic people ideally prefer to date people who either don't see through them or can't due to pre-existing conditions like mental illness, feelings of low self-worth, or other life experiences that make them vulnerable like a recent death or break-up. This is another area where building up your tolerance for being alone comes in handy.
It requires some introspection, accountability and emotional self-sufficiency, but you can eventually become impervious to the charms of toxic people.