Who you choose to date isn’t an accident

why am I dating this person?

It’s not uncommon for me to hear about people that have entered into a romantic relationship, to be later filled with frustration at the state of their relationship. They look back and feel like the relationship was perfect, and now that person drives them crazy, and they rarely get along.

So why does this happen?

Have you ever heard the phrase dysfunction attracts dysfunction? It’s true in all sorts of relationships, but especially romantic relationships.

Each and every person has internal wounds. It’s just part of growing up in a fallen world. The extent of those wounds varies for everyone based upon each person’s unique personality and experiences. The more severe the injury, the more unhealthy the coping skills, and the more dysfunctional partner we attract.

When you believe a lie about yourself, other people can subconsciously pick up on the messages we send, as well as the unhealthy behavior patterns we live from. For example, if you believe that you aren’t good enough or lack worth, and may be particularly clingy, then you’re going to attract someone who also thinks that they are incomplete and are searching for their “other half” to fulfill them. This leads to a codependent relationship where we find our worth or completion in our romantic partner. Whether one is more obviously reliant on the other or not, both are equally unhealthy, it may just manifest in different ways.

A magnet is a magnet, whether it realizes it or not. It’s going to attract or repel regardless of its intentions. The same is true for us. Our unhealthy patterns are drawn to unhealthy habits in others. And this is precisely why it wasn’t an accident that you ended up with the specific partner you chose.

Let’s say you find yourself in a codependent relationship like described above. You may have started out the relationship feeling “so in love,” but now you realize that you drive each other crazy, or things are just not working like they used to. This is because you two have been using one another to meet each other's needs. And because no human being can sustain and fulfill another human being, at some point this dynamic will break down. You may start to notice that you’re beginning to resent your partner or feel more irritable with them than usual, for example.

Just because you’re unhealthy now, doesn’t mean you always have to be. And just because you’ve attracted unhealthy partners in the past, doesn’t determine your future. The more you grow as a person and the healthier you get, you’ll start to realize the people you’re attracted to and the people that are drawn to you will shift.

And if you’re already married, don’t let moving towards growth stop you because you’re already with the person.

Your ability to grow isn’t dependent upon someone else. This can be a hard truth to swallow sometimes. But for you to heal from your unhealthy ways of living, you’ll have to come to grips with the fact that your partner doesn’t need to change for you to grow.

In some cases, one partner begins to move towards growth, and the other is inspired and follows. And in other situations there’s pushback and growth doesn’t occur in the spouse. But thankfully we serve a God that’s big enough to give us peace, even under challenging circumstances.

So what will you choose?