I used to have an action figure – okay, it was a doll – of the Six-Million-Dollar Man.
What’s that? You say you don’t know who that is? Um, he’s kinda like a cyborg, I guess. Like the Terminator or a Cylon. Sort of. But a good guy. Anyway, he was a dude who had parts of his body replaced with robotics called ‘bionics” and he was a total player with his newscaster hairstyle, red tracksuit and matching sneakers.
He had fake skin on his arm that rolled up so you could remove his bionic parts and you could also look through the back of his head and see the world through his bionic eye. Sure, it made his face look strange, but it was super dope, especially to a nine-year-old kid.
Steve Austin had an arch enemy named Maskatron, who was an android with a removable face, much like the Fembots that plagued Steve’s bionic girlfriend, Jaime Sommers. (I’ll save her story for another day.) The opposing intricacy and simplicity of Maskatron would stick in my head into adulthood when I realized that maybe, just maybe, all the men I had been involved with were just like the evil Maskatron – different faces, but the same underneath.
Is that what happens in relationships? Do we get involved with the same people over and over again?
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repetitively and expecting different results. So why do we search out the same people and expect anything to be different? I’m not talking about how you prefer a man who looks like your track coach, or the blonde and bronzed boy-next-door, or even the rough, muscular kid that bullied you in high school. That is merely an imprinted sexual attraction that may or may not hold a veritable hornet’s nest of psychoses underneath. All of that falls under the physicality that you desire and the eternal mystery of sexual attraction. What I’m talking about is what lies beneath.
So, how do you know if you are one of the people who are constantly recycling the same person? Well, the first thing you need to do is look inward. If you want to know what’s missing in you or what you are lacking, or even what your inner struggles are, all you have to do is look at who you are involved with.
The facts about our childhood affecting our relationships ring true. For example, there are people who search for a strong, silent type that mimics the emotional distance of their father. Or, someone who has abandonment issues will constantly rediscover people who will eventually abandon them or they themselves will do the abandoning. But why?
The answer is that we recreate our biggest struggles so we can finally succeed in overcoming them. If you can just reach the heart of someone who’s emotionally detached, it will be as if your father finally showed how much he loved you. If you can get the wayward rebel to stay with you, then your feelings that everyone will leave you will finally be assuaged. The truth is, you can only solve the problems you hold inside by dealing with them on your own.
Then there are those that seek out people with problems of any sort because it makes them feel needed as they struggle to help the one with the issues. This leads to a feeling of importance and satisfaction as they try to “fix” the lost or damaged individual. Unfortunately, people who are riddled with the most baggage usually seek out this kind of person so they can take advantage of the hero complex that will inevitably be thrust upon them. We seek out someone who plays our games because it gives comfort and familiarity, but it ultimately leads to a dissatisfying end.
The solution to this Sisyphus-style torture is to recognize your own role in this unending cycle and change your behavior to create a new path. And to do this, you must first ask yourself a simple question about your relationship that you may have already heard from a friend or colleague: “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”
If the answer is, “It’s not,” it might be a good time to switch gears and cut your losses without the myriad of excuses that come with the acknowledgment that your romance is dead in the water.
A step that you could take even before this one is to listen to your intuition. People will always tell you who they truly are if you choose to listen with more than just your ears. For example, a man that gives you all the signs that he’s not into relationships is more than likely not into relationships. It ain’t rocket science, kids.
Sure, people change, but are you the one that always seems to tell yourself that you’ll be the one to change them? That is asking for trouble from the get-go. If you want new and unexpected results, you have to try something or someone new and unexpected.
There are two things you have to know to remove yourself from the cycle you’re trapped in. First, you have to know your type. If something is familiar in the beginning of the relationship, maybe you should steer clear altogether, or change your approach entirely towards this person.
This goes hand-in-hand with the second step. Know your anxieties. Are you shy and quiet? That usually means you search out the opposite, which may be someone outgoing and confident, but it may also mean that they will be controlling as well. All you have to do is overcome your anxiety or hang-up and you won’t draw the wrong person by what you avoid.
We all have comfort zones, but if you step outside of them and stick to the new you, your world will change dramatically. Sure, there is the fear that you will shut a relationship down in the beginning by taking charge and becoming the person you want to be. But if your new flame rejects you for wanting more, isn’t that the kind of relationship you want to leave behind?
Casting off the shackles of the past is never easy; we look for familiarity in people because it brings us comfort and makes us believe we can conquer what we did wrong with our relationships in the past. But the past is gone, and the world is waiting for you to start anew.
Forget that this new guy looks like the boy you had an ill-fated crush on in junior high. Forget that this ice-cold heartbreaker might finally thaw in your hands. Step outside the infinity loop you’ve been trapped in and find freedom.
You will end up feeling like a million bucks – or maybe six million of them.
Article republished with permission from The Gay Word.