How To Know Your Patterns In Romantic Relationships

Everyone has their own unique pattern of behaviour related to their romantic relationships.

Most of us have multiple relationships through the course of our lives; others settle for fewer partners, and contribute to working things out or not. What does not change is our thinking that when we change a partner, things drastically shift.

And why not, the living condition changes, the way the bonding happens, changes and even the minute details that make up the relationship “real”, changes. Basically, as our current external situation transforms, we are naturally led to believe “things have changed”. 

Touch one layer beyond that reality, and you’ll know that it is perhaps as far from the truth as the Earth is from the Moon.

Why? Because whether we like it or not, are aware of it or not, there is very likely a tendency in most of us to choose partners and relationship conditions that have some resemblance with one another. If this is hard to believe, let’s work with the concept of themes.

Does it feel like you tend to be drawn to only well-read people?

Or that you would get into a relationship only with people who are inclined to try out a  number of things work-wise?

Or that you attract abusers time and again, even though you’ve done all you could?

See what I am talking about. Themes are usually a bit hard to construe, especially if you don’t give the time and space for them to be looked into and assessed. But once you do, you typically begin to see how your relationships seem like a continuation of each other, with only the faces and the names changing. And if that sounds frustrating and limiting, then we understand, because they are.

Our patterns really decide how well we are able to live our lives and how we bring ourselves to form relationship with another. And while it is easy to question all patterns, it is important to remember that some patterns actually help us live better. For example, an acquaintance once told me, “I don’t get why people talk about conditioning like it’s all wrong. Some of it is right and that’s what keeps us alive.” Absolutely true.

However, without investigation, some of us can say, we’d be tied to toxicity for the rest of our lives. And that’s why it serves to get a grip on how our patterns define us and what we do to enhance the power our patterns have over us. 

What is a relationship pattern?

It would be completely justified if you do happen to ask this question. But to break it down, relationship patterns are defined by three things:

  • Who we choose to enter a relationship with
  • How we behave and feel in the relationship
  • How we allow the other to behave with us

The above three typically interact and create a dynamic, which can either make you feel good in the relationship space, indifferent or like you’d want to flee as soon as possible.

The attempt is to find out why you might be feeling the way you’re feeling, while remembering a lot of what we do in relationships is defined by our early dynamics with our primary caregivers.

Are there other questions to ask?

Since relationship patterns are typically not apparent to the naked eye, sitting down with objective facts, is almost a necessity. Which is why asking a few extra questions can go a long way in helping you see what you need to see.

  • Under what context did you meet?
  • Who made the first move?
  • How was your first impression?
  • How long was the honeymoon phase and how did it end?
  • How did you feel after this phase?
  • What kind of red flags did you see?
  • How did the relationship end?
  • Who called it off?
  • How did you feel about the ending?

On the surface, all of these are simple questions. Though if you can muster up the patience and courage to use these questions to look into every romantic relationship you’ve ever had, it’s likely that you’ll see a pattern emerge.

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Sunanda Pati
Sunanda Pati is a certified expressive arts therapist and facilitator and a freelance creative writer. Having developed an early interest in psychology and later various forms of bodywork, she has actively worked in knowing her own inner world and processing various traumas. She believes every person is blessed with an endless reserve of inspiration, courage and wisdom. Sunanda lives, writes, practices and facilitates in Bangalore, India. More of her writings can be found at : She also runs an expressive arts initiative of the same name (Gaia Comes to the City), which can be found on Facebook.
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