Why Do I Always Pick The Wrong Guy? (or Woman)

The Wrong GuyDo you often feel “slimed” after leaving your date? If you feel you always pick the “wrong guy” it’s time to take an inventory.  Something is clearly going on that needs fixing.

But no worries. There is a great fix for this once and for all. You need to figure out why you attract and are picking the unhealthy guys. Everything we do has a purpose behind it. Once you figure out what the attraction is really about, you can change direction.

Now, in all fairness, it works both ways. This concept applies to guys picking the wrong women. It involves the same dynamic. We tend to pick people to date who have about the same self-esteem as do we.

There may be some other reasons involved, but overall, it comes back around to how we feel about ourselves inside. How we see our worth tells us what we believe we can attract. It’s the same in friendships as it is in dating. It just may look different to us. 


Always Pick The Wrong Guy (or Woman)? What Creates that Attraction?

  1. We attract what we believe is our same worth or value. The better we feel about ourselves, the healthier are the people we attract and seek out. 
  2. Sometimes we pick the wrong guy because we feel “blah” and not very interesting to others.
  3. Someone may feel bored and living a “lackluster” life, so they want more excitement in their routine and choose the wrong guy.
  4. If we attract a popular, good-looking mate, others will see us as more inviting, interesting, attractive, etc. than we see ourselves. Being attractive and popular doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.


Our Self-Esteem Level Approximately Matches Who We Date and Befriend

Have you ever noticed this in the people around you? For example, how confident our friends or dates are is about how much they truly value themselves. Cockiness is a lack of healthy self-esteem. Confident people don’t need to toot their own horn or put others down.

Sometimes friends are very nice, but they don’t value themselves very much. They are unassertive and most often don’t speak up or ask for what they want.

Other times the wrong guy we attract is someone who controls people and needs things their way. Or we may hang out with “friends” or dates who are more daring than are we. Decide if this really feels healthy for you.

 Do those you date or befriend have about the same degree of self-worth or esteem as you, even if it comes out in different ways? Most often this is the case.


Self-Esteem is Shaped Early in Life

Often, our degree of self-esteem comes from early childhood experiences. For example: The more we felt loved by our parents, the more comfortable we were in being ourselves. The more empty or hurtful our early family experiences, the less likely we were to have a healthy view of ourselves.

Remember, we don’t get to pick our parents. Therefore, you need to realize that self-esteem is generational in that our parents, and their parents, and parents before them, were never taught about what healthy self-esteem looks like. Nor, did they know how to improve it. And how would they even recognize what it should look like?

So try not to blame here. Abusive parenting comes from abusive childhoods, whether it was from parents, relatives or negative school experiences or both. It will never mean it was ok to mistreat you. It’s more about understanding how it came about, to begin with.

Even worse, sometimes our view of self comes from being sexually or physically abused. The child had no way of understanding that it was more about the adults or perpetrators at any age, and not the innocent child. But very often the child believes they were participants. And therefore, they see themselves as “twisted” or bad. This is not the case and is very inaccurate.


My Experiences That Shaped My Self-Esteem 

When I was in elementary school for some reason I was popular, active, and at times a leader. However, that changed in Junior High.

On one of the very first days of school, I was bullied by three girls.  I never knew why I was chosen to be bullied, but from then on, I went “underground”.  This meant, that I was no longer out-going as I had been in elementary school. 

My real self didn’t resurface until well into adulthood when I was really fed up with unhealthy romantic relationships. I no longer cared about being other than who I really was. 

I was tired of holding back my real personality just to please people. In addition, I was prepared to mostly be alone and was going to be happy just getting a dog. This seemed waaay easier than my dating experiences back then. 

Then I met my husband. Somehow, he saw through my guardedness and seemed to naturally appreciate me without me trying very hard. I now attract only those people who already value what they see in me. 

Ready to make some positive changes?


How Can You Change How You Feel About Yourself?

  1. First, do an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Be accurate, but don’t be too modest. Be honest about your strengths and those things that need to improve. What do you most like about yourself, and what are those things that need to change?
  2. Next, notice the patterns of your choices in your behaviors, experiences and who you choose as friends. Are you needing to make positive changes?
  3. Think about if your actions are positive experiences or negative and unhealthy. Do they even make you happy, or are you just going through the motions?
  4. Figure out if some of your relationships can improve if you set better boundaries. If people around you don’t accept you valuing yourself, they are the wrong people. 
  5. Are there certain relationships where you feel valued and you enjoy being around them? Consciously make more plans with them. See what happens. 
  6. Ask those healthier friends about the things they really like and admire in you. You can do that for them as well. It can’t hurt because it’s only positive things!
  7. Decide what you need to do about unhealthy relationships. It doesn’t have to happen right away. It’s better to be clear about a plan of action. You can make small changes over time.


Change the Pattern and See the Improvement!

Really try to think about those things that you value about yourself. Allow the good things to sink in, whether they come from you or your more positive friends. 

Look for those people who demonstrate a genuine interest in you. They are more likely to value you over time. Then, actively practice those healthy qualities you value in yourself. Over time, they will become more natural for you. 

Psychotherapists can help you develop a positive and more accurate view of yourself. 

The healthier you are, the healthier will be your relationships. You don’t have to pick the wrong guy ever again! Enjoy!

And for more articles on self-esteem and dating, see my series of articles on either Improving Self Image and Dating And Relationships

About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Dating, Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on YourTango.com and on MSN.com.

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