You meet someone – but this time it’s definitely different right? It’s not like the last time – oh no wait, it’s happening again.
Sound familiar? Is your dating life feeling a little bit like Groundhog Day to the point you can almost predict how it’s going to play out?
Well, whether you realise it or not, you might be following a ‘dating script’.
Dating scripts are relationship habits, routines and patterns we find ourselves repeating – even when dating someone new.
It could be that you always go for a certain personality type or that it always ends the same way when you’re about to hit particular relationship milestone – whether it’s making it official or thinking about moving in together.
So if you keep finding your relationships going in the same negative direction, it’s time to assess and address some of these scripts – so you can move into more positive and fulfilling romantic relationships.
Fortunately, Lovehoney has partnered with relationship expert Ness Cooper to reveal exactly how we can break out of these cycles.
First things first, what are the sort of dating scripts we might be guilty of following?
Falling for a particular personality type
According to Ness, some individuals may feel a sense of comfort when dating someone who has a similar personality to someone they have dated before.
Ever found yourself dating someone who seems suspiciously similar to your ex?
However, this isn’t always the best move – there’s probably a reason it didn’t work out the first time.
Rushing or skipping certain developmental relationship scripts
Many couples can get stuck or rush past certain relationship stages such as the honeymoon stage, which can affect how they connect with each other, Ness explains.
It’s easy to bulldoze full steam ahead when you’re enjoying a new relationship but you could be pushing past some of the necessary parts of it.
If you’re noticing that your relationships always come to a halt, or other disruptions happen during a particular stage, it may be that you’ve missed some of your couple’s important developmental stages in the process.
Following script expectations from peers, family, or even from the media
Sometimes we can try too hard to follow dating scripts that are expected of us instead of what feels natural to us, such as falling for the ‘right’ kind of partner based on your family’s standards.
Now that you’re all feeling suitably personally attacked, we have some good news.
Ness predicts that breaking dating scripts will be one of the most prominent dating trends of winter 2022 and into 2023.
Why? According to Ness, more information is being shared about toxic and negative dating habits, allowing individuals to assess their own dating patterns more often – we simply just talk about unacceptable behaviour more.
How to break these relationships ‘scripts’:
Ready for a change?
Breaking relationship scripts can be hard, and sometimes it can feel like you are going one step forward and two steps back when you’re figuring things out, so it’s important to give yourself time and space to work through it on your own, and together.
Here’s what Ness suggests you try out:
- Recognise where in your relationships your script has regularly gone wrong or even worked against you.
- Work out if your relationship script is based on others’ expectations, and if so, work out how you yourself would like your future relationships to form.
- Set new relationship script goals for future or current relationships. For example, are you hoping to avoid a particular toxic personality with your next partner?
- Make small changes towards these goals. If you’re still finding yourself in a cycle of negative relationship patterns, don’t beat yourself up about it and try something else.
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