Licensed Professional CounselorWhat did I see in him? Why did I marry her? Have you ever wondered that about your relationship? There you are, a thoughtful, loving, caring person. And there the other person is, controlling, disrespecting or disregarding you. It’s like you took off a blindfold and found yourself kissing a goat! What happened?

More importantly, what should you do about it? Should you fix your radar? Run for the hills? Yes, if you’re in danger. But generally speaking, don’t start there. The problem is what causes you to attract such people. When you notice a pattern of bad relationships, it’s time to work on you.

A psychologist mentor of mine in Boston, Paul Simeone, put it this way, “When people come into my practice and say, ‘Why did I marry that person?’ I tell them that we tend to marry someone who is at our same level of emotional development.” In other words, if you come from a family that is rigid and emotionally restricted, you may find yourself with someone whose range of emotional flexibility and expression doesn’t challenge that. He or she might disappoint or annoy you. You might feel lonely and frustrated now. But when you married that person, he or she was right in your comfort zone, and vice versa.

So, then what? Run away? Recently, a potential client asked me if I’m a Christian counselor. She feared that if she told me her problems, I would tell her to divorce her husband. I told her that I am a Christian, but I wouldn’t tell her to stay or go because of my faith. In fact, it’s not my role to give such instructions, generally speaking. Instead, I suggested that we work together to develop her sense of emotional connection.

It’s amazing how contagious emotional growth can be. When you feel better and love yourself more, you’ll be more calm and assertive. You’ll know what you want from people and you’ll give in kind. It can spark something beautiful between you and your spouse or partner. Or, it can clarify for you what needs to happen next. It’s all about self-discovery – the best adventure you’ll ever have.