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Are You Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again? Maybe.

Dating

I'm pretty sure that, at this point, it's pretty safe to say we've all heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same things while expecting a different result. But I can't help but wonder how many of us apply this to our dating situations.


Take this one woman I know. Around every six months or so, she hits me up on email to tell me that she's met the perfect guy for her. I've been receiving these kinds of messages for at least a decade now, so the dialogue is usually the same.

Me: "How long have you known him?"

Her: "A few weeks."

Me: "What's so awesome about him?"

Her: "We just have a connection. It's hard to explain but I think this is it."

Me: "You already know what I'm gonna ask you right? Have you slept with him yet?"

Her: "Yeah. But this time is different."

Me: *crickets*

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Fast forward to a few months later…

Her: "Well, it looks like things aren't gonna work out after all."

Me: "What happened?"

Her: "He says that I'm too intense and that he's not ready for anything serious."

Me: SMH

Usually, she'll end her email with something along the lines of men are jerks and she wonders if she'll ever find true love. She's not exceptional in this case. I know a lot of women who feel the same way. But as someone who is not new to this kind of rodeo ride, there is a big part of me that wonders if some of us are jumping to generalized conclusions about men simply because we're not willing to look within.

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What I mean by that is, I wonder if the real issue isn't that we can't find good guys, but it's more like we keep dating the same person over and over again. Sure, each man may look different but at the end of the day, could it be that we're caught up in a cyclic form of an emotional hamster wheel without even recognizing it?

If there's a part you wonders if you're lumping all men together because you keep dating the same kinds of guys, here are some telling signs to look out for.

6 Signs You Keep Dating The Same Guy Over And Over Again

1. You Always Seem to Break-Up With Guys For The Same Reason(s)

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Break-ups hurt. Remembering them do too. I totally get that. But if you want to get to the root of whether or not you keep dating the same guy (or type of guy), purposeful reminiscing can actually do you some long-term good.

Take out a sheet of paper and think back to your last five relationships (or situationships). Now try and be as unbiased as possible as you write down the reasons why things came to an end. Were they scared to commit? Did you find yourself doing most of the work? Was there a lot of sexual chemistry, yet not enough of an emotional connection?

When I think back to a constant in a lot of my relationships, if there's one thing that was a common thread for me, it's feeling like I was being taken for granted. Yet when I stepped back and thought about how I got there, each and every time, I had to accept that I was willing to do a lot without requiring certain things in return.

It wasn't until I relived the break-ups that I realized that I kept attracting the same kind of guy because I never processed the common thread that connected them all.

2. You Never Make Time For Self-Evaluations

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One of the toughest parts about being in marriage life coaching sessions is when one person thinks that their marriage would be fine if only their spouse made some changes. Not only is that pretty arrogant, but it's pretty self-delusional too.

None of us like to hear this, but if there's one thing that all of our exes have in common with us is us. That said, what were some of the words that the men in your life used to describe you? Needy? Controlling? Impatient? Insecure? Emotionally unstable? Suffocating? Petty? Relationships are mirrors. Sometimes they show us some of the very things we don't want to see about ourselves.

I'll give you an example. Let's say that you seem to always attract narcissists or sociopaths. Something that those kinds of men look for in a woman is insecurity, the fear of confronting matters, and the propensity for excessive people-pleasing. If you're wondering why you're always feeling manipulated or drained in your relationships, have you ever thought about if you have some of those traits?

If you're trying to figure out why you keep dating the same kind of individual, first, identify what kind of men you've been dealing with. Then look at what weaknesses they are drawn to (Psychology Today is one site that provides a wealth of wisdom on topics like these). If you have some of those qualities, remember — you can't change other people, but you can always improve upon yourself.

Sometimes just a little bit of self-evaluating and adjusting can be all that you need to break certain dating patterns and cycles.

3. You’re A Poor “Relationship Editor”

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Whew, times flies! I can't believe that it's been over 20 years now since Juanita Bynum laid us all out with her sermon "No More Sheets". Out of all of the hot points that she hit, the one that has always stayed with me is the fact that we'll oftentimes miss someone from our past simply because we only replay the good times (including the good sex) in our heads. It's like we're wired to subconsciously edit out the heartaches, disappointments, and betrayals.

This is just one more reason why we can find ourselves dating the same kind of dude. If you're always finding yourself with a seductive cheater but every time you think back to your exes, you only remember how charming and romantic they were…see how that can result in you constantly being with someone who has the same attributes and the same character flaws?

If you don't want to date the same guy, be intentional about not editing out the bad stuff from each of the past ones. It's the bad stuff that teaches the real and lasting lessons so that we can grow.

4. You’re (Far Too) Comfortable With Routines And Patterns

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Sadly, some of us would rather stay in something that is, at best counterproductive and, at worst toxic simply because it's familiar to us. Sure, you might not like being involved with guys who are not attentive or aren't as proactive as you might like but at least you know how to deal with those kinds of dudes. Right?

I'll raise my hand in this class and say that I used to have a real knack for getting involved with my male friends. To me, I thought it was "safe" because at least I knew they cared about me. But a guy caring about you vs. loving you so much that he doesn't want to be without you are two totally different things.

For a long time, I wasn't in love with myself, so I attracted men who felt the same way. They cared about me about as much as I did (some of y'all will catch that later).

The gal I referenced at the beginning of this piece? Her pattern is smothering guys too soon and confusing great sex for a solid connection. Intellectually, she knows that she deserves more. But she's settled for so long that she'd rather stick with what she knows than be alone.

It might sound cray-cray, but it's an epidemic, the number of women who do the exact same thing as her and me.

5. You Start New Relationships With Rose-Colored Glasses On

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The last man I loved was a chronic — and I mean, CHRONIC — commitment-phobe. But because he also had so many awesome attributes, I overlooked that fact — for years. When it got to the point where we knew we had a solid connection and I also knew that he was too emotionally immature and unstable to establish anything solid and lasting, why did I stay…for as long as I did? Because I chose to ignore the blaring red flag that was staring me dead in my face.

Why did I do that? Because rather than say, "Shellie, you want a husband and he's terrified of commitment. So, even though he's a great guy, the two of you should probably just be good friends", what I told myself was, "He's got some great husband qualities, so I'll love him through his phobia of long-term commitments until he changes."

In other words, I saw only what I wanted to see. That's what rose-colored glasses are designed to do. If you don't want to keep dating the same guy over and over again, look at ALL of a man — not just the good parts.

6. The Thought Of Doing Something Different Totally Freaks You Out

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It's amazing, the words we commonly use that we think we know the definitions for that we probably don't. Take the word "different". It means unusual and several and separate and not alike in character.

If all of the guys you meet are online, let a friend set you up. If all the guys you go out with, you sleep with after the fifth date, wait longer. If you only go for tall, dark and handsome, consider slightly shorter, cinnamon and hella cute. If your dating life has been going the same way ever since you can remember, step out and try something a little unusual.

I'm telling you, sometimes guys get a bad rap because we speak in generalizations about them. And that's because we're only dating one type of guy. If any of this resonated, even a little bit, stop dating the same man in a different body.

For the sake of your sanity, break your old patterns and try something new. There's no tellin' what kind of man is on the other side of your hamster wheel if you do. #realtalk

Featured Image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

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