Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Sister Has Chosen the Wrong Man, Again

Dear Stavroula,

My sister is a wonderful person: beautiful and professionally successful, but unfortunately very unlucky in her personal life. She was engaged twice and both times broke up, had long-term relationships that ended in bad separations, and seems to constantly choose the wrong man, while rejecting men who care for her and treat her well. Now she is preparing to make another mistake. She is getting ready to marry a man who often puts her down, exploits her financially, and tries to keep her away from all of her family. When I try to talk to her, she gets furious and claims that I have misunderstood her partner, that she is very much in love with him and that it is her last chance to find happiness in life. I told her to talk to a psychologist but she refuses. I think she cannot see the problem. I really cannot understand her and I am afraid that this relationship will be the most destructive of all for her, especially if she has children with him. Is there any way I can help her?



Dear Demetra,

People who constantly choose the wrong partner – someone who ignores their needs or is oppressive or abusive, who cheats on them – consider themselves unlucky in love and struggle with all their might to find a partner to finally stay with them.

Although it seems like a matter of luck, in reality it is often an unconscious choice. Those who systematically fall in love with the wrong person, in fact, choose to suffer in a relationship, because it somehow gives them a sense of intimacy and perhaps security.

Most of the time these people have a low sense of self-worth and do not recognize their worth. In some extreme cases they cannot stand themselves, they blame themselves in the harshest way and focus on the mistakes they have made as if there is never a possibility to correct them. They may unconsciously believe that they deserve to be punished.

In simpler words, they do not feel worthy to be loved and may feel uncomfortable or suspicious if someone shows them real love, tenderness, or great interest. These partners who could offer them a relationship of respect and love may be rejected using various excuses such as they’re boring or indifferent. Thus they distance themselves from someone who does not cause them pain, someone who may see them in a light different from what they are used to seeing themselves in, someone who can recognize their worth.

The reasons one chooses to be unlucky in love are usually found in childhood, and the ‘unlucky’ one has a hard time changing this situation because most of the time he does not realize it.

Therefore, if this is happening with your sister, the only way you can help her is to lead her through a discussion to make her aware of the pattern in her choice of mates. If she realizes that the partners she chooses have common characteristics in the way they perceive the relationship or in the way they treat her, she may want to look for what is behind these choices and what could change.

Ideally, she should seek the help of a specialist, but from what you write to me, at the moment she is not ready yet.

However, in any conversation you have with her, you should avoid blaming her or her current partner or try to propose that she break up with him, because in this case she is more likely to act defensively and avoid talking or clashing with you.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional Life Coach, ICF ACC, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor and Trainer, and Certified Points of You Practitioner.



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