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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I see a repeat pattern for myself with the last 4 relationships

Resolved Question:

I see a repeat pattern for myself with the last 4 relationships I have been in. I break up and reconcile with the person repeatedly. I see glimpses of hope that differences can be worked out but we tend to come to the same impasses or miscomunications until we are both so frustrated that we are actually fighting! Is this normal? We recognize the differences and the good we value in the relationship.Is it always so hard to let go or to work through issues? How do I break the pattern?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like you have a communication problem as well as an issue with not being able to be close to your partners.


Is there something in your past that could have caused you to not want to be close to your partners? For example, were you abused as a child or did you witness your parents having problems? Did you lack a solid consistent bonding relationship in your past? These all would affect your ability to get close to your partners. Answering these questions will help you get to the root of the issue. If you find that exploring it on your own doesn't help, seek out the assistance of a therapist. They can help you work out why you feel this way and give you ways to solve the problem.


As for communication, it is important that you both learn how to listen to one another and also speak to each other. You can both start by educating yourselves about how couples communicate. One good site to start with is:


It is sometimes hard to work through issues if you do not have the right tools. So educating yourselves will help you learn better ways to handle conflict and break the patterns you are repeating.


There are also several books to help you including:


Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson


Emotional Fitness for Couples: 10 Minutes a Day to a Better Relationship by Barton Goldsmith


When you talk with one another, be sure to use "I" statements. For example, when you talk about feeling anger over something, say "I feel upset when you do that" instead of using blame. Also, be sure to allow the other person to have time to express themselves. Really listen, make eye contact, and repeat back what they say (in general, not verbatim) so they know you understand them. This will help you get started communicating better.


I hope this helps you,


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