Why Do Nice People Attract Jerks?

Boundaries in Dating

The question that many people wonder is “If I’m nice, then why do I keep attracting such jerks?” They think that something is inherently wrong with them, and sometimes they can begin to get quite hopeless over their chances of finding good friends, someone good to date, or building a great marriage.

The key to remember is that the reason why nice people attract jerks is that they are too adaptive in the beginning….

The Two Types of Liars

Boundaries in Dating

The ability to build a healthy relationship is based on the degree to which you are able to be clear and honest about everything, especially in a dating situation. Sometimes, people will deceive each other about the nature of other people in their lives. They may act like someone is “just a friend,” when in reality there is more of a history or more in the present than is being said.

For example, I (Dr. Cloud) was working with a man named Frank who was trying to figure out his relationship with the woman he was dating. He had a funny feeling that something was wrong….

Boundaries in Dating: Beware When Opposites Attract

Boundaries in Dating

Setting wise boundaries in dating becomes more important as two people feel more attracted to one another, especially when they’re opposites in personality.  However, one reason people are initially drawn to an individual with opposite traits is a pretty healthy one. It is that we are drawn to those who possess what we do not, so that we can internalize and own that trait for ourselves. This is a good thing, as that is how God designed the growth process. However, dating is not a good arena in which to develop oneself in a specific and important aspect of growth….

Sizzling Passion and the Myth of Hollywood Romance

Beyond Boundaries

To some extent, our society is afflicted by a Hollywood distortion about relationships. Don’t get me wrong—I (Dr. Townsend) am not anti-Hollywood. I am a movie person, and my sons are in school studying film. But we need to free ourselves of a distortion embedded in the DNA of the movie culture: passion trumps everything. That is, if you deeply connect on a romantically passionate level, you have entered relational Nirvana, and your love conquers all. This is the stuff of lots of great entertainment, but it is not how real relationships actually go to the next level.

For example …

How Intimacy Can Be Realized Through Conflict

Boundaries in Dating

What is your normal reaction when conflict occurs in a new relationship? Are you comfortable addressing the issue? Or, do you stuff the issue out of fear or a desire preserve the peace? Honesty is the best policy for two important reasons:

1. Being honest helps resolve the hurt or the conflict.
2. When you are honest, how the other person responds tells you whether a satisfactory relationship is possible.

If you are hurt in some way, bring it up. Don’t harbor bitter feelings. Or …

Why People with Unhealed Wounds Attract Unhealthy Relationships

Beyond Boundaries

Unhealed relational wounds drive us to compulsive attempts to repair the damage. That is, without being aware of it, we seek out people we believe can “fix” what’s wrong with us or help us find a piece of ourselves we feel is missing. We function emotionally like the starving man who looks in a dumpster and sees lunch instead of garbage. His perception is so driven by his need that he is willing to eat something that might make him sick.

Though we may not be aware of it, something in us wants completeness….

The Best Boundary that You Can Have in Your Dating Life

Boundaries in Dating

Romance is great. Sexuality is great. Attraction is great. But here is the key: If all of those are not built upon lasting friendship and respect for the person’s character, something is wrong.

A real and lasting relationship must be built upon friendship first. You are going to spend a lot of time with that person. As one friend of mine said about picking her mate: “He was someone I knew I could grow old with. I liked spending time with him. And he made me laugh.” She also shared deep spiritual values and other commonalties with him as well, as she would with any other friend. They have been married for nearly thirty years….

8 Must-Have Moments to Make Love Last

Boundaries in Dating

One of my (Dr. Townsend’s) closest friends, Chuck, is a talented songwriter. When we were college buddies, I was visiting him in his room one day. Chuck picked up his guitar and said, “Want to hear my new love song?” I said I did, and he sang me the following: “I love you. Always have, always will. What’s your name?”

I never found out whether Chuck was referring to his dating history or simply observing college romantic life, but I knew I could identify with his lyrics….

How to Nip Relationship Problems in the Bud

Boundaries in Dating

“I don’t understand what happened,” Todd told me (Dr. Cloud). “It seemed that Mary and I were doing so well, and then she just came in one day and told me that she didn’t want to be with me anymore. She was very angry about a lot of things.”

“Did you have any warning?” I asked. “Did she give any signs?”

“Well, sometimes I could tell that she was sort of pouty about things. There would be things I did that she would not like, but I never thought it was a big deal. Like when I would be late, or go out with my friends without telling her. Or, sometimes, I would cancel on her to go play basketball if a good game came up. That kind of thing. But I never thought it was a big deal,” he mused….

Why Smart People Accept Unacceptable Relationships

Beyond Boundaries

When I (Dr. Townsend) guide people through a process of examining previous difficult relationships, the one question I have found most helpful is this: What was the “payoff” in your choice? In other words, what good things did you think you’d get when you began a relationship with that person?

We wind up with difficult people for a reason—there was something we valued, wanted, or hoped for. And because the need was strong, we may not have paid attention to something unacceptable in that person’s character. . . .