Do you tend to stay focused on very specific criteria, and therefore turn tirelessly to the same type of person when it comes to romantic encounters? You may be suffering from ‘groundhogging’ – a habit that can hinder people’s quest for real love.
Groundhogging is a reference to the movie Groundhog Day in which the main character, played by Bill Murray, relives the same day indefinitely, without managing to move on to the next. In the same way, groundhogging victims systematically – but unconsciously – repeat the same patterns, which inevitably end in breakups and romantic disappointments, reports RTBF.
For example: a single person feels ready to start a new romantic relationship. They meet someone who seems nice and shows a mutual attraction, but this person is small and has dark hair. Usually, the single person dates tall people with light hair, so they immediately block the possibility of going further in the relationship.
This way, they sabotage a relationship because the other person does not tick all the boxes. This limits the chances of living a beautiful life and finding their soulmate. To escape the ‘groundhogging’ cycle, people have to allow themselves a little openness and spontaneity, especially if the limiting criteria are mostly physical.
Sometimes the criteria people unconsciously put in place pushes them to only enter into a relationship with people who are actually harmful to them. For example: they always come across someone who will end up being violent, has a drinking problem, is emotionally damaged or does not want to commit.
Of course, most of these criteria are unconscious and most people would deny having these preferences. Psychologists who help those with groundhogging tendencies point out a number of alternatives to the regular choices being made, and the reasons for making them.
First, there are physical criteria. These are explained to be quite superficial and are guarantees of failure more than success. If you look to spend your life with someone who has beautiful skin, you should realise that age will eventually change that skin. If you only go for muscular types, the same will eventually apply to their bodies.
Instead of focusing entirely on someone’s physical image, psychologists say people should focus on what a person exudes by their physique: spontaneity, joy, or a feeling of security, someone reassuring, dynamic, poised, etc.
Then there are the personality criteria, there it becomes complicated because some choices are conscious, and others are totally unconscious.
There is a principle of psychoanalysis, which is called “the compulsion of repetition”: the unconscious tendency that pushes someone to repeat certain actions, or previous situations, again and again even if they are painful or destructive.
This is what makes people tend to unconsciously repeat their mistakes or habits and always meet the same type of partner, even if that has not brought them luck so far. As a result, at the level of love, people can tend to be attracted to a certain type of person, but what they like in the other is not always a guarantee of longevity.
Psychologists recommend not setting too precise criteria. By setting them, people lock themselves and the other people in a too limited framework and they restrict the possibility to be surprised. Instead, experts say, they should open their horizons, allow themselves to meet, laugh and talk to all types of people.
Open up and be yourself
They also say that, as much as possible, being yourself from the beginning and letting the other person also be authentic and spontaneous is a must, otherwise the relationship is started on distorted bases.
If you never wear high heels, do not pretend for the first three months that you do. If you are not a fan of the Star Wars saga and are not prepared to watch the films every Saturday night, do not pretend to be overly enthusiastic about it at the beginning of a relationship.
By being natural, people also leave more chances for the other to be the same and they will know more quickly if they are compatible or not.
If you realise that you accumulate encounters that hurt you, with people who end up abusing you or making you suffer, experts recommend that you start therapy that will help you understand and get out of this vicious circle and this famous “repetition compulsion.”