Study Confirms We Repeat Relationship Patterns With New Partners

They say that history repeats itself. And they’re not just talking about historical or political events. If you find that the story of your relationships repeats over and over with new partners, you’re not alone.  

New Relationship, Same Person (and Patterns) 

A study at the University of Alberta looked at more than 500 people over eight years of their life. Researchers looked at the participants as they ended relationships and started new ones. 

They found that while the “honeymoon phase” of the new relationships promised change and different results, participants fell into old patterns that may have caused conflict in their previous partnerships.

Why? Participants may have connected with new partners, but they were the same person. Matthew Johnson, a relationship researcher involved in the study, had this to say: 

“Who you are matters, and addressing personal issues is going to be very impactful on whether you’ll be successful in your relationship or not.” 

Past Heartbreak May Affect Future Relationships 

Additional insights from the study showed that people who have experienced heartbreak and trauma bring those emotions into new relationships. The second or third relationship is more likely to be filled with conflict and lowered sexual satisfaction if issues from the first relationship were not addressed.

What Does This Mean For Your Current Relationship? 

While the results of this study may feel discouraging, there are glimmers of light to be found in these findings. Participants who looked at past relationships with a negative light or refused to address personal issues were more likely to repeat the same patterns and enter into another toxic relationship. By taking the right efforts to reframe and readjust patterns in your relationship, you can create the opportunity for change.  

When you enter into a new relationship, you can feel more prepared to address issues that may arise once the honeymoon phase comes to a close. With the help of a relationship counselor, you can attain the tools and skills necessary to handle these issues before they arise and as they potentially cause conflict. 

Contact Norene Gonsiewski and Tim Higdon for relationship advice that will set you up for a more successful and satisfying relationship.