By Liz Leia, CHt
Liz is a certified trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and has extensively studied masculine and feminine dynamics. While most of the Art of Flirting students are single and looking to find their perfect match, Liz also encourages couples to learn how to flirt with each other to keep the fire going in the relationship. For more information about her work, you can find her website here: www.artofflirting.com.
Hi there! First, a quick introduction: I’m Liz Leia and I’m a certified trainer of NLP (and yes, I took my trainings with Dr. Matt). In my practice, I apply the concepts of NLP and how the unconscious works to teach attraction, flirting, and finding the right partner!
Many people have asked me why they consistently attract the “wrong” kind of partner for them, especially when their ex’s seem “so different from the last one.”
One of the patterns many people run that prevents them from finding a happy, healthy relationship is what I call the “relationship yo-yo diet.”
In health and fitness terms, yo-yo dieting is when a person loses weight, then puts it back on… then loses again, then puts on even more… then loses it, then… you get the idea! They are yo-yoing between fit and fat.
This pattern stops them from achieving consistent, healthy results.
Those stuck on a relationship yo-yo diet have a similar issue; most of them want to be in a healthy relationship, but it never seems to happen. Because just when things seem to be going great, they yo-yo back in the other direction.
So what are the most common “relationship diets”? Here are some that many people cycle between:
- Sexy jerks/drama queens, and grounded, “boring” nice folks
- The loneliness of the single life, and feeling cramped and trapped in commitment
- Passionate honeymoon periods, and inevitable disappointment when you find out they “were just as crazy as the rest of them”
- Constantly breaking up with and getting back together with the same person
What all yo-yo diets have in common is that they tend to be the result of “away from” motivation. Meaning, you are motivated to move away from pain.
This is one of two kinds of motivation: toward, and away from, aka “the carrot and the stick.”
Toward motivation happens when someone is moving towards pleasure, or what they DO want. Away from motivation happens when someone is moving away from pain, or what they don’t want.
Now, “away from” motivation isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, it can be very useful when getting you out of a bad situation, such as leaving an abusive relationship.
However, away from motivation produces inconsistent results over time. Why? Because as the pain goes away… so does the motivation.
When someone is on a yo-yo diet, they start off very motivated to lose weight because they don’t want to be overweight anymore! But as their waistline slims down, so does their motivation.
They start to skip going to gym and indulge in “just one more slice of cake.”
Until one day they look in the mirror and see that they’ve gotten chunky again, and then all of a sudden the motivation comes back. “I have to lose weight!”
The same kind of thing is at work in relationship yo-yo diets. For example, if a woman cycles between jerks and nice guys, then chances are she is moving AWAY from the pain of whatever she experienced last. She dates a man who is exciting and turns her on. However, he’s also a jerk, so eventually he hurts her and breaks her heart.
“I’m not going through that again! From now on, nice guys only!” So then she dates a nice, stable guy, and for a while it’s nice not to get her heart broken. But eventually she gets bored with how predictable he is, and she longs for some excitement.
“I DON’T want a boring guy again.” So she goes and finds herself an exciting jerk, and the cycle continues…
And yes, I know that it’s possible for someone to be both sexy and reliable. 🙂
However, someone stuck in this pattern is attracted to those jerks for a reason. She will not break out of the cycle until she finds and heals the root cause for this. The solution is to look inside – not find a different type of person to date.
Another example is the “grass is always greener syndrome.” In the context of a relationship, this could be a single man longing for a girlfriend.
“I’m so sick of being alone!”
But as soon as he gets a girlfriend, he finds that he misses the freedom he experienced being single.
“I feel so tied down.”
The relationship yo-yo diet is an attempt to resolve your pain from the last relationship by getting into another kind of relationship. However, no outside circumstance or new face will shift that pain for you. Again, it’s on the inside, not on the outside. It’s up to you to let it go.
When you let go of pain, limiting beliefs, insecurities, (aka your “stuff”), and forgive those who broke your heart in the past (there’s a great technique for that called Ho’oponopono!), then you can learn what you need to learn to break the relationship yo-yo diet. As soon as you break that pattern, you can move into long-term relationship health.
If you want one consistent relationship to last over time, then you need to start moving TOWARDS what you want instead of away from what you don’t want.
The next time you catch yourself saying, “I DON’T WANT _______ anymore!”, stop and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want?
- What’s stopping you from getting what you want?
- What’s important to you about _______ (what you want)?
Those last two may not give you a “towards” answer right off the bat, but they will give you some introspection after asking yourself the first and most important question, “What do you want?”
Remember, the more you are able to focus on what you want, the more you will be able to move TOWARDS it.
The beauty of towards motivation is that you can always be moving towards more of what you want. So if you want a happy, healthy, stable, loving relationship (for example), you will stay motivated to keep that going even after you achieve it.
From Dr. Matt James,
Thank you Liz for this amazing post!! I’m impressed by your work, and I’m so happy there are coaches out there as articulate as you teaching these tools. If anyone has any questions or comments please feel free to discuss below!
Thanks again Liz!