In regards to Jessica's situation and apparently all of our tendiences.....how do you not date your parents? I've been divorced for 5 years and realized I've been dating my "dad" for the last 3 years. I've broken up with him approx every 2 months for the last year,but like Jessica always give in to his neediness. I haven't cheated on him or been wanting to date other men, but I do know that he is not the right match for me.
Now that I realize he is not what I want or need, how do I make a better choice in the next man I choose? I want to have a healthy, loving, lasting relationship but I don't want to repeat old patterns. Any advice on how to do that?
What a great question! Clearly, you have already done some of the work. You now know consciously what your pattern is and where it came from. Most likely, without any more work than that, you will choose better next time. Generally people continue to be attracted to partners who remind them of their parents, but with work on themselves, they choose people with milder, more workable versions of the same characteristics. So as your work continues, you will probably choose men who are less needy, or needy in a way that impacts you less, or less needy and in the process of growing, etc. I tend to think it's a good idea to have a therapist and/or friends help you evaluate people you're dating, so you're not relying solely on your own view, filtered through your parents-screen template.
That said, I think this metamorphosis to healthier relationships is sped up and enhanced by working to resolve the hurtful aspects of your relationships with your parents, improving any self-esteem issues you have, and learning and practicing non-defensive communication.