Like a bad boy? Learn to break this habit...

Ah, Bad Boys. For as long as anyone can remember, the Bad Boy has been the handsome devil that stared moodily from the posters on our bedroom walls, that we read about in romantic novels. And while most of these characters are deliciously naughty between the pages of a book, if you've ever attempted a relationship with such a man you'll know they're nothing like as satisfying in real life - they're called heartbreakers for a reason. If you have fallen into the habit of dating such guys, think back to the first bad boy that you dated. What attracted you to him? What was your relationship like? How did he treat you? And why did you split up?

If you’ve dated a succession of bad boys, now turn your attention to the one that really broke your heart, and then the most recent (they may be one in the same). Again, ask yourself the questions listed above. Note any similarities. You are on your way to identifying a pattern and recognising in yourself what makes you date guys like this. And consider why you enter into relationships like this in the first place. Are they exciting? Do you think you'll be able to change him; tame him? Or do you think that you don't deserve anything better?

The first, most important relationship with a man

Although many people laugh when psychologists ask clients about their relationships with their fathers, it very often plays an important part in the choices people make for themselves when it comes to partners. Was your relationship with your dad a happy one? Was he a man you liked to please, or rebel against? Did your parents have a good relationship? Women can often find themselves attracted to men just like their dad, especially if that relationship was a tricky one. It's as if a part of us wants to go back and make that relationship right by recreating it with someone new, and because the dynamic between father and daughter is so deeply embedded in our subconsious mind, we may find ourselves instantly crazy in love with someone who might not be the best fit for us.

The dream relationship - getting clear on what you want

Think about what your ideal man would be like, not just what he would look like or how he dresses, but how he is emotionally, spiritually, professionally. And dare to dream; he is your perfect man, after all! Write it all down and refer to it often. Be specific but not too restrictiveI - intending for a man with kind eyes is far more open than wanting a man with blue eyes. (Having said that, though, being ultra-specific can work sometimes; a client met her 'dream man' in a bar two weeks after making her list, even down to the square-tipped shoes, but she'd forgotten to state that he had to be unattached - he had just split up from his wife and was still living in the marital home. Not ideal.) This list will help you focus on what you really want, and how you feel about him will throw up any potential limiting beliefs you carry about yourself. Do you believe the man that's perfect for you exists? Would he want someone like you even if he did? Beliefs like these will block your path to true happiness and are best released before dating again.

Taking action

When you’re out socially, remind yourself of any pattern or belief that you may have identified and also keep in mind your new set of criteria for your perfect man. If you are immediately attracted to somebody, you may be acting from a subconscious mindset - where you're blindly falling into another bad relationship much like the last one. Pause for thought - does he seem familiar? Do you feel the same feelings you're used to feeling? The Bad Boy will always feel more comfortble and easy because it's what you know, what you understand. The Dream Man’ might not seem like he is perfect for you at first if you're still stuck in your previous pattern. Give him - and yourself - a chance. Try someone different. You never know what might happen ...

Are you stuck in a pattern of dating unsuitable people? Are you finally ready to meet The One? I run programs to help you release any limiting beliefs you have around attractng and keeping the man of your dreams. Click here to find out more.