Dysfunctional Dating Pattern #6: High-Risk Relationships

Posted on June 28, 2010


He’s an alcoholic.  He has a problem with drugs. He’s married. Or, he has a string of disturbing relationships from his past (ie: four divorces). What do all of these situations have in common?

They all mean that there are some pretty high risks of getting involved with him. And by high risk I mean there is a very high risk of getting your heart broken. Before you go and say that all life is a risk, that nothing ventured means nothing gained, let me share with you a sobering truth: Getting involved in a high-risk relationship means that you not honoring yourself.

If you were going to invest all of your savings into stock, you’d probably do your research first. You’d look to see how the stock fared in the past and you would certainly make sure it had potential for the future. You’d consult with experts, such as financial experts and accountants. Once you did buy the stock, you’d monitor  it closely to make sure it was indeed a solid investment.

That’s what you’d do with just your money. Don’t you think your heart is worth a lot more?

A relationship is an investment. It’s an investment of time, energy, emotions, your heart and yes, money too. Sometimes, as in a marriage, it’s an investment of your life and your future. It’s serious business.

I’m not trying to take the fun out of falling in love here. I’m just trying to get you to understand how important it is for you to really watch who you get involved with because that’s who you are investing in.

No one likes to lose money in the stock market. But at the end of the day, it’s still just money and there’s more of it to be made. Your time, however, is not something you can get back once you give it away. And although your heart can heal from a bad relationship, that takes time as well. Usually quite a bit of time.

You’ve got to learn to be selective in your relationships because all of them are an investment.  A high-risk relationship is NOT a good risk. It’s unhealthy and it’s dysfunctional.

Take the man addicted to alcohol or drugs. Is he really going to be a solid investment of your time, your energy, your love? I’m not saying he’ll never sober up or come clean. In fact, I hope that one day he will. But until then, you’re not going to be his top, or even one of his top priorities. People with addictions are unable to put anything or anyone before their addiction.

If you think that somehow your love is going to cure him of this, you need to march yourself right on over to an Al-Anon meeting and learn about the complexities of addictions. I did this myself, several years ago. And what I learned has served me well throughout the years: People change because they want to change. They change for themselves.

Getting involved in a high-risk relationship with the intent of “changing” the situation is an obstacle you most likely will never overcome.

Take the woman who decides to get involved with a taken man. Maybe he’s married or has a girlfriend. Whatever the case may be, he has made a commitment to someone else which means that he WILL NOT be able to commit to you.  Besides the fact that you are completely violating your morals and principles (can you honestly say you think that cheating is okay?), this kind of relationship can’t turn out well. That’s why it’s a high-risk relationship. The risk of you getting hurt is very high.

Will he leave her for you? Maybe. I’m sure some men leave their wives and girlfriends for the other woman. But then what will happen? You’ll be in a relationship with a man who has already proven to you that his commitments don’t mean that much to him. You’ll be with a man who has proven to you that he cannot be trusted. And one day he may decide to cheat on you.

Do you know what the biggest predictor of future behavior is? Past behavior.

Yes, people can change and some people do make big, huge sweeping changes at times. I see this every day in my line of work. But most likely, he’ll make changes when he’s ready to, for himself. Something in his life will become unbearable and he’ll decide to change it. Until then, he will continue to do what he’s been doing.

So do yourself a big favor. Steer clear, very clear, of the high-risk relationships. As tempting as a challenging man may be, the risk of you getting hurt is just too great.