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Do you always seem to end up attracting people who you later find out have pretty significant issues?
As you start to get to know them, you’ll begin to see that they may be mentally unstable, either dealing with their own issues, or turning this relationship toxic because of their need for control, lack of emotion, or obsession toward you.
It might be less obvious from the start that the person you’ve attracted has their own problems. They could be an addict of some kind, perhaps an alcoholic, who managed to hide their dependency from you at first, but you soon begin to notice. They might have anger issues or struggle with depression that you later see more clearly as time goes on.
There are so many reasons a person could be described as “broken,” but really it just means someone who isn’t completely happy with who they are and perhaps not yet ready for a relationship because they have more work to do on themselves first. (The word “broken” is a label, and not a particularly helpful one, but we’ll continue to use it in this article in the context of someone who has issues they need to work through.)
But why do you always seem to attract people like this? Is it something you do? The way you act? Do they try to manipulate you or do you subconsciously want to try to save them?
A broken person doesn’t always equate to a bad person, but if they have their own issues to deal with, they’re probably not the most reliable person to get into a serious relationship with just yet, because they can’t give back the attention a healthy relationship deserves.
But why do you always seem to end up with people like this and is it more to do with you than it is to do with them? Read on to see some of the reasons you might be finding yourself always attracting broken people.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you figure out why you attract broken people and how to forge healthier relationships instead. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
1. You’re stuck in a pattern.
If you’ve grown up around unhealthy or damaging relationships, it can be difficult to know what standards you should set for yourself when it comes to having one of your own.
If you’re from a dysfunctional family—or you grew up around addicts, people battling depression, or those with emotional dependency issues—then you might find yourself naturally attracted to people who exhibit these same traits. We tend to seek out what we know.
Even when you don’t want it, it can be hard not to subconsciously be influenced by situations you’ve been living around and even harder to know when you need to break out of the cycle of repeating the mistakes you’ve seen others make.
If you haven’t had much firsthand experience with happy and healthy relationships, then look to people you admire and who you’d want to model yourself on, or think of the ideal relationship you’d one day like to be in. Don’t expect anything less for yourself than the partner and relationship that you truly want.
Just because you’ve been around unhappy people or relationships, it doesn’t mean that you have to continue on in this way. If you find it hard to dissociate yourself from this life and imagine something better for yourself, then it might be worth talking to a therapist about how to take your next steps to becoming the person you want to be so you can attract the kind of partner you deserve.
2. You’ve got a savior complex.
It’s nice to want to help people out of a difficult patch and become a better version of themselves, but you have to question what your motives are behind doing this.
Do you genuinely want to help, or deep down are you doing this to make yourself feel better?
If you find yourself attracted to people who seem to have emotional or physical issues, through problems such as depression, or substance abuse, what are you hoping to get out of the relationship? Are you with them because you take them as they are, or is it because you want to see the impact you could have on them and hope for a happy ending?
You might find that you always seem to fall for people who are emotionally unavailable or those who struggle to commit to a relationship.
We often have the narrative of the unwilling protagonist who eventually turns into the perfect partner by the end of the story because they’ve finally met the right person.
Maybe you want that leading role in your own fantasy with someone so you can be their perfect match. You want to be the person that someone loves so much that they are willing to change, so you keep going for partners who are broken or unobtainable because you so badly want this to be your fairytale.
There are two things to remember here if this situation resonates with you. First of all, relationships aren’t meant to be that hard. They will have their ups and downs, but they shouldn’t be a struggle from day one. Secondly, some people don’t want to change. If you are ready to be with someone then you must be ready to take them as they are and not to fulfill your fantasy of becoming their savior.
Focus your time and energy on people who want to be helped and do it for their sake, not your own. Help people for the right reasons, because you want to, not because you think you will be somehow rewarded for it in the end. If someone is your perfect partner, they’ll find their way to you on their own; you shouldn’t have to build them into the person you want them to be.
3. You need to work on your self-esteem.
If you don’t feel that you’re worth a happy, healthy, and loving relationship, then you’re not going to attract people who can give you that.
Your low opinion of yourself could be standing in the way of you finding someone who could give you everything you could want out of a relationship, if only you’d believe that you were worth it. If you don’t think you deserve the best kind of relationship, you’ll stay in situations where you are being taken advantage of or emotionally manipulated.
Feeling as though you’re not worthy of more will mean that you settle and even seek out people who somehow mirror the broken way you’re feeling inside.
Having a better opinion of yourself and the happiness you deserve will help you know when to leave unhappy or abusive relationships, whether they are physical or emotional, and seek out people who are ready to give you the relationship you want.
Everyone deserves happiness. Wherever your lack of confidence has come from, start taking some time to work on how you view yourself and your future. Then you’ll start to see that the right kind of people who emanate the same confidence and maturity as you begin to come your way.
4. You don’t want to commit to a relationship.
Did you ever consider that the reason you attract broken, damaged, or mentally unstable people could be because you don’t want your relationship to work out?
You might tell yourself that you hoped they’d get better, that you didn’t see the red flags, but if ending up with these kinds of people is a pattern in your love life that keeps repeating, you need to start questioning what you’re doing that attracts people like this. And why do you stick around?
As much as you say that you want a relationship, are you being honest with yourself about really wanting to be in one? Without realizing, you might be attracting people you know have personal issues that will prevent this relationship from lasting. You could be a commitment phobe without even knowing it.
Try imagining the sort of relationship you want to be in and think about what’s holding you back from finding that kind of partner. Think hard about whether you’re really ready for the commitment and work a relationship takes and if you actually want that for yourself at this point in your life.
If you’re self-sabotaging your love life, you need to get to the root of the problem to be able to break the cycle and start attracting the right person for you. Or, maybe you just need to listen to your heart and take a break to work on yourself for a while first.
5. You’re worried about what they’d do if you left them.
Perhaps, when you get into a relationship with someone, you choose to ignore the red flags and get in too deep.
If you feel as though someone is dependent on you, whether they are emotionally unstable, or have issues that you think would be triggered if you were to leave, you might start thinking that you don’t have the option to break up with them anymore.
Either they’re emotionally manipulating you by threatening to harm themselves if you were to leave them, or you’re scared of what they would do if you were to go, but the guilt of anything bad happening to them because of something you did keeps you trapped and returning to relationships with these kinds of broken people.
If someone genuinely is a harm to themselves, then it’s not down to you to fix it. You staying with them won’t make their problems go away, it will just make you unhappy because neither of you will be in the healthy, loving relationship you should be.
If you’re worried about them, then you need to encourage them to go to therapy and work on themselves rather than becoming dependent on you.
If one person is becoming obsessive or manipulative toward the other in a relationship, it’s still toxic and will take a mental toll on the both of you.
Sometimes you have to put yourself first, and if you know this relationship isn’t healthy for either of you, then you need to do the right thing and leave. You can only do so much to help another person, but staying with them when you’re both unhappy isn’t an option.
6. You don’t have boundaries.
Everyone needs boundaries and to remind themselves that it’s ok to say “no.”
If you don’t like something, then you shouldn’t have to put up with it just because you’re afraid to speak out.
If you feel as though you keep attracting broken or damaged people, maybe it’s because you’re not saying “no” enough when you know that things are not ok. You let people walk over you and don’t stand up for yourself or fight for the respect you know you’re due.
Alternatively, if you consistently attract people who are jealous or controlling over you, or who struggle with substance abuse and you never stand up and tell them to stop, then you’re enabling their damaging behavior.
If people don’t take you or your boundaries seriously, then they will continue to take advantage of you or harm themselves around you. Stop the pattern repeating itself and start saying “no” to the things that you know are bad for you and for others too.
7. You’re desperate for a relationship.
If you are afraid to be alone and are desperate to be in a relationship, it can cause you to settle for situations that are less than ideal because you feel as though you have to be with someone.
Being with someone is typically better than being alone, but that can mean that you end up in relationships with people who aren’t ready or right for you.
If a partner is dependent on you, it can make you feel wanted and needed, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. You can convince yourself that someone’s possessive or controlling behavior over you is a sign of how much they care about you, rather than the suffocating situation it really is. You try to justify to yourself that even if you’re with someone who is mentally unstable or displays damaging behavior that they need you to stay with them because you’re the only person willing to do so.
None of these reasons are enough to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t good for you. As scary as it might feel to face life on your own, especially if your friends and family are all partnered up around you, being in an unhealthy relationship is not a substitute. Inevitably, the relationship will fail and you’ll move too quickly into another one, attracting someone who needs you more than you need them and mistaking their dependency for love.
8. You don’t learn from your past mistakes.
If you’ve noticed that you seem to be developing a habit of attracting people who come with a lot of issues, you need to ask yourself why you keep getting yourself into the same position when you’ve been down this road before.
If it didn’t work out the last time when you ignored the red flags in a potential partner, then at least learn from your mistakes and try to take notice of them the next time.
Your “type” might be the “bad boy” persona, someone who’s broken and gone off the rails that you think you can save, or someone who is so emotionally damaged and distant that you find yourself craving attention and validation from them. But if you know this, then you know that a relationship with these kinds of people never gets very far.
To grow into the best version of yourself and find the right partner for you, you must learn from past relationships and commit to doing something different next time. Whether it’s working on your perception of yourself or shifting what you look for in a partner, until you make a change, you’re just going to keep getting stuck in the same unfulfilling cycle.
9. You’re too trusting.
It’s commendable to try to see the best in people. With that kind of attitude, you can become a lifeline to people who would otherwise be dismissed.
But there can be such a thing as being too trusting and getting taken advantage of for it. If you find yourself repeatedly attracting emotionally damaged people and ending up in relationships that drain you, it could be because you’re not looking out for yourself enough.
It’s important to find the good in people, and we should all strive to avoid judging a person on how they look or their past actions, but rather on what they are doing to try to better themselves. However, when you’re getting into a relationship with someone you must be sure you can completely trust them and know the person you are inviting into your life.
If you rush into things too quickly or feel pressured into becoming more serious with someone because they’re pushing you that way, then you need to be careful that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
If it’s obvious that you trust easily and are willing to help and support people and bring them into your lives without question, then there are going to be some people that take advantage of that. It’s upsetting to think that some people would exploit a person’s kind nature, but if they have had little kindness shown to them, they may not know how to receive it.
As much as you want to help and support others, you must be careful that you’re not putting yourself in a position where you can be manipulated. Don’t ignore the warning signs if they are there, and make sure you’re being vigilant about how you’re being treated just as much as how you’re treating others.
10. You don’t love yourself.
Being in a relationship doesn’t just depend on finding someone who loves you, it depends on how much you love yourself too.
The more you value yourself, the more you know what you deserve from a partner. If you’re looking for a partner to fix an old heartbreak or make you feel better about yourself, then you’re going to find people who are there to fill an unhealthy need, not bring out the best in you.
You’ll keep attracting people who are damaged or unfulfilled themselves because that’s what you’re projecting out to them. You may not consider yourself broken in the same way, but you’re still looking for someone to complete you just like they are, rather than finding someone who can share and encourage everything you are already.
If you don’t believe that you deserve more because you’re not attractive enough or successful enough, or if you feel like you are lacking in some way, then you’re not going to open yourself up to the possibility of finding people who see the best in you because you can’t see it yourself.
Learn to love yourself first before you go looking for it from anyone else. You’ll soon see that you stop seeking people who you need validation from and who require your stability in return. Instead, find someone who only amplifies and appreciates the love you have for yourself and others.
11. You’re drawn to the drama.
It’s a sad fact of life that happy, healthy, normal relationships don’t make good plotlines. They aren’t the ones featured in the magazines, they don’t take center stage in the latest romantic film, and they aren’t the stuff of great fantasy novels.
It’s the drama of relationships that makes them exciting for us to watch, read about, and even be a part of.
Huge declarations of love aren’t the stuff of the average relationship. However, after seeing these intense relationships portrayed all around us, the everyday kind of love that makes up a solid relationship can seem dull and unfulfilling.
Imaginary relationships have come to make us set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, and you might find that, because of this, you’re chasing drama in your own life.
Drama rarely comes from level-headed, appropriate partners. It’s much more likely to occur in relationships with people who already have a lot of drama going on in their lives. The constant highs and lows of arguments and uncertainty about where you stand can become addictive and make you seek out the next unsettled relationship when one becomes too peaceful.
You shouldn’t ever feel as though you’re living for the good days in a relationship while putting up with the bad. Intense, passionate relationships might make a good story, but there’s a reason they’re from the world of fantasy. Sometimes the most romantic thing your partner can do for you is take the trash out, and that’s the kind of everyday love you should learn to value most.
Broken people might make exciting partners for a while, but that’s not the kind of love that will sustain you. Eventually you’ll become exhausted and the bad days will outweigh the good. Drama-free doesn’t have to mean boring, it could just mean security, happiness, and love, so try leaving the drama behind you and see where you end up.
12. You believe in their potential.
The reason you keep ending up with people who seem damaged or broken might be because you don’t see them that way.
Instead of who they are right now, you see the potential they have to turn into a better person, and that’s who you really want to be with. You’re attracted to the idea of this person and everything they could be if they were to get help with their addiction, depression, or emotions. You are waiting for the day they realize their potential too.
The problem with living for someone’s potential is that they may not ever become the person you think that they could be. No matter how much you want them to be this idealized version, they have to want to change and become that person too.
You must be able to accept the fact that they may never become the person you’re hoping for, and if you truly want to be in a relationship with them, then you have to be able to accept them for the person they are right now and not who they could be in the future.
After all, it’s the person they are right now that you have to live with!
13. You don’t take their struggles seriously.
One reason you might appear to keep attracting broken people is because you never fully believe that they are as broken as they seem.
There’s a difference between believing the best in someone and just not believing them at all. You need to make sure that whatever a person is going through, you’re taking their personal struggles as seriously as you ought to.
You keep attracting people with personal issues because you don’t see the warning signs when they are right in front of you. You downplay their substance abuse or addiction, don’t take their depression seriously, and ignore the strain their emotional issues cause. You willingly ignore the problems that are right in front of you and keep finding yourself back with the same type of people.
If someone needs help, then you must take it seriously. You can’t fix everything, no matter how much you care, and ignoring an issue doesn’t just make it go away. By downplaying their struggles, you’re enabling them by making the situation less of a problem than it is.
Any time you find yourself in this position, you need to realize that you’re not equipped to handle it. The best thing you can do for them is leave so that they can finally be taken seriously and get the help they desperately need.
Wrapping it all up…
You haven’t had much luck with relationships because you keep feeling as though you’re attracting the wrong type of people. Every one of them tends to have issues with their addiction, self-esteem, or depression; they all seem to be broken in some way or another.
But broken people aren’t the same as bad people. Just because someone is struggling with a personal issue, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of love or that they can’t be a great partner; they just aren’t the best person for you right now.
If there is a pattern in the people you typically date, and they never seem right for you, then it’s you rather than them that you need to be questioning. It’s not someone else’s fault they have issues. You are the one that is attracted to these types of people for a reason and if you don’t want to be, then you need to understand why you are and how to change how you approach a potential partner.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell how damaged a person is until you’re already in a relationship with them, but that’s when you need to do what’s best for you and end things. Don’t ignore the warning signs just because you want someone to be different to who they are. It’s better to end a relationship early on than get in too deep and hurt the both of you more when it inevitably does go wrong.
If you want to stop attracting broken people, then you need to change your mindset and evaluate what you’re looking for in a partner. Be sure about the type of person you do want to be with. Don’t start a relationship with someone in the hopes that they can turn into a person you could love or because you feel trapped with them.
If you’re attracting the wrong type of person, then you’re going about things the wrong way and your love life won’t change until you do.
Still not sure why you attract broken people? Talking to someone can really help you to handle whatever life throws at you. It’s a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.
We really recommend you speak to a therapist rather than a friend or family member. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to explore your own beliefs and emotions surrounding relationships and give you advice to improve your approach and mindset.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
You may also like:
- How To Stop Repeating Unhealthy Relationship Patterns
- How To Break Up With Someone With A Mental Illness
- 24 Ways To Stop Falling For The Wrong Person Every Time
- How To Love A Broken Man: 7 Key Things You Need To Know
- 13 No Bullsh*t Tips To Stop Falling In Love So Easily (Or At All)
- How To Stop Wanting A Relationship: 8 Tips If You’re Desperate For Love