5 Simple Steps to Break out of the Vicious Dating Cycle

Marie-Judith Jean-Louis
5 min readJul 3, 2023


Photo by Good Faces Agency on Unsplash

If you’re tired of navigating the brutal and often discouraging world of modern dating, it may be time for you to change things up, starting with your approach to dating and relationships.

I was recently listening to a conversation on a podcast, and the host — a married man in his late 30s — expressed relief and gratitude for no longer being part of the dating world (like his single friend). His sentiment resonates with many of us, as the reality of modern dating can be a brutally challenging and discouraging experience. It seems many people reluctantly go through the motions of dating, only to end up disappointed and empty-handed. This begs the question: do we truly know what we are looking for?

I’ve observed countless interactions and spoken to many single men and women who are seeking genuine connections. It’s disheartening to see how the dating landscape has changed with the introduction of dating apps. While they offer easier access to a lot more potential partners, they seem to have hijacked and sabotaged the process of building a loving relationship by primarily focusing the partner selection process on appearance and status.

Many individuals unknowingly repeat the same mistakes, falling for the initial “chemistry” they feel when meeting someone new. But, after a few dates or hookups, they often realize there’s a serious lack of compatibility. So they break it off and get back in the digital dating pool. This cycle repeats itself, leaving them stuck in a frustrating loop, still looking for love. Does that sound familiar?

The key to breaking this vicious cycle lies in shifting your approach and priorities. Instead of fixating on surface-level attributes and sexual attraction, it’s essential to take the time to understand yourself and your own fundamental values first.

To embark on a journey towards a healthy and loving relationship, consider the following 5 steps:

1. Understand what is a healthy relationship for you.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s definition of a healthy relationship may vary based on their individual needs, values, and past experiences. Therefore, understanding what constitutes a healthy relationship for you is crucial before finding your ideal partner. Taking the time to reflect on your own desires and expectations will help you gain clarity about what you truly seek in a relationship. This self-awareness allows you to establish healthy boundaries, set realistic expectations, and make informed decisions about the kind of partnership you want to pursue.

2. Define your role in a healthy relationship.

Creating a healthy relationship requires two active participants. Now that you know what kind of relationship you need to feel good about it, it’s important to understand your role within it. No one is perfect: Each individual has their own strengths, weaknesses, and unique qualities to offer the relationship. Based on that understanding, you can see where you can be of service to the growth of the relationship, where you can used support and where you can learn. When you are clear about your role in a relationship, you can better contribute to the its growth and well-being.

3. Consider all childhood traumas affecting your behaviour.

Childhood traumas can significantly impact our behaviour on relationships and affect our ability to form healthy connections. It is essential to consider these traumas when navigating relationships. Childhood experiences, such as neglect, abuse, or loss, can create emotional wounds and shape our beliefs and behaviours in adulthood. Understanding how these traumas have affected your perspective can help you recognize any patterns or triggers that may arise in relationships. Seeking therapy or counselling can provide a safe space to process these traumas, heal emotional wounds, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. By addressing and working through childhood traumas, you can cultivate greater self-awareness and make conscious choices that contribute to the overall health and success of your relationships.

4. Be clear on what you truly need in a healthy relationship.

To feel fulfilled in a relationship, you must be clear on what you truly need and not just what you want. Identifying your needs involves understanding and communicating your own emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual requirements within a partnership. This clarity will empower you to establish boundaries, express your desires, and advocate for your well-being. It is important to know the difference between needs and wants, recognizing that while wants are nice to have, needs are essential for a relationship’s health and longevity. Reflect on your values, priorities, and non-negotiables to gain a deeper understanding of what is vital for you in a relationship. This self-awareness enables you to make conscious choices and seek out partnerships that align with your needs, increasing the likelihood of a fulfilling and mutually satisfying connection.

5. Identify the key traits a compatible partner

Once you establish parameters for a healthy relationship, it will be easier to filter through potential partners. They will need to have a compatible vision of a healthy relationship and traits that are complementary to the kind of relationship you’re looking for. Identifying the key traits a compatible partner needs is essential to building a healthy connection. So take the time to reflect on what qualities are significant to you in a partner and aligned with a healthy relationship. It is important to keep in mind that while compatibility is essential, relationships also require openness and a willingness to put energy into building a healthy relationship. They don’t just happen on their own.

No matter how attractive a potential partner may be initially, if your fundamental values don’t align, the relationship probably won’t work out for long. Genuine love connections require investing time in getting to know each other on a deeper level and ensuring compatibility in your journey ahead as a couple.

So if you’ve reached a point where you’re considering giving up and resigning yourself to a life as a “cat lady” or a “cat gentleman”, you may be ready to step off the vicious cycle of superficial dating and approach it from a different perspective. You can begin to transition from seeking unconscious relationships to conscious ones through intentional actions.

While most rush through the dating process, I invite you to slow down. Take the time to examine yourself, potential partners, and your understanding of what it truly means for you to be in a loving and fulfilling relationship. By applying the 5 steps listed above, you’ll have a better chance of discovering the type of connection you’ve been longing for.

“But what about chemistry?” you may wonder. Chemistry is important, but it might not be what you think it is. I’ll share more in the next post.