As a matchmaker I have plenty of experience guiding couples to their ultimate match. I’ve learned from personal experience and from watching others make mistakes. I advise on how to break bad patterns, make healthier choices and steer clients to lasting love. Not everyone listens, of course, and it never ceases to amaze me how people I met 21 years ago are still out there looking for “their type” and filing tax returns with marital status checked as “single”.

People sabotage themselves by dating and marrying Mr. or Mrs. Wrong. It’s human nature to be attracted to a certain type of person, and for most of us there are subconscious forces keeping us in our comfort (or in most cases, discomfort) zone. We all know people who always wind up with a cheater, alcoholic or control freak. We hear people say, “All men are…” or “All women are…” The common denominator is the person attracting the same type over and over again. Who’s to blame for attracting and staying in unhappy relationships?

It all boils down to what you experienced growing up, what your parents’ marriage and role modeling were like and what’s familiar and comfortable. Good or bad, happy or sad, at some point early on in your development, you formed an attachment or comfort level with a certain type of person or relationship dynamic. It takes soul-searching and self-awareness to break patterns and make conscious choices that shift who and what you’re attracting. It all boils down to tossing out “your type” because if that type worked, you’d be happily married.

Here are 6 simple steps you can take to stop dating your type:

1. Write down everyone with whom you’ve had a serious relationship.

2. Under their name write down traits that describe him/her e.g. unfaithful, self-absorbed, commitment-phobic, controlling, jealous, etc.

3. Circle the words that keep recurring.

4. Write a paragraph using these words, as in: I’m looking to meet someone who cheats on me, is possessive and jealous, narcissistic or abusive.

5. Call a friend and read them what you wrote. Start with the words, “This is the man/woman I’ve been looking for.”

6. Understand that your type is not working for you and when that type shows up again, run the other way.

Now that you have identified your “losing formula” and vowed to steer clear of it, you meet someone completely different from what you are used to. It’s a shock to your system to not be dealing with the drama and angst that you had grown so accustomed to. You might even find yourself stirring the pot just to create the degree of intensity that you thrive on. Maybe your new romance is so devoid of drama and personality clashes that it seems boring or lackluster. Gone is the challenge, the fight to win them over and certainly to keep them around for any length of time.

When you meet a genuinely nice, normal, kind and trustworthy person, you may feel bored and tempted to look for someone new. Play it smart for once, and give this newcomer a chance. Go out several times before you fend them off or revert back to those toxic choices of the past.

Think about it like this: You stop smoking and how many times do you go back and have just one? Until you face the fact it’s hazardous to your health, and you are kicking the habit forever, the destructive behavior continues. It’s all about you making a decision to change your life for the better. Deep down, if you value yourself and want to be happy, the ones you let in will treat you well and reflect that you are someone worthy of love and better because of it. The sum of two parts are greater than the whole.

Last but not least, do not talk about your disastrous relationships with your new dates. Let go of the past and move forward. When asked, simply say “It didn’t work out” and change the subject.

Sherri Murphy is a matchmaker and CEO at Elite Connections. Email: Phone: 1-800-923-4200.