Are You a Relationship Masochist?

Fox News Magazine

You’ve had bad relationship after bad relationship and can’t figure out why things always seem to go down the same road. If you recognize that pattern, you could be a relationship masochist.

Although it’s not a clinical term, experts agree that relationship masochists continuously choose partners who disappoint and mistreat them – and such relationships ultimately fail.

The behaviors become so ingrained, it’s almost a way of life, says Drexel University psychologist Dr. Chuck Williams. So why do you do that?

“There is also a sense that they feel mostly blameless and victimized by their (consistently) poor choice in a partner.”

Experts say the bad choices are a means of avoiding loving, caring relationships. Relationship masochists perhaps feel they don’t deserve to be in a healthy relationship and sometimes engage in self-sabotaging behaviors to insure failure. (Check out Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger’s advice on how to weed out losers in the video above).

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“A relationship masochist will deliberately provoke and solicit rejecting responses from their partner to feel hurt, humiliated and defeated,” says marriage and family therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin.

Typically, we choose partners who reinforce and validate how we see ourselves.

The self-sabotaging person doesn’t understand or believe they can really be loved by someone.  When the relationship ends, it further validates what they feel: unlovable, experts say.

WATCH: Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger Shares Secrets on Weeding Out Losers

“If pain, negativity and destruction are all they know, the familiarity and constant drama could give them a false sense of comfort,” says relationship expert and founder Lori Bizzoco.

It’s human to gravitate to the familiar as it provides a sense of stability, even if the familiar is hurtful, adds Dr. Ruskin.  “The [masochist] can’t just walk away from a bad relationship because it is known territory.”

MORE: Don’t Put a Ring on It (Yet): 7 Reasons to Love the Single Life

So how do you break the unhealthy cycle? Head to Fox News magazine to find out three solid ways to get out of it!