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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karin Anderson Abrell

Why You Keep Dating the Same Guy (with a different name)

Sometimes we date the same guy over and over again.

Sure, he has a different face and different name, but he’s essentially the same guy. And the dynamics are the same.

The Fairy Godfather talks about it all the time—our tendency to be comfortable with dysfunction because it’s familiar to us.

Psychologists call this the “Recapitulation of Family of Origin Issues.” It’s our efforts to try to “fix” what happened to us in our childhood through our adult relationships.

For example, say your dad left the family when you were young. And now in adulthood you find yourself attracted to emotionally unavailable men.

According to the “Recapitulation of Family of Origin Theory,” you’re dating an emotionally unavailable man to try to fix the trauma of being abandoned by your dad.

How does this work? Well, there’s actually some logic to it.

Because if you can get this emotionally unavailable man to love you and commit to you, then somehow, it’ll make up for the fact that your dad left.

There’s logic to it—flawed as it may be. And it won’t work, of course.

But it explains why we find ourselves dating the same guy with the same dysfunctional dynamics that we claim to hate yet seem to be drawn to time and time again.

But there’s hope!

Working out our family of origin issues—through therapy, self-help books, and seminars—helps us move past the recapitulation.

We see what we’re doing with more objectivity.

We realize that even if an emotionally unavailable man will love us (which he probably won’t), it still can’t make up for the fact that Dad left.

We need to grieve the loss of our father.

Because otherwise, we’ll try to heal this abandonment wound in our adult relationships.


This post originally appeared on Instagram in collaboration with The Fairy Godfather.

Photo credit: Gabriel Matula (Unsplash)

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