‘Groundhogging’ in Courting: How To Break the Cycle


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You meet somebody new, they usually appear to examine your entire containers for the best associate. The chemistry is electrical, conversations circulate effortlessly, and you’ll’t assist however envision a future with them. However earlier than lengthy, issues take a flip and the would-be relationship ends—simply because it did the final time and the time earlier than that. If you end up caught in a cycle of courting the identical sort of individual solely to repeatedly have the identical unfavourable consequence, you might be groundhogging.

A reference to the 1993 rom-com Groundhog Day, wherein weatherman Phil (Invoice Murray) lives the identical day over and over till he alters his methods and falls in love along with his colleague Rita (Andie MacDowell), groundhogging in courting includes the identical type of fruitless repetition.

Whereas the tendency to repeatedly date the identical type of individual could spring from good intentions—like a sense of consolation or a want to go after a selected “sort” that you simply suppose is best for you—courting consultants say it may significantly hinder your probabilities at discovering real love.

Wait, what precisely is “groundhogging” in courting?

“Groundhogging is a pattern wherein individuals maintain courting the identical type of individual again and again whereas anticipating completely different outcomes,” says relationship coach and courting professional Susan Trotter, PhD. Every time a relationship ends for no matter purpose, the individual will “groundhog” to a different comparable individual and date them, just for that relationship to inevitably finish quickly, too.

“Groundhogging is a pattern wherein individuals maintain courting the identical type of individual again and again whereas anticipating completely different outcomes.” —Susan Trotter, PhD, relationship coach

Maybe it isn’t figuring out every time as a result of the kind of individual you’re repeatedly courting embodies poisonous qualities—perhaps they’re all narcissists with a aptitude for love-bombing—or they’re simply straight-up emotionally unavailable, and it’s the need to “repair” them (or get them to fall in love with you) that leads you to maintain in search of them out.

Or perhaps the kind of individual in query simply matches a specific picture you’ve constructed in your head; in different phrases, they wouldn’t be problematic for everybody, however they only aren’t proper for you, whether or not as a result of they’re too comparable or too completely different, or for another purpose. And by focusing solely on this one type of individual (say, assured attorneys or humorous actors), you’re lacking out on the individuals who don’t suit your preconceived notion of the best associate, however who even have extra of the qualities that may make them appropriate with you long-term.

In any case, somebody who’s groundhogging doesn’t be taught from the expertise and make adjustments to the best way that they date; quite, they repeat the cycle, regardless that it by no means works out with their chosen sort. In response to psychotherapist Mollie Spiesman, LCSW, individuals usually flip to groundhogging as a consolation mechanism. You recognize precisely what you’re getting your self into, which is snug—however every time, you persuade your self that it’ll prove otherwise.

What are the important thing indicators of groundhogging?

“The most important signal that you simply’re groundhogging in courting would be the outcomes,” says Dr. Trotter. It doesn’t matter what you do, you retain discovering your self in the identical type of relationship, and it doesn’t work out. Maybe all of your relationships finish the identical means, too, whether or not all of the sudden and abruptly, or by truly fizzling out.

Dr. Trotter additionally says to maintain an eye fixed out for the next indicators of groundhogging:

  • You’re feeling like your latest relationships have all progressed in comparable methods
  • You’re very inflexible and selective about whom you date however to little success
  • You aren’t in any respect selective about whom you date and wind up with the identical varieties of people that pursue you
  • Your previous companions remind you of each other
  • You rush into relationship after relationship along with your normal sort

Why do individuals repeatedly date the identical sort of individual if it by no means works out?

“Nearly all of individuals imagine that they’ve a sure ‘sort,’ and it may be laborious to shift from that,” says Dr. Trotter. We’re all creatures of behavior. We crave routine and familiarity, even in conditions the place it is perhaps higher to suppose exterior the field or problem ourselves to strive one thing new. “Familiarity is snug even when uncomfortable,” says Dr. Trotter.

Certainly, Spiesman finds that her purchasers generally make selections rooted in consolation, even after they don’t truly serve them. As an illustration, some individuals would possibly select companions who’re controlling or domineering, considering it is love. Others would possibly maintain choosing companions who cannot commit, maybe due to the attract of a problem. “They may suppose, ‘Oh I will strive once more—this time will probably be completely different,’ nevertheless, time and expertise probably show that isn’t the case,” she says.

In sure eventualities, the character of somebody’s attachment type (that’s, their means of navigating interpersonal relationships developed by way of childhood interactions) can play a task of their tendency to groundhog with a specific sort. For instance, individuals with an anxious attachment type could continuously discover themselves drawn to companions with an avoidant attachment type—who then exacerbate or reinforce the nervousness they really feel by thwarting intimacy.

“When individuals don’t take the time to replicate on their relationship historical past…they’re extra prone to stick to that acquainted feeling and repeat patterns with out even realizing it.” —Dr. Trotter

In nonetheless different circumstances, individuals is perhaps so desperate to discover a associate that they don’t even know they’re groundhogging. “When individuals don’t take the time to replicate on their relationship historical past—for instance, contemplating what labored and what didn’t work previously, what they really need and want now, what half they performed in previous dynamics—they’re extra prone to stick to that acquainted feeling and subsequently repeat patterns with out even realizing it,” says Dr. Trotter.

Each the need for familiarity and the concern of the unknown can act as highly effective forces that maintain individuals caught within the groundhogging cycle, she provides.

The best way to break away from the groundhogging entice

As with every sample of conduct you are making an attempt to cease, “step one is recognition,” says Dr. Trotter. In the event you establish that you could be be groundhogging, it’s essential to acknowledge that you could be have to make some large adjustments in the best way you date, she says.

Particularly, Dr. Trotter suggests taking time to assessment your relationship historical past, whereas listening to the patterns inherent in your courting experiences. As an illustration, in the event you observe that you simply’ve usually dated emotionally unavailable individuals, you would possibly do some interested by why you’re selecting individuals whom you know can’t provide the closeness you want or need, suggests Spiesman, and goal to reacquaint your self with your personal emotions and values.

In the same vein, Dr. Trotter suggests giving some thought to what you suppose your ‘sort’ is and why. In so doing, you would possibly uncover that there isn’t any stable purpose why you may’t broaden your scope a bit, and also you’ve simply been selecting the identical sorts of individuals largely out of intuition or comfort.

“Create a life that’s full and joyful after which search for individuals whom you may invite in to boost it.” —Molly Spiesman, LCSW, psychotherapist

Spiesman additionally recommends taking time to observe self-love, course of previous relationship points, and encompass your self with family members who know your price and worth as a way to extend your confidence. “Create a life that’s full and joyful after which search for individuals whom you may invite in to boost it,” she says. “Doing so permits you to be extra intentional within the courting course of, quite than settling or selecting individuals simply to fill the void.”

Whenever you’re courting, goal to strike a stability between being selective in relation to discovering somebody who shares your values and in addition being versatile, so that you simply don’t write off potential matches who occur to fall exterior of your typical sort. Particularly, be an observer and be engaged on the identical time: Discover the pull towards those that are acquainted (and never essentially greatest for you), after which pause and problem your self to maneuver in a unique path.

Dr. Trotter additionally advises in search of steerage from a courting coach or relationship therapist to assist facilitate these adjustments. Having an expert in your nook who may help you establish unsupportive patterns and pivot accordingly could possibly be simply what it is advisable maintain from falling down the rabbit (er, groundhog) gap of repetitive courting.


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