Why Do You Fall in Love with the Wrong People?

Almost all of us have fallen in love with the wrong person at some time or another. However, when it starts forming a pattern in your life of painful, abusive, or disappointing relationships, the problem may well lie with you and not others.
Why Do You Fall in Love with the Wrong People?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Why do you fall in love with the wrong people? This is a question you might well find yourself asking as you come to the end of yet another emotionally disappointing relationship. Naturally, mistakes and failures in love are fairly frequent. However, some people seem to always choose the least suitable partners to have relationships with.

“I seem to only attract narcissists”, “My partners always cheat on me”, “I’ve never had a relationship last longer than a few months”, “I’m so tired of being disappointed”. These are some of the things you might find yourself saying. However, behind these unhappy comments lies an obvious reality. This is the fact that it’s all too easy to blame others for your emotional failures without considering your own role in the relationship.

Indeed, the root of the problem could be you. Because, when you start a relationship you tend to forget the most important thing: who you are and what you want. In other words, your own identity. As a matter of fact, when you first embark on a new relationship it’s all too easy to forget about yourself. That’s because you put all your energies into focusing on your new partner.

Sometimes, your values, identity, and self-esteem become diluted to such an extent that you find yourself tolerating the intolerable.

Why do you fall in love with the wrong people?

Many people find themselves repeating the same pattern over and over. It’s almost like they’re cursed. They fall in love with someone, get hurt, the relationship breaks down, and, sometime later, they repeat the same experience all over again with a new partner. Same stories, different faces.

It’s true that you can’t control who you love and who you don’t. Love just appears, sometimes in a blinding flash. Nobody can predict it, let alone stop it. Anthropologist Helen Fisher points out that humans are born to love and be loved. In fact, although it’s something you may not always get right, it’s a drive that impels you for much of your life. However, why do you fall in love with the wrong kinds of people?  Here are some suggestions.

When love dilutes your identity

Many men and women give absolutely everything in their romantic relationships, to an extremely unhealthy degree. In fact, they love the other with every fiber of their being and prioritize them to the extent that they almost disappear themselves.

If you give everything you have to your partner there’s nothing left for you. You get completely lost in the other person. Consequently, your own self merges into their needs and desires.

The University of Bern (Switzerland) conducted a study that confirmed this tends to happen to people with low self-esteem. For this reason, it’s important to bear in mind that the quality of a relationship depends on the healthy self-concept and self-esteem that each partner has. Indeed, high self-esteem is synonymous with well-being and satisfaction in every area of life.

Fear of loneliness

Sometimes, you fall in love with the wrong people for the simple fear of being alone. However, this is the equivalent of emotional suicide. Because you’re tolerating the intolerable for the mere fact of having someone by your side.

One more thing is that those who fear loneliness tend to be more susceptible to falling in love. As a matter of fact, they tend to fall in love with the first person who comes along, even if they’ve nothing in common with them.

Searching for what you lack in others

Security, resolve, openness, extraversion, self-confidence …in a couple it’s common to look for what you lack in your partner.

Nevertheless, although this may seem logical and understandable, it rarely goes well. That’s because the problems lie within you. In fact, if you approach a relationship in this way, the deficiencies you feel will simply get bigger every day.

Forgetting that you deserve love

This is extremely common. As a matter of fact, sometimes you enter into an emotional relationship and completely forget that you deserve so much more than you might think.

Love doesn’t mean being scorned and belittled. It doesn’t mean a complete lack of reciprocity where one partner gives everything and the other gives nothing.

Falling in love with the wrong people means you forget that love should always be emotionally enriching. It should never be psychologically invalidating.

The inability to learn from the past

Do you find yourself repeating the patterns of the past? Do you tend to keep finding yourself with similar people? Like narcissists and manipulators, for instance.

If so, do you know why it happens? Why it is that you keep walking blindly into the same abyss? Well, in a way, many of the reasons we mentioned earlier are integrated here …. lack of self-esteem, fear of loneliness, and looking to others for what you lack. In fact, it’s a whole conglomerate of psychological blows that orchestrate those captive bonds you’ll find yourself unable to escape from for a long time.

Everyone has certain unhappy relationships in their past that they’d rather forget. However, as you mature and move forward with your life, you tend to be clearer about what you want and expect from a relationship. However, don’t forget that unwritten rule. You can’t expect anyone to love you properly unless you first love yourself.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Emler, Nicholas. (2001). Self esteem: The costs and causes of low self worth. Youth Studies Australia. 21.
  • Erol, Ruth & Orth, Ulrich. (2016). Self-Esteem and the Quality of Romantic Relationships. European Psychologist. 21. 274-283. 10.1027/1016-9040/a000259.
  • Fisher, Helen (2004) Por Que Amamos: Naturaleza Y Quimica Del Amor Romantico. Penguin

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.