Surprising, but true:  So many strong people get into all sorts of difficult relationships.  Rather than finding a gentle, kind partner to spend their time with, they opt for those they can “fix,” those that remind them of the very reason why they’re so strong to begin with — i.e. an abusive parent.  So, why do the strongest people often attract the most difficult relationships?

Strong people and difficult relationships. Contrary to popular belief, strong people don’t have it easy. They try to fix every problem, stress themselves over things they have little to no control over, and make it so that they pass every obstacle thrown at them — and their friends and family. In other words, they try to be the one everyone can lean on. But that, as it turns out, can often interfere with their own well-being, especially when it comes to relationships.

Strong people and difficult relationships. So, why do strong people tend to attract difficult relationships? Writing for Medium, Brianna Wiest outlines seven reasons this occurs. The first? People who develop mental and emotional strength usually do so because of something that took place during their childhood. Seemingly, it’s not all that rare for people to try and re-create their earliest relationships not out of love, but comfort.

Strong people and difficult relationships. As Wiest notes, the main reasons so many relationships fall apart is because what people are looking for: comfort, not love. In other words, people unknowingly enter relationships seeking something that feels familiar, rather than looking for something real. This, of course, always turns out disastrous.

Strong people and difficult relationships. Obviously, this is something that’s done subconsciously — no one actively goes out seeking comfort, rather than love. As Wiest writes, “We think we want our perfect match, really we want what we perceive to be our ‘missing piece,’ the thing withheld in childhood or lost through adolescence.” For this very reason, so many children of alcoholics marry addicts, she notes.

Strong people and difficult relationships. Reason number two strong people attract difficult relationships? Because they don’t find their happiness in anything that comes super easily to them. Why would they? As self-identifying strong people, they want to put in the effort and work it takes to make things work — just to prove they can.

Strong people and difficult relationships. As Wiest points out, strong individuals find their solace in perseverance and commitment. They like things — or rather, people — they can work on and grow with. In other words, people they can “fix.” This seems like a positive thing, right? Too bad it’s not.

Strong people and difficult relationships. While wanting to work and grow with someone seems like a positive thing, it can 100 percent backfire. In what way, you ask? Namely, it can backfire when it comes to choosing their lovers. And here’s why: A relationship only functions if a person is willing to commit even when it’s hard — it doesn’t work if a person is willing to commit because it’s hard. See?

Strong people and difficult relationships. Third reason strong people attract difficult relationships: Because strong individuals often give their strength to what and who they love. As Wiest writes, “When strong people fall in love, they almost adopt that person into their own identity, and aren’t quick to realize when they’re giving away their power at the other person’s benefit and their own detriment.”

Strong people and difficult relationships. Wiest points out that strong people have a “laser focus.” In other words, they intensely pay attention to a single object, concept, person, or in this case, relationship. But there’s a caveat to this: The more fixated a person becomes on something, the more that something worsens. Cue difficult relationships.

Strong people and difficult relationships. Moreover, when it comes to strong people, vulnerability and intimacy can be triggering. Why? Because they’ve had to build their mental — and emotional — strength from the ground up. Per Drake: They started from the bottom and now they’re here. (Sorry, we *had* to.)

Strong people and difficult relationships. As Wiest notes, their strength was “built from somewhere.” And that somewhere, as it turns out, tends to be revisited when a romantic relationship is beginning. However, as soon as someone becomes uncomfortable with showing their vulnerabilities, which is generally required for romantic intimacy, their defenses increase.

Strong people and difficult relationships. And what happens when someone’s ego or defenses raise? It becomes easier to call it quits altogether. As Wiest writes, when people become uncomfortable exposing their soft spots and their defenses kick in, it becomes “easy to severe a connection in favor of remaining comfortable.”

Strong people and difficult relationships. Another reason strong people enter difficult relationships is because they absolutely despise being wrong. While nobody likes to be wrong, strong people are particularly keen on being right. “Sure, genuine strength is being able to admit your mistakes, but not everybody arrives at that place of true detachment so easily,” Wiest writes. “Inner strength = a solid sense of self, which functions on the basis of believing you are ‘right’ and ‘good.’”

Strong people and difficult relationships. Reason number six: Strong people are inclined to stick it out, so to speak. In other words, strong individuals oftentimes stay in a difficult — even abuse — situation for way too long, since they truly believe they can change it. According to Wiest, “They’re less sensitive to the read flags that other people would perceive as signals to absolutely move on.”

Strong people and difficult relationships. Last but certainly not least, relationships, as Wiest notes, are “mirrors” and “growing tools.” And sometimes, just sometimes, the most difficult relationships teach people how to be even stronger. Not to mention, kinder, move loving, and happier. “Sometimes, strong people attract difficult relationships for the sheer reason that they want to be challenged…” Wiest writes. “If nothing else, strong people are the opposite of complacent.”

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