Author, speaker and love coach Persia Lawson explains what to look for
Words by Sophie Hockings
Ever found yourself questioning the compatibility of you and your partner, and wondering whether you might be dating the wrong person? A former cheater and self-confessed love addict, Persia Lawson spoke to Marie Claire about how she beat her addiction to dysfunctional relationships, and how you can tell if you’re dating the wrong person.
Falling in love quickly and easily could be a sign that you’re dating the wrong person
‘Falling in love alters your brain chemistry,’ Lawson told Marie Claire. ‘For that reason, the feeling of being in love evokes a similar response to using drugs or alcohol. In a way it is torturous and a way of avoiding real life and confronting your own feelings. For me, obsessing over a boy was a way of escaping a turbulent and sometimes scary home life.’
A tendency to prioritise your relationship over everything else
Are you guilty of people-pleasing, prioritising your partner over yourself, or compromising your own goals to do things for your partner? If so, Lawson argues that this is another form of escapism and a sign that you could be dating the wrong person: ‘People in dysfunctional relationships often lose their sense of themselves. If you feel that you are constantly people pleasing and doing whatever your partner wants to do – almost morphing into them – it can be a sign that you’re scared of being yourself, or discovering who you really are.’
Staying in relationships that are full of drama and chaos
We all love a bit of drama, whether it be in a book, film or playing out on our Facebook feeds, but when drama is a constant third-wheel to your relationship it soon loses its appeal. ‘I had a client who was struggling with all sorts of things, and she was obsessed with this idea of a really sexy, crazy, violent relationship,’ Lawson tells Marie Claire. ‘I think we are constantly shown examples in the media where a normal couple is seen as boring. But in reality, drama only highlights an inability to commit.’
Behaving in impulsive and irrational ways is a sign you’re dating the wrong person
Dating the wrong person can create a toxic environment, prompting irrational and impulsive behaviour, ‘which might be anything from one-night stands, to cheating, to going to strip clubs or developing an unhealthy relationship with porn,’ Lawson says. Her view is that ultimately this stems from a fear of intimacy. ‘I was terrified of commitment and that’s why I was so disruptive in all my early relationships.’
Being drawn to emotionally unavailable people
The biggest problem that Lawson sees in her female clients is an attraction to unavailable men. Why? ‘Because we’re terrified of rejection, so we chase after people we know we can’t have. Why do we want to have Jimmy Choos and go on luxury holidays? Because we can’t bloody afford it.’
Being unwilling to commit yourself
We’re so accustomed to the games and sexual politics of the modern dating world, that an outright proposition of commitment can send us into panic mode. ‘We are so used to sitting around looking at our phones wondering when they are going to call, that when you don’t have that drama it feels very odd. A lot of my clients totally freak out when the person they are lusting after turns around and says, “Ok, I want to be with you.”‘ Lawson says.
So how can you avoid dating the wrong person?
‘If you don’t believe that you are worth being with, worth investing time into, and worth respecting, then no one else will’, Lawson tells Marie Claire, ‘and that always starts with yourself. You need to treat yourself better and invest in your relationship with yourself to avoid dating the wrong person’. Two years into her current relationship, this is what Lawson credits as the foundation of the happiness she has found with her boyfriend. Additionally, Lawson is an advocate for the benefits of both mindfulness and gratitude: ‘if we stay present and connected to the now, and are thankful for what we have, rather than obsessing and looking for a boyfriend, it’s a hell of a lot more attractive, and we open ourselves up for someone to come in.’
To find out more about Persia Lawson’s work visit