Launch A Relationship Autopsy…

Do you know why your past relationships ended? If you have had a string of disappointing unions, it might be worthwhile to conduct a postmortem to see what patterns emerge.

According to Dr. Phil, here’s how to conduct your own relationship autopsy:

  • Identify what your problems and frustrations were with your relationship.
  • Write down the problems your partner had with you. Be honest with yourself.
  • Write down 10 key statements about the pain you still feel and the open wounds you still have. Again, honesty is essential.
  • You need to reconcile each of the statements you wrote down. Ask yourself: What was my role in each of these? Own what you are responsible for.
  • What choices did you make that led to the results you got in your last relationship?
  • You teach people how to treat you. Did you teach your partner to treat you badly?
  • What do you have to change to get over your last relationship? How do you need to heal?
  • What do you want to leave behind from your last relationship? Only when you acknowledge it, can you take the steps to prevent repetition.
  • You need emotional closure. To get that, you need to figure out what your “minimal effective response” is… the least thing you can do to get the closure. It may be yelling and screaming, writing your thoughts down, or actually talking to your ex. If you need to take steps to feel like you’ve stood up for yourself, do it.

So, since the only common denominator in all of your relationships is you, taking some time to reflect on the past could open some new doors for you in the future. I always like to say it like this….if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result….why not actually try something different? A different behavior. A different expectation. Different standards for treatment. Try dating someone you wouldn’t consider “your type”. Mix it up and see what results….

What are you planning to do differently in 2012?


Thanks to Dr. Phil for this great list!

Photo credit:  L. Marie’s Flickr photostream


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Categories: To Do List


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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3 Comments on “Launch A Relationship Autopsy…”

  1. December 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I don’t know if this is something I would do … I much prefer to just move forward and leave the past behind. Perhaps it’s not the best course of action, but it works for me.

  2. December 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    I have to agree with Single Dating Diva. I’m the type of person that does not like to dwell on the past. I can completely see the value in taking a look at what went wrong and owning what happened, but not dissecting it methodically. It might work for others, though. Good advice!

  3. December 21, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I think we do have a tendency to review our past relationships, just not with the methodical approach presented by Dr. Phil. I’ve never been a big fan of writing it all down in quite the fashion he describes but I’ve always kept a journal and have used it to vent my emotional pain and frustration as well as record my celebrations. I’d rather dwell on the celebrations.
    Enjoy always, T

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