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William Ifeanyi Moore: The Cycle of Association



Of all the many seemingly weird and occasionally absurd things the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud proposed to the world, his theories on association remains of the most useful ideas in understanding human behaviour, and hence predicting it. For the most part, we like to think that we want to do what will make us happy, but really, we just want to do what is familiar. This starts as early as our childhood years when we start to associate love with both the positive and negatives we pick up from our parents attitudes towards us and towards each other. This is why it is not uncommon that most molesters have been previously molested, and violent partners grew up in violent homes. Just ask Chris Brown, he will tell you.

The problem with the cycle of association is that when we love someone, we are prone to the idea that once we get married or whatever next level of commitment you are planning, things will change. Most women would often assume this about a promiscuous spouse. Like you would marry this guy, and all of a sudden he will delete all those numbers on his phone, stop preying on women and all other playboy related behaviour. Or a man might assume that once he is married to this woman, she would see the need to make the house a home and stop being so self-obsessed, good luck to you.

To compound this problem, human behaviour tends to fall into a strange steady-state born out of habits that cumulate to form behaviours collectively identified as a person’s character. The problem is that these habits put us in a familiar emotional state where we feel relatively safe because it is what we are used to. For example, I’m sure you all know that guy/girl that is fond of dating partners with something peculiarly wrong about their lifestyle or character, or that person that always seems to be dating the same type even after countless heartbreaks. Then when a good guy/girl comes in with all the right motives and intentions, the person is actually scared. On the surface it might seem like this person is scared of commitment, but actually, the person is just scared of changing that emotional attachment they have with a turbulent situation. So in a sense, some of us are afraid of being happy because we have never known happiness and associate love with issues. This is why you must be careful how hard you criticise your parents – most of the time we end up just becoming them, or occasionally overcompensating in our bid to resist.

Perhaps as a self-improvement exercise you might want to take some time out today to make a list of your past partners and the traits they exhibit, then you can try to draw some similarities. Compare this to traits exhibited by people you blew-off, and then juxtapose the two to a list of ideal traits you would desire in a partner. You just might find that not only does your dating history often deviate from your ideal, but the ones you blew-off were even more in line. Needless to say, humans are often aware of what is good for us, but somehow remain incapable of mustering the will to walk this path. We can only hope that with self-awareness founded on self-knowledge, we can start to pick apart the parts of our mind that pull us towards the very life we ideally hope to avoid.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images 

William Ifeanyi Moore is an MPharm graduate from the University of Portsmouth, UK. His true passion is in novels and poetry but he cheats on them with movies, plays, and music. He believes sacrifice and compromise is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. His debut novel Lonely Roads is out on 10/12/2015. Blog: Twitter: @willifmoore Instagram: willifmoore


  1. red

    July 29, 2015 at 10:33 am

    hmmmmm…food for thought! thanks for this piece.

  2. Manb4real

    July 29, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Hmmmmmmm, I know what is good for me, I know I ought to pursue/develop it, yet I cant muster the strength & courage to pursue or even develop it, and so I look for an escape route… stick to the familiar terrain, oh well…. so help us God.

  3. livingstone

    July 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    really educative..

  4. Great Lady

    July 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Wowwwww. Great lesson learnt.

  5. M.chidi.

    July 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    really enjoyed this one. educative and concise.

  6. Scared girl

    July 29, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    This article is speaking to me.Please someone, anyone give me your advice.I have been in a relationship with a guy for over 5yrs and he is a chronic cheat.He always begs that it won’t happen again but in recent times ,he has gotten even worse.I am 26yrs old and I want to walk away.But I am unemployed with zero financial support from my parents or siblings.This boyfriend of mine happens to be the only source of financial support I have.Please how can I walk away and still survive all by myself without a job?All the times I tried in the past,it was frustrated by my financial issues as he wld come and play the helper and beg to be forgiven.Help with sincere realistic advice

    • Help yourself!

      July 29, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Start looking for employment sharply! (any type of employment, don’t wait until you get that big job. You can start small, no job is without it’s own dignity) As soon as you get it, wait until you get your first pay check, find a place to live and bounce! This is assuming you are living with this guy. If you are not staying with him, then you have absolutely no reason to wait. BOUNCE! The only problem you’ll have is if you’re greedy, and want things you can’t afford, then you’re OYO…

    • red

      July 30, 2015 at 9:28 am

      babe @scared girl. i take God beg you. run away b4 he infects you with disease that all his money can not cure. don’t even try to play smart “i’ll take his money till i’m able to stand” satan will keep giving you reasons to stay. please o, take charge of your life. i know what you mean, it’s happened to the best of us but………. it ain’t worth it

  7. EllesarisEllendil

    July 29, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Great write-up, excellent structure.

  8. Mrs X

    July 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    it’s really sad that we keep going in for the very things that keeps hurting us.

  9. emperor ruffy

    July 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Greatl write up…very educative and concise!

  10. Lol

    July 29, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Wayyyy better than your ‘sexonomy’ post (writing and content). Hard to believe the same person wrote this.

  11. veebee

    July 29, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    [ dont know if you are right. Me i know what i want and i havent had past partners. I hope never to have an ex. I love ma gurl

  12. Broken Heart

    July 31, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Hello scared girl, i have been in your shoe, same thing happened to me too, met in 2008, he will go and mess around and then come crying begging 4 forgiveness after 8years of relationship he still left me, he did not only broke my heart he also left me to care for our 4years old boy and i also discovered 4 other girls who had children for him, but thank God for divine helpers though am still trying to get back on my feet. please leave him while u can b4 it too late.

  13. Bolu

    July 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    William, I enjoyed reading this 🙂 ” This is why you must be careful how hard you criticise your parents – most of the time we end up just becoming them, or occasionally overcompensating in our bid to resist” GBAM! You are so right 🙂

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