Relationships are tricky. That might be the understatement of the century, but it’s true. When one doesn’t go to plan – or quite frankly explodes into a mess of heated debate and tense silences – it can have some serious long term effects on your future.
The problem is, by letting that past latch onto you – by nurturing those feelings – you can put up a wall between you and Mr or Mrs Right.
There is a way out, though. You can have your cake and eat it, if you are prepared to turn the mirror on yourself and realise that perhaps it really is you and not them. Sounds ridiculous? Read on.
Everyone has baggage; not everyone takes it everywhere with them. That’s one of the key differences between the ones that can move on, and the ones that find themselves stuck in a rut. Baggage doesn’t have to be old relationships, though; in fact, a lot of the time it isn’t. What is weighing you down could have its roots in childhood trauma, a poor career choice or financial stress. What is important is to identify where this baggage is coming from, and find somewhere to unload it. Pay off outstanding debts. Pursue your dream career. All of these things will make your life feel a lot more fulfilling, and generally make you more enjoyable to be around.
It has been said that the opposite of love is apathy, and it’s true. Anger towards someone can stop you from ever really moving on. It’s also really hard to hide from someone you are dating; you’ll never be fully present.
Being angry at your ex doesn’t punish them, it simply means that you’re still thinking about them. The solution? Don’t care. If you can get to a place where those things your ex puts on Facebook cease to aggravate you to the point of tears, then you have won. Forgiveness finalises a relationship, so you can finally see it off, and dive into something better.
Everything in our culture is throwaway. We don’t really do ‘fixing’ anymore; if a lawn mower breaks, you buy a new one; if you find a tear in your jeans, they go in the bin and you buy another pair. When that cultural mentality is applied to our relationships, however, there is a problem.
Working through things is the hardest part of any relationship, and it can be so tempting to just drop the whole thing because it’s easy. You might even convince yourself that it is the right thing to do. But look at it this way: if you only ever break up with your partners during arguments, it probably isn’t for the right reasons. It’s much more likely that you are struggling to cope with the stress of the situation than you not seeing a future. Throwing something away isn’t the same as fixing.
Seeing things you’ve seen before is distressing. You can assume that the person that you’re seeing is simply a repeat, and you can mistakenly apply all the same qualities to them. Suddenly being quiet during a meal can implicate infidelity. An insistence on eating out can mean they don’t enjoy spending time alone with you. None of it makes sense out of context, but somehow it makes sense in your head.
Get a second opinion. Tell a friend that you trust all of your insecurities and ask them to try and rationalise them for you. If they’ve been there for you through the bad times and the good, they can probably quite accurately predict where you’re going wrong. That can be invaluable in the long run.
Having a past makes you human, but letting it hold onto you makes your life hell. Liberating yourself is simpler than you think, as long as are willing to put the work in.
What do you think about the impact of past relationships? Let us know in the comments below.