Most of us have been in at least a few relationships throughout our lives. Maybe some were healthier than others, and maybe some of them even ended on pleasant terms. However, there are times when our past relationships can continue to haunt us in ways we don’t even realize. This can affect the way we live our lives, how we see ourselves, and how we act in our current relationships, or toward our partners. Let’s take a closer look at how past relationships can influence your present way of thinking about yourself.
How You See Yourself Based On Past Relationships
Even if you consider yourself to be a strong person, some of the negative aspects from past relationships can shake your confidence. Perhaps you were told you did certain things incorrectly, perhaps you were criticized,or maybe your significant other even ‘poked’ fun at you – it may have been joking in nature at the time, but sometimes even jokes can sink into us more than we realize. This can make you take a longer look at yourself, and see negative traits that aren’t really there, or cause your self-confidence to drop.
You may also experience emotional triggers in your life on your own, or especially if you find yourself in another relationship. Arguments could be more intense and escalated based on what is said, and if it affects you from a past relationship, instead of the present. You could even start to blame your partner for things that simply don’t apply to them, because your previous partner did them.
On the other hand, if your last relationship was a good one,you could start to compare your partner to your previous one, and feel as though they don’t measure up, or feel immense guilt for ‘betraying’ your previous partner, even if the relationship is over.
How To Let Go Of Past Relationships
It’s never a good idea to let our past dictate our present or our future for any reason, but when relationships come into play and make us feel and act a certain way, it can be even harder. Whether your last relationship was good or bad, you should prepare yourself for a way to ‘get over’ it and move past it.
One practice that has had some success is the idea of a ‘closing ceremony.’ Do what you need to do to completely close up the relationship, whether that means taking some time away for yourself, getting rid of your partner’s things, etc. You decide what will officially close off the relationship, making it nothing more than a chapter in your life, and move on from there. Then, you’ll be fully open to live your life for yourself, and start fresh with any future partners you may have.
I have been practicing couples therapy in Pasadena for over fifteen years. As your therapist, I will help you understand the underlying conflict and how each partner contributes to it.