It seems as though we’ve all been in that one relationship that put a spin on the way we now view romantic relationships. It seems in lingger no matter what relationship we enter into– this baggage that won’t seem to leave, though we’ve done our best to leave the past where it should stay. Frankly, I’m right there with you. And, chances are, 8 out of 10 people who find themselves skimming over this post have been in the exact same place– it just looks different because we all have our own story to tell.
What’s worse is sometimes even if the person we’re seeing is completely different from the one who hurt us we find ourselves taking a couple steps back in fear that the same thing could potentially happen again. I have good news for you– THAT’S NORMAL! And, it’s okay to feel that way. It’s natural to want to protect yourself. It’s hard to separate the past from the present especially if the scenario is similar.
So, how do you move forward?
How do let past stay in the past?
To help in the process of letting your guard down, here are three things to practice when allowing someone else in and extending yourself the grace to be vulnerable all over again …
- Communicate …
I know the first word of advice most people tell you is (especially when going on a first date) DON’T talk about your ex! And, although that is true, if you have been seeing someone for an extended period of time it makes sense that this topic would eventually come up. Quite honestly, this is one of the most therapeutic stages in your relationship. Allowing yourself to be open and honest about your past sheds light on certain tendencies and behaviors.
Not only is it helpful and a sense of release for you, but it also REALLY helps your partner be more conscious and considerate of their own actions. And, who doesn’t want that?!
Yes, it is hard having these conversations and it’s awkward thinking about how to bring it up somewhat organically– But, at the end of the conversation, you’ll (as cliche as it may sound) you’ll feel as though a HUGE weight has been lifted!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need …
Now that you’ve been open and willing to communicate your past experiences with your current partner, don’t be afraid to shed light on a couple aspects that would help you feel “more” secure in your relationship.
For example, if your ex-partner had been dishonest and may have cheated on you– Don’t be afraid to express to your partner that you value true honesty, and a little more basic communication. Keep in mind that (chances are) you WON’T need this same reassurance throughout the course of your entire relationship. As you grow with this person and your trust in them also grows your perspective on relationships will also begin to change.
The fears and doubts you may have now regarding relationships (more than likely) will not last forever, but in the early stages of what seems like could be a long-term relationship, don’t be afraid to ask for what you might need initially to help you get over that little road block.
- Separate past and present …
Yes, you have every right to proceed with caution when you’ve been hurt before– But remember, your current relationship is NOT your past relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in fear, but it’s also easy to project your past into your present. Be fair with the person you’re presently dating. Remember that they are NOT your ex– and just because you were hurt before by no means you will be hurt again. It’s easy to get caught up in the past, but extend the person you’re dating some grace and allow them the space to be different from the person in your past.
Though it is hard to separate, remind yourself that this relationship and the person you’re dating is not the same. Believe me, it’s easier said than done– I actually had to have an accountability partner to simply keep me from projecting my ex’s tendencies onto my healthy relationship. But, over time, and through opening up to your current partner more and more you begin to feel more secure and you create a safe space to be with that person.
We all have our own story. And it’s okay to talk about them and recognize the pain it has caused us. But, allow yourself grow from your past experiences to create a better, more secure, healthier relationship with someone else.
Tayler Belle (she likes Belle) is a Freelance writer. She graduated from Cardinal Stritch University w/ Major – English and minor in Communications. Belle loves writing, playing be beach volleyball, hiking and hanging out with friends.