You’ve long since kicked your significant other to the curb, and, almost to your surprise, you’ve hooked up with another sweetie who more than makes up for all the past grief. But the memories of the drama from the previous relationship not only remain, but are also beginning to subtly creep into your new relationship.
How and why has this happened?
Some would refer to what I’m talking about as “baggage,” and, I think that is an apt description. We have all experienced it in one form or another. It is a kind of emotional post-traumatic stress disorder. But wait a sec. You may be telling yourself that you should be over it, and, your new honey should make you forget about it. But this is not necessarily the way you will progress. After all, and let’s face it, every relationship you’ve ever had is an exercise in personal growth. If it hasn’t been, then you’re doing something wrong. Mileage can and does vary from person-to-person, but letting go of the past can be difficult, especially if a relationship was problematic.
Now I’m not a shrink, although I sometimes cover like-material on this site, but regardless of how extraordinary your new love may be, there is no getting around the fact that no two affairs of the heart are ever the same. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you love your new beau any less, or that s/he is any less significant to you. It simply means that your needs & wants may have undergone a recalibration since the last time you were romantically involved.
In a previous relationship, you may have thought that if you acted in a certain manner that it would be enough to make love last. And while you probably didn’t seek to change the other person, you would be a liar if you said that you didn’t want your time & effort to be reciprocated. The bottom line is that people affect each other differently. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. It all depends on the individual’s tendency to absorb the lesson. (Hey, we all have our own, personal learning curves.)
In a new relationship, you will most likely still wrestle from time-to-time to unlearn unhealthy past behaviors and otherwise endeavor to deactivate the “hot buttons” an ex installed. Eventually it will get better over time if you work at it. Additionally, being involved with someone who is vested in the relationship and doesn’t have issues expressing love, support & encouragement will certainly go a long way. But you should also realize that no matter how amazing this new relationship may be, it will never be identical to a previous one, nor should it be.
I’m not saying that your passion is any less, or that your connection is anything short of exceptional–nay–what I am saying is that given your experiences, expectations & behaviors have probably been adjusted & amended accordingly. If you’re coming out of a negative relationship (and isn’t that the whole reason why you’re reading this article), then you already implicitly know that the dynamics are very different with a new person. And if you don’t know or haven’t noticed, then maybe you’re just unconsciously repeating the same fact patterns of the old relationship. If that is the case, then you’re in for another negative experience, in my opinion. Whatever you do, don’t walk down the aisle or become co-tenants on the same mortgage because that is a recipe for disaster. (Don’t laugh some people are actually foolish enough to do both.)
Regardless of what the situation may be, the fact remains that as long as you continue to involve yourself with the same kind of personality and repeat the same patterns, time after time, you will probably never break the chain of dysfunction. Maybe you’re OK with that because you don’t want the relationship as much as you want the lifestyle that combining incomes will afford. But if you’re not (and I hope that is the case) then you would do well, as you go along, to strive to acknowledge and accept that stumbling over all the same obstacles erected by former romantic alliances is a part of the human experience. And as long as you recognize that these psychological speed bumps exist, simple awareness can go a long way to help neutralize the harmful effects of emotional baggage on a fresh relationship.
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