It would be amazing if every relationship started with a clean slate. No expectations, no baggage, no stress. But far too often, issues from your last relationship can come back to haunt you — and mess with the relationship you’re in now.
The truth is, there’s not an exhaustive list of issues that can crop up again. “Pretty much any past romantic issues can come back to haunt your current relationship!” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. “The best thing you can do to handle this is be aware about past issues and also recognize that your past partner and current partner are two different people. Let’s say your past partner never wanted you to come out with [their] friends and family. They always kept you separate from the rest of their life. This may have been one of the reasons that the two of you broke up. In your next relationship you are likely to be on guard to see if they’re inviting you into their life or not. You might be hypersensitive to small comments or discussions that suggest you are going to have the exact same issue with the net person. Being aware that this is a trigger for you, can go a long way towards helping you not see problems that aren’t there.”
But even though pretty much any issue can resurface in your current relationship, there are some that experts say rear their ugly heads far more frequently than others. Here are the issues that you should look out for, especially if you’ve struggled with them before.
1. A Breach Of Trust
If there was lying or cheating in a previous relationship, that breach of trust can definitely affect how you feel in future relationships. “Trust and loyalty is huge in any relationship,” Caitlin Bergstein, a Boston-based matchmaker at Three Day Rule tells Bustle. “When you have these broken by someone you love, it is totally normal to be self-conscious or overly sensitive to these issues in your next relationship. The trick is to make sure you’re keeping those sensitivities in check and not projecting or comparing your new partner to your old partner.” And as always, talk to your partner about issues you struggle with and see if they can help ease your mind.
A really bad breakup can stay with you — especially if it was your first serious relationship. “The end of a long-term relationship is never easy but when it comes unexpectedly, it can cause you to be on edge or unsure in future relationships,” Bergstein says. “It can create a sense of caution and you may find yourself holding back emotionally from a really great relationship because you’ve been hurt in the past.” Try to remember that not all relationships end the same way.
3. Toxic Relationships
If you’ve suffered a toxic or abusive relationship, it’s totally understandable that scarring from that will come up again when you’re in a new relationship. “When you come from a relationship that was unhealthy for any reason, it’s fair to be a bit guarded when you start a new relationship,” Bergstein says. “Experiencing an unhealthy relationship can really change how someone views themselves, future relationships, etc.” Give yourself time, talk to your partner, and get professional advice if you need it. There’s no shame in taking a while to bounce back from that.
If your partner left without closure — or was just never available — you might struggle with abandonment issues. “Abandonment issues can factor large in relationships when something triggers that again,” Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and the owner of Exclusive Matchmaking tells Bustle. “It’s scary and hard to put to rest. See a therapist and know your triggers so you can react differently in this relationship.”
5. Bad Communciation
Communication is so important in a relationship, but if you haven’t had good communication in the past, that’s a bad habit you can carry with you to a new relationship. Trombetti says if you had poor communication in a past relationship and never worked on resolving the issue, this can haunt your next relationships.
Talk to your partner in an honest, direct way — and ask them to do the same. Communicating often, even if it’s just checking in with each other, can help.
Not everyone feels comfortable in a long-term relationship — if that sounds like you, it might follow you from relationship to relationship. Trombetti says if you often run away when things get tough, it’s a sign that you don’t realize relationships take work, which can definitely come from issues in your previous relationship. But as she says, it’s how you work through the issue that counts. If you have a tendency to run, talk it through with your partner — and explain that you may need to take things slowly.
Truthfully, many difficult issues from your last relationship can come up again if you haven’t taken the time to work through them. If you see a familiar problem coming up in your relationship, just talk to your partner and make sure to get help if you need it. There’s no reason to let a past relationship ruin your current one.
Originally posted on Bustle