Issues from past relationships can be hard to shake — and that’s OK. You’re allowed to feel confused, hurt, or angry about a relationship that’s gone wrong. What is important is that you don’t let that negative energy turn toxic and start affecting how you view all relationships.
“Previous hurt and pain either from our family or other relationships is the biggest reason why people develop negative mindsets around relationships in general.” Jennifer B. Rhodes, licensed psychologist, tells Bustle. “We all need to do our healing work and get to a place where we can see our behavior and our partner’s behavior in a positive light.”
It’s not fair to your partner or to your relationship to view them negatively because of something that happened before you even met. That being said, it’s an easy thing to do. If you realize your past relationship issues are affecting the way you view your current relationship, don’t feel bad — just commit to getting over the issues so you can have a happier, healthier relationship. Everybody’s issues are different, but there are some problems that tend to stick with you.
Here are the issues from old relationships that can affect how you view your current relationship, according to experts.
1. A Breach Of Trust
If you’ve had a breach of trust before — such as lying or cheating — it’s easy to carry that issue with you into your next relationship. “Trust and loyalty is huge in any relationship,” Caitlin Bergstein, a matchmaker at Three Day Ruletells 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.”
You might find you’re holding your partner at arm’s length, that you’re second guessing them, or that you just aren’t letting yourself relax. Make sure to remind yourself that this partner hasn’t done anything to deserve it.
2. Bad Communication
Some people think that fighting is just a normal part of a relationship. If you’ve always had bad communication in a relationship — because you don’t really deal with any of your issues — you may associate relationships with arguing. “Typically, when people are holding onto past issues there is a fair amount of arguing about things they aren’t really upset about,” Nicole Richardson, Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, tells Bustle. It can become a cycle, that just gets worse with every relationship and makes you think that dating has to involve anger and disagreements. Take a step back and try to work on your issues, either with your partner or with a professional.
3. A Lack Of Closure
If your previous relationship ended without closure, it’s easy to feel like relationships are temporary. “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.” If you aren’t letting go or willing to think about the future, try to figure out why.
If you’ve suffered from abuse in a relationship previously, you may not view your current relationship as a safe space. “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.” This is a situation where talking to your partner is key, but seeking professional help may also be the right option.
5. Falling Into A Carer Role
“Some people date the emotionally unavailable to rescue them,” New York–based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, tells Bustle. “… Sometimes you need someone who is ‘damaged’ to make you feel less so. Being able to articulate this reason for dating the emotionally unavailable may make you realize this isn’t really in your best interest.”
This can cause two major issues. On the one hand, you become used to never getting your needs met and don’t ask enough of your future partners, but it can also mean that you view relationships as a chore or a burden.
A bad breakup with someone you thought you were going to settle down with can definitely lead to some abandonment issues. “When you’ve been dumped or abandoned previously it can feel difficult to open your heart to someone for fear of that pain again,” Jasmin Terrany, licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), tells Bustle. If you’re suspicious or cynical about your current relationship, that might be why.
7. Struggling With Vulnerability
If you’ve been burned emotionally in a previous relationship, you may not want to be vulnerable in your current one. “The walking wounded who’ve resolved ‘never to love again’ finds little joy in their new relationships. And their partners suffer from their emotional withholding,” author and relationship expert Susan Winter tells Bustle. You might be cold, distant, or even be disloyal yourself, rather than make yourself vulnerable. As Winter says, it’s not fair on your partner.
Having a hangover from your previous relationship is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s important to work through it so it doesn’t affect your current relationship. If you have preconceived ideas of this relationship or this partner that have come from previous relationships, you need to take some time to process what you’ve been through in your past and separate that from your present. Your partner deserves better — and so does your relationship.
Originally posted on Bustle