Breakups and failed relationships are painful. You have gone into a relationship thinking this is it, only to have your hopes and dreams crushed.
You will never forget the pain and heartache of those wonderful dreams. The relationship has gone but the hurt remains. You want to get back out there but you are scared that it will happen again, scared that there aren’t any good singles left. You know that the heartache has changed you and wonder how to stop the past ruining your future relationships.
How do you stop this happening? How do you avoid repeating your past patterns and stop the past ruining your future?
Here are eight steps to stop past relationships ruining new ones.
HOW TO STOP PAST RELATIONSHIPS RUINING NEW ONES
1. HEAL AND GRIEVE THE PAST
The simple truth is this:
“If you don’t take the time to heal and grieve your past relationship you will continue to bring it into your future.”
The breakdown of a relationship is a huge deal, don’t minimise it! Divorce is recognised as one of the five most stressful life events. Your whole world changes.
It’s important to feel your emotions rather than ignore/suppress them. It doesn’t matter whether the break up was your choice or not, it is still important to mourn/grieve your old way of life and death of your dreams. There isn’t a set timeframe to get over a breakup, it is different for everyone. Take the time you need without forcing yourself to get over it quickly. Don’t feel guilty for your feelings or think your life needs to be a positive meme every day. It’s okay to feel sad.
Further reading: Stages of grief in a marital breakdown and how to work through them.
2. DEAL WITH THE FEAR
Fear is a big issue and it happens at a sub-conscious level as your past relationships have left scars. You will always move away from what you fear, it is how you stay safe.
If you don’t take the time to heal and learn to be happy when a long relationship ends, the fear will affect your future actions.
For example, if you were cheated on you can be very suspicious or controlling with anyone you date which will cause unnecessary problems. This causes you to create self-fulfilling prophecies. I want to give you an example of past relationships ruining new ones:
“Michelle was devastated when her husband left her for another women. It wasn’t the first time a guy cheated on her. Michelle always picked that guy! Even when Michelle met a ‘good’ guy, she would unconsciously sabotage the relationship so that he left her. She would push him away and accuse him of cheating when he hadn’t. Michelle was so scared of being cheated on that she continually created self-fulling prophecies.”
The past can cause you to misread situations with a new person and make you paranoid. It causes you to over analyse EVERYTHING they do or don’t do. To the point where you can’t trust yourself to see it clearly. You can also find yourself acting irrationally when they innocently do something that reminds you of your ex! This is projecting and creating problems that don’t exist. Don’t allow your past to make you distrustful and paranoid.
Leave the past in the past and judge the person on their actions not your ex’s. In fact, wear rose coloured glasses until you have a real reason not to.
You can be so focused on what you don’t want that you create it. It sounds weird but happens because of the way your brain works. The brain does not work in negatives, for your subconscious mind to understand what you are saying, it generates a picture of what you don’t want.
Here is an example:
“If I told you not to think about a yellow VW, that no matter what you do, don’t think about a yellow VW. I guarantee you automatically thought about a yellow VW! This is how your subconscious mind understands what you are saying. It creates a picture of what you are telling it not to think about – the yellow VW! To change, it is important to STOP focusing on what you fear and what you don’t want. STOP giving thought and energy to what you don’t want. Always focus on what you want. Otherwise you will create self-fulfilling prophecies.”
Instead of imagining pain and heartache focus on how wonderful it will be to meet the person who fits you perfectly. Dream of that wonderful, healthy love!
4. SOUNDS CLICHÉ BUT FIND YOURSELF
It is time to work out what you like, what you enjoy and how you want your life to be. If you have come out of a long-term relationship, you may have no idea and that’s ok. What you can do is play, experiment and try new things like that cooking/art/acting/writing/dance class/sailing – whatever it is.
Start by dating yourself so you know what you enjoy and what is important to you. After a relationship you may have lost who you are, as you have comprised to make the relationship work and the other person happy. It is time to reconnect with the neglected parts of you. When you are clear about what you enjoy and what matters to you that won’t happen again.
Further reading: Finding the real you amid the craziness of being a single mother.
HOW DO I STOP LETTING MY PAST RELATIONSHIPS AFFECT MY NEW ONES?
5. RELATIONSHIP HISTORY/SKILLS
Look at the patterns of your past relationships so you don’t repeat them. Look at the five qualities you need to have in a relationship and the five you just can’t live with. Then stick to them.
If you want a new job or if you want to get fit you will take the steps to do it. It’s crazy that when it comes to the most important area of our lives we leave it to chance.
Take the time to look at what happened and what went wrong. This will ensure you don’t repeat the past. One of the biggest reasons that relationships don’t work out the second time around is people either chose a similar type of person or act the same way and get the same results. Great relationships rarely happen by chance but by having good communication skills. This is not taught in school and people generally follow their parents’ example. It is important to work out what went wrong and what your role was.
Remember it takes two people to create a healthy relationship. It can be hard to do this alone, so I recommend getting some help. It will also allow you to make sense of what seemed to lack any sense. It lets you work out what you want to bring to a new relationship and what bad habits to lose forever!
6. LEARN THE LESSON AND ALCHEMISE YOUR PAST
Every relationship you have can teach you something and if you don’t learn the lessons you often end up repeating them until you do. It can stop you moving on and attracting the love you want. In fact, you will continue to attract more of the same. Take the time to look objectively at what happened and the role you played. You can only be responsible for your actions. This is not about taking all the blame or no blame but about radical self-responsibility.
Look at the lesson:
- Maybe it was that you didn’t value yourself
- To show you want you need in a relationship
- That you are worthy of love
- They taught you to be a better person
- You learnt about yourself
- You learnt the value of give and take
- Learnt how to ask for what you want and need etc.
Everything happens for a reason so look back at your relationships and learn the reason you attracted them in the first place.
This is the base metal and when you learn the lesson you find the gold nugget and alchemise your past.
Instead of falling into the patterns of the past, take the time to dream about how you want to feel in a relationship. Stop leaving love to chance or allowing chemistry alone to make your choice of partner. You can have the most amazing chemistry with someone who makes you unhappy! Therefore, it is important to know what you need to be happy.
This is not about superficial traits but the qualities the person has and knowing what they value. You can have a relationship with different interests but when you have opposing values it will ruin the relationship.
8. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. Get out of your comfort zone and do something different.
If you want to STOP history repeating itself, then date outside of your ‘type’. Use dating to discover the type of person who really works for you and what you want. Notice how you feel, when you are with them and without them.
A relationship should add to your life and feel easy. Feelings are the key and it is too easy to underestimate them. Try different activities. Do something novel, fun, or active. This will change your routine and put in a different space/environment for a different relationship.