Who hasn’t had their heart broken at one time or another? Sometimes we get stuck on a specific breakup and let it hold us back from meeting new people and having new dating experiences.
Everyone needs time to heal after a relationship ends, but after some time has passed and you’re ready to start dating again, how do you avoid bringing past relationship baggage into your present relationships? This week’s question comes from a someone trying to let go of their past relationship…
Dear Dating Advice Girl,
How often do you think we are dating someone who still has a broken heart from a previous relationship? And what are some tips to get past the hurt?
I think a lot of single people bring their broken hearts and baggage into new relationships both consciously and unconsciously. Sometimes it’s because someone hasn’t given him or herself enough time to adequately heal after a breakup and in other cases the trust was so severely broken in a past relationship that they are distrustful of new people they meet and choose to date. A lot of singles even have serious feelings and regrets about their very first relationships, even going as far back as grade school. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t care about your ex or you don’t still care for them in some way…it just means that you are able to move on from old relationships, celebrate what was, leave the past in the past, and be fully present in new relationships and partnerships. The key is to be present to what’s happening in the NOW! Here are some tips for not bringing an obnoxious amount of baggage into a new relationship.
1. Don’t punish someone new for an ex’s missteps
Avoid making gender-specific statements like ‘guys do this’ or ‘girls always act like that’ while with someone new. Even if you believe that girls are all gold-diggers, expressing that to your female date will set a bad tone and you will come off as an angry woman-hater. Give your new love-interest a fair shot. Assume the best about him or her and let them prove themselves accordingly.
2. Be present, get to know your new love-interest
This means avoiding over-talking about ‘what a jerk’ your ex is, etc. Your date should be an interaction between you and your new love-interest! Even if your breakup story is unbelievably entertaining or your ex did something incredibly stupid that you just know your new love-interest will find amusing, the bottom line is that talking too much about someone from your past will start to make your date uncomfortable. Focus on the person you are with on your date and you’ll more likely be less interested in talking about your ex.
3. Try something new with someone new
If you participate in a new activity with your new love-interest, there won’t be much room for comparison to an ex. You’ll be working with a clean slate! If there aren’t a ton of vivid memories attached to a specific activity and person, it will be that much easier to focus on having fun and getting to know the person that you are with.
We all have some level of baggage that we bring with us when interacting with someone new, but it’s important to keep your baggage in check. Though every relationship is different, try to let things unfold naturally without unfair comparisons and premature foreshadowing. Do what you can to avoid bringing past baggage with you into future relationships…the goal is to enjoy the journey of all your relationships….baggage-free!
The Dating Advice Girl