The past can be a tricky thing. It always seems to haunt us, especially when we really need to learn to let it go.
When you enter into a serious relationship with someone, you tend to take on their pasts as well, and it can be difficult to accept what may or may not have happened in their lives before you came along.
This can put a serious damper on your relationship! How can you learn to let go of your partner’s past so you can move forward with them?
Dear Dan and Jennifer,
I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for just over six months now. I feel quite serious about him, but I have issues with past relationships. I was married for 7 years and divorced. Things went well with him up until I found out about and saw pictures of his ex-girlfriends. This seemed to trigger some sort of obsession which I believe was the catalyst of our break up. I needed to find out more about them. Which led to my self esteem plummeting, I believe I wasn’t worthy of his affection. Now with my new boyfriend, I can see a similar pattern emerging. This result in me being distant and pushing my boyfriend away in fear of destroying another relationship, which is the last thing I want to do. Please help.
– Vicky, UK
The past is the past.
First of all, you need to understand that your partner has a past, just like you do. They probably dated around and had their fair share of exploits and relationships that didn’t work out, just like you did.
While your partner’s old partners can seem like they’re in the present, they’re not! They’ve moved on and your partner has moved on. If you find yourself obsessed with your partner’s past partners, you may be the only one who hasn’t moved on! You need to realize that your partner is with you and not with their former partners.
That’s what matters most! When you begin to understand that you’re the one your partner loves and wants to be with, you can begin to let go of their pasts and look towards the future.
Dealing with serious issues.
Sometimes, people who are unable to let go of their pasts or their partner’s pasts have some inner issues that are causing this obsessive behavior. It could be underlying self esteem issues that make you feel like you aren’t as good as your partner’s former flames were or it could be other issues that arise from childhood. If you suspect that you have some baggage that you need to check before moving forward in your relationship, it’s time you do so before you end up pushing your partner too far away.
Really take a look at yourself outside of the situation you’re in and see where you’re at. Don’t compare yourself to your partner’s past partners. The important question is how you feel about you. Don’t be afraid to seek counseling if you feel like your inability to let go of the past is something that comes from deep inside of you. A good counselor or therapist can help you work through your inner issues to learn to be happy with who you are now.
When you are confident and happy with yourself, you can be confident that your partner is happy with you too, and then your partner’s former flames won’t matter so much!
No matter what the real issue is, if you find yourself obsessed with your partner’s past or even if you’re stuck in your own past, you may be serving only to push your partner away. Unless that’s what you’re truly going for, it’s important to nip the behavior in the bud before it gets any worse!
Take the time to work through your problems and don’t forget to let your partner in during the process. They can be a huge pillar of support for you and if you’re open and honest with them, they can be understanding as you work to move through your inability to let go of the past. With time and effort, you can learn to be comfortable enough with yourself to let go of your partner’s past, and you’ll both be happier for it.