Despite the heartache and stress involved in relationships (and dating) I believe that all of these experiences serve a purpose. The good experiences teach us what works and the bad ones well they are they to show us what we don’t want in a future partner. But today I want to question how the experiences with boyfriends/girlfriends past have the ability to negatively cloud our judgement when it comes to blossoming new relationships?
With break-ups being as painful as they are, most of us (unless you are some sort of sadist) strive to avoid making the same mistakes over again and aim to learn from what went wrong in past relationships by acknowledging our own patterns when it comes to the people we get involved with and (aka spotting the glaring red flags).For instance, with a little bit of self-reflection you may establish that the reason many of your past relationships ended in disaster was because you could handle life with a needy mummy’s boy and subsequently come to terms with the fact that you the type of girl that just can’t settle for anything less than an old-fashioned alpha male. Then imagine, you meet a seemingly decent guy who ticks most of your boxes – gainfully employed, sporty, good conversation and treats you like a princess – BUT alas there is one little flaw – at the age of 45 he still lives with the OLDS. The alarms bells ring ! Is it history repeating itself?
On one hand, I would say you should give yourself a huge pat on the back for being sharp enough to spot the red flag and for being honest enough to acknowledge it as an issue. We are shaped by our past traumas and such situations it is natural for us to have reservations about getting involved with someone who shares certain similarities with past partners. While it is certainly not unreasonable one does need to question whether such comparisons with boyfriends/girlfriends past is fair on new suitors? Or whether we a choosing to focus on an isolated aspect of someone’s persona could result in us ignoring all their positive attributes that could have potentially made them our Prince?
Sure, knowing your deal breakers is important when it comes to being successful in dating. While being open-minded and dating anyone and everyone who shows an interest in the hope of finding your Prince Charming is nice in theory, it will also definitely serve to waste a lot of your precious time (don’t forget that bio clock is busy tick tocking).The next thing you’ll wake up aged 30 with nothing more than a hell of a lot of ‘interesting’ dates under your belt but no happily-ever-after to show for it.
The key here, I think, is to be reasonable and question how much your deal breakers are shaped by bad experiences from the past rather the real tangible problems. Ask yourself whether you are in fact allowing those big bad exes win by allowing them to haunt your future? Don’t use your tumultuous past relationships be an excuse for your ‘forever alone’ mindset. Just because a black man cheated you don’t mean that you should dismiss a whole race as being Ashley Madison members (true story of a real life sad spinster). Ultimately, things like this are never clear cut. There is a fine line between learning from our past relationship experiences and using them to establish our non-negotiable criteria and not allowing our judgement to be clouded by the ghosts of boyfriends (or girlfriends) past.
It’s your turn now Rinsers. Do you find that past experiences have a considerable impact on current relationships? Are you still haunted by the ghosts of boyfriends (and/or girlfriends) past ? And can these feelings/issues been detrimental when trying to form new relationships? Does establishing deal breakers based on past relationships say more about you than it does about the people you are dating?