Have you recently met someone who swept you off your feet and made the butterflies in your stomach run wild? And did you leave behind an old relationship that wasn’t quite the way you thought or wanted it to be? These two factors are a quite common combination that can have great impact on your new relationship. Whether this impact turns out to be beneficial or destructive on the relation between you and your new partner depends on your ability to separate them and their mistakes from the ones of your ex(es).
Self-made deja vu
Oftentimes, we walk away from old relationships carrying hurt, guilt and anger in our backpacks. It is not uncommon that these wounds never get to heal fully, especially if they are not addressed before meeting a new partner. We can become so wounded that we almost lose faith in love. The real problem shines through when we, seemingly against all odds, meet someone that gives us hope again. As soon as this special someone says or does something that reminds us of our ex, the game is back on. We start worrying that we are making the same mistake all over again; dating someone that will leave what is left of our already wounded hearts burning to ashes. And soon we start looking for proof that we are heading down that slippery slope. Oh no – his drinking is just as bad as my ex’. And oh my, she is flirting just like my last girlfriend, she will probably end up cheating on me as well.
We are rarely aware of our own role in this foul play. If we treat our new partners like a replicate of our ex, pretty soon they will unconsciously be blamed for their wrongdoings. In this way, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy that set up our new partners to fail. This is almost like brainwashing from our side, actually turning them into the person we accuse them to be.
Learning instead of reliving
How can we avoid turning our new partners into a dirty mirror image of our old partners? Typically, we think the answer to this question lies in changing our new loved ones. We must help them and change them for the better, so that this relationship can work out for the best and we can live happily ever after. Spoiler alert: They will probably leave us for never becoming satisfied and loving them for who they are, and/or we will become demotivated along the way as we don’t see the change we expected. Which is a very likely case – we cannot fix what’s not broken! It is more likely that the broken one is our own reflection in the mirror. Before we fix ourselves and heal old wounds, we can’t experience the happiness we want and deserve. Instead, we will only drain ourselves and our significant other along the way for unknowingly ripping the wounds open over and over again. But this damaging process is not one we are conscious of, so how can we turn it around?
Look inwards instead of outwards. This may not seem as the easiest thing to do when we are automatically used to the opposite, but there are small keys that can open big doors:
1. Reflect on what qualities or situations related to your relationship with your ex that you struggled with. Why do you think you reacted negatively to these aspects? What role did you have in it, and what would you change about the way you handled it? Have you learned anything that you wouldn’t have known today if it weren’t for those experiences? It is often most effective to manifest these words. Why not write a letter to yourself?
2. Forgive your ex for putting you through those hurtful situations. And forgive yourself for letting those situations affect you in a way that put you through pain. You choose the way that feels right. If you find it difficult, putting on a guided meditation on forgiveness can go a long way. It is crucial to remember that forgiving is not the same as saying it was okay. Forgiveness means that you choose your own happiness instead of suffering. There is a saying that pretty much sums up the significance of forgiveness: “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.
3. Take pride in your experience and what you have now learned from it, and apply it to any uncomfortable situation with your new partner. Try to calm yourself down enough to remember the reflections you have made around this relationship. It is often helpful to make a strategy on how to “remember the new you” when a sudden reaction flares up. Making yourself an easy mantra to repeat inside while calming down has helped a lot of people.
These three points are only examples of ways to treat our new relationships with the respect and love they deserve. We are all individuals that have our own ways that works best for us. The most important thing to do is turn the attention towards the mirror before we point fingers at our new partners. Remember: If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change!
About the author:
As a certified coach with an educational background in Sociology, Change Management and NLP, Anne Mari Ramsdal aims to help people wake up to their true Being through writing, speaking and coaching, She also loves helping groups and organizations become more successful.