As Carrie Bradshaw once cleverly related “When a relationship dies, do we ever really give up the ghost, or are we forever haunted by the spirit of relationships past?”
Many of us have had a BIG relationship. Maybe not as BIG as the relationship we're in, but we've all had one of those relationships that hit us hard, chewed us up, and spit us out in the end. And though we managed to sweep ourselves off, pick up the peaces and move on, sometimes we feel haunted by the ghost of the relationships past.
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Living in the past is a major cause of depression. And if you're living in your past, you're not giving your current partner the opportunity to have a clean slate. You may be unconsciously punishing them for the sins of relationships past.
Most clients I counsel don't even realize they are carrying this ghost with them. You may not even recognize it. Yet you may be haunted every time you try to get close to someone new. The most common ghost of relationships past is the spirit of "trust issues". Every time you try to get close to someone new thoughts of pain, lies and rejection tell you that it isn't safe to trust, you aren't capable of being fully loved, and you won't be accepted just as you are, flaws and all. Yes this is certainly a visit by the ghost of a painful relationship or toxic lover.
Lack of trust can erode at a relationship, killing it slowly over time or sometimes helping it off the proverbial cliff to a quick, and sudden death. By withholding trust from a partner who has not violated it, we suck the life out of our current happiness and end up sabotaging our future relationship. We end up punishing our current mate for the wrongs committed by others.
Think about it. If you start dating a guy and he was cheated on by his last girlfriend, would you want to be untrusted and treated as if you had cheated? Didn't think so. So don't do this to your partner. Refusing to trust your new partner because of what an ex did, is hanging onto the ghost of the past relationship and punishing your present and future partners for it.
Trust is a choice. Yes, that's right, it's a choice. You must choose to give your trust to your partner. Do not punish them for the sins of others, especially if they did nothing to merit the lack of trust.
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In order to vanquish this ghost, you'll need to take a step forward and consciously choose to give your trust. Remind yourself that your current partner is not your ex. Say it with me, "I am not dating my ex". And when the little voices start to tell you not to trust your partner because you were hurt before, quiet them by reminding yourself that you are not dating your ex, it's not fair to punish your partner for the sins of others, and that your partner has done nothing to violate your trust. It will take a few times to practice this emotional exercise, but you must harness your negative thoughts. Once you do, over time these thoughts will quiet and the ghost will eventually disappear.
When a relationship dies, give up the ghost. Stop keeping yourself emotionally chained to the issues of the past. You may be sabotaging your present and future relationship happiness.