Even when you're ready to start dating after a breakup, your last relationship may be getting in the way. For example, if your ex was a great lover, you may compare his love making to every potential partner that comes your way. If your new love interest doesn't measure up, you may focus on the comparison, dismissing all the unique, wonderful qualities that belong to your new man. In an effort to re-live or hang on to something meaningful from the past, you may be jeopardizing your future.
Other times, your past relationship may bring up painful memories. When you begin dating someone new, you may become hyper vigilante, looking for anything that might indicate that your new love interest is like your ex. For example, if your ex cheated on you, you will look for anything that might indicate he has a wandering eye. When you find something—and, by the way, you WILL find something if you're looking for it—you may jump to conclusions prematurely. In an effort to protect yourself, you may sabotage a newly developing relationship unnecessarily.
To make matters worse, our memories are fallible. We can remember people being far better or worse than they actually were. We tend to distort our memories. They shift over time. They changed based on how much time has passed, what is currently at stake and who or what we are comparing them with.
So be careful. Don't let your memories of your ex get in the way of learning about and appreciating someone new. To help you with this endeavor, here are some signs that your ex may be sabotaging your future relationship.
- You only remember the good things about your ex.
- You believe that your ex was your soulmate and secretly wish that you were still together.
- You only remember the bad things about your ex.
- You have not resolved the trauma experienced in your past relationship.
- You don't trust yourself to evaluate a new person and determine if the relationship is healthy for you.
- You are so uncomfortable with the empty space that now exists since your breakup with your ex that you will jump into any relationship that comes your way.
- Not enough time has passed since your last relationship ended for you to gain a balanced perspective.
Take the time you need to process your past relationship so that you can see things realistically. Get the help you need to learn what you need to learn moving forward. Make the necessary changes in yourself so that you can be your best in your next relationship. And last, remember that every person and every relationship is unique. While comparing one to another is normal, don't let any comparisons distract you from discovering someone new and developing your best relationship yet!
If you or someone you know is struggling with dating and finding love, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don't need to wait—you can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve.
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
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