Are you friends for the right reasons or because you fear being vulnerable in love again?
This time of year generally marks the start of new ways to live life; developing positive habits physically, emotionally and relationally. As a relationship coach, I understand how difficult it can be to make lasting changes in one’s mindsets regarding love. It is very easy to say one thing, but not follow through with actions that have a lasting affect on one’s relationship decisions. One of the barriers to creating a strong, intimate connection with an available, single guy is the presence of a former boyfriend in the picture.
These former boyfriends are:
- Guys you dated seriously for an extended time with the hope of a long term commitment and eventually marriage.
- Men who broke your heart.
- Guys who are not the father of your children.
You may be feel you are better friends than you ever were in a love relationship. You can finish each other’s sentences and know each other’s thoughts before those ideas are verbalized. All these experiences are very emotionally validating and provide a sense of security that one has someone who truly cares.
With that connection, you can have much of the emotional benefits of a relationship. The trouble with this level of close intimacy is the barrier it creates in dating. It will not be you and the new guy; it will be you, the new guy and your former boyfriend. Spiritually, one of the best parts of lasting love is that emotional connection you only have with each other.
Sharing tender thoughts, feelings and desires with two men does not make you truly vulnerable in love: in an unspoken way, you are using your ex-boyfriend as an emotional backup in case the love relationship fizzles out.
Let’s explore why I strongly believe former boyfriends are for learning and growing emotionally. A failed relationship is an opportunity to explore one’s role in the breakup, working through negativity and self-defeating mindsets. It is not a challenge to fight for maintaining that emotional intimacy, best reserved for love.
One: The Past Never Leaves. The standard you have in your mind regarding love is generally set in your formative years. Role models usually come from your parents relationship and that becomes your barometer for normal. Keeping former boyfriends in your life, especially on a close, intimate level only enforces that particular standard. You were attracted to each other because that connection was similar in many ways to that standard. It is not wise to think one is so advanced emotionally that the past can stay in the present without affecting one’s life decisions and choices, especially in love. It is important to develop sound judgment, discretion and personal understanding so you can make positive, emotionally healthy choices. It is difficult to do this when the door to the past is opened and has a great influence over your life.
Two: Backslide Into Physical Intimacy. Keeping the door to temptation open, especially with a person you loved and already had a physical relationship with is not spiritually wise. Even if it never happens, there is always a level of attraction to each other that is best shared within the boundaries of a committed relationship. Above all else in life, one should guard the heart for it is the wellspring of life. It is like keeping a big slice of the most delicious cake on your kitchen counter every day while you are eager to lose weight. Eventually, you will give in to the temptation because of its availability. If the cake wasn’t in the house, you probably would not have fallen into that trap.
Three: You’ll Probably Miss The Right One. Relationship patterns are difficult to see when the past is still in the picture on a regular basis. The mind will start rationalizing and reasoning out why this person is not so bad after all. Perhaps he’s a great guy and you two were not meant for love; however that does not erase the elephant in the room: the reasons why it did not work out. More than likely, you will continue this relationship pattern with your ex in the picture because you can’t see the deeper levels of why change is necessary. A breakup can be the beginning of increased wisdom and understanding. You can chose to build your new life with the rare and beautiful treasures of spiritual knowledge you can take into a better relationship.
A lasting, deeply connected relationship is much more than physical attraction and chemistry. You can attract the right man for love if you take the time to prepare not only emotionally and mentally, but also spiritually. It is important to live in a manner that conveys the message that you are worthy of love; you value shared faith and morals and are committed to living a life of integrity.
Keeping the past in your present is symbolic spiritually because it makes the statement that you live by sight and not by faith. Being vulnerable in love is an act of faith, which can open better, lasting and more fulfilling doors to the right kind of love when you look at the past as an avenue for growth.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit here for articles, exercises, coaching options and recent books.