Working with numerous women as a relationship coach, many tell me they have become good friends with the guys they had intimate relationships with in the past. They see it as a sign of emotional maturity. Meanwhile, frequently, both parties are emotionally stuck.
Here are three reasons why I believe that the past is for learning and growing, rather than something you should drag into the future:
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1. He will keep you in the past. No matter who initiated the breakup, one person always wants to get back together and the other likes the friendship arrangement. Because so many people dread developing new intimate relationships, the tendency is to hold tightly onto old ones.
The shared history gives you a sense of being in a relationship — but without the work it takes to keep it alive and healthy. When you go on romantic dates with someone new, this past relationship becomes a barrier for emotional availablity. In fact, some women tell me they feel guilty about dating, like they are betraying the ex-boyfriend, even though the romantic relationship with him is over. In my book, What To Look For In A Man, chapter two talks about how to attain true and lasting healing from past relationships so you do not repeat the old pattern that did not lead to committment.
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2. You will end up in bed. Sleeping with an ex is easy but emotionally unhealthy. You may go out one evening for a drink (or two) "as friends," and one or both of you remembers that initial attraction ... or you are feeling a little lonely, because there are times when being single is isolating, or thinking you need a confidence boost, and you turn to your ex to fill a void that he cannot possibly fill. The next day, all you are left with is regret or a very misguided sense you may get back together. Keep reading ...
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