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When starting a new relationship, old flames and flings can be a touchy subject. When in doubt, express how the last relationship has prepared you for your next relationship. Bitter breakup stories can be a quick damper on an amazing date. If the conversation never happens, count it as a win!
By Tami28, Illinois, United States
Dating and relationships are chock-full of lessons, experiences, intimacy, and interpersonal exchanges. Whether two people make arrangements to go on a first date or are going on 50 years of marriage, there is always something new to discover. This is the beauty of being human; we require the basic needs of affection, sharing, conversation, and contact to enrich our spirits and well-being. However, there are varying degrees of human connection in which each of us determines how much or little we give and receive. When two people enter into a romantic relationship, they are making the choice to see if they are compatible as life partners or perhaps the new flavor of the week.
Regardless of what the desired outcome is, how high or low the expectations are, along with approaching it with fear or with ease, there is always history that comes in a variety of packaging. It could be a large travel trunk or a small carry-on bag. It is the responsibility of the carrier to determine how much or how little of this emotional baggage and past experiences will be "unpacked" within the new or pre-existing relationship. It is also the responsibility of the recipient to have a level of sympathy but the strength to express that they, in fact, should not be paying for the past mistakes of others. If a point of comprise can be reached, this is a positive victory for both parties.
As someone who has been judged based on a previous relationship and wasn't able to succeed in creating a deeper level of emotional connection because my partner feared suffering in love as he once did, we could no longer move forward. But I have done the same—comparing various dates to the one man that I loved deeply. In turn, I wasn't giving others a proper chance and I too was putting up a strong wall of self-protection so I wouldn't get hurt based upon prior heartbreak. What I learned from my personal experiences in dating and relationships is that each person has to stand on his or her own and be treated with respect as an individual. Give each person a chance as not everyone is the same. Just because someone may have hurt us in the past, doesn't mean the person in the future will. However a lot of our mental state, relationship patterns, and how much we have become self-aware also has impact on the people that we attract and are attracted to.
If a person is continuously attracted to a partner that is emotionally unavailable, the chase of cat and mouse will be inevitable—spanning over one relationship or through a series of partners that function in the same manner. Same lesson, but different "teachers." Until there is a shift in wanting to be with someone who is available, present, and emotionally healthy, not much is going to change. If however we are those who are emotionally unavailable and desire a level of intimacy that our walls and various periods in our life simply won't permit, we too will continue attracting those who want to be close to us, yet we push them away. If we make the conscious effort to be in a relationship with ourselves first and foremost, we can find the healthy balance to create healthy relationships with others—and in turn attract those who also are ready for what it is we deserve and need along with being able to give to them freely as well.
By choosing not to accept responsibility, we live with the pain of those who have harmed us and let us down. Continuing to perpetuate the heartbreak or mistakes made in past romantic relationships that for whatever reason didn't work out, we are only closing ourselves off to living a life that is full, loving, and can allow us to grow. But approaching ourselves with kindness, personal boundaries of respect, yet with the willingness to be non-judgmental and open, we can continue to evolve into the best versions of ourselves.
The next time we look across the table on a first date or after years of countless meals with our life's mate, let it be with new eyes—those that do not carry suffering, anger, resentment, and judgment, but rather cautious optimism, fairness, and openness. With a clear mind and heart comes the clarity to in fact see the person who is in front of us in the here and now.
By Jess_SnuggleBaby, New South Wales, Australia
After my diagnosis, I went to the last 3 men I had slept with to inform them of my current STD status. I was prepared for a backlash from them, but each one was understanding, thankful, and in awe that I would come to them with this information. I made sure to state that I was not accusing them of giving me this disease, just that I wanted them to be informed and to be tested. My advice is to be honest to past partners, they may be more accepting than you realize!
By sweetheart541, Oregon, United States
In the past I have talked a little too much about my ex-partners. I have noticed that it had a negative effect on what was going on in front of me. Sometimes the past should stay in the past. Unless you're able to share what you've learned, it's like hiding a part of yourself. Aside from the evolutionary benefits, talking about your exes can help you communicate to your new partner how you grew into the person you are today. Often, romantic relationships serve as learning experiences that let you test the boundaries of your interests and needs. Reflecting on a past relationship can even help you find out something about yourself that you may have missed during the relationship and breakup. Everyone has a story how they got what they got. Just state the facts and be done with it. Hope this will help someone one day.
By HawaiianVibes, Hawaii, United States
someone who constantly talks badly about his exes, could be hiding a strong narcisistic personality or simply cant take responsibility for his actions. Often I would date someone and at some point of the evening, when "past relationships" theme comes up... They would regularly say how much is her fault for every disgrace that rained in their lives afterwards. You can easily guess from these affirmations, or even from few words, you can easily picture how this person is acting and the patterns repeating. Things like "I had to leave her because she was crazy" could be revealing a difficult and judgemental personality.. Just be aware of any signal while still enjoying the date. these little attentions could save your relationships to come!
By Butterjam, London, United Kingdom
when asked about previous relationship keep the conversation light, especially on the first date. Nothing is more of a mood killer than a first date going on a long winded rant about there previous relationship(s). Stick to the basics. There will be a time for more in depth details at a later time. After ass they are your past for a reason.
By 2ndGen, Lowa, United States