How Do I Avoid Taking My Bad Experience Into My New Relationship

As the Year 2012 is approaching its closing, many of us will be reflecting upon our experiences  throughout the year.  As with tradition  some will make New Year’s resolutions.  There are those of use who don’t believe in making resolutions.  However, whether you want to call it a resolution, commitment, or your plans for the future, those of us who understand the importance of self-evaluation and preparation for the future are  contemplating the steps we will take, the changes we will make, and the goals we will achieve in the coming year.  As we consider our lifestyle changes, lifestyle lifts, or development,  we will be re-evaluating a number of things, and among them are our relationships.  If our relationships were healthy, fulfilling, and everything we hoped for, we still think about how and what we can do to make things even better.  You must admit — a relationship can never be too good.  We should endulge ourselves in wonderful relationships because they affect every aspect of our human experiences.

As the New Year approachs, we want to disgard, leave behind, or just plain forget about those relationships that proved to be problemmatic, exhausting, or just out of line with what we desire.  Moving past them is most certainly possible and is best for healing.  Life is too full of wonderful things, experiences, and people to let a bad experience linger around.  A bad experience is good for only one thing and that is  — it becomes a lesson.

Here is an article that I wrote for the quarterly  mini magazine “Positivity 4 Ever, the July – September 2012 edition, published by Glenda Staten (Copyright 2011 by Glenda Staten, North Carolina, Printed in the United States of America).  Although circulation of the mini magazine has been discontinued, I’ve decided to share with you the articles that appeared in my column, “Relationship Resolutions by Author Pam Reaves”.

So Happy New Year — May the rest of your life be the very best of your life.

How Do I Avoid Taking My Bad Experience Into My New Relationship

There is a relationship formula offered by many relationship experts which states that when ending a relationship, you should remain single one week for each year that you were in the relationship.  Although it seems odd when throwing a mathematical equation into something as emotionally-based as a relationship, there are a number of reasons why this formula makes sense.

Our relationships (positive or negative) become a part of us over time.  As time passes, the relationship will experience joy and sorrow, success and failure, laughter and tears, as well as a whole host of other emotions too numerous and complex to list or explain in this article.  All of these things attach themselves to us in some way and our experiences shape who we are or who we will become.  So when the relationship ends, the effects thereof do not magically disappear although there are some experiences that are so terrible, we wish everything about them would magically go away. Stuff (good and bad) has a way of sticking to us.  We don’t mind the good stuff sticking around, but the bad stuff is what we’re trying to get away from.   So don’t you agree that it is insane to take it into the next relationship?

Among the pieces of advice we give or receive in our efforts to bring closure to a relationship include: Going to social events where we will meet new people (increasing our prospects);   Don’t grieve over the relationship, but start dating other people (they are supposed to make you forget the painful past); and Having sex with someone new to get over a former lover (self-medicating that has no real healing properties).  So it is safe to conclude that many of us somehow believe the new relationship is the answer to moving beyond the one that ended.  The reality is that if the prior relationship is not really over, if a person is still carrying around hurt, humiliation or abuse from a previous relationship; if there hasn’t been sufficient time to heal, the new relationship will not solve the problem, but rather it will exacerbate the problem – things will get worse.

So how do I move on without carrying toxic baggage into my next relationship?  Whether or not you are spiritual or religious, when ending a relationship a good piece of advice is to apply the biblical proverb, “Physician heal thyself.”  The premise of this proverb is that people should take care of, address, or start with their own defects rather than focusing on fixing the defects of others.  So when the relationship ends, the first step in preparing for the next relationship is to remain alone in order to heal thyself.  Another relationship or person cannot heal the scars from the previous relationship.    The next person cannot fix you because the fixing starts within.  When you are healed, you are strong, happy, and ready enough to have a relationship that has nothing to do with your past.   You will be offering the best of you and not a broken, disillusioned, and unhealthy person.  The kind of person that you want will not accept you in this state.

During the healing process there is time to: (1) Assess what went wrong; (2) Honestly determine and come to terms with the part each party played in the troubled relationship; (3) Figure out what one’s expectations are, if those expectations are reasonable, and what type of person can meet them; (4) Learn how to love self; (5) Rest in the peaceful place of solitude; and (6) Learn how to trust again.

There is some truth to the saying “Time heals all wounds”.  I say “some truth” because the ugly truth is that if you don’t take the necessary time to heal you, the pain, scars, and other toxic elements will continue to be a part of you and you will in turn take this toxicity into the next relationship.  However, the more distance (time) you put between the old relationship and the new one, the greater the certainty is that things of the past will become no more than distant memories from which you learned valuable lessons.  You may only come away with having learned something as rudimental as what not to do or accept in the next relationship.   That’s great – past history won’t repeat itself.

So when the question of starting a new relationship without the baggage from the past arises, remember that you do have the power to move on.  Power requires a source of energy.  It is impossible to be energetic when you are exhausted from the vestiges of a past relationship that depleted you of your strength, zest for life, and will to live a happy, loving, and healthy life with the person of your choice.  When you acknowledge the negative effects of holding on to negative relationships, you understand how critical it is that you let go of them.

When it comes to love, you deserve the best.  Accept nothing less than the real thing. © Pam Reaves