Having a history of trauma or pain can be a real hinderance to one’s current dating life. It can color and distort the way a person views themselves, a potential partner and society. This includes how a person selects a partner, people they are attracted to, and how they respond to emotions or make decisions. All this is crucial to why healing old wounds is essential and learning how to live in the present when it comes to successful dating.
Look to unresolved issues from your past if you keep repeating unhealthy patterns. People fall into grooves because of feelings of familiarity or comfort. Your past supersedes your logical mind that will try to alert you to potential problems. You may be reenacting childhood patterns in your adulthood that causes difficulties in relationships or a fear of commitment. Perhaps you are drawn to trying to rescue or improve your partners. This is especially true for people with emotionally distant or addicted parents. There is a need to protect your heart and in doing so you push people away before they can hurt you. If you find yourself struggling to open up to a new partner despite no warning signs and things are actually fairly healthy, there is a solid chance you have unresolved issues. Here are five tips to help you begin to heal and focus on enjoying the present moment to build lasting love.
- Allow yourself time to process a breakup before rushing out to date again: Avoid the adage the “best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” Your heart needs this time alone to get necessary closure, which requires ample reflection and processing. You must accept what transpired and being willing to learn from you mistakes to be a better partner in the future. If you deny the pain you feel from the breakup you won’t fully heal and will bring baggage into your next relationship. You don’t need to be 100% over your ex before you try dating again, but you do need some introspective time to help you be the best version of yourself you can be.
- Use healthy outlets to release trapped pain: Consider writing a letter to your ex or key person that caused you previous pain. Get all the feelings you have been bottling up and write them down stream of consciousness. Try to highlight both the good and bad aspects, including what you have learned along the way. It’s important that you don’t send the letter, but instead consider burning it or ripping it up to shreds as a means of total release. Once this weight is off your shoulders, you can be free to enjoy a healthier and happier life in the present.
- Don’t over-generalize: Not all men are pigs, and not all women are gold-diggers. When thoughts like this pop-up look to your past to see where these ideas stem from. Maybe you need to address how you ex stole money from you, or how your father was a philanderer. Thought like these are called “cognitive distortion” or a flawed way of thinking. Assumptions such as these can greatly limit your ability to interact with people. If you constantly find yourself dating the same type of person, you must address what you specifically find attractive and why. Relationships are most successful when you approach them with a clean slate and open heart.
- Notice your triggers, limitations, and vulnerabilities: People we love will always push our buttons. This is because of the baggage we carry in our hearts, so you must be aware of what is in your luggage set. For example, if you ex constantly lied to you, you may be oversensitive when you suspect any hint of mistruth. If you were cheated on, then you could have developed a jealous streak when your partner is around attractive people. Work to address the past pains and realize this new person isn’t your ex. That way you minimize the chance of sabotaging the relationship. Own your triggers and how they manifest in your relationships (both romance and platonic). Communicate your concerns with your partner or confidant. When in doubt seek therapy to help you avoid blaming your partner for past trauma and establish ways for you to accept responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
Have love goals: Be present in your life to mitigate the effect of your painful past. Try establishing goals and implementing positive statements as a grounding tools. As you inventory your hopes, dreams, and expectations remember to be fluid to allow for unexpected opportunities. Feel free to post these notes around your home or as notes on your phone. The purpose of this exercise is to accept your past and transform it into positive steps forwards in the present for future success in love. By embracing all facets of your being and history, you can harness your energy to manifest the love you deserve