How can I learn to stop letting my past relationship influence how I behave in my current one?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
For the past several months I have been in a relationship with a very loving, trustworthy, honest, and amazing guy. He has been nothing but affectionate, considerate, and understanding. And though this is only his first real relationship, and my second, we have openly expressed that this is a relationship we both see going "somewhere."
The problem is, I am struggling to let go of the pain of my first relationship. To say I have trust issues is an understatement. Granted, that relationship ended more than four years ago, and I have long since finished grieving for the loss of my ex. But what remains with me, however, is the neurotic, complexed, and insecure voice in the back of my mind that reminds me not to fall too hard (which I fear, has already happened), to protect myself, to brace myself for "inevitable" rejection, pain, and suffering. I am so so scared. Rightly so, I believe, as it was the end of my first relationship that sent me spiraling down into deep heartache for almost two years.
What makes me saddest, or angriest, maybe both, is the fact that I don't feel that I gained anything worthwhile from my first relationship. Sure, it was my first love, and it did have its silly, naive, and magical moments of perfection, but in the end, all I have is a box of his stuff, a pile of old love letters, and too many regrets. Regret for taking the relationship so seriously, taking its end so hard, for getting involved in the first place.
And so I fear that if this relationship ends (this is the most happiness I have experienced in such a long time), I will break. I don't think that I am unstable, but I am very sensitive to all forms of criticism and rejection. I'm also afraid that I am sabotaging my current relationship, with my suspicions and insecurities.
Perhaps I am not giving myself enough credit, maybe I'm stronger than I think. Older and wiser, at least. I hope.
Thank you very very much, hive mind, for any advice, anecdotes, and opinions.