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Leaving The Past Behind

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By Heidi Muller
You're on your way to a new relationship. You have just met a woman who seems perfect; Lisa is fun to hang out with, attractive, intelligent, a good conversationalist, and she gets along with all your friends. There is only one problem -- can you trust her? Your heart has been blown to bits more than once and it took you so long to recover from your last girlfriend, your friends were looking into buying you self-help books. You want to be able to move onto a new level with Lisa, but you are still suffering from the burns you received in your last relationship.

How can you get to "Lisa land" with all the "baggage" you're still carrying from your past? Can you succeed in letting go of the past and move on with a new girlfriend after you've been burned so many times? Learn where you can store your luggage in order to move on with a new woman.

Although we learn from the past, it influences our future by making us weary of taking risks. I'm sure most of us have had our share of bad experiences and have sworn that we would never get hurt again. Women rip photographs of their boyfriends when their men upset them. Remember that picture the two of you took on your one-year anniversary? That's right -- the half where you once stood is now at the bottom of her trashcan. You don't need to be told that men and women react differently to heartache, but one thing will never change: the ultimate vow that this will never happen again.

No one can undermine the pain and frustration felt when a lover breaks your heart. Heartache is the worst and shouldn't be bestowed upon even your worst enemy. While getting back into the game of dating and relationships after a past relationship seems frightening, it also serves the purpose of meeting new people to get your mind off the past. But the "past" never seems to leave for good and creeps up from the woodwork once you decide to become close with someone new. Do you really want to give all the women who have hurt you the satisfaction of tainting your love life for good? Absolutely not! So what can you do?

The first thing you must realize is that if you have baggage, the potential woman in your life must have a load of her own. Who are we kidding, women probably have even more baggage than men, since women seem to dwell on the past and are more emotional than men. This is women we are talking about; if you have emotions that are bottled up and harbor resentment towards the opposite sex, women have probably already tried to think up ways to create a third sex to date.

It's safe to say that the men who are sweet and open have not been burned before. They are ready to open up to their partner, be honest with their feelings and don't see the risks in expressing their emotions. When a man has been burned in the past, he is too scared to wear his heart on his sleeve, lest he lose his guard and become vulnerable by expressing his emotions to his new partner. Showing his emotions puts him on the line; a fighter with no weapons and no army behind him. He is defenseless, facing the army of women who stand fully armed

Be wary of generalizations -- Remember that if you have been hurt in the past by a woman (or more than one), you probably feel that all your trust in women has gone down the toilet along with the cologne she bought you.

One woman hurts you and now the rest of the female population has been branded heartless, conniving and manipulative. Don't assume that every woman is a vixen who wants to rip your heart out and stomp all over it. Both genders possess some bad apples. The new girl you date is in a no-win situation and she hasn't even done anything wrong. You're no longer the only victim of what your ex has caused; the next person you date suffers from your ex's actions, as do you. You will never trust the next person, by default, and that person is getting the raw end of the deal because some other woman has ruined your life.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger -- Having been hurt in the past opens your eyes to women who have the potential to hurt you again. Be wary of these women, but do not jump to conclusions if you do happen to see the warning signs. By recognizing that it is possible to get hurt and knowing how to avoid this from happening, the women who have hurt you have almost done you a favor. Now you are fully armed.

A lesson lived is a lesson learned -- Naïve thinking such as, "I'm too strong to ever get hurt," can only get you into trouble. Remember that the lesson to be learned is not that it is dangerous to be sweet and honest, but that you have to learn from your mistakes.

Follow your instincts -- If you have bad feelings about a new relationship, you are allowed to use precautionary measures to ensure that you will not get hurt. Put your foot down if you feel you are being taken advantage of, or approach her if you feel that something is wrong. On the other hand, if she is making you happy, then trust her and show her that she makes you happy.

The worst thing that you can possibly do is become too afraid and too macho to act naturally in a new relationship. As I said before, everyone has some sort of baggage, but it's up to us to put our pasts aside and move on. If we don't, we'll all fall victim to a vicious cycle in which one person is hurt and refuses to trust the next. While this person will, in turn, make the other person not trust him.

We may have been hurt in the past, but the past can also be remembered for its happy moments. That's the kind of baggage you should take with you on your next trip to "relationship land".
By Heidi Muller

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