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Are Past Relationships getting in your Way?
How often do you go on a first date, anticipating that the other person will be or act a certain way? Perhaps you go out with the feeling that this will be a negative experience or just a waste of time. Do you find yourself prejudging the other person based on what their profession is or how they dress? During the date, do you mentally compare them with someone from your past? Do you find that you experience sadness or frustration because NOBODY could ever be like HIM/HER? Or perhaps you fear EVERYONE will be hopelessly flawed, because that is just the way all relationships are, especially for you.
Chances are, you recognize yourself in at least one of the above descriptions. Given that this is so, imagine all the ways you could be setting yourself up for relationship failure. Your beliefs, set in place by your past relationships, could be sabotaging your chances at relationship success. It's a good bet you have an inkling of this problem already, but it gets hold of you and you repeatedly create a self-fulfilling negative dating experience.
So how do you change this negative pattern? An important first step would be to examine what your beliefs are and try to connect each one with at least one past experience. Include in your inventory any childhood experiences that would involve your observation of, and/or second hand experience with the relationships of your parents, grandparents, and other adults you were exposed to. What were your general impressions of those relationships? What conclusions did you draw about relationships from them? Now do the same for any relationships you have had. What impressions and beliefs did these earlier experiences leave you with? Chances are, you came up with some interesting and hopefully useful, conclusions.
The next step is to go forward with a new awareness and to make a CHOICE not to bring along the old negative beliefs on your next date. Make a decision to be open and to see each new person as the unique experience that they are. At the very least, you should find dating more relaxed and a lot more enjoyable for BOTH of you.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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