Your past brought you to where you are today, everything happens for a reason, you learn lessons from every experience, etc etc. We’ve all heard the cliches, especially when it comes to dating. These commonly spoken phrases have stuck around for decades because they speak truths that are relatable to all kinds of situations, especially breakups.
When it comes to dating, we are undoubtedly shaped by our pasts. We base each next step of our love lives on our past experiences; what we want to change and what we liked. Seldom do we stop and reflect on how it is the people, not the situations, in our past relationships that have truly affected us. Oftentimes our ex lovers had a large enough impact to change who we are and who we will be in future relationships, here is how:
- Your exes shape your list of “what I am looking for”: When someone asks what your type is; you rattle off a list of characteristics such as, “loyal, family oriented, motivated, driven, active…”. The only way to know what you want in a lover is to use your past lovers as references for traits you either liked or did not. For example, if you dated a cheater, it’s highly likely trustworthy is at the top of your list.
You keep in mind what your exes didn’t like about you: Whether it was that you are terrible at texting when you’re out, very guarded, or that you didn’t make enough time for them; you remember the complaints you receive. If one of these issues is an inherent trait of yours, that bad habit will definitely follow you to the next relationship. However, knowledge is power, and now you are aware of a potential issue. If a common complaint from exes is something small, you’ll likely change it, resulting in a better you in your next relationship.
Your exes change how you view potential new prospects: If you got burned by an edgy musician, you might think twice about the next one that crosses your path. As much as we like to keep the past in the past, our exes who burned us trigger fear when we come across similar personalities, or careers. These similar traits shy us away from the new potential love interest, and it honestly sucks for them because they haven’t done anything wrong… yet.
We compare new relationships to our exes: What is it about dating someone new that makes you dwell on just about everything from your most recent ex? You compare heights, jobs, families, and the list could go on forever. The new lover is never going to be the same as your ex, that should be a good thing. This can be a slippery slope, but it’s human nonetheless. Our brains naturally categorize people, events, and things so its almost as if we can’t help but do this.
If you dated someone a while, they rub off on you: The qualities you find the most sexy or appealing about an ex are likely ones you begin to emulate. For instance, if you date a guy who keeps your attention because he is mysterious and always keeps you guessing; you may start to behave like that in return. We pick up the behaviors of the people closest to us, it’s only natural for you to learn a thing or two from your significant other.
Exes are a touchy subject for just about everyone, we all have good ones and bad ones. We try and live and learn and put them out of our memory. However, if you stop to think about it, your exes helped create the person that you are today. Most of them had a profound impact on your life. Look at them with a bit more appreciation, and honor that they were a part of your past!