The writer George Santayana is known for saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
In today’s world, it has changed to, “Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.”
Either way you say it, the meaning is still the same.
If you do not learn the lessons from the past, you are very likely to make the same mistakes again in the future. This is true not just for the iconoclasts of history, but you as well.
Specifically, as it pertains to your dating life.
The history of your past relationships can greatly influence your dating life in the present. How?
The Negative Influence of Your History on Your Dating Life
Let’s face it, everyone has had a bad relationship or two in their lifetime. Yet, what happens when your dating life hasn’t been very positive in any respect?
For example, poor dating experiences may include:
Having a physical or mentally abusive partner
Feeling unheard or not listened to
Being “dumped” or having a relationship end badly
Having a partner who doesn’t live up to your expectations
Perceiving that you are on a different life path than your partner
If nothing else, these negative experiences certainly help you learn what you don’t like in relationships.
Add to that the matter of having to fight your way through the rat race that is the modern dating scene. Even with the help of technology, dating requires a lot of time and energy. Eventually, you just get fed up and burned out.
If any of those things are part of your history, that can certainly influence your dating life in the present—and, usually, not in a good way.
The Positive Influence of Prior Relationships
However, even when things don’t work out, there are positive attributes that can connect the past to your present dating life. For one, you learn what to appreciate about another person.
For instance, some of the qualities you perhaps have learned to value are:
As you pursue a dating life in the present, perhaps you carry some of those positive lessons with you as you seek out a new partner. Not only looking for such qualities in others, but you may have also learned to cultivate them in yourself due to some of the influences from your past.
Those kinds of lessons from your dating history are something you should cherish, even though the relationship did not last.
The Danger of Not Learning from the Past
The danger occurs when you do not learn the lessons of your dating history. Instead, you continue to make the same mistakes that you did before or simply don't carry the positive aspects with you.
Perhaps, you just hope that things will be different this time as compared to the past. Yet, if you haven’t absorbed and processed those lessons, then your dating life will most likely continue to be disappointing.
For instance, one important lesson is, if you can't define any of the qualities that you would want to see in a romantic partner, how will you identify if the person you're dating is a good match? Another is understanding the influence that the point of origin of the relationships has. If things are not working out meeting quality people via a dating app, for example, then it might be time to shake things up and find different ways more suited to you.
But what if you tried that already with less than satisfying outcomes?
If you’ve already attempted to make changes to your dating life but aren’t seeing the results, then it may be time to enlist professional help. We can all benefit from someone helping us to see things that might be in plain sight but that we somehow overlooked. A professional counselor can be an invaluable and supportive ally as you reflect on your past and absorb the lessons learned.
When you struggling with your dating life and finding someone special, consider taking a step back. Think about your prior relationships and ask yourself: What worked and what didn’t? If you had the choice, what would you do the same as before? What would you do differently? What do you not yet understand about your or your former partner’s behavior in the relationship?
When you understand your dating history, you will have a better sense of not just what you’re looking for in a partner but also what you need to bring to a new relationship as well.
However, taking an objective look at your history can be hard. The trick is to realize when you need neutral, unbiased support.
Participating in relationship counseling can be useful for finding clarity in your dating life. A therapist who understands the challenges of dating can help you learn from your own dating history and apply the lessons in the present.
I'd be happy to provide my expertise to help you succeed in finding a fulfilling relationship. Contact me today.