Irrespective of whether you spend most of your time in fantasyland or in the real world, the temptation to romanticise your past relationship/s can be emotionally gratifying. It seems like we all find it hard to let go of “the one that got away.”
According to Alan R. Hirsch’s report about nostalgia and the brain, nostalgia is “not a true recreation of the past, but rather a combination of many different memories, all integrated together… all negative emotions filtered out.”
Romanticising our past relationship in a way that we choose to only remember the good bits can make us feel safe and comforted, especially if we aren’t happy in our current relationship. This habit will also help you throw the responsibility of the present day struggles onto your partner and tell them that you have never faced such tough times with your past love interests. So it must be the fault of your partner and not the filter you decide to sieve your memories through. Happy Ho organizes best Meditation and Tarot classes in Noida and Delhi NCR area in India.
And with this we tend to forget all the reasons why the old love didn’t work – the fights, the nagging, the hiding only to remember the once in a blue moon sunny times. With such unreliable and unrealistic data, we then begin to ask ourselves the questions – “What went wrong?” or “Should I have stayed?” or “Is my past better than my present?”
According to Jenni Skyler, director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado, most couples she sees in this situation are comparing their long-term relationship with one that never went beyond the honeymoon stage.
Though it’s natural to compare our relationships, staying stuck in the past isn’t. The time that has passed constantly nags us and reduces our energy towards making the present better and optimal. You might start criticizing each person who walks in that door, telling him/her how they are not enough till they start realizing that they will never be enough for a person who isn’t paying attention to what is actually going on and walk out. And don’t be too confident about many waiting outside to enter such a relationship.
“How can I stop doing this?”, you might ask yourself. Well, here are some ways:
If you find yourself stuck in the past, asking the following questions might help you find your ground in the present:
- What am I calming by doing this?
- Am I trying to evade a painful experience?
- What purpose is this fantasy serving in my life?
- Can I see any ways in which this behaviour harms me?
- What do I hope to gain by still keeping this person in my life?
- What would it be like to let them go?
Be Kind To Yourself
Staying calm and non-judgemental towards yourself is extremely important. Whenever you find yourself retreat to the old, don’t be harsh on yourself. Instead, tell yourself that old habits take time to die and that you are willing to get rid of them.
Find Comfort In Others
Confide in someone who genuinely listens to you and understands your problem instead of rubbing solutions in your face.
And this one last way might really make all the difference.
Imagine that you have all of your energy represented in the form of blocks, in front of yourself. How many blocks (or energy) would you like to allocate to the past, present and future?
For me, the ratio is 10:70:20 (past:present:future). What is yours?
So the next time you find yourself allocating more blocks to the past than it deserves, bring yourself back to this ratio. And hopefully, all will be well!