Love in Limestone: Don’t let your past dictate your future

Photo by Debbie O’Grady.


Dirty Deeds Entry

What is it about karaoke bars?

Neon lights. Neon signs. A song here, a duet there. Magnetic energy.

We didn’t just share a microphone that night.

In a recent poll, women in their 30s were asked to give dating advice to women in their 20s. The answers were scattered; some typical (maybe because I’m in my 30s and a lot of it is advice I, myself, would offer), but the one that stood out:

“Exes aren’t always bitter, they just know better.”

Let that sink in.

We all have a ‘crazy ex,’ right? What if you don’t? Does that mean it’s … dun, dun, dun – you?

When on the topic of exes, I’ve heard it all. That the person with multiple failed relationships are, in fact, the ‘common denominator.’ This is literally the most fucked up logic I’ve encountered. Clearly, you are the common denominator. We’re discussing your dating history; you’re obviously a character in every single story.

I’ve also heard that those with multiple former relationships are serial daters, and therefore non-committal.

Those with failed marriages are over-dramatic.

The list goes on.

But let’s chat about our personal rap sheets. Do we need to walk into every new relationship with ‘references’? Do we have to have left every former relationship on amicable terms to ‘prove’ to our current flames that we’re worth investing the effort in?

If they’re your ‘ex for a reason,’ how does that translate to moving on and moving forward with someone else? And does your current partner have the right to the info surrounding your previous heartaches?

If we grow as people, is it not possible that our formers are potentially going to become the person you’d hoped to grow old with? What if that’s what they do become, and suddenly the reasons you put forward to your current seem invalid? And besides – isn’t the best revenge simply being… happy?

(As per the usual, I’d like to throw in here that when discussing our exes’ bad behaviours, this excludes the severity and magnitude of abuse; verbal, emotional, and physical. If you are in this situation, seek help immediately.)

Don’t forget – they’re your ex for a reason. And those reasons are standalone to you. Even if their behaviour seems to mirror previous patterns from other relationships they may have had, that still doesn’t dictate why someone else may or may not have left them. Your ex is your ex. And while you’re chocking up the reasons you left them, they are doing the same with you.

And if their personal experience with you was less than desirable, stop letting that dictate your opportunity to find future happiness. I can’t stress this enough. While they may develop those attributes you’d largely hoped for in your relationship with them (like, say, buying you flowers once and awhile? Not bitching about the dishes?) and now they are for someone else (which seems ridiculously unfair, and leaves you wondering why they couldn’t have done the same for you) you have the same opportunity.

Yes, your ex is your ex for a reason. And you are theirs. Whatever they’ve got stored up as emotional warfare and ammunition is none of your concern. You do not have to walk into a new relationship with an explanation for why the last one didn’t work out. The fact is: it didn’t. And nothing is going to change that.

But we each have an obligation and responsibility to move forward as better people, better versions of ourselves. And part of that is being honest with ourselves and what’s truly transpired in our pasts. In time, maybe you can concede that you were, in fact, a wee high strung over the throw pillows. Perhaps you didn’t always take their feelings into account when you made that joke, or that crack, or that silly thing you said in the bar in front of their friends which made them feel less of a person. In time, you might be able to come to terms with the ass that you actually were.

And while you’re coming to these realizations about yourself, hold deep and resolve to not persecute your new partner for the sins of your past life. They are not your ex. Whatever the similarities, whatever the déjà vu – this new person is not him, or her, or that guy or gal. And for all intents and purposes: neither are you.

Unfold into a new person in the days, weeks, months and maybe even years that escape between fresh partners and relationships. Evolve into the person you had hoped to become. Because whether or not your ex says lovely things about you or not, what’s going to matter is the person you became post-heartache. And the success of your new relationship is going to be based on that. Not on whatever the hell happened in your past.

Take good care of yourself. They’re your ex for a reason. And they have exes for a reason.

Time to get past the past. Stop passing it on to the future.

~ lilly ~


If you have something you want to share, a question to ask, or a general comment, drop me a note at [email protected].

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