I’m a huge believer in reflecting on past relationships. I don’t blame you if you want to close that door and run as far as you can when it comes to certain relationships- I feel you! However, I think all of the relationships in our lives are snapshots of where we were at as well as our needs, the needs we advocated for and didn’t, our sense of self-worth and relationship with ourselves. I’ve found myself at a point analyzing the sh%t out of my past choices and why things always ended up going wrong or not being a good fit.
One day, I spent time going through all of the past relationships I had that I perceived to be romantic ones or ones that I saw potential in. I quickly sketched a chart for each and wrote out what drew me to this person, what kept me in the relationship and red flags plus needs that weren’t being met. In some of these relationships I felt completely misled and didn’t have closure. To my surprise this exercise brought me a sense of peace and accountability for the relationships I was allowing in and the work that I needed to be doing on myself. Seeing it on paper helped me to pick up on patterns and really reflect on where I was at with myself including my grief and healing journey.
You may have asked yourself, “why do they continue to always show up in my dreams?” Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a task being flooded with flashbacks of times you’ve had in past relationships? Like, can you chill brain! I don’t need to be reliving summer of 2017 while I’m driving home in rush hour, thank you very much. Do you ever find yourself wondering what if- how life would be had you stayed together and internally debated with yourself if this is an appropriate amount of time you should be thinking about an ex?
Relationship connections we make while experiencing trauma, trying times and life changing years.
We’re talking about connections that happen during traumatic times that help us through but when we look at that relationship fundamentally, it wasn’t healthy or aligned to the person we ultimate became or are becoming. This person at the time may have been right for the past version of ourselves and how we saw ourselves at the time. They could have provided you a sense of comfort and dependability. Going through the transition or loss that you may have while being in a relationship with them reinforced that comfort you found in them at times. At times, the additional stressors could’ve also been a catalyst to revealing issues that were always there in the relationship. Forgive yourself for the choices that you had to make when you were through a hard time. You’re human and we crave connection at the end of the day. When your world is flipping upside down and uncertainty is the norm, it’s okay to feel like you want connection from a familiar source.
What does it mean if we think about past relationships while being in one currently?
If you are currently in a relationship, it is perfectly normal to think about your past. You might be thinking, “I’m so happy, why is my brain thinking about someone who wasn’t the right fit for me?” You shouldn’t ever feel shame about that, confusion yes, but shame no. Depending on the dreams you’re having- maybe. I’m totally kidding. That confused feeling can lead you to explore why those thoughts have come in. When we have thoughts or even dreams that come from our subconscious mind, it’s an invitation to explore exactly what it going on within US to have connected it back to a past version of ourselves. For example, I recently had a dream of this guy who was my childhood love and had come back into my life years later. In both periods (being a teen versus in our late 20s), he repeated the same patterns. He was charming, mysterious, flashy but dark with a quiet and cool confidence. He would go all in intensely and then drop me, I wouldn’t hear from him. The difference was now that I was an adult who had done some inner personal work, I kept him at an arms length and wanted time to tell if there was an actual change in him. There wasn’t. He presented in my dream randomly the other night as my boyfriend who was taking me to meet his family. It was a disaster night. I think that dream meant for me that I am craving some of that intensity and validation he gave me.
There’s a reason you chose to move forward.