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03 Mar 2024, Edition - 3155, Sunday

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Health & Lifestyle

Don’t Project Your Last Relationship’s Baggage On Your New One, Like I Did



The last time I was dating someone, it ended in an impasse, a bad impasse. Needless to say, hearts were broken, hurtful words were exchanged, the prospect of being strangers all over again prevailed only this time it was with a bitter taste. But then, that is just the risk you take with the game called dating – upping the ante, a dangerous gamble.

After everything is said and done, you begin the healing process and very gradually you find yourself on that road again, where you think you may want to feel that tingling warm fuzzy feeling again.

But then a dread, a sense of foreboding greets you and you change your mind. To consider the very possibility of something different happening this time round and the fact that this person is not the same as the last is beyond us. Maybe some other day, you tell yourself.

And that is how we shut ourselves to the idea of love, once again.

Always Again

There comes a point when after a break up, we find the strength to consider the idea of being with someone again. We open ourselves up, ever so little, to someone who wants to ‘see where it goes.’

This person is sweet, charming, and most importantly, patient. He might just be what you were looking for. But that thought hasn’t struck you yet.

Because in the back of your mind, consciously or not, the new person is being pitted against the last one; the yardstick survives the time even if you have moved on. But if we really look into it, we find that that is the lesser of the evils. That we think our past baggage legitimises bad behaviour in the present relationship is the real source of worry.

If you think about it, it is almost a reflex action – all the anxiety, mistrust, doubt, disinterest, withdrawal, lack of initiative, overanalysing, sometimes anger and over-expecting in our current relationship is just how we interact with a similar situation only with a different person this time.

And somehow we end up convincing ourselves that this is who we are now, and if the new person wants to be with us, this is what they have to put up with. Else they aren’t “accepting you as you are” is it? And that is just unacceptable.

Wrong, all wrong.

A Leap Of Faith, All Over

It is easy to justify and simplify our behaviour to ourselves because we perpetrate it. It takes a little more effort into stepping into someone else’s shoes. But to imagine dealing with the kind of behaviour we project ourselves mostly does the trick. We all talk about not taking less than what we deserve, then how are we so closed to giving back what we want?

If we don’t want to be served leftovers, why have you brought last night’s stone cold pizza to the table?

The bizarre bit is that the person you are dating might just accept the bare minimum you are offering because overtime they train themselves to not ask for more, because there isn’t any left to be asked.

But even if you probably don’t want to address it, you know better. You always do.

And so should they.

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