How Do I Stop Letting Past Relationships Affect New Ones?

How Do I Stop Letting Past Relationships Affect New Ones?

What is the strongest emotion you associate your past relationships with? Is it regret, fear, anger, or anxiety? 

If you continue to feel the same emotions you’re letting your past relationships affect the present relationship. 

How do I stop being affected by past relationships?

The idea of the “self-made” anything loses credibility when you realize that you are not just a product of your actions. Although you may ultimately choose what you do, there are other factors also at play here. Who you are as a person also depends on how you were raised, who your friends were, and so on. Our relationships teach us what to expect from others and how to meet their expectations and emotional needs. In this intricately knit fabric of relationships, some loose strands spoil the overall feel. The emotional scars from past relationships can make you reluctant to share yourself intimately with someone new. But remember, every relationship comes with good and bad. Our past can teach us many lessons. Don’t let it stop you from exploring new chapters.

Signs of past relationships affecting the present one

We can all do better by learning from our past mistakes.

In the case of trauma, however, the learning part goes out of the window. Anxiety gets left behind, nervously peering out the window, too afraid to take a chance. 

To be sure of what you’re feeling, look out for these signs of past relationships affecting the present relationship: 

  • Despite reassurances, you always feel insecure about your relationship.
  • You try to seek control but believe you are just being protective of your partner.  
  • In your mind, or out loud, you often compare your partner with your past lovers. 
  • You are reluctant to share your past, or true feelings sometimes. 
  • You are unable to commit fully to the relationship.
  • There is always a nagging feeling of “something missing”.
  • You continue to stalk your former partners.
  • The past doesn’t let you be at peace and you keep reliving old memories. 
  • Physically intimacy is an issue for you. 

For those of you who are dating someone with past relationship trauma, the above symptoms might ring a bell.

Please don’t take this as a warning to end the relationship!

Try to understand where your partner is coming from. How did they get the emotional scars from past relationships? 

Why do I let my past relationships affect new ones?

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Dating someone with past relationship trauma can be an unfulfilling experience, as they may refuse to drop their guard and be vulnerable. 

Trauma could be a result of experiencing the following in an intimate relationship:

  • Emotional abuse: control, silent treatment, manipulation, gaslighting, etc. 
  • Physical abuse: could include actual physical harm and even threats to harm physically.
  • Sexual abuse: harassment, assault and rape (in extreme cases).

Toxicity in a relationship could also lead to trauma. Being betrayed, cheated on, or involved in frequent conflicts can leave behind scars.

A survivor of abuse often carries the baggage with them. The fear of being abused or wronged again lingers, especially when they meet someone new. 

The good news is that you can learn how to let go of past relationship trauma.

How do I stop romanticizing my past relationship?

This is what a good relationship looks like, ideally!

The emotional scars from past relationships will take time to heal. In the meantime, here are some tips on how to let go of past relationship trauma:

Acknowledge what went wrong

Unfinished business tends to linger in the mind, till we deal with them.

What happened in your past relationships? If you look closely, you might find familiar patterns that you might want to consider and stop repeating.

Otherwise, your past relationship may continue to affect the present relationship.

Share with your partner

I know it is difficult to trust someone after a bad betrayal. However, your partner needs to know what’s bothering you.

Once you share the burden, you’ll have room to navigate your feelings.

You and your partner may then be able to work out a way in which you feel supported.

Understand what a healthy relationship looks like

Finding familiar patterns that destroyed your last relationship has benefits, but there is a time and place for everything.

Try to drop your preconceived notions when you find a new partner.

Worry less about what could go wrong and focus more on creating a happy relationship!

There will be new things to discover and new problems to solve. Instead of living in constant anticipation, learn to enjoy a few surprises!

Rework your relationship with the past

Research by Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr. revealed how a change in perspective can help you recover from breakups.

For example, instead of only regretting what went wrong, draw your attention to the positive aspects of your breakup.

Did you learn something from parting ways? How can you use this for your growth as a person and as a partner?

I, personally, have learned a lot from Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (amazon associate link).
It won’t be an exaggeration to say it significantly added to my own practice as an inner work guide.

Take a break

Sometimes you need to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes the aroma will not appeal to you, but try sitting with it for a while. 

People who have experienced relationship trauma may want to move on to the next relationship as quickly as possible. If you can relate to this, maybe consider taking a break.

Being single can allow you to work on yourself.

There will be no pressure to maintain a new relationship. You can focus on your own healing, unlearning, and growth.

You may even discover the core of your past relationship issues, and change things for the better in the future one.

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Dive into the core issues

A deep dive into the issue’s core can reveal how to let go of past relationship trauma.

This means you will learn about your triggers, fears, and deepest resentments. Identifying the source of your pain marks the beginning of your healing. 

Reaching such depths alone can be confusing. Perhaps you need an expert, a guide, a coach, or a therapist to show you the light so you find your way in the darkness.

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Imagine you had ALL the necessary skills to create an emotionally happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship – with yourself, with others, and with your work – that is deeply aligned with your core.

How would that change things in your life? How would that change things for you?

If you’re looking to heal and grow and learn the most effective skills and strategies to support your mental, emotional, and relational well-being, Learn-Heal-Grow School – is for you!


  • Why do I have emotional scars from past relationships: Emotional, physical, mental, or sexual abuse in past relationships could leave behind deep-rooted fears. 
  • How to let go of past relationship trauma: Acknowledge past relationship mistakes, rethink your relationship with the past, communicate with your significant other, and get professional help. 

Hopefully, you now have a better sense of why your past relationships might be affecting your present ones.

Are you dating someone with past relationship trauma? Can the emotional needs of a woman be satisfied if she can’t let go of her past?

I’d love to know your views in the comments below!

P.S. Are some wounds too deep to heal? Find out in Can You Heal Past Traumas In A Relationship?

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