The Ex Factor: 4 Signs That You’re Carrying Emotional Baggage

Feeling the pain of a past relationship is perfectly okay. After all of the effort and time it takes to maintain a relationship, it’s hard to just forget about it once it doesn’t go as planned. However, clinging to those feelings and emotions brought about by a bad breakup and bringing them into new relationships can only lead to disaster.

To help you identify if you’re bringing baggage into a new relationship, we’ve outlined 4 common traits people develop from bad breakups:

Paranoia: After being burned in the past, it’s sometimes difficult for people to develop a new relationship, for fear of being burned again. You may constantly question your new partner’s motives and be suspicious of his or her infidelity for virtually no reason at all. If you don’t trust your partner, or even if you’re just being extra cautious, your paranoia can manifest in pretty unattractive ways, like clinginess and neediness, that can ultimately drive your new partner away.

Projection: Relationship baggage is often riddled with self-doubt. After heartbreak, you begin to see the worst in yourself and you often assume the worst in others, in return. For example, if you’re feeling guarded and are quick to judge someone you’ve just started dating, you’ll automatically assume that your partner is judging you just as harshly. This kind of behavior makes it impossible for a healthy relationship to grow, killing a budding relationship before it even has time to thrive.

Distance: In order to commit fully to a relationship, you need to know your partner pretty well, and vice versa. A bad past relationship can cause you to hold back on emotions in new relationships because of a fear of getting hurt again. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior can really keep your new relationship at a standstill.

Bad Attitude:
After getting hurt by someone you really cared about, the last thing you want to do is open yourself for more pain. Because of this, it’s common for people to develop a “hurt or get hurt” attitude. The bitterness of a bad breakup can cause you to want to develop a tough exterior, hurting people that you’ve developed new relationships with before they have the chance to hurt you.

So, if you’ve identified with one or more of the traits of relationship baggage, how do you manage a new relationship and leave your past behind? The most important thing you can do is give yourself time to heal. Before you jump into any new relationships, you need to give yourself time to figure out what went wrong and enjoy your single self for a while. Starting a new relationship before you’ve had time to heal from a breakup can ruin a perfectly good relationship before it’s had time to flourish.

By Alexandra Dean Hitzler, BounceBack Editorial Staff
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