Advice About Past Hurts Affecting Relationships

past hurts like baggage

What can you do when past hurts start to affect your relationship? Learn from a dating coach how to approach the subject and help your significant other take the steps to move on.

When Past Hurts Affect Love Relationships

Reader Question

My boyfriend and I have run into a problem. He is scared of having everything he has worked for taken away from him. He has been cheated on three times with women who took everything from him. After a year with him, he is starting to go into defense mode. He is scared that people will leave and take everything. He said it's like he hurts himself to protect himself from being hurt. With me, he says it's different, as he feels like he deserves some happiness and says he loves me and really doesn't want me to leave. I don't want to leave either; I love him and we decided we were going to try to work through this, but I really have no idea how to help. I have tried to take things slow and be there for him and support him all along, but how can I help him feel secure in our relationship so that he knows I'm not out to take all his stuff? I want him to know that I'm here for him and this is where I want to be.-- Contributed by: rascal

Expert Reply

Dear Rascal,

You sound like a very caring person. You are the kind of person who can care so deeply, that you will make someone else's problem your own in order to ease their pain. Here's the problem with that in your current relationship. This is his suitcase to carry and no matter how much you want to carry it for him, you can't. You can't make your boyfriend trust you and the relationship if he is not ready to do so. This may sound harsh; the reality is that you can't change his past. You can't take away his regret and pain only he can do this for himself. Therefore, until he is ready to let go of those wounds and live in the present, he won't be able to see that you are not like his past girlfriends.

A very real problem with him not letting go is that he will compare everything you say and do to his previous relationships. You will have an uphill battle competing with those ghosts. My suggestion is to talk to your boyfriend about your concerns. Ask him if he is ready to work with a professional on the steps he can take to move on. Let him know that if he is ready, he can talk with a professional alone or the two of you can go to couple's counseling and work on it together. If he is not ready to work with a professional, then you need prepare to be lumped with his previous relationships.


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Advice About Past Hurts Affecting Relationships