By Sheila Monaghan, Women’s Health
Even if you’re over your ex, your romantic history has a funny (in a sick sort of way) tendency of creeping into life with your new partner. “The relationships we invest in the most, regardless of how long we were in them or how long ago they happened, are the ones that have the biggest impact on us,” says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great. “And if things went awry in those relationships, we often carry the anger or insecurity into our subsequent romances.”
So how do you prevent the past from coming back to haunt you? Claim your baggage by coming clean to your current mate (sparing him the dirty details, of course). According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, people experienced a heightened sense of intimacy after revealing personal info, such as their ex-related issues, and felt more valued and supported. Forge ahead by following this advice.
Baggage: Your Partner Cheated on You
Almost anything your guy does that’s not completely straightforward will evoke feelings of distrust, explains JoAnn Magdoff, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in New York City. People who were cheated on in the past may find themselves setting traps and checking on their new partner, asking them questions they know the answers to, and assuming their partner is lying. You may end up jumping down his throat and accusing him of things he didn’t do, which may understandably infuriate him and ultimately threaten your union, says psychologist Christie Hartman, Ph.D., author of It’s Not Him, It’s You: The Truth You May Not Want but Need to Hear.
Unload it: Make it clear that while your trust issues have nothing to do with him, you equate his vagueness with being lied to. “Tell him that because of your past, you assume the worst when he’s unclear,” says Magdoff, and that keeping you in the loop and being specific will go a long way toward helping you feel more connected and secure. This will translate into more happiness for you both.