Are you finding it hard to let go of the past?
Could it be that a past relationship is preventing you from being happy in the present?
Breakups are hard. There’s no denying that.
However, we can’t hold on to them forever. While some behaviors are completely normal and, over time, fade as you get over your ex, others are not.
We should, of course, let go of resentment as soon as we can.
Today, we cover five signs that you are likely holding onto some.
1) You find it difficult to trust
Find it difficult to trust new people you are dating?
You might not realize it, but this could be because you are holding onto resentment from a past relationship.
And it makes sense. While it might seem a bit cheesy, “Once bitten, twice shy” is a real thing.
We are conditioned to learn from our mistakes; in many cases, we subconsciously think that trusting was the mistake that caused us to be hurt.
It makes sense, right? Don’t trust anyone, and they can never really hurt you.
However, without trust and the willingness to be vulnerable, it is impossible to develop real relationships.
This inability to trust robs us of the spoils and the sense of security that we all strive for in our romantic relationships.
So what’s the solution?
Well, as obvious as it may sound, you need to learn to trust again.
How to do this warrants its own article. Lucky for you, we have already posted a detailed guide on this. You can find it here: 8 signs you don’t fully trust your partner (and what to do about it)
If you are lucky, you may not have this issue. Almost all people who are holding resentment do this next thing, however.
2) You always compare others to your ex
Another telltale sign that you are harboring some resentment is that you find yourself comparing your new partner or potential partners to your past flame.
As noted by Dr. Brian Doss, professor of psychology at the University of Miami, it’s pretty normal to compare our relationship to that of other people.
It stands to reason that it’s also pretty normal to make comparisons between present and past relationships of our own.
I know I and many of my friends have.
Think about it. We compare all the time. We compare our current jobs to ones we had in the past, our current house to our previous apartment, and ourselves to our past selves.
However, if you find yourself doing this excessively, you may not be ready for a new relationship quite yet.
This kind of behavior can lead to unrealistic expectations.
It often results in putting your failed relationship on a pedestal. That is, even though things didn’t pan out, you still romanticize the time you spent together and are disappointed when new relationships don’t live up to the memories of the past.
No one is perfect in every way. By comparing like this, you aren’t giving new relationships a chance. Everyone will have some flaws, and we should be open-minded, especially when just getting to know someone.
3) You avoid things that remind you of your ex
Do you avoid going to that restaurant you used to with your ex?
Are there particular songs or bands that you simply can’t listen to anymore because they bring back memories?
Have you cut ties with mutual friends?
If so, it’s a clear sign that you really haven’t gotten over that past relationship.
Here’s the deal: it’s natural to seek some distance when a relationship ends, especially if it was a rough breakup. Some distance can even be a good thing.
However, it shouldn’t go on forever, and if you find yourself in a situation of prolonged avoidance of all things connected to your ex, you are almost certainly holding onto some resentment.
Healing from a failed relationship isn’t easy, but getting over it means processing it and moving on; it should not mean ditching friends you once had or reaching for the skip button when that song you both loved comes on.
If you’re constantly avoiding things like this and have been for some months or even longer, it may be time to seek support from people you trust or a therapist.
There is no shame in asking for help. It can help you to move on with your life in a positive and healthy way.
If you also have this next sign, it’s something you need to address sooner rather than later.
4) …And you overreact when you are reminded
Avoiding things and people that bring back memories of your ex is normal, at least right after the breakup.
But for those things to cause you enough emotional distress to overreact suggests that you are bottling up some emotion, and you have some work to do to get past the resentment you are carrying.
If you find yourself getting physically uncomfortable, downright angry, or breaking into tears when something happens to remind you of them, it is time to seek some help from someone you trust.
It won’t be easy to get past this, but the sooner you take action to process your emotions in a healthy way, the better.
5) You can’t help constantly replaying past events
The final sign is something we all do to a certain extent after a break-up.
Hell, sometimes we do it after experiencing much less emotionally stressful events.
We replay conversations we had with our boss, wondering if we said the right thing. We think back to decide if we could have responded better to that guy who was rude to you at Starbucks.
We look back on all sorts of things, and to a certain extent, this is natural and healthy. Reflection can help us to learn from our mistakes and avoid some of the same ones in the future.
That said, constantly replaying past events from your ex-relationship is a sign that you are holding onto resentment.
Do you think of that final fight? That straw that broke the camel’s back.
Do you regularly ruminate on the words you or they said and wonder if you could have acted differently and, if you had, how things might be different?
Do you get angry and frustrated when thinking about these things?
If so, it’s likely you have some growing to do. Reflection is natural, but when constant replays of the past are robbing you of present happiness, it has probably gone too far.
Again, like many signs on this list, if you notice this, it may be time to seek help from a trusted person or even a professional trained to help people get through things like this.
The bottom line
If you have just gone through a breakup, I feel for you.
It’s hard, but stay strong, and you will get through it.
If it’s been a little longer and you are still showing many of the above signs, consider asking for help. We all need support from time to time.
The past should not make the present as painful as it probably is. Life is too short.
Until next time.