Until deal with, the past is always fresh

Some relationships are casual or convenient, and when they end, it isn’t too hard to shrug them off and move on. They don’t linger in the psyche and they don’t have much effect on the future.

And then there’s true love gone wrong, the subject of this website. That hurts you big time upfront, but it also casts a negative spell that can mar your future relationships. Our goal will be to heal that hurt and break that spell.

Here is how the story goes. You fall deeply in love, and it is re-turned, and you invest yourself, heart and soul, in a life with someone, believing you have found the right partner. And then it all crumbles to the ground. When that kind of love goes wrong, it can be devastating. It feels as if a shadow has fallen across the world. As if judgment day came and you were found wanting, and now life as you knew it is over. It’s a lonely, marooned feeling. Despair seeps through you. Your heart bends in pain; your ego protests.

And the last thing you want to do is to examine the failed relationship, and the damage it has done to you. You want to just toss it into the garbage. All that pain—and sadness, anger, guilt, sheer humiliation—makes you want to turn away and try to hide from it.

Drown it, deny it. Try to pretend it didn’t happen or it doesn’t matter.

Stomp it under your muddy boot, and trudge on under a dim sky.

So you do.

So what are we to do with this pesky past? Well, it may seem trite, but the thing to do is face it down. Like a monster in an old story, a failed relationship gets stron-ger and more terrible if you run from it, but if you turn and face it, it  turns out to be not so scary, and pretty soon it wants to make peace  with you. So the way to overcome it is to faceit, sort it out, reverse the  damage it did to you, shake off the bad lessons it tried to teach you  and find the good ones it’s holding back.

And then the months, or years, go by and you find yourself in a new relationship. And you notice little things happening, words and actions, that are strangely familiar.

You get together with a fabulous new leading man, but your previous relationship, neglected and dishonored, sits in the cheap seats revising the script—trying to make it the same as the old script. So you have to deal with it after all; but the new play is already in full swing and you need new lines to make the new love story work. You need a new character, a new self that won’t take the fall like last time, won’t be typecast in the same old role.

Where are you to find that new approach that will get better results?

The answer I’m about to give will be the same, no matter where you are in the story I just related:

• You may be still reeling from a breakup and nursing a broken  heart.

• You may be farther down the road, but with less of the optimism you once had about romance.

• You may be even farther on: you’ve started something with a new partner, but in the back of your mind is a shadow, a fear that old patterns will repeat themselves.

Whichever situation you’re in, the solution lies in what might seem like the most unlikely place: the past.

That is because failed relationships don’t just hurt us; they also do damage. They impair our future ability to love and to live. And they consign us to a broken world, a world gone wrong, where our own best lights don’t shine. They compromise our soul, making us think that we, and others, are unworthy. They program us for defeat.

You might think that if enough time has gone by, the past will have lost its potency. But scarily enough, that isn’t true. As soon as you hit the road with a new relationship, look around and you’ll find the past grinning at you from the back seat.

That’s the fascinating thing.Until dealt with, the past is always fresh.

So what are we to do with this pesky past?

So what are we to do with this pesky past? Well, it may seem trite, but the thing to do is face it down. Like a monster in an old story, a failed relationship gets stron-ger and more terrible if you run from it, but if you turn and face it, it  turns out to be not so scary, and pretty soon it wants to make peace  with you. So the way to overcome it is to faceit, sort it out, reverse the  damage it did to you, shake off the bad lessons it tried to teach you  and find the good ones it’s holding back.Well, it may seem trite, but the thing to do is face it down. Like a monster in an old story, a failed relationship gets stronger and more terrible if you run from it, but if you turn and face it, it turns out to be not so scary, and pretty soon it wants to make peace with you. So the way to overcome it is to face it, sort it out, reverse the damage it did to you, shake off the bad lessons it tried to teach you and find the good ones it’s holding back.

This may seem like a humble goal, to sort out the past. But in fact it can lead to seriously wonderful possibilities. When you heal the damage that was done to you, you regain the whole person you were meant to be, and you carry that person into your next relationship.

And there’s more. The relationship that didn’t last holds glorious ore, in the form of lessons written in your own personal history, price-less lessons about how love should be and how it can work out right, when you attempt it again.

The adage says that those who don’t understand history are condemned to repeat it. That is never more true than with love.(The original saying was from George Santayana: The Life of Reason(1905): “Those who can-not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”)

“Better luck next time,” someone may say to a gambler who has lost; but it has a wistful sound—because pure chance doesn’t offer much hope. My title tips its hat to that expression, but it embraces a different philosophy: finding better love isn’t about blind luck; it’s about learning from experience. I hope this website will be good medicine for the troubles that ail you. I’ll offer some laughter (because some of this stuff is too awful not to laugh at), and maybe some tears, and most of all I’ll try to bring some understanding. There will be lots of stories, a mystery or two, and maybe even a murder along the way—failed love drives people to drastic places.

A side note: as we explore the interstices of the past relationship and the ways that it might try to sabotage you in the present, your mind may leap back, beyond your most recent love affair, to one that came earlier, which you sense is still affecting you adversely. That is all to the good: for many of us there is one formative romance that did the most damage, and that is the one most in need of illumination. So follow your nose to what seems relevant, and apply our process to it; you won’t go wrong.

There are two aspects of achieving better love. One: processing the past. Two: getting past the past, finding your way with a new per-son, helped by the lessons you’ve learned. Sometimes you get to do one first, then face the other. Other times it all happens at once. You meet a new person and their merit leaves you no choice: you have to scramble and try to make this one work out differently.

So what are we to do with this pesky past? Well, it may seem trite, but the thing to do is face it down. Like a monster in an old story, a failed relationship gets stron-ger and more terrible if you run from it, but if you turn and face it, it  turns out to be not so scary, and pretty soon it wants to make peace  with you. So the way to overcome it is to faceit, sort it out, reverse the  damage it did to you, shake off the bad lessons it tried to teach you  and find the good ones it’s holding back.Either way, it can be done. There is a way to listen to the past, a way to read failed relationships, that will clear the road to better love next time. I’m not saying your world will become predictable and under control, or that you can ever know exactly where things are going from day to day. Far from it. But you can get yourself on board a better world.

And in fact, isn’t the worst thing about bad relationships their predictability? It can seem like you’re caught in the endless loop of a bad romantic comedy. You canget out of that loop, but you can’t do it by throwing away the movie. You need to face it. Watch it and understand it. Then it will carry you to the relationship you want. And even help guide you through it.

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