Relationships : Why we Focus on our Partner’s Past

1351976438608666029We all have a past. When two people come together and try to form a relationship, the experiences gained by both play a role.  How much of a role depends greatly on the people concerned and the experiences they gained. If trust issues are present or have been brought into the relationship, the past suddenly becomes all-important. If you are looking for reasons to trust or distrust, here lies a body of work to reference.

Patterns of commitment and behavior can be seen or evaluated. Of course, this is important if abuse has taken place or there might be a suspicion of criminal activity. This is then useful information. However, when a person’s past becomes an obsession then the secure basis needed for the relationship to blossom can become shaky. The old saying goes that the past should be seen as irrelevant, that the present and the future are the most important. The sentiment is nice but slightly unrealistic.  As humans we are an extremely curious species, we want to know everything and we want to know everything and we want security and reassurance. Most of all, we want to ‘own’ the new person we have found. We want to be sure that they were never as happy as now, with us. We want to know that they are having the best love life, the better foundation, the more hope. The bottom line is… we want to know that we are “The One”, “The Special One” that they have never experienced.  This is a natural feeling and of course, feeling special in someone’s life is indeed extremely pleasurable. However, this need can turn to almost an addiction that can lead to such irrational behavior as checking social media, phones and email looking for answers and reassurance.  Additionally, “tests” may be set that need to be passed. We need to have an iron clad guarantee that things will work in the way we hope. Instead of reassurance, often insecurity follows.  Look hard enough and you will always find something. The fact is that we often look to our partner’s past to deal with our own trust issues.

Have we made the right decision? Is this person our latest disappointment to bear? Is there evidence that points towards our often-bad experiences being repeated? We need to make sure. 100% sure.

Unfortunately, when we do this we fail to factor in elements that could bring balance. What is the current evidence that we have? If the relationship is mostly good, do we recognize that? Secondly, do we keep in mind that people can change and mistakes are commonplace and “human”? Are we setting standards and expectations on our partner that, for protection, are too high or unmanageable? If you are feeling insecure in your relationship, look at your own issues first – Are you working on experience and not real evidence?

  3 comments for “Relationships : Why we Focus on our Partner’s Past

  1. August 13, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Reblogged this on resurgenceconsultancy.


  2. August 13, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Hi Dr, Ken Kennard here. Thank you for another insightful post. Very useful for me as I have caused some relationships to fail by trying to dig around to uncover someone’s past, and then got jealous when they revealed it to me. I also seem to be hell bent on “testing” the relationship by e.g. picking an argument over something minor. These are not traits I’m proud of but I find them almost impossible to control. The good news is that I’m now in a solid relationship with a woman who had done some psychology courses and she saw through my “games”. We had very open conversations about them. I feel safe and happy with her. Ken.


    • August 13, 2016 at 4:45 am

      Hi Ken. Thanks for the comment. Even though the obsessing about a partner’s past comes from a place of insecurity, it is a choice we can consciously make to work on it and look at the situation differently. It seems you have done this with the right partner. Congratulations.


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