Relationships: Why Do We Make The Next Pay For The Ex’s Mistakes?

I love love LOVE Ne-Yo!!! While listening to Pandora last week at work, “His Mistakes” started to play and it really just spoke to me. Lately, in dealing with this new long distance situation with Mike, I’ve been rehashing a few of the ups and downs we’ve experienced together and this song really brought me back to the very first weeks of us dating.

Not sure if I ever shared this, but I didn’t start dating Mike with any real intentions or expectations of us getting this far. Although I had been single for several months prior to meeting Mike, I still felt completely burnt out and shut off from my previous relationship. Mike and I can joke about this now, but everything this song talks about I was doing to him.

Thinking back as to my reasons for doing this…I honestly was over the disappointment that came with dating and trying to make a relationship work. Ladies, I get it, it’s hard to turn away from the past and look ahead with an open heart but making a good guy pay for our baggage isn’t right either. Fellas, if you’ve ever had to pay for the mistakes of another, here’s why it happened…

We’re Hurt and Don’t Understand Why Things Fell Apart
I’ll keep it all the way 100, a key reason you’re paying for Tony’s mistakes is because Tony wrecked havoc on the very structure of our hearts, leaving it in crumbles. We’re hurt and all we’re really seeking is something you can’t give us: closure. Why did he do whatever it is he did, why didn’t we matter enough, why weren’t we good enough and why is he okay with the end result are all questions that plague the inner recesses of our minds when you ask us what’s wrong and we respond by saying nothing.

We’re Still Talking To The Ex To “Figure Things Out”
Sorry ladies, but I’m keeping it real with the guys today and going to just put it out there that another key reason you’re feeling grief is because the ex is still in the picture. Whether it’s to figure things out or to work towards rebuilding what was destroyed, you’re not our #1 priority and whenever you come around, we shut down as a result because we really wish it was our ex standing in front of us. We take a peak at our phones every ten minutes, not because we’re waiting for our bestie to play us in Words For Friends but because we want to make sure we don’t miss any texts from the ex.

We Haven’t Taken The Time To Properly Deal With The Break-up
A lot of women think that time is the key to getting over a break-up but it isn’t. If you miss someone and haven’t dealt with the reality that they’re gone, you’re not emotionally ready to start something new. If you’re constantly checking up on them on Facebook to see who they’re dating or how much fun they’re having without you, you’re not over it. Still have their pictures laying around or talk to your friends about how you two used to be so good together? Don’t waste the new dude’s time and settle your issues before trying something new.

We Just Want To Be Alone But Don’t Know How To Tell You
This is self-explanatory. It comes from a female just flat out being emotionally unavailable and not wanting to deal with the ups and downs of having another person enter her life. Early on, this was part of my problem with Mike. He was a good guy who tried hard to show me he had nothing but the best intentions but, for a long while I just didn’t want what he was offering.

I didn’t give advice on what to do if you were dealing with the other three because there’s nothing really you can do in those situations. If her ex is still a factor or she’s still concerned about the relationship why even bother? However, after the pain from the past has settled and she’s over the previous guy there sometimes sets in a sort of “eff it all attitude” or the “I don’t need a man” bitterness Black women are stereotyped with having. Help her open up the idea of letting someone else in, support her, and don’t stifle her. Don’t dwell into the friend zone and let her know you’re interested in more but are willing to move at her pace. If she’s accepting dates and gradually sharing more with you, patience may be all it takes and if she’s worth it why not wait?

We’re Just Not Convinced You’re Any Different
The other part of why I was reluctant to give Mike a chance was that I wasn’t convinced things would be any different with him. Things are always great in the beginning and then they fall apart, what’s to say this won’t. The thing that opened me up to the idea of taking Mike more seriously was that, after awhile and almost unintentionally, he showed me what I would be getting and showed me exactly the type of person he was. He stopped trying to impress me and started to be who he naturally was. Can’t say this would work for you, but if the person you’re interested in isn’t convinced you’re different try to understand why they think that and really assess whether or not you are. If you are, why not be yourself? Eventually, they should come around and if they don’t you can move on knowing that you were absolutely honest in every way with them and it had nothing to do with something you did or didn’t do.

In the end, getting over a break-up is very hard but the harder thing is moving on to someone new. In a perfect world, people would leave their baggage at the door but we’re not in a perfect world. If you want to build something long lasting with someone, you need to learn to accept them for everything they are and help them unpack the baggage they may be carrying around. If you can’t do that, are you even really ready for a long-term relationship? Any stories you wish to share or tips of your own are always welcome in the comments.

About Carla Clunis
You can find more of Carla’s musings on love and relationships at where she blogs about the ups and downs of dating and relating.
—— By: Carla Clunis


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