Question: Stuck In My Past of Bad Relationships

Hello, I was hoping you could just give me some advice but it is quite lengthy. I met this amazing godly man who began pursuing me. However, because of past relationships, it’s hard for me to trust. He continually shows me love but I keep questioning whether he’s lying. He hasn’t given me a reason to think that way but I just can’t stop thinking he’ll leave me like the others, but as well just constantly pick at him if something isn’t up to my high standards. What can I do to move from my past?

Hey my dear friend: I’m really sorry about your past relationships.

Each of us have a particular narrative over our lives based on our past, and we tend to rehearse them into the next season.  Sometimes this can be good because it strengthens our decisions with consistency: but other times it can be bad because it causes unfair judgment, pent-up frustration, and unresolved bitterness.

You know what I mean already.  We’re fragile people, so we carry on our old hurts into new relationships — and this kind of baggage gets messy real quickly.

My narrative has always been, People leave me.  My parents divorced on my fourteenth birthday.  The woman I thought I would marry left me for another dude in college.  I lost a best friend in college after he lost his mind over a woman, and we haven’t been friends since.

But regardless of all this happening, I have to remember that:

1) I am NOT what has happened to me.

2) I can change my narrative.

3) It’s unfair to shackle my past onto my future, especially with new people.

4) The grace of God is all about flipping the page and giving second chances.

I know this will be extremely difficult: But consider asking, Is what I’m doing working for me right now?  I can guarantee it’s not.  If it doesn’t work, it’s better to throw it out. By God’s grace, you have the power to unfilter your expectations today, right now.  When those bad-narrative thoughts come around again, you can arrest them and throw them out and remember: These thoughts are NOT me.  And even if your boyfriend does leave you, that still doesn’t say anything about who you are.

None of this will be easy, for sure, but that’s even more reason to renew your thinking, not less.  A relationship is already hard work, and it will be even harder if you don’t unclench your fist from old corpses.  The hurt that you’ve felt is even more reason to enter this season with open arms and a clean heart.  It won’t be a perfect process and I’m sure you’ll need to ask for a lot of grace and sensitivity — but day by day, you can wrestle with this until your past is where it belongs.

Love you much and will throw you a prayer.

— J

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