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I CONFESS: Feeling loved, but still hurt by past affairs


BARBADOS NATION

I CONFESS: Feeling loved, but still hurt by past affairs

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GETTING OVER A bad relationship is part of living and growing, but this is always easier said than done. Unfortunately, some of the things we hold onto can only make things bad for us as we move forward.

I speak and write from first-hand experiences. There is a saying that after an intense first love you may unwisely hold all future relationships up against that initial experience. I reflect on my first love with deep feelings since I was convinced that that was the start of my life of love and happiness. It turned out to be a sour affair, as was the next relationship, and indeed the following four which, when I reflect on them, were nothing more than affairs.

Then I met the man to whom I have been married for the past 15 years and to this very day, I have not been able to open up and give my total trust, even though he obviously loves me; and I daresay I sincerely love him. I have accepted him but I’m not able to deal with getting over the hurt that lingers after all the years from those terrible relationships.

What has made things particularly difficult is the physical trail which exists to show my simple-mindedness in my youthful days. I have lovely pictures of the entire family of a former boyfriend touring various places of interests; others at luncheons; after church services; on overseas trips and even while babysitting for relatives. I had held on to these pictures while living at home and initially in my marriage had also kept them until my sister, who is very close to me, suggested that I should give her to keep at our mother’s house.

At first I asked why and she simply asked, “If your husband had pictures of his previous women, would you want to see them?” I never felt it was an issue until my sister’s boyfriend explained she could not even bring those pictures around him furthermore in any house they shared. I started to get the point.

I have come to appreciate that my prospects for a happy marriage were tied to people other than my spouse. I also realised that the more serious premarital relationships I had, the greater the impact on realising that happy marriage.

In a puritanical society such as ours and one which does not like to air certain issues in public as we now see on US talk TV, we must not believe that the chequered past of our females is something which we can display in public and believe it would be acceptable.

I have spoken to many people, and my conclusions suggest that the more sexual partners women have along with experience at cohabitating, then there is the real possibility of not having a truly quality marriage compared with those women who have had fewer sexual encounters before marriage.

Women must be careful not to slip into the habit of aborting pregnancies, telling lies to defend the actions or interest of a partner or even hiding doubtful actions and deeds because it starts in one relationship and becomes easily acceptable in others. A reputation gained is also a reputation destroyed.

I do believe that people – both men and women – who have had bad previous relationships should seek professional help whether from a psychiatrist or a trained psychologist to help them get over carrying unwarranted baggage. It is important if you are not to live in a hide-and-don’t-share world sometimes taking out things on your partner, which can only result in problems.

There are many people all across Barbados who probably have suffered more than I have and while it may not have been be in romantic relationships, it was still pain. Suffering and hurt are universal, as well as heartache, which all take the same form – pain. Use your past experiences to bring you closer to that special someone.

I would like to suggest that people do not put their private affairs on social media when they feel they are deeply in love and can trust the other partner. I would also suggest that after a relationship has gone sour that you do not resort to social media either to shame or blame.

You must not expect your partner to be a mind reader. Rather, try to communicate. Talk about the little things as much as you do about the big things. Hear about what was good at work or, for that matter, was challenging and a headache. And, please try to avoid communicating only via social media.

One of the biggest problems among many couples is failure to understand the partner’s job. We don’t take time to know how difficult it can be and what are the hurdles that individual must face each and every day. Rather we often spend too much time complaining and not showing empathy and understanding.

It is impossible to have a good day every day. It is also dangerous to make every day a bad one filled without pitfalls, sadness and sorrow.

Yes, things will get rocky and rough, but let that be the shortest part of a difficult journey. And after a challenging start to your relationship, having come out of a bad one or many bad ones, please try not to keep any secrets, no matter how difficult that can be. Share your most personal moments as early as possible and get that out of the way. Don’t let a third party break the news.

I would say that I have given this a lot of study and consideration, indeed even some research. I am a well qualified individual having a master’s degree, plus other certification in my area of specialty. I have focused on this issue and, as a counsellor, can speak to some of the pitfalls. Yet I haven’t gotten over it all.

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