If your profile includes the words “never,” “don’t,” “hate,” or “can’t,” you might be carrying around some dating baggage that could be keeping you from meeting Mr. or Ms. Right. Usually these feelings are subconscious; they have become unintentionally woven into your dating identity. Not noticing this, you simply qualify them as your personality, or part of the long list of preferences you seek in a mate. You mindlessly post these words on your profile hoping the ideal person will be able to navigate around the things that are going to upset you in advance, before you would ever have to think about pulling the plug on the relationship.
Maybe your ex-boyfriend was lazy so you now state you are looking for someone with drive and determination, forgetting that what attracted you to him initially was his joie de vivre. Or perhaps your ex-girlfriend was too clingy so now you say you are seeking an independent woman, completely forgetting how you used to love her dependable and consistent nature.
My clients always question if I have psychic powers when I can predict why their previous relationships ended. No Miss Cleo tricks here, I learn all I need to know by simply reading your profile. What most people don’t realize is the roadmap to both their past and future relationships is plainly written in all those “nevers,” “don’ts,” “hates,” and “can’ts” in their “About Me” section.
One of my clients specified in her profile, “Please have a sense of humor about yourself, as well as an opinion.” This seemed like a simple and reasonable request to her, but came off as controlling and baggage-laden to many who read it.
Until you recognize your mistakes and forgive your exes for their faults, you risk attracting someone based on what you don’t want, rather than what you do want. Here are a few simple exercises to send your relationship baggage packing, and start the New Year off fresh:
1. Remember Why You Loved Them
There was something that originally attracted you to your ex. Try visualizing the moment when you said, “Yes,” rather than replaying all the times you said, “No!” If you can draw a picture of what you like in a partner, you will attract more potential mates than constructing a war zone full of land mines they need to avoid.
2. Forgive and Forget
If you’re still thinking about what got under your skin in your last relationship, you’re not fully over it. Once you truly forgive, you will be able to forget the injustices you suffered and start anew.
3. Own Up to It
Regardless of how your relationship ended, you probably see it as the other person’s fault. One of my clients, who cheated on his wife, still sees it as her fault for not paying attention to him; even though he was the one who took actions that ultimately ended their relationship. You played some role in the break-up, take responsibility for it and then forgive yourself so you can move on.
You don’t need to wait for the High Holidays to think about your own actions to make changes. It’s never too late to make a clean start. Once you own up to your dating sins and release yourself from the relationship wrongs you experienced or inflicted in the past, you can truly move on to find the perfect person for you.