Week 2: Honest Inquiry Into Past Relationships

Unless you’ve worked through issues you’ve had in past relationships they’ll reappear (often in disguise) in future ones. That’s why it’s so important to spend the time to make an honest assessment of unwanted and unhealed baggage you may be carrying.

Think about the feelings and experiences you’ve had in past romantic relationships.

Exercise:

Read through the list below. Identify and write about any challenges and areas of disharmony you recall. Ask yourself if some of these same issues are showing up in your present relationships. Can you find patterns of tension or conflict?

Here are some common areas around which many people experience tension:

a) Control issues. You or your partner feel like the other is trying to control what you do and how you do it.

b) Lack of acceptance. This is commonly experienced as one or both parties trying to change the other.

c) Problems socializing with others. These can show up as jealousy, feeling left-out, ignored or embarrassed by your partner.

d) Differences regarding money management. Do you have different ideas about spending and saving for the future?

e) Issues around sexuality. Are you in agreement about frequency, initiation, style and level of intimacy?

f) Expectations having to do with commitment, trust, fidelity or abandonment.

g) Respect. Do you feel honored or put down, criticized or verbally abused?

h) Issues of addiction or substance abuse.

i) Physical abuse.

j) Feeling betrayed, cheated or victimized?

Can you recall ways in past situations in which you behaved badly? Can you identify any situations in previous relationships in which you’d behave differently now than you did then? What are they? How would you change your behavior now and what have you learned?