The Baggage We Carry – How Past Relationships Can Interfere in Present Ones


The Baggage We Carry - How Past Relationships Can Interfere in Present OnesWe are all the product of our past experiences. They make us who we are. But sometimes the past can get in the way of the present.

Guy and I are back on track after settling some serious conflicts. I honestly thought that we would not make it, but I have always been rather pessimistic.

It started out as not even our problem, but a conflict between Guy and his misses. The more they fought, the more I felt like I should be there for him. He didn’t ask for anything more, but somehow I felt that I needed to put more effort into our relationship. Unfortunately, with me spending time trying to make sure that he was getting his needs met, I lost track of my own. I began to resent him in his depression. When he told me that he needed to focus his energy on his primary relationship, something inside me snapped.

I became irrational. Though at the time I didn’t see anything wrong with my behavior or thought processes. I came to find out that it was trigger, some kind of “hot button” left over from my previous long term relationship.

In that relationship, I was literally abandoned for someone new. He told me that he still wanted to be close friends; that I was his “girl-friend in waiting.” He told me that we could still get together some. I tried to give him what he wanted. But it became all about his needs, his wants and his desires. There was no reciprocity. And I got so tired; tired of always giving. I got tired of giving him blowjobs and going home unsatisfied because he wasn’t “allowed” to have sex with others while seeing her. He told me that I was “his touchstone,” that I had been the “catalyst towards him doing the things that he had always wanted but never had the courage to do,” that this was “the most comfortable relationship he had ever been in” but when I asked for something as simple as a date on the calendar that we could meet, I was denied. I couldn’t rectify his words with his actions.

Somehow this bad experience had become what I considered the norm when someone’s focus was elsewhere.

Guy has never treated me as a secondary. Yet I began to feel second rate. He repeatedly told me that he loves me and wants to be with me. Yet I didn’t believe him. The voices in my head would plague me; constantly finding fault in anything he would say; reading into his messages things that were not there. And I began to believe them.

And the voices got louder the more we were apart. How dare he not reciprocate? Doesn’t he love me? Wasn’t I good enough?

And more “hot buttons” got pushed on both sides.

He began to feel as if he couldn’t do anything right. That no matter what he tried, he was “not living up to expectations.”  Something that he was having to deal with in his primary relationship.

I would want to play and he would quite understandably not be in the mood. But instead of a rational realization of the stressors that he was under, all I could feel was rejection. The same rejection that I felt when Hubby and I realized that we are not interested in each other sexually. The same rejection I felt when I asked my last long term boyfriend to make love to me and he chuckled as he said “no but you can blow me and maybe I will fuck you.”

Guy and I became stuck in a loop; one in which we could not communicate without somehow hurting the other. Then one day it exploded. We spent an entire day fighting via internet.

I thought it was over. I went numb. The voices stopped. There was no fight left in me; no anger, no fear, no self doubt, no pain – nothing. So I did something that has been very rare for me to do – I sought outside help. I trusted someone with enough of me to find out not only why I had been so irrational, but also what I could do to stop it from happening again.

I want to be able to have healthy relationships. And part of that means that I need to deal with the voices (should they return) long before they pull me under – even if that means being more open. I also need to no longer allow past relationships to interfere with my present ones.

I am glad that learning this lesson did not cost me my relationship with Guy. For my life, my family is nicer with him in it.


Zoe first described herself as "bad at monogamy" until about five years ago when she and her husband discovered the term that actually described her: polyamorous. Since then they have opened their family to other partners. Zoe is currently juggling relationships with her husband, their two kids, her husband's girlfriend, and a slew of friends/loves that she calls her tribal poly family. She can be reached on facebook or on twitter @ZoeHanis

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