When a relationship ends, we figure out what we do and do not want our next relationship to include. We don't want to be with someone who evokes the parts of our exes that we dislike.
In fact, sometimes we want our next relationship to be with somebody who is the complete opposite of our most recent ex.
However, when said new relationship begins, we are inclined to start playing the comparison game. It makes sense: A role that was once held by one person has been recast.
It's like when television shows swap characters out for new actors and you can't help but compare how the newbie compares to the original.
It's especially easy to compare our past and present significant others if they have similar traits, which is common for people who claim to have a "type."
We must stop trivializing our relationships in this comparative manner. Learning and comparing are two completely different things.
While we should learn from our exes to enhance our new relationships, we should not compare one to another.
If we want our new relationships to thrive, we must disallow ourselves from comparison in our love-life history as much as possible.
Just as the universe allows us additional chances, allow you and your partner to redefine what love means:
Have Faith In Your New Significant Other
If you got screwed over in any of your past relationships, it is understandable to be guarded and proceed with caution.
Still, if you are able to get involved once again after the pain from your past, you must allow yourself to have faith in your new partner.
This new person is not your ex, and though there is always potential that he or she can hurt you in a similar or new way, comparing him or her to the heartbreak you experienced once before will make it much harder for you to see your new partner at his or her fullest potential.
Even more, the associated fear will inhibit you from opening yourself up in your new relationship. Dating always provides for risks, and if you are focusing on all the ways the relationship could go wrong, it will be much easier for it to crash and burn.
Yes, your partner could hurt you, but he or she could very well be the one to restore your faith in love and relationships. Give this person a chance to do the latter.
Remember That Your Past Relationships Have Ended For A Reason
Comparing life to death is pointless, much like comparing relationships that have ended with those that are in full bloom.
Every relationship will have an end of some sort, but it could be a happy one. Even when things end badly, they allow us to begin again. Just think, if your past relationships didn't end, you would not be where or with whom you are today.
So, while you may have ended one relationship, it doesn't mean it's your final ending. Our past relationships ended in part, so we could start our new ones.
Instead of comparing one to the other, we should be thankful for our exes for leading us to our new relationships.
Separate The "Back Then" From The "Right Now"
Our exes are our "back then." Like any good (read: heinous) throwback Thursday picture, we can look back and learn from them.
"Back then," we did not know as much as we do today. "Back then," we did not experience as much as we now have. "Back then" is behind us, and dwelling on it will ruin our current relationships or our "right nows."
Our "right nows" are the people who are experiencing everything with us in the present. They are inspiring us to stop looking back, focus on the current moment and, perhaps, they are even sparking daydreams about the future.
A new relationship means there is potential for all of the exciting firsts: the first date, the first kiss, the first fight, the first "I love you." We cannot fully enjoy those firsts in the "right now" if we are charting their similarities and differences to our "back thens."
Your 20/20 Is For Hindsight Only — Don't Let It Influence You Now
We've all had that aha moment after a relationship, when we emerge from the fog and are able to look at the past with total clarity.
Unfortunately, hindsight vision does not help us when we are trying to look forward.
While we should proceed with caution, if we experience things that are far too similar to something we have encountered before, we should not wait for elements of the past to come into our present.
We don't have to completely wash our memories of past relationships, but we need to separately categorize our past and our present.
After all, our "right now" relationship could be our future, while our "back then" is simply how we became who we are in our "right now."