I came out of a long-term four-year relationship about 6 months ago. During the relationship, I made some mistakes – always putting my partner first over my needs and accepting his bad behavior (numerous times cheating on me, lying to me, diminishing my self-worth) I told my friends that I wanted to give the relationship 100% so that I could know that I tried everything to make it work.

It didn’t work out and he dumped me after four years, over the phone. I accept that I tolerated WAY more than I should have done. And I’m truly not bitter – just frustrated that I wasted the final years of my twenties on someone who said ‘forever’… but ended up making a different decision.

Here’s the thing though, I’m really concerned that I’ll bring ‘baggage’ into a future relationship… and I wondered if you had any advice on what I can do to make sure that I don’t cause any problems when I’m dating in the future. I don’t want to be a victim – and I will start dating again sometime… I just don’t want to be the stereotypical person who decides that they’re in their 30s and have had a bad experience so they take that out on future partners.

-Jess

Dear Jess,

Kudos to you for your asking the right question. 

The number of people who blame the opposite sex for their dating woes is far greater than the number of people who try to assume responsibility for their past actions and choices.

Why look inward when it’s so easy to fault men for being selfish, broken, losers, players and egomaniacs?  (And a good number of them ARE!)

The key is in understanding the common denominator: you.

YOU choose this man.

YOU accepted his bad behavior.

YOU tolerated his lying and cheating

YOU tolerated his lying and cheating.

YOU thought it was okay that he put you down and diminished you.

YOU did this again and again for four years.

That is not an attack on you, Jess. It’s exactly what you said above – putting the focus on your choices – just using all-caps.

The good news is fixing this problem is incredibly simple and straightforward.

  1. Remember, the next guy has nothing to do with the last guy. Or even the last ten guys. If you always choose lying, cheating heartbreakers, it says more about your choice in men than it does about all men. There are always going to be bad men out there; you must develop the ability to identify them and leave them sooner instead of investing years of your life in them. 
  1. Choose different men. One of the core tenets of Love U is that you don’t have to change your personality or your looks to find a great guy. You just have to stop wasting your time on the wrong men. And, contrary to popular belief, you don’t ATTRACT the wrong men, you ACCEPT the wrong men. Once you stop accepting relationships like your last one, you’ll never fall into the same situation again. Think of it like a hot stove. You just had your hand on one for four years. I don’t see why you’d ever put your hand back on. 

“But I can’t help it!” you say. “I don’t even trust my judgment at this point!” 

I get it. It’s hard to feel good about your judgment when you have a track record of failure.

That’s why it sure helps to know what a good relationship looks and feels like.

Indeed, you wasted a years on the wrong man (or men) but you’re not alone.

In fact, I know very few people who made it through their twenties without a lot of mistakes on their record. Honestly, I believe that’s what your twenties are FOR.

So if you don’t want to be a victim, don’t be a victim.

Try Believe in Love, a program designed to answer your very question in depth. Subtitle: 7 Steps to Letting Go of Your Past, Embracing the Present and Dating with Confidence.

Apply to Love U, my signature coaching program which spends an entire month on Confidence and an entire week on Past Baggage before teaching you to select Mr. Right.

No matter what you do, trust your gut feeling that tells you that something isn’t right. 

And if it’s not right, please have the courage to leave quickly instead of staying because you think you can’t do better. 

I promise: you can.