Dear Rachelle, “I recently got out of a really, really intense relationship that was bordering unhealthy. But I’ve started something with someone new and I’m scared that I’ll never love him, or anyone, like I loved my ex. I’ve been holding back and taking things slowly which is really unusual for me. How do I move forward in my new relationship without comparing it to the past?”
You’re right; you’re never going to love anyone like you loved your ex. But is that such a bad thing? There’s a reason your ex is your ex, especially if you think that your previous relationship was unhealthy.
A relationship that’s “really, really intense” does not foster the kind of love that lasts. But that doesn’t mean it was any less real; it was just a different kind of love. And it’s really important to experience different kinds of love; that’s why people date various people before settling down and getting married.
Each of those experiences is meant to teach you something different.
I think that a lot of people mistake intensity for passion and while passion is an important aspect of any relationship, it’s only one of many different aspects.
Love should have passion, but it should also consist of many different components.
As for how to move forward; you already are. Not just in your relationship, but as a person. People generally struggle when they are unable to realize what went wrong in the past or if they know, they don’t do anything to change it. And you’ve done both.
You’re aware that your previous relationship was unhealthy and now you’re taking strides to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That shows an incredible amount of maturity and strength.
And fear, believe it or not, is also a sign of strength. But I think you’re wrong about why you’re scared.
You’ve clearly found something with the potential to make you feel the way you once did. Your fear lies in the fact that your previous relationship was unhealthy and you don’t want this to turn out the same.
Yet, you still find a comfort in the way things were because that’s what you know.
And that’s totally fine. It makes complete sense and that’s why I think it’s a good idea to take things slow. You know the signs of an unhealthy relationship and taking your time will let you know if it’s a similar situation. Scared is good.
But don’t be scared of your inability to love.
A new relationship is a scary thing for anyone and while I encourage your hesitancy, don’t let it overshadow what’s good about the relationship. Until you allow yourself to fully experience it, you’ll never know what kind of relationship it’ll be. But when you do, you’ll see it’ll be just as meaningful—just a different kind of meaningful.