Projecting Past Relationships
January 16, 2022
Laura Lee

When people say “oh she/he comes with a lot of baggage”, I didn’t really understand what it meant. Sure everyone has their issues, but that’s just it, everyone has their issues. I couldn’t really understand what would classify something as ‘baggage’ or not. It wasn’t until I was in my first real committed relationship did I start to understand what this meant.

If all your exes treated you really well and things always ended on amicable terms, then you can count yourself lucky. Most of us, however, have had at least one, if not many exes who did something that hurt us (intentionally or otherwise). Over time I had built up various defense mechanisms to help me deal with things. One of my exes would never want to be seen with me in public. What had started off as a secret fling, soon led me to feel he was ashamed of me.

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A different ex slowly stopped being interested in any fun couple activities, and eventually began avoiding me for no reason. These are just examples of things that stuck with me and once I was in a steady relationship, I found myself projecting these feelings onto my current boyfriend. I’d get upset when he wasn’t answering me all day, or if he didn’t want to go out but would rather stay in.

We’d talk about how I was feeling, and together we got to the bottom of where the feelings were coming from. It was almost as if I was punishing him for things he hadn’t done, but that I was expecting him to do, purely based on my experience with other men. Realizing the source has helped me to take a step back and ask myself why I’m upset. Most of the time it’s not because of something he’s done, but rather it’s triggered an emotion from a past relationship. Once we figure out the trigger, he does his best not to activate it, while I am doing my best not to let the past affect the present.

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