12 Signs Your Past Relationships Are Affecting Your Present Relationship

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Updated On: December 1, 2023
Your Past Relationships Are Affecting Your Present Relationship

Stop living in the past,” haven’t you heard this often enough from everyone around you? Well, they are not entirely wrong. Living in the past and continuously thinking about your ex can unearth a lot of hidden emotions that can drastically impact your present relationship. If you are troubled with the question “How do you get over past relationships?”, then you have definitely come to the right place.

Emotional scars from past relationships can ruin your present relationship. Past relationship trauma, like emotional or physical abuse, can make you jittery and skeptical in your new relationship.

Letting go of past relationships can be hard. You could be carrying the emotional baggage from past relationships into your present one and killing it even before it blossoms. Rebuilding love after emotional damage is a lot of hard work, but knowing what you’re up against can help.

Purpose coach and British author Jay Shetty says, “Everyone you meet is going to come with their baggage. You just need to find the person who loves you enough to help you unpack.” Let’s take a look at what the symptoms of emotional baggage accumulated in the past look like.

Past Relationships And Their Emotional Baggage

Past relationships leave behind a trail of emotional baggage which is not something everyone can be mentally prepared to deal with. Emotional baggage is part and parcel of a past relationship, especially if the relationship has not ended on a mutual note.

Should someone’s past affect a relationship? It’s easy to answer that question, but once you start scratching the surface, you realize the patterns and behaviors enmesh themselves into your psyche, making it harder to let go of the emotional baggage.

It consists of a pattern of behaviors in which you feel remorse. You are enveloped with sadness or you have a lot of negative thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, even if you are carrying the burden of emotional baggage, you will not be aware of it as it is difficult to realize its presence in your life.

You might be convincing yourself that your past relationship is over and there is nothing stopping you from embracing your future. But the reality may be quite different as you might still be exhibiting behaviors of emotional turmoil. Without even knowing it, your past relationship might have left you with trust issues or abandonment issues.

So how can you get rid of the emotional baggage related to your past relationships? Confronting your past relationships and problems associated with these and talking to your current partner will help you to reduce the burden of your heart. It will also allow you to develop a stronger present relationship with your partner.

If you have shared everything about your past, there will be no emotional baggage to carry and there will be no insecurity left in your present life associated with your past.

Before you get to tackling emotional baggage, however, we must learn to recognize that the problem exists in the first place. Once you’re able to catch the signs, you’ll be set on your way to figuring out how to not let past relationships affect new ones. Let’s try to unpack your baggage as soon as possible so as to build a healthy and flourishing present relationship.

Related Reading: Fixing a Toxic Relationship – 21 Ways To Heal TOGETHER

12 Signs Your Past Relationships Are Affecting Your Present Relationship

Have you been trying to move on in your life and trying to forget about your past relationship? Are you unable to figure a way out of the mess of your past life? Emotional scars from past relationships can end up causing major rifts in your current dynamic, with issues like not being able to trust your partner or confide in them.

In some cases, you may have even convinced yourself that the issues you went through in the past have now been dealt with, and you’ve done all the healing you needed to. Subconsciously, however, the toxic dynamic you were a part of might have left a considerable impact on you, one that you’ve now learned to turn a blind eye to.

If you are still confused, then here are the clear signs that the emotional scars of the past relationship are still present, and these are affecting the way you behave with your current beloved. Rebuilding love after emotional damage is possible but first, you have to pinpoint and accept the issues that stem from your past relationship.

1. Insecurity envelopes your relationship

Insecurity is the reason for all the evils which take place in your life, in general, and in your relationship, in particular. If you have gone through a rough phase in your past life, then it will make you lose trust in people easily. You will carry your past relationship trauma into your new relationship.

But, you must try to trust the partner you are dating. Otherwise, it will only lead to further distrust and eventually a breakup. When you’re constantly doubting your own capabilities, you’re bound to be worried about just how much your partner loves you as well.

Though you might be confidently saying things like “I’ve learned to leave the past behind in a relationship,” your insecurities might convince you to think otherwise once the issues start creeping up. If you’ve ever been cheated on, there’s a high probability you’ll be knee-deep in insecurity issues.

my past relationship ruined me with insecurities
Insecurities might cause to develop trust issues

2. You become overprotective

While rebuilding love after emotional damage, you become too overprotective. It is natural for people who have been betrayed in the past to take their time to be open and free with their current partners.

But the problems in the present bond start when you try to be overprotective, possessive, and when you invade the personal space of your loved one. This paranoia will be manifested in the form of a need for control and emotional drama in public places and arguments without any reason.

Emotional scars from past relationships might convince you that the only way to ever be in a successful relationship is to control every aspect of it. Though you might not realize it, a good way of figuring out if you’re overprotective or not is if your partner has ever complained about you being too inquisitive/nosy or possessive.

3. Comparing your partner with your past lovers has become a habit

You always compare your partner with your past lovers in such a way that it becomes disrespectful. You either think too highly of your past lover which makes your partner feel insignificant or you start thinking that your partner will hurt you like your past lover.

Both these situations can hamper the peace of your present equation. If you’re wondering about how to not let past relationships affect new ones, the biggest step you can take is to forget about the idealized version of your ex you have in your mind, because that’s exactly what it is – an over-glorified memory.

Remember, people are different. Never compare one with another. If you can stop the comparison you will be able to let go of the past relationship.

4. You do not disclose things related to your past

For a relationship to be healthy and strong, there must be trust and no secrets between the partners. But if you are trying to hide or do not talk about something important about your past relationships, it may someday ruin what you currently have.

The burden of not sharing the memories of your past will be an obstacle towards a happy future. Sometimes, oversharing can lead to some issues too. But if you are carrying past relationship trauma then it’s best to let your partner know about it so that they can understand you better.

Plus, the more you talk about it, the more you’ll come to terms with what happened. Trying to deal with all your overwhelming issues yourself might leave you saying things like “my past relationship ruined me” to yourself, over and over again. With the help of your spouse, you may be able to tackle the obstacles better.

5. Your commitment will be lacking

Commitment will become an issue for you if you have been in a sour relationship in the past. But remember, the past is now behind you, and you should not let it affect what’s yet to come.

If you are facing issues with commitment, you probably are getting affected by your past relationships. And that’s completely understandable as well. When once your unwavering trust and commitment was so easily shrugged off, you’d obviously be hesitant to let yourself be vulnerable enough to commit that deeply again.

Even so, you must remind yourself that your current equation is different from the damaging one you experienced. Past issues affecting current relationships aren’t an easy ailment to attend to, and all you can do is take the leap of faith and decide to trust your new partner. Be fully committed and dedicated to the person you are with today.

6. You feel depressed

Even in the company of the person you love the most, you still feel depressed and feel that something is missing. This may be because of the feeling of anxiousness that the past debacle has left you with. You must try to get over it. You are still looking for closure. Jay Shetty says, “That’s pointless because your ex lacks clarity to give you closure. So, handle your emotions yourself.”

Anxiety is something that gradually eats into your personality and then eventually into your relationship. If you let the emotional scars of a past relationship add to your anxiety, then you are making a huge mistake.

Should someone’s past affect a relationship? While we all know the answer to that, acting upon it might become significantly difficult when you find yourself dealing with anxiety and depressive episodes. If you’re currently going through mental health issues and would like to seek professional help for them, Bonobology has a multitude of experienced therapists who’d be happy to guide you out of this troubling time in your life.

Related Reading: What Is New Relationship Anxiety? 8 Signs And 5 Ways To Deal With It

7. You keep talking about your ex

If people around you are talking about them, then it is fine because you cannot control what others have to say. But if you are trying to bring your ex into your conversation, then it could be a cause for concern. You could be harming your relationship more than ever.

Constantly talking about an old flame could be a glaring sign that you’re not over them, and you are still living in your past. This will hurt your current partner and is something you should stop doing immediately. And the last thing you should ever do is talk about your ex in your intimate moments.

Your current S.O. might even start to feel inadequate since you constantly keep talking about your ex. When past issues are affecting a relationship in this manner, it’s best to try and communicate with your current S.O. Ask them what they’d like to be different and try to understand where they’re coming from.

8. You still stalk your ex

When you keep stalking your ex on social media and know a lot about what they are doing in their lives, your present partner is bound to get annoyed. This will cause your relationship to crumble because nobody likes to have a partner who is not dedicated to him/her and keeps on thinking about their past lover.

If you are making a go at rebuilding love after emotional damage, then you should maintain the no-contact rule and block your ex on social media.

9. You keep on reliving the past

You are not in your present and you constantly think about your past trauma and suffering. Some people experience it so vividly as if they are living in the past and they fail to enjoy or appreciate their present relationship.

This is a horrible thing you are doing not only to yourself but also to your current partner. Get over your ex, without closure if need be, and start things afresh. Learn to leave the past behind in a relationship, since constantly replaying the same scenarios and memories in your head will only make you create a false image of the troublesome dynamics. You may even end up believing you were better off in the toxic relationships you had before.

10. You tend to build a wall around you

Despite being in another relationship, after a past failed relationship, your personality is different. You do not open up and expect your partner to understand everything without ever sharing anything with them. This does not lead to a sustainable relationship.

It is said that you may survive a storm but when you emerge from it you do not know how it has changed you. You might have changed as a person but try to be a better version of yourself. When you notice the past issues affecting current relationship to such an extent, it’ll be clear you need to figure out what to do about it.

Related Reading: 5 Signs The No Contact Rule Is Working

11. Fear of being dumped again

Having been unexpectedly abandoned or dumped by your past lover will create a fear in you. At the back of your mind, you will always think that this will be repeated and it is difficult to be happy and satisfied in the present relationship with this sort of mindset.

If you are carrying emotional scars from a past relationship, then this fear is inevitable. But how you deal with this feeling is entirely your call. If you let it engulf you, then you will never be able to form a strong foundation for your new relationship. Let go of the past and move on. Enjoy your present.

12. You are not okay with physical intimacy

If becoming physically intimate with your current partner keeps reminding you of your past relationship and you avoid such intimacy through lame excuses, then there is definitely something wrong.

You are scared of getting close to your partner because of your past experiences, which is fair to neither of you. You can look towards building intimacy starting with non-sexual touches.

If you are someone who notices these signs in yourself, then it is advised that you remain positive and work towards making your present relationship a success. Learning and healing from the perils of the past are what will make you and your relationship stronger.

You are not okay with physical intimacy
You are not okay with physical intimacy

Should Couples Talk About Past Relationships?

It is alright to have one sitting, talk about the past relationship and close the chapter then and there. If you’ve figured out that there are a few past issues affecting your current relationship, you can also discuss what needs to be done and how you can go about rectifying the damage.

However, It should not start coming up in casual conversations between current partners because it could create complications that you would not be able to handle later. To learn how to leave the past behind in a relationship is almost a pre-requisite if you want your ongoing dynamic to flourish as it should.

If you need to tackle the scars of emotional or physical abuse in a past relationship, then our advice would be to go to a counselor and ask for professional help. If you expect your current partner to be your sounding board and counselor for your past issues then you are putting unnecessary mental stress on them. Couples can talk about past relationships if there is a need to, otherwise talking about the ex is best avoided.

Emotional scars from past relationships can end up affecting the current bond you have with your partner, and may even cause more serious mental health issues for you down the road. When trauma is left unchecked, it can develop into personality-defining aspects that influence your day-to-day life.

With the help of the signs we listed out, we hope you now have a better idea of how to not let your past relationships affect new ones. Nurture your current equation with the love and care it deserves, don’t let your past define your future.


1. Can past relationships affect new ones?

If you are still not over your ex and you are carrying the emotional baggage of a past relationship then yes, it can affect the new relationship.

2. Does someone’s past matter in relationships?

How you have been treated by your ex will determine how you would want your present relationship to unfold. If you had a controlling partner then any signs of control in your new relationship could make you fearful and you could even end up overreacting.

3. How to stop bringing up the past in a relationship?

Make a conscious effort not to bring up the past. If you walk into a coffee shop that you had been to before with your ex you don’t really need to supply this information to your current partner right then and there, do you?

4. I keep on bringing up past mistakes in relationships — what should I do?

You should stop immediately. If you can’t, see a counselor and process your feelings. They would be able to tell you how to put an end to this habit of delving into past mistakes if you can’t figure it out yourself.

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