Are you really over your ex? Are you really over that person who betrayed your trust? As a bachelor, I dated a lot of women who were haunted by ghosts of former relationships. In dating, I define a ghost as someone who isn’t physically around, but still, affects your life. A lot of times, I felt that the actions of another man affected her decision-making process when it came to our relationship (or situationship, whatever you want to call it). So I ask again--Are you truly over your ex? Do you allow the hurt you encountered with another individual to deter you from growing with someone new?
I once dated a smart, sexy and intelligent woman. She was the perfect woman on paper. I thought I had something unique for a little while until I realized there was something that was a little off. I always felt something was lingering in the back of her mind. Unfortunately, that lingering feeling was the ghost of her ex that haunted her.
She would share her experiences from her previous relationship, and expressed how she loved him and trusted her ex with her deepest and darkest secrets. Listening to her tell stories of sacrificing some of her desires for his happiness was impressive. Of course, the story led to all her works being in vain. After all, she had given everything for their relationship to be successful, and he still betrayed her trust. As much as it hurt her to retell the story, it also hurt me because I grew to care about her deeply.
I imagined that we would be great for each other because of her past experiences. I thought to myself, “If she did this for a man who took her for granted, what effort would she put forth towards a man who truly admired her worth?” Unfortunately, it was harder than I thought to find out, because the side effects from her past hurt and disappointment made it too difficult for her to accept someone genuinely appreciating and loving her.
I was very open and honest with her about what I expected moving forward. When we first started dating, I informed her that I was entertaining other women, and that didn’t sit well with her. Some women may roll their eyes at that statement, but I ask you this--If you think a man is a great catch, do you really expect to be the only woman to realize that?
As we progressed in getting to know each other better and spending more time together, she would always ask about other women, even after I informed her that we were exclusive. But her previous experiences with other men wouldn’t allow her to trust me, and suddenly I was being punished for what another man did to her. She complained that I wouldn’t let her search through my phone, she would check my bed for another woman’s hair and even count my condoms each time she came over to see if I’d used any without her. Her actions in reference to trust would lead to consistent arguments, and I’m a firm believer that trust and communication are vital for a relationship to be successful.
Unfortunately, the ghost of her past never allowed us to move forward. I would ask her why she went to such lengths to see if I was being honest. She would always reply, “My ex hurt me and I never want to go through that pain again. So if you have an issue with me doing all this, let me know you have something or someone to hide.” I was guilty until proven innocent for a crime I did not commit, and she became my probation officer. I couldn’t do it. How can you tell someone they’re special or different, but you treat them the same as an ex you caught cheating?
I used to share with her that I have been hurt and misled before, too, but I don’t judge her for an action committed by someone else. But that statement would always be met with, “It’s different, you wouldn’t understand. Men cheat more than women.” As much as I cared for her, I could not stay in that toxic situation.
As I moved on, I noticed this was a common thing for a lot of women. If you look on IG, Facebook or Twitter, you will see the ghosts that haunt so many women so clearly. I understand no one wants to look like a fool or make the same mistake twice. However, that is a risk we all have to take. How can you ask for trust, but refuse to be trusting? How can you expect me to be exclusive, while you are still holding on to hurt from the past? A lot of men know when a woman hasn’t moved past disappointments from her ex or previous relationships, and that’s a red flag. No man or woman should ever have to date your past.
Think about dating a man while knowing the ghost of his ex still haunts your relationship. How would you feel knowing he doesn’t give you his all because of what someone else did? How would you react to a man being fearful of being trusting and open with you, because another woman betrayed him? You might as well be cheating, because you are letting someone else take from your happiness and time with your current or potential significant other.
Unlike the cheesy song from the Ghostbusters movie, you don’t need to call anyone else to remove ghosts from your life. The most important action is forgiving the ones who hurt you. As long as you hold onto that hurt you will never be able to give someone else all of you. Love itself has its ups and downs. Therefore, finding the perfect one to give that love to will have its challenges as well. Another major key is realizing that each is individual is unique. Every individual is special in some way, yet when being haunted by ghosts, we tend to place potential dating partners in the same box. Finally, remember to embrace the present. Ghosts come from your past, so let them stay there. An amazing future with someone new is waiting once you start looking forward.