Should Your History Dictate Your Future?

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Chiara Mazzucco

CEO, Editor-in-Chief at The Indie Chicks, Inc
Chiara got her start in the blogosphere by dishing out reality slaps on her dating and relationship blog. The brutal honesty that became her signature tone earned her the badass reputation she needed to get The Indie Chicks magazine up and running. She is also a web designer and author of The 9 Mirages of Love. Driven, stubborn, and wildly ambitious, she won’t stop until she is the perfect, self-empowered role model for all of her readers.

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We’re usually giddy at the idea of a relationship progressing. The longer it lasts, the deeper it implants its roots – and we like roots. But while you’re happily marking your calendar at the years passing, you’re not realizing that the seemingly admirable duration of your relationship…can actually affect your decision making – in a bad way. So when it comes time to plan for tomorrow, should your history dictate your future?

When Things Are Shit – but You’ve Been Together for so Long

You feel like you owe your partner something by staying because of everything you’ve gone through together – even if you’re completely miserable.

The ugly truth? That loyalty you’re feeling towards the relationship isn’t going to solve your problems. The fact that he stood by your death bed two years ago isn’t going to change the fact you no longer like making love. Try stepping out of your guilt and see the situation for what it is: you’re unhappy, you’ve tried to mend it, and it hasn’t worked. The past won’t come to your rescue. It’s over.

When You’re Broken up – but You Were Together for so Long

“But how am I supposed to just move on? He was 8 years of my life!”

I get it, it’s complicated. I get that it’s hard to consider a tomorrow when all you know is full of yesterdays. It’s hard waking up and suddenly being faced with a strange future you never thought existed: one without your ex.

Unfortunately, this is how everyone feels after a break up. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together; the history only slightly tweaks the intensity. The truth is, you’re afraid of moving on and you’re using your history as a shield of protection. What you don’t realize is, the shield is actually a target. When you rely on something as unsteady as your history, you’re actually attracting pain and delusional thinking.

When You’re Together & Bored – but You’ve Been Together for so Long

This is a fun one. I got an email a few weeks ago from a wonderfully sweet reader who has been with her damn near perfect boyfriend for 8 years – but she’s only 23. She felt guilty about wanting to see other people and about wanting to explore the world. I’m pretty sure I told her to go have an orgy - and if I forgot to, I hope she reads this.

Having a perfect boyfriend is something many, many women dream about on a constant basis – those attached and unattached, alike. Unfortunately, it’s hardly ever enough. You know why? Because relationships aren’t only about the perfect mate; they’re also about the perfect you. And if you can’t find balance and a steady road to self discovery along the way, what’s the point?

So does the fact that you’ve been together for a long time mean the relationship deserves a second thought? (Perhaps one that lasts longer than a one night stand?) Absolutely. But should it dictate your every decision? Heck no. 

History is but a mere piece of decoration; strip it to see what your relationship really looks like. (It’s likely to resemble something pretty unpleasant, like Jack Nicholson’s bare ass). Be brave and abandon ship; specially when, deep down, you know it’s the right thing to do. History is not a valid reason to devote your life to unhappiness. Because regardless of the state of your relationship, be it joyous or a complete trainwreck, you have to live it.

If you’re not happy, what the fuck is the point? So that you sleep better at night, knowing that you’ve fulfilled your duties as a long-term partner?

I know you think you’re doing your partner a favor by staying (or in the second scenario, you’re doing him a favor by hanging on) but the truth is you’re actually kind of hurting him more. You’re being dishonest and, in a way, a little disrespectful. Just like you deserve to drop the guilt and live a life of happiness, your partner deserves to be with someone who isn’t sticking around because you’ve been together for so long.

Have you ever allowed your past to dictate your future?

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  • http://habitsofthinking.wordpress.com Rene

    Wonderfully well put Chiara. I’m a person who stayed in a relationship longer than its due date. It sucked. Thankfully, I had friends to be perfectly blunt with me, and I snapped out of the situation. Why stay in a relationship that feels like a burden more than a partnership? Life is too short!

    • http://www.theindiechicks.com Chiara Mazzucco

      Amen, Rene! I think we’ve all been there.. What matters most is that, for whatever reason, we’re able to stand up and walk away the second we realize we’re in it for the wrong reasons! Burden vs Partnership is perfectly put!

  • http://chaosandwords.wordpress.com/ Ashley

    Well done, Chiara. I was once in a relationship that lasted way longer than it should have – I stayed in it because I felt guilty for leaving. He wasn’t the most stable person, and I felt it was somehow my “duty”. Thankfully, I realized that guilt isn’t a reason to stay in a relationship, and neither is the past things we had gone through. Thanks for writing! It’s hard to recognize these things at times, but hopefully people know their own self-worth and what a viable relationship is when they see it.

    • http://www.theindiechicks.com Chiara Mazzucco

      Omg.. the guilt. That was always my problem – not so much denial. I always fell into the caregiver role and felt I owed it to the person to stay. Who was I to just … walk away? But it really does all come down to self worth and knowing what relationships are worth fighting for, and what the real reasons to keep fighting really are.

  • Courtney Renfro

    I completely agree. I had a friend who was with this guy for a while. She was not happy. She was cheating on him. Eventually, they broke up. If you are unhappy in a relationship, you should tell your partner . It is not fair to him and you. Why be happy? Life is too short. The guy should be let go. He should be with a girl, who wants to be with him. I was in a relationship, I should have ended it. I was not happy. I found out he cheated on me with a girl. He told me he was seeing her. I was devastated. I talked to him every day. I thought we were close. I am happy that it ended.
    You have to look at the bigger picture. Great Article Chiara. I love your articles. :)

    • http://www.theindiechicks.com Chiara Mazzucco

      Thanks, Courtney! It really is about the bigger picture and staying in something for the right reasons. Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.accordingtojewels.com Jewels

    I’ve absolutely allowed my past to dictate my future, not just when it comes to a particular guy, but also to the way I allow myself to be treated in a relationship. Well, I settled for this with him, I could do it again. Ugh. Ridiculous. I’m glad I left that behind me. I have no problem putting me first (or close to) and making sure that I’m honest with myself about my needs within relationships. My days of staying too long in relationships that don’t work for me are over.

    • http://www.theindiechicks.com Chiara Mazzucco

      Yup. You get to a point you realize it’s pointless.. and wasted, precious time and energy. I, too, have been guilty of that .. It’s so easy to fall into routine. Then you suddenly wake up and realize there’s an entire life to be lived. It’s funny how when that happens, everything changes.

  • http://www.fantasydatinggame.com/ Suzanne Casamento

    Great article. When you gotta go…you gotta go. Your reasoning behind doing the right thing and letting go in each scenario is right on!

  • http://www.homeflair.wordpress.com Shan Fazelbhoy

    That is an absolutely wonderful article, so on point…was going OMG that is so true throughout:)

  • http://joannerambling.wordpress.com/ Jo-Anne

    Another great post, I am one who believes the past needs to stay in the past and we shouldn’t be stressing over it as much as some of us do