Ghosts of the past | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 09, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 09, 2017


Ghosts of the past

Relationships of a distant past sometimes have a way of creeping up on us, especially after marriage. There may be times when something we see or hear reminds us of a person from our past with whom we shared a special bond. Inadvertently we sometimes find ourselves comparing our current partner with our former. It can be disconcerting, leaving us perplexed and wondering about whether or not we should keep in touch with our 'ex'.

Comparing a spouse to a former partner is bound to suck all the happiness out of a married life slowly and surely. Playing this comparison game prevents us from moving ahead in our current relationship because it means we have one foot stuck in our past. Even though comparing a situation to a similar past experience might be instinctive, and not a frequent occurrence; comparing the person is never wise. 

Every individual brings something new and fresh into a relationship and no two people are alike. No two relationships are alike as well. Instead of comparing whether or not our spouse is better than our previous partner, we should learn to enjoy our current relationship and live in the moment. 

To put it simply, comparing our partner to others is just not fair to him or her. It is always important to remember the reason why our 'ex' is our 'ex' and why our spouse has made it this far with us. 

Let us not devalue our spouse by making unfair comparisons. Accept their faults and cherish their merits. Relationships are never built on comparisons but on the feelings of love and mutual respect.

But what must one do when these ghosts from our past come knocking on the friendship door? Should we open it or keep it closed forever? 

This could be a sticky situation. This basically depends on various factors. If friendship was the basis of the relationship from the beginning then slipping back into it post break up is a definite possibility because it is familiar territory. Similarly if the break up was a mature mutual decision, then again, being friends with them might turn out just fine. On the other hand if the beginning and the end of a relationship was tumultuous with a lot of unresolved feelings of love, hate or hurt, the possibility of a genuine friendship with that person flies right out of the window.

It needs to be said though that whenever we share a relationship with anyone, especially if it is long term, we invest quite a bit of ourselves in it. Is it really fair to just bid them farewell forever?

In order to even consider being friends with a former partner, we must be crystal clear and brutally honest about our feelings towards them. If at all there exists even a little bit of attraction between each other, or we cling to the feeling of ownership regarding our former partner, then any attempt to be friends might backfire horribly.

It is extremely important to take into consideration the comfort level of our spouse with this decision because hiding even a platonic friendship from a spouse has the potential to ruin trust in a marriage. However, if we are secure that the boundary of our current relationship is impenetrable, only then should we pursue a friendship with a previous loved one. Needless to say our utmost priority should be our spouse and our marriage.

At times, even something as trivial as being connected through social media can often turn out to be an unhealthy fixation, end sometimes letting the past be in the past is the healthiest option. Being friends with an 'ex' is like a tightrope walk and it is wise to indulge in it only if it is really worth it.

By Samina Hossain

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