Managing triggers of the Past in the Present Relationship


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Avinash and Ruhi sat quietly in the counsellor’s room. Only one question revolved in their minds. “Did I make a mistake by marrying for the second time?” Avinash’s irritability and snapping had increased in last three months. And Ruhi could not reason his behaviour.

Upon digging into the problem, Avinash found out that he was undergoing the trauma of his first marriage. Any innocent statement and behaviour of Ruhi that resembled his first wife irritated Avinash and he snapped at her. “My first wife would pick a fight if I did not keep my shoes in place. And it escalated to such a level that we stayed up and fought all night,” Avinash told the counsellor. The anticipation and fear of similar behaviour from Ruhi triggered those disturbing memories in Avinash and he snapped constantly at her.

Avinash is projecting his past relationship into the present one and reliving the experiences and memories. This behaviour is hampering him and his wife from building a healthy relationship in their present marriage. He is not only hurting himself by reliving his past but also hurting his current partner.

Here is how to be mindful of ones damaging behavior of bringing the past into the present:

Value your hurt: Acknowledge that your past has hurt you. It is not sign of weakness but only a process of moving on and taking care of yourself.

Lessons of love: Think about what your learnt about yourself in the past relationship. And also what you learnt about the other person in different situations. This will help you develop a perspective about relationships.

Be aware of the effects: Be aware how certain behaviours and situations affect you when you are in the shadow of the past. This will help you in not reacting in a similar manner and hurt yourself and your current partner.

Seek closure and let go: Accept that the past relationship is over. Let it not stay in your head and keep affecting you.

Seek help: Seek support and help from your friends and family to gain your emotional strength. You can also see a counselor who can guide you through this process.

Give yourself time: Give yourself time to grieve for the past, experience the hurt, seek closure and prepare yourself for the present.


Bhargavi Kerur