Don't Get Lost in the Past

Are you holding on to memories of a woman from your past that you just can't forget? Are you longing to be with her again - or maybe someone just like her? You could be sabotaging your new relationships by clinging to that fantasy girl and your fantastic memories.

The problem is, the memories are just that - "fantastic." In this case, the definition of the word is "imaginary." You're remembering things with a warped perspective. Most likely, you've blown the good parts out of proportion and conveniently forgotten the not-so-great aspects. With your imagination at work, in hindsight she's become the perfect girl.

Dig Up Some Dirt
If you want to have a successful relationship with a real woman in the future, you'd better get clear on the reality of your dream girl. First off, things didn't work out between you two. Why? Remind yourself of what went wrong. Did she boss you around? Did she ignore your feelings? Was she too needy? Greedy? Was she a couch potato and you're an active guy? Did she care about appearances more than substance? In your mind, go through a scenario of what happened when you had an argument or split up...how did she act? Now remember how that made you feel - not so great, right?

Acknowledge Her Strengths
Now you can more clearly look at why you think you need this woman back. What aspects of the relationship make you long for a return to the past? Maybe you liked her independence or her confidence. Maybe it was her comfort in the kitchen and how she took care of you. Maybe it was some activity you had in common - like biking or traveling. Think about what's really attracting you to her memory, and focus on finding a woman who has similar good qualities.

Rewrite History
Sometimes you have a string of particularly vivid memories that haunt your current relationships. It could be a particular trip you took together. If the geographic memories are mixing with the romantic memories, then you might be visualizing the beauty of the place and forgetting the not-so-beautiful way she acted when you were traveling together. If possible, take that trip again with a friend or family member to wipe out the link between the beautiful scenery and your sputtering old flame.

Put Chemistry in Perspective
Sometimes it's hard to let go because of the chemistry you had with your old girlfriend. Those amazing memories can be hard to forget. But try to remind yourself of how she acted outside the bedroom and how she treated you emotionally. Then maybe the pull won't be so strong. If she's unforgettable mostly because of her looks or the physical attraction, then your dream girl is not so dreamy. You can have hookups with beautiful women, but it won't lead to a lasting relationship unless she truly cares about you and what's important to you.

Envision a New Ideal
As you move forward, think about how you can meet someone who shares your interests and values, rather than traveling back in time. Focus on what worked with your old flame, what didn't work so well and what your real ideal relationship would be like. Then be ready to respond when you feel sparks from a different direction. Don't expect a blazing heat from a new, interesting woman in the beginning, however. Remember that building a fire takes time, patience and attention - but the resulting glow can warm your heart as well as your body.

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