Everyone has them. People who’ve come into our lives and occupied large swaths of our heart space. We may have known them as a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or even husband/wife. Sometimes we may have not technically left the friend zone with a long-term crush. Bottom line, they entered into our souls and left permanent imprints. And many of them still exert undue influence on our present, long after regular contact has ceased.
I call them The Priors.
Do you have any ex’s lingering in your life?
The Priors are people that continue to make your heart race as your mind recalls their visual and audio profiles. They are the people you wonder about and dwell on in reflective moments. Priors pop into the news feed inside your head unprompted, exerting emotional shockwaves throughout your body. These replays often live on through unhealed wounds and frozen re-runs of the “What If” refrain. Our psyche often romanticizes our priors creating Phantom personages exaggerated from reality.
Note: You may have one or more previous relationships that were healthy, partnerships loaded with potential that you feel compelled to re-evaluate. This post is fundamentally about assessing your priors and in wisdom determining which doors should remain firmly closed and which should remain open. We encourage you to get a complete handle on all your priors, determining who should remain for consideration and should be completely closed out!
This handout called “The Priors” is designed to facilitate your overall preparedness through the work of reflecting and analyzing the influence of previous relationships on your past and present. Some of you reading this are right now paralyzed in your pursuit due to the residual effects of Dating Breakup. They may have been completely out of your life for several years, with not so much as a sighting or a phone call but continue to make frequent unwanted entrances in your internal conversation. A mirage image weighing you down like a 20-pound weight can impede your forward progress. You might believe you are over relationships X, Y, and Z after the passage of significant time and the sparks of new love interests, but your heart may still be moored to the same old port.
Dating Breakup Strategies
It really felt that way as I began to wrap my mind around the end of a two-month relationship sophomore year in college. The young lady was cute and bubbly, full of youthful freshman energy, and an exciting person to date. So, when we broke up I felt so distraught thinking, “There will never be another person like _____.” Oh… but there would be. In fact, that refrain would echo in my mind several more times until I met Jenn.
God’s word has an overarching forward orientation. His record of dealing with humanity scans back to what he has done from the beginning and then emphatically points ahead to glorious things to come. Despite the suffering and trial you’ve endured, and the messes made, our Lord offers full restoration and urges us back onto right paths. This is His grace in our lives.
“But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13,14
You must jettison the unhelpful hooks of the past in order to fully embrace the future. Learn the lessons, recognize the ways that you have been developed in God’s grace, but SEVER ties with toxic snares tugging at your soul. Moving pastThe Priors requires intentional prayer over and assessment of your previous relationships. They are just too big to be ignored.
Through this exercise, you may discover a relationship(s) with an open door that you are motivated to re-consider.
Take the time to work through your priors! I’ve met people so bound up by the emotional shackles of previous relationships that they weren’t able to track with new potentials. They were perpetually recycling their own past.
Have you been there? The issue for you, perhaps, isn’t a single overwhelming hindrance from one particular relationship but the collective damage of many.
Boundary expert Henry Cloud says in his famous book Boundaries, “If other people have the power to get you to act, they are inside your walls, inside your boundaries.” You’ve got to turn the tables and get control of your reactions. Be proactive getting past The Priors and get them outside your walls! When you deal with the priors you determine their role in your life. You put an end to unwelcome interference.
If there is a purpose for continued contact and emotional investiture then intentionally allow them to remain in your life. If the only impact is negative recoil, then extract them entirely. Clean out your mind and set safeguards in place. Purge pictures, messages, and memorabilia. Moving past the priors savors the training from the scars, while simultaneously taking complete action to prevent re-occurrence.
This post has guidance on sifting through your roster of priors, and in wisdom, determining their role (if any) in your life ahead! You can get past dating breakup shellshock! One of my favorite Christian dating sites, Boundless attests to dating breakups often feeling like divorce.
“Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Secure your heart by evicting thoughts, images, and emotions that trespass your defenses! When Jennifer and I first met she had a prior. Actually, she had more than one guy attempting to cling to her as she walked on. Even though she had already notified them in a direct and firm fashion that they had no claim to her emotional space, they still showed up. Until I got involved.
Wonder how I handled it? You’ll have to wait for a future post!
The journey to connect with your mate in the present context is arduous enough that the last thing you need is obstruction from priors. Utilize this handout to begin assessing (and purging) your priors! Handout Link.
It may be time for you to borrow Taylor Swift’s refrain, “We are never ever, ever getting back together.”
Who do you need to say this to?
To freedom from the past!