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How Relationships in a Man's Past Influence His Future Ones

by Latoya Newman

Emotional memory is timeless. Whenever something is experienced in the present you are also experiencing it in the past. Every experience that a man has within his relationships is committed to his emotional memory, says Lori Gordon, Ph.D., marriage and family therapist, in “Intimacy: The Art of Relationships.” Experiences that are more emotionally arousing such as a breakup, argument or a great first date are usually more memorable than neutral experiences. Based on the negative or positive associations of each relationship which accompany each interaction, men will form particular conclusions or make particular decisions for future relationships.

Chances of Future Relationships

The quality and type of relationship a man has had in the past will affect those in the future. Men who have gone through a "bad" breakup of a committed relationship are sometimes less likely to become involved in another committed relationship where cohabiting or marriage are involved in the future, as was found in the research paper, “Divorce Reduces Chance Of New, Successful Relationship” put forward by researcher Anne-Rigt Poortman, Ph.D. If a man has cohabited before with a previous partner, then the chances of him doing so in future relationships is also quite high.

Length of Relationships

The previous experiences of the man can play a role in determining the success of future relationships. For example, Poortman found that men who had gone through a divorce were at higher risk of getting divorced again or having a relationship end. If a man had cohabited before then the likelihood of that relationship ending was the same as for individuals who had never cohabited before.

Choice of Partner

Divorced men are more likely to choose relationship partners who have no relationship history says Poortman. The choice a man makes in a partner will also be determined by the type of woman he has experienced before. Some men may choose women similar to whom he has dated or women who are completely different. The preferences across the board vary widely.

How Much to Trust

Following the end of a “bad” romantic relationship, men tend to be more cautious about entering into a new one. If a man has experienced an unfaithful partner or one who was emotionally or even physically abusive then he may find it difficult to trust someone new. This can lead to difficulties in entering or maintaining future relationships.

About the Author

Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.

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