Knowing how to get over your anger about your girlfriend’s past is one of the keys to a fulfilling relationship. You have finally found the girl of your dreams. She is beautiful, intelligent, interesting, and fun. It is no surprise that other guys have noticed those same characteristics. She has had some fun, but seems ready to settle down. You are, too, but if you keep bringing up her past experiences -- the relationship will not last long.
She Is Great
Believe it or not, other men have probably seen and fallen for the same qualities in her that you like. Since she is human and will be attracted to other men -- the same way that you are attracted to other women -- it is normal that she has been with other men before you came along. Dr. Marie Harwell-Walker says exactly that in her article, “Can’t Get Over Girlfriend’s Past” on Psychcentral.com. Realizing that your girlfriend’s past is not unusual, will help you to get over your anger about it.
You Can’t Control Her
There are four types of anger, says Alex Likerman, M.D., in “Dealing With Anger,” on PsychologyToday. Anger over your girlfriend's past is most likely either anger aimed at achieving control or anger to make you feel more powerful. If you are angry because you want to control her, then try to understand why you feel out of control. Do you think she is more attractive to men than you are to women? If you are angry because you do not feel powerful, then identify reasons for feeling powerless. Perhaps you think that she is more attracted to the other men than you? You can get over your anger if you understand the reasons and then make an effort to address them.
Realize that you may be taking out your anger on her, but if you are, then that is not her problem. Ways exist that you can employ to get over something that happened in the past, according to Abigail Brenner, M.D., in “Five Ways to Find Closure From the Past” on PsychologyToday. Not surprisingly, they all focus on things that you -- not she -- must do. First, take full responsibility for your anger. Second, focus on positives such as the fact that she is not with those other men. These things will help you move forward.
Change Your Thinking
Cognitive restructuring helps you to change the way you think, states Alice Boyes, Ph.D., in “Cognitive Restructuring: Six Ways To Do Cognitive Restructuring” on PsychologyToday. Notice when you are having thoughts about her past that make you angry and then ask yourself if there are other ways that you can think about it. Assess the accuracy of your thoughts and change them if they are not. Evaluate the evidence for and against your thoughts. If, for example, you find that you are angry because you think she had more fun with her previous boyfriends, then focus on the fact that she is choosing you now.
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- PsychologyToday.com: Cognitive Restructuring: Six Ways to Change Your Thinking
- PsychCentral.com: Having Issues Getting Over Girlfriend’s Sexual Past
- PsychologyToday.com: Five Ways to Find Closure From the Past
- PsychologyToday.com: Dealing With Anger
- PsychCentral.com: Can’t Get Over Girlfriend’s Past
Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.