Whether you have unresolved feelings about a past partner, your childhood or old friendships, this emotional baggage has the potential to affect love and the way you behave in relationships. Unresolved feelings can leave you mistrustful and unprepared to accept love. You may struggle to bond with your partner when you have not worked through your feelings. If you are aware of unresolved emotions and are willing to work through them, either individually or with a professional therapist, then they do not need to negatively affect your future love.
The bonds that we form with our parents during infancy can affect our relationships for the rest of our lives, explains psychotherapist Richard Boyd in the article "How Early Life Attachment Affects Adult Intimacy and Relationships," published on the Energetics Institute's website. Specifically, if you did not have feelings of safety and security as an infant, you may have difficulty regulating your emotions as an adult. Although overcoming these issues can be difficult and require professional counseling, you can address insecure feelings and the behaviors that come with them.
Emotional Vulnerability and Fear
If you have been hurt in previous relationships or experienced any type of past trauma, you may feel too emotionally vulnerable to open up to future loves, explains WebMD. While this emotional vulnerability is a normal reaction, it can make it difficult for you to build trust with your new partner. Unresolved emotional damage can lead to clingy behavior. This typically stems from a fear of abandonment and can ultimately push away your partner, explains psychologist Gerry Heisler in the Psychology Today article "Are You Erecting Love Barriers Part Two: Coming On Too Strong."
Emotional vulnerability becomes worse when you internalize unresolved hurt or rejection from the past. These negative thought patterns can become part of your self-image, explains psychotherapist Elayne Savage in the article "Don't Take It Personally! Overcoming Rejection, Judgments and Criticism," published on her website. For instance, you might tell yourself that you are worthless, undeserving of love or unable to maintain a healthy relationship. Unless you make a conscious effort to change these thought patterns, they can lead to negative emotions that can undermine relationships.
Holding Onto Old Love
One common way that unresolved hurt can hold you back from future love is when you cling to past relationships that did not work out. Although most people are able to get over exes with time and distance, some do not. If you remain in close contact with past loves, it can be difficult -- if not impossible -- to have a healthy relationship with someone new, explains psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker of PsychCentral in the article, "Still in Love with Ex." Since seeing the problems that come from past heartbreak and family issues can be difficult without outside help, talking to a psychiatrist or professional counselor can be a valuable tool in helping you move forward.
- Elayne Savage: Don't Take It Personally! Overcoming Rejection, Judgments and Criticism
- Counseling & Mental Health Center at The University of Texas at Austin: Overcoming Rejection in Romantic Relationships
- Psychology Today: Are You Erecting Love Barriers Part Two: Coming On Too Strong
- Energetics Institute: How Early Life Attachment Affects Adult Intimacy and Relationships
- WebMD: 7 Solutions That Can Save a Relationship
- PsychCentral: Still in Love with Ex
- Gary Houlder/Digital Vision/Getty Images