10/14/2013 12:17 pm ET | Updated Dec 14, 2013

Dating the Ghosts of Relationship Pasts

My friend, we'll call her Elizabeth, recently found out that the man she has been seeing has been making plans to move away and they don't include her. She's devastated and can't understand how he could do this to her after 5 months together. But were they ever really together? They never had the relationship talk or the exclusive conversation. They kept it very simple and just focused on the day to day. Elizabeth has serious issues with commitment, not just in relationships, but also in making advance plans with anyone. If you ask her to go to a show with you in 2 weeks, she won't commit to going until the day of the concert. I really think that she attracted a mirror of herself: someone who doesn't commit to plans and leaves things to chance. This is perfect for someone who is so afraid to commit because your partner will never want to commit either, and you're never forced out of your comfort zone. The obvious problem with this strategy is that you will forever be alone.

I have another friend who is an accomplished doctor and keeps dating men who are 15-20 years younger than her who work in kitchen's or live with their parents. Again, has I'm sure you have guessed, these relationships never make it past the third date. And I think that it really comes down to her divorce 10 years ago. She has still not moved on from this relationship. Yes, it was her first love, first boyfriend, but it wasn't meant to be. Her low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness stem from the day he told her that he was gay and wanted to live an honest life.

It's hard to sit by and listen to your friends tell you over and over again that they are looking for a loving and committed relationship, while they are still in relationships with ghosts from their pasts. It's incredibly difficult dealing with the emotions that a past breakup can bring up. There were some days that I just laid on the couch and cried so hard that I was shaking, but I wouldn't take that back for the world. I can finally look at my ex and see who he is, the father of my son. There's no longer any anger or bitterness because I refuse to hold on to old hurts anymore. And I think that it is because of this, that I have finally found someone who is kind and loving and brings out the best parts of me.

We attract what we put out there. If you are afraid of commitment, you will attract someone who never makes you commit. If you are still invested in your failed marriage, you will attract mates who will never be suitable for you. Relationships are a mirror of us. It's only when we take responsibility for our role in the failed relationships and move past it, will we ever be able to attract someone who brings out the best in us, and stop dating the ghost of relationships past.