Stop Punishing Your New Guy For The Terrible Things Your Ex Did

Relationships can bring out the best of us when we’re with the right guy, and the worst of us when we’re with the wrong one. Your exes, like mine, were probably guilty of doing a lot of terrible things to you, but you can’t carry your resentment into your new relationships. Sure, it can be hard to forget and not assume every guy will pull the same crap as the last one, but punishing your new guy for your ex’s behavior isn’t fair to him or you and will likely ruin your budding romance. If you want your new relationship to be healthy, you need to move on and stop punishing your new man for the terrible things your ex was guilty of:

  1. Cheating. Maybe your ex only did it once or maybe he was a serial cheater. It doesn’t really matter what the circumstances were — cheating is the number one thing we struggle to rebound from. Just because your ex couldn’t stay faithful and keep it in his pants doesn’t mean your new boyfriend will make the same mistake. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Mental abuse. Mental abuse is hard to even recognize, you may not know that you were mentally abused. It took me a long time to realize that my self-confidence issues developed because my ex slowly whittled away at my feelings of self-worth. Don’t push your new guy away, but instead let him help you heal.
  3. Disrespect. When we’re in an intimate relationships, we sometimes forget our manners and say truly horrible things in the heat of the moment. But don’t confuse ugly, meaningless fighting with blatant and regular disrespect. If your ex was disrespectful, then shame on him, but don’t assume that every fight you have with your new guy is going to be the same.
  4. Body shaming. If your ex was the kind of monster who thought it was OK to body shame you, then I’m glad you got rid of him. I also know it can be really hard to appreciate your body after someone you allowed to be intimate with you throws your body back in your face. It can make it really difficult to get intimate with another man. Just remember: you’re beautiful, your ex is a jerk, and your new guy obviously thinks you’re damn sexy.
  5. Lying. Everybody lies, but there are levels. If your ex was a serial liar, it can be really hard to trust anything that comes out of another man’s mouth again. It’s always a good idea to be wary in the beginning and to make sure new guy isn’t a dirt bag, but if you’re constantly questioning him for no reason, he’ll probably give up trying and stop seeing you.
  6. Jealousy is a silent killer that turns even the most decent people into lunatics. If your ex was jealous, and it killed your friendships with great guy friends, then you might be wary of dating someone new. No one wants to lose amazing friends because their boyfriend is endlessly green with envy. If your new guy questions your friendships, be open and honest about them but don’t assume he is trying to ruin those relationships. Help him understand, introduce him to your guy friends, and see how it plays out.
  7. Physical violence. Men who hit women are the lowest form of scum, but they are not the norm. Don’t confuse your new guy’s anger or frustration for the beginnings of violence. Men need an outlet for their testosterone-driven anger, but remember your new man isn’t your ex. If he is scaring you, then you need to seek help and leave that relationship immediately. If you need help, visit or call that National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and seek assistance immediately.
  8. Bullying. Similar to physical violence, some men feel the need to bully their girlfriends. It makes them feel like the big man on campus, but it’s pathetic and not indicative of how all men behave. Don’t assume your new guy is anything like your ex just because he does or says something mean. We all make mistakes.
  9. Trying to control you. Having been in a crazy, controlling relationship, I can attest to the fact that it changes you. It has similar effects to domestic violence, in that you become afraid of doing anything that will make him unhappy. But just because your new boyfriend doesn’t want you to go out with a certain girlfriend doesn’t mean he’s controlling. Perhaps she’s a wild drunk and he’s concerned for your well-being? Find out the cause before you ditch him for being a control freak.
  10. Being selfish in bed.  When you’re used to dating a guy who’s selfish in bed, you can start to forget about your own needs, dislike sex and grow disinterested. Don’t punish your new guy by keeping up your old habits of ambivalence towards sex. Instead, talk to him about it, tell him what you like and don’t like, and ask him the same. It would be a shame to miss out on mutually enjoyable sex just because your ex was a selfish douche.
C. is an aspiring yogi and Ph.D student who loves her dogs, bright lipstick and to travel. Find her on IG @drparko121314