Post Relationship Question1: I just ended a long relationship. Should I analyze
the past relationship or just move on?
Answer: Even when two people mutually agree to end a relationship, it is
still important to engage in self-reflection. This is because if a person does not
make an effort to understand what went wrong in the prior relationship, he or she
is likely to experience similar problems in future relationships. If you think about
it, it is only logical. Usually a person finds particular kinds of personality traits
to be attractive. These personality traits have positive aspects and negative aspects.
In addition, the "problems" your ex-friend or ex-spouse had are not only about him
or her because the way you reacted to and perceived these traits may have played
a major role. Therefore, chances are history will repeat itself unless you are insightful
and very candid with yourself. For example, you may be attracted to the way a person
is honest and seemingly unconcerned with the way others think. It could even be
that this complements your own shyness and self-consciousness, so you seek a mate
who is powerful in the way you are not. (Yes, there is some truth to the adage that
opposites attract. In the field of family therapy it is known as "complementarity",
whereby a couple unconsciously balances out each other's flaws.) Over time, this
same trait which once was endearing to you now is offensive and embarrassing. You
used to admiringly think, "Wow, what confidence, what guts." Now you wonder, "How
could he act that way? Doesn't he care about the way others think?" Of course, this
is just one example of many possible areas of attraction and repulsion. The point
is, if you find that you ended a relationship over a trait you used to like, in
order to avoid an endless cycle of attraction and repulsion in future relationships,
you must try to understand how to make peace with what upsets you and what attracts
Whatever ended your first relationship can very well end your second unless you
are going to learn some new ways of dealing with problems.
Post-Relationship Question 2: Why did I not see a particular problem early
in the relationship and what can I do differently to either notice or fix the problem
in future relationships?
This is a key question to answer. People have difficulty seeing themselves and others
objectively. Contrary to how we might like to delude ourselves, often whatever was
wrong in a relationship was wrong from the very beginning. That's not to say one
should adopt a pessimistic attitude and assume a problem can't be overcome, only
that it is best to see the problems clearly from the very outset, so they can be
Click here for previous Questions and Answers
Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, CSW co-authors a weekly column in the Jewish Press on religion,
relationships and parenting, along with his wife Chaya Feuerman, CSW. The Feuermans
also have authored a book, titled "How to Have Fun Without Getting into Trouble:
Essays on Relationships, Parenting and the Self" available through Rowman and Littlefield,
inc. In addition, Simcha serves as Director of Community Services at Ohel Children’s
Home and Family Services. He received training in family therapy from the Philadelphia
Child Guidance Center and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Queens,
New York, where he provides individual therapy, family therapy and couples counseling.
To email a question to Simcha please click here
(Please note: All questions asked to Simcha will be published on the site with
the pseudo names.)
Dating advice is made available through a joint Ohel Family Services & SawYouAtSinai relationship.
OHEL :For 34 years OHEL has been the address where people in the Jewish community
turn for help for children, adults and families with problems including substance
abuse, domestic violence, child violence and neglect, mental illness, and developmental
disabilities. OHEL's programs serve 3,000 people in the New York area in 26 programs.
OHEL manages over 75 group residences and apartments for people with developmental
disabilities and/or mental illness. OHEL professionals also provide consultations
on contemporary issues to colleagues in cities throughout North America.