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          Dealing With Your Partner’s Past

          September 03, 2002

          Many couples face the problem of dealing with each other’s past relationships and activities. How can you resolve your feelings?

          Here’s what Dr. Phil has to say:

          • Look at your own past. Do you really have a right to judge your partner’s past?

          • Your inability to get beyond your partner’s past is your problem. Your partner didn’t necessarily do anything to you. It’s your decision if you can get beyond the past.

          • Realize that your partner was not born the day you started dating him/her. No one has a totally clean slate.

          • Accept your partner for who he/she is — both the good and the bad. Use that acceptance to create a bond that holds your relationship together.

          • If you or your partner allow your past to define either one of you, you are living up to a label, not your personal truth.

          • If you’re being judged, tell your partner: “You can either trust me or not — but get off my back!”

          • Don’t hang on to bad feelings from a past relationship. They will only infect your current relationship.

          • Define a new standard for the relationship. Commit to it together, and make a new plan for your life together.

          • Everything you do in a relationship either contributes to it or contaminates it. What is focusing on the past doing?

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