It’s been said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But when it comes to relationships, it can be tough to know when to let go of the past and move on. If your spouse is constantly bringing up past arguments or mistakes, it can be frustrating and even damaging to your relationship.
After all, dwelling on the past can prevent you from enjoying the present and planning for the future. If your spouse is struggling to move on from the past, try the tips listed below. With enough patience and effort, you can luckily surmount this type of behavior, help your spouse heal and move on once and for all.
What to do when your spouse keeps bringing up the past:
1- Understand the reason why your spouse is stuck on that event:
First, take some time to understand why your spouse is fixated on the past. Is there a particular event that’s causing them distress? If yes, then why? Did you not take the time to stand up for your spouse in a particular past situation? Did you not even take the time to make amends and try to fix things later on? Or maybe, you have disappointed your spouse and acted in a way they never saw coming from you?
In any case, When your spouse keeps bringing up the past, it can be hurtful and frustrating. But it’s important to understand that they’re doing that because they’re probably deeply hurt. They may have been greatly disappointed because they feel you failed them in some way in the past and they worry that something like that could happen again.
For this reason, they may be hurt and unable to forget what happened, especially if nothing guarantees that you two would never be in a situation again where what happened back then could repeat itself and traumatize them again. Either way, it’s important to try to understand why they’re feeling this way. Only then can you begin to address the issue and move forward. Otherwise, the resentment and anger will only continue to grow.
2- Express empathy rather than frustration:
The next best thing to do after digging enough to find the root reason and understand their feelings would be to try to express empathy and understanding. Let them know that you hear them and understand how they’re feeling.
It’s normal for couples to fall into the habit of rehashing old arguments, especially when they’re feeling frustrated or angry. However, dwelling on past disagreements can be toxic to a relationship. So don’t erupt and lash out in your spouse’s face, when they bring up that one specific topic that you always fight over.
Instead, when your spouse brings up the past, it’s important to express empathy and understanding. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that you’re sorry for what happened. Then, ask them how you can make things right in the present. By showing compassion and willingness to move forward, you can help your spouse let go of the past and create a stronger, more loving bond.
3- Make vows to act differently and not to fail your spouse again:
Help your spouse understand and internalize that nobody’s perfect, and that includes you. So when you make a mistake, it’s important for them to be able to forgive and move on. Tell them that you can only be blamed if you repeat your mistake or if they have set clear boundaries beforehand and you still crossed them. If not, then they can only tell you off and you will make sure you act better in the future now that you’re well-informed of how much that type of behavior annoys them.
If you don’t do this the right way and at least once then your spouse may keep dwelling on the past and bringing up old grievances, even after they’ve forgiven you. This can make it difficult to move forward and can erode trust. If this is happening in your relationship, it’s important to talk about it. Explain that you can only promise not to make the same mistake twice and re-new your vows but you cannot time-travel and correct what’s done.
Indeed, if it helps even a little bit you can make vows to act better and to be better, and you can also ask your spouse to do the same. By making these commitments, you can start to rebuild trust and create a more positive future for your relationship.
4- Help them focus on the present and the positives:
Another thing you can do is to encourage your spouse to focus on the present and the future. Remind them of all the good things in your relationship, and help them see that there’s a lot more to your story than whatever little stain they’re fixated on.
Help them realize that dwelling on the past won’t change anything and will only cause bigger stains to tarnish a beautiful relationship. By taking these steps, you can help your spouse let go of the past and move forward with your relationship.
In brief, try to redirect their attention to good memories. Remind them of the good times you’ve shared together, and help them to see that the past doesn’t have to define your relationship. You can also encourage them to express their feelings in a healthy way, such as through journaling or therapy.
By helping your spouse to focus on the positives in their life, you can help them to let go of the past and move forward in your relationship. You can also help them check this article out on how to forgive, forget and leave the past behind.
5- Reassure them to your best ability that nothing bad will happen again:
It can be really frustrating when your spouse keeps bringing up the past after trying all the steps listed above. Whether they’re dredging up old arguments or constantly reminding you of your mistakes, it can be tough to get them to let go of the past and move on.
If you find yourself in this situation, and if you’re a regular reader of our website then you probably thought about reassuring them a little. We can only advise that you keep doing and listening to everything they have to say about the past until they say it all one day.
As you can see in our past article about reassurance in a relationship, it can be healthy and beneficial to provide a certain degree of reassurance to your partner. Be it about their looks, how desirable they still are to you, or reassuring them that you will always treat them right or put them first; reassuring your partner can make a big difference to your couple.
Trying to become more romantic and affectionate or organizing a date night at home or candlelit dinner can also help. These small little gestures can help create new memories that will replace the traumatic and horrible scars your spouse kept from the past. So with enough little joyful moments you could easily cover up the ugly ones and move on stronger!