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At any stage of life, it is difficult to change ingrained mindsets regarding love and relationships, but after a breakup, the focus for transformation naturally becomes highly motivated. Most people want to make significant changes to avoid experiencing the heartbreaking results that comes from even the most amicable end of a relationship. However, human nature generally is drawn to the familiar, so it is extremely easy profess radical change, but not follow through with actions that have a lasting effect on one’s relationship decisions. One of the barriers to creating a strong, intimate connection with an available, single man is the presence of a former boyfriend in the background as a friend and confidant. Trying to hold onto the past does not lead to personal and spiritual change or the ability to attract a better relationship.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of a breakup, many times an initial reaction is to ask if you can still remain friends. You may be feel you are better friends with an ex-boyfriend than you ever were in a love relationship with him. You can finish each other’s sentences and know each other’s thoughts before those ideas are verbalized. All these experiences are very emotionally validating and provide a sense of security of having someone who truly cares in your inner circle. With that type of connection, you can have much of the emotional benefits of a dating relationship without the responsibility that comes with being a couple. The trouble with this level of close intimacy is the barrier it creates in dating. Spiritually, one of the best parts of lasting love is that emotional connection you only have with each other. Keeping a former boyfriend in the picture will automatically make any new relationship not exclusive as it will not be you and the new guy; it will be you, the new guy and your former boyfriend. Sharing tender thoughts, feelings and desires with two men does not make you truly vulnerable in love: in an unspoken way, you are using your ex-boyfriend as an emotional backup in case the new love relationship fizzles out.  

A failed relationship should serve as an opportunity to explore one’s role in the breakup, working through the challenges that brought the demise of the relationship and self-defeating mindsets that contributed to the relationship going off course. A breakup should be the end of that connection, not a personal challenge to fight for maintaining a level of emotional intimacy that is best reserved for a true love. 

If you maintain a friendship with a former boyfriend you will find that the past never leaves. The standard you have in your mind regarding love is generally set in your formative years. Role models usually come from your parents relationship, which sets the barometer for your perceived normal. Keeping former boyfriends in your life, especially on a close, intimate level only enforces that particular standard. You were attracted to each other because that connection was similar in many ways to that standard. It is not wise to think one is so advanced emotionally that the past can stay in the present without affecting one’s life decisions and choices, especially in love. It is important to develop sound judgment, discretion and personal understanding so you can make positive, emotionally healthy choices. It is difficult to do this when the door to the past is opened and has a great influence over your life.

Another important reason why keeping a former boyfriend as a close friend is a mistake is the physical attraction level you share with one another. Keeping the door to temptation open, especially with a person you loved is not spiritually wise. There is always a level of attraction to each other that should be reserved within the boundaries of a committed relationship.  As scriptures teach, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” It is like keeping a big slice of the most delicious cake on your kitchen counter every day while you are eager to lose weight. Eventually, you will give in to the temptation because of its availability. If the cake wasn’t in the house, you probably would not have fallen into that trap.

The most important reason why you should not keep former boyfriends as close friends is the fact that you will probably miss the right one when he comes along. Relationship patterns are difficult to see when a past boyfriend is still in the picture on a regular basis. The mind will start rationalizing and reasoning out why the past boyfriend was not so bad after all. Perhaps he’s a great guy and you two were not meant for love; however that does not erase the reasons why the relationship did not work out. More than likely, you will continue this relationship pattern with your ex in the picture because you cannot see the deeper levels of why change is necessary. A breakup can be the beginning of increased wisdom and understanding. You can chose to build your new life with the treasure of spiritual knowledge which can be taken into a better relationship. The value of increased wisdom that comes from reflection, emotional and spiritual growth because of the breakup experience is highly beneficial long term for what you want in love in the future.

A lasting, deeply connected relationship must have its foundation on shared spiritual beliefs and not on a simple physical attraction and chemistry. You can attract the right man for love if you take the time to prepare not only emotionally and mentally, but also (and mostly importantly) spiritually. It is vital to live in a manner that conveys the message that you are worthy of love, focused on attracting a person who shares your faith, values and morals. Keeping the past in your present is symbolic spiritually because it makes the statement that you are not living by faith. Being vulnerable in love is an act of faith.  Lasting and more fulfilling doors to the right kind of love will open when you look at the past as an avenue and opportunity for growth and change, not loss.