We Are Not Responsible for Other People’s Past

Some people may have reservations and treat us differently or be standoffish towards us or unaccepting of love due to their past experiences. Being understanding and compassionate we may try to show that person how we are different, that they deserve to be loved, and that their past is not an adequate reflection of the future. While admirable, that is not our responsibility.

Like millions of other people I am on a dating app. I live outside of a city and some guys are unwilling to travel out of the city to meet me – some not even willing to meet halfway. I will not travel to meet guys as I lose interest in someone unwilling to make an effort – I deserve more.

Recently a guy on the app said he found it unrealistic to travel to me and that I should come to him in the city. He said he does not put in any effort for a first date because he has traveled to see women before and it hasn’t worked out the way he would like.

I feel for the guy as I’ve definitely experienced failed first dates . However, it is not my responsibility to make the effort because this guy had bad past experiences. If he no longer wants to travel that is his choice. He chooses to allow his previous bad experiences to influence his current experiences and future. He is only hurting himself and showing me I dodged a bullet.

It is sad to see others have unresolved trauma keeping them from moving forward in their lives, but it is not our responsibility to nurture the trauma. By going along with their peculiar actions and demands we are not doing them any favors. Quite the opposite. We are reinforcing to notion that they do not need to work past the trauma and rather that others are responsible for accommodating the trauma.

If we do not take responsibility for other people’s past trauma they will be forced to acknowledge and resolve it. If we take responsibility for their past we are enabling and setting them up for failure – while also setting ourselves up for aggravation. This is not to be confused with being compassionate and supportive when people are actively making effort to work through past trauma.

While disheartening to think of others in pain and in situations that have made them feel sad, insecure, in fear or heartbroken it is not our responsibility to fix or to change who we are to accommodate someone else’s traumatic experiences. Everyone needs to work on resolving past issues and they are not your reasonability.

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