“If I spilled my soul, would you clean it up?”

“If I spilled my soul, would you clean it up?”

Do you need an emotional garage sale before starting to date again?

Wow dating.

Who new it could be so hard… it’s just two people talking about things they like, looking for connection and chemistry, and a future.

So, why do we always bring the the third wheel along? Namely the past.  Probably because its not as easy as taking out the trash. That skunk smell can last for days if not years, and there is always that hidden stuff under the sofa cushions, in the attic, or in some forgotten box in the garage. As we go through life collecting information and experiences, we store them like pictures in an album that can go missing for years only to turn up as acting like your baby butt picture (yes, one can still act like a childish ass).

Same with dating and relationships.  Each date, relationship, or marriage, we collect memories and experiences that shape how we react and interact in the future.  Unless you married your first love after losing a slipper at a ball, you probably have had some not so good, bad, or very stinky relationship experiences. Post divorce, most probably left with a city size trash heap of experiences.

Time to clean house and bring in the bulldozer?

“Gonna need a bigger dustpan.”

Your date or new partner is not a house cleaner.

It is not their job to clean up your mess or the mess left behind by your ex, past, or family. The first step is to realize that you need some time to clean up. You wouldn’t go on a date without brushing your teeth (hopefully) so why try to look for something fresh and new when still knee-deep with the emotional trash of the past.

Step one – Remove the rose-tinted glasses and look at the mess. Realize you need to clean house.

In need of a light dusting or a wrecking ball and digger?

Journal about feelings and what happened. No matter the relationship clean up required, bring a shovel, roll up your sleeves, and move on to Step 2.

Step 2 – Take time to clean up and move on.

There is no magic pill to heal a broken heart or home. It takes conscious work to understand what happened in the past and look at what should look different in the future. Write it down. What things are you looking for in a future partner? If they are measurements, go back to start, and do not collect $200… Take time to find yourself. What are your hobbies? Things you like to do?  I know my goals and dreams changed greatly, as there are things that were not on my list as part of a couple that are now. These are not selfish choices but as a part of growing yourself and your passions, surround yourself and attract like-minded people.

Step 3 – Understand it’s an on-going process.

Emotions, contradictions, frustrations, and blame can be hidden for a time, especially when everything is going OK. But like the trash, which gets stinkier over time, so can your hidden pain from past relationships.  The old saying “hurt people, hurt people” and old pains can reappear in new relationships like random socks. Take time to work through your past, don’t rush it, and plan for at least an annual spring cleaning of your emotions.

Need help? Check out our community business listings for local counselors and coaches to help guide you on your journey. Also feel free to email with your thoughts or questions or add to the comments below.

With love and plenty of shoveling, ‘


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About author

Thom Slade
Thom Slade 277 posts

“Healing for the broken hearted. A map, guide and community to move on positively/fantastically in life with a healthy beaming smile”
Thom. Thom is the originator and alter-ego of ivemovedon.com. Divorce Survivor, Single Parent, and now moving on to new adventures in Life. Follow his journey here every week, or on Instagram and Facebook.

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