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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speshal Walker Gautier a.k.a. Dr. Spesh

Sis, Consider this your visit from “The Ghost of Relationships Past.”

So the holidays are upon us and I admittedly have already decorated for Christmas. Yes, I’m one of those people who starts celebrating Christmas in November with a brief Turkey Day intermission. Our family traditions include non-stop holiday music and movies including the classics, all the Black holiday movies we can find, and yes even the cheesy Hallmark movies where someone always manages to save the town, fall in love, and/or learn an important life lesson by Christmas Day. A common recipe for a holiday lesson comes in the format of A Christmas Carol so unsurprisingly, several holiday Rom-coms have used the same Scroogey recipe. As I watched this year’s iteration of Boyfriends of Christmas Past, the first middle-of-the-night ghost visit had me saying if that were me I would want no parts. I would rather skip straight to the lesson than be awakened every night at 2 a.m. by the ghost of an Ex romantic partner trying to help me learn a lesson. Then I laughed as I considered how much quicker and cheaper that would have been than the time I spent learning those lessons on my therapist’s couch. Nonetheless, the lesson was learned and as you may have gleaned from my letters, I am grateful for my past because it allowed me to choose the love that I experience today.

So, Sis, it’s your turn. Just imagine for a moment that the ghost version of an ex-partner who epitomizes your past romantic life was to pull up on you. What would be the purpose of their visit? What would be your lesson to learn? Would they show your unasserted boundaries, a defense to try avoiding abandonment, or perhaps overly rigid boundaries, a defense to keep people at arm’s length? Would they remind you of your uncommunicated and therefore unmet needs in the relationship? What has your past love life taught you?

If you are reflecting on these questions and feeling unsure, then perhaps you are still figuring it out. Maybe your lesson is with “The Ghost of Relationships Present,” more on that in the next letter. That being said, we can’t fully understand the present without recognizing the impacts of our pasts. I am not encouraging you to get stuck in a ruminative cycle of “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve,” but I am inviting you to observe your past relationship patterns, without judgment. Greet and entertain your ghost Ex, take some mental notes, and go back to bed Sis. Get some rest because if you know anything about A Christmas Carol then you know there are a couple more ghosts coming your way. Stay tuned…

But before I go, let me acknowledge that the holidays can highlight all types of thoughts, feelings, and pressures around relationships (romantic, familial, etc). So check out these oldies but goodies for tips on navigating this time of the year:

*Dr. Spesh is an Atlanta based Clinical Psychologist, blogger, and consultant.*

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