We all have been around the block a few times (or a few thousand times). That will be a good thing for your dating future if you gain wisdom and insight from where you have been.
Learn from your past
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
What worked? Why did it work?
I could probably have a good time with just about anyone if I was sitting on a beautiful beach getting a little hazy on pina coladas, but those kind of times don’t define relationships that work. Relationships that work do it day in day out through the sun and the rain. Good relationships make the hard stuff more bearable and the good stuff more fun. Who has done that for you? What was it about them that made it happen?
What didn’t work? Why didn’t it work?
Flip the coin over and consider what was messed up about parts of your experiences with past partners. Try to be as specific as possible. Merely concluding the other person was a jerk doesn’t help you much. Maybe that person was self-absorbed and had very little interest in your well-being. Maybe you want a more intimate relationship than you would have settled for in the past? Maybe just the opposite?
Stay in the present on first dates
Your past is a big part of who you are today, but keep in mind that dating for long-term relationships is acted out in the present with some focus on the future. You will eventually need to know each other’s past to know what to expect from each other, but work into that gradually, particularly with past relationships. Focus on the present experience of your date. Observe, and know you are being observed. Enjoy the time together as best you can. Some people fall easily into griping about past relationships. Eek! Please don’t, and don’t encourage your date to do so. Stay present and positive to develop the expectation that the future is bright.