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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating Triumphs & Tragedies > 48

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Dumped by Association

I can’t eat Cookie Dough Ice Cream. I once had it, and then got the flu, and will forever associate the two. Kind of like I could never date a guy who drove a jeep. A blue one to be exact. Had a bad experience with a guy who had one…and he ruined it for all the rest of the jeep guys out there. They could be perfectly nice, but one bad, tainted experience ruined it for the rest of them. He was like my flu. I never want to date a wad of Cookie Dough Ice Cream. Yuck. I’m feeling sick already.

But do you know what I’m talking about? Have you ever avoided a guy because something about him reminded you of someone else, and even if you did like him, or there was potential, you called it off — just for that sole reason? Maybe he wore a blue shirt with khakis, and that was what your ex-boyfriend was wearing when you first met? Nope, no chance for this guy!

 

Or your ex said “ya’ll” even though he wasn’t from the south, and you used to think it was so adorable when he said it — you swooned every time. But now you’re over and on the dating market again. And when you meet Mr. Hotlanta, and he "ya’lls" it up all over the place, you cringe and say you have to go the bathroom, then leave. And while his ya’lls may be just as cute, you can’t handle any more southern gentleman. Your ex ruined it for you, and he wasn’t even southern!

This can be a big problem when dating — associating past behaviors from ex’s or guys you have dated, with current datees. It can definitely deter you from wanting to see a guy again, or even spend time with him. And while he can be absolutely wonderful, the man of your dreams, those tiny behaviors can make a big impact on you. So how do you get over them?

It can be tough. I’m not gonna lie. I mean, I still won’t eat cookie dough ice cream…and it’s been years. And I hate passing a blue jeep on the road. But I do think that it is possible to conquer these negative associations and overlook these behaviors so that you can eventually see them as cute again…because chances are, they are cute. After all, you were captivated by them in the first place…you can be again.

The first would be to not judge a date by his quirk — whether it’s a familiar way of dressing, talking, or even if he orders the same “favorite food” as an ex. Chances are, these commonalities are probably common with a lot of people. You just lucked out and are sitting across from one of those guys tonight.

The second is that if you’re concentrating too much on how his left ear reminds you of your ex-boyfriend’s left ear, and it makes you want to burst into tears, maybe you’re not quite ready to be dating. If you find yourself back on the dating train and finding like qualities with each guy and your ex, maybe you should take a break and give yourself some time to recover before you look for someone new. Sometimes you need that time for yourself before you’re really ready. Or, if it is a memory from the past, like a vehicle they drove or a saying they had, and the new person just jogs that memory, then you might cringe, but something like that you have to just laugh off. Because old memories that are engrained in your head, you’re not likely to forget at this point. But you can’t let them hinder your dating life now. Besides, Jeeps have changed a little since years ago. And everyone has a different twang to their accent.

The third, remember, you once liked, or even loved, these things about someone else, and while yes, they may stir up bad, sad, or just yucky memories, they also once made you smile. If you don’t run out of there, and give it time, they might just make you smile again. And you might find that he, and his quirks, doesn’t have so much in common with an ex. There’s a lot more depth to him — you’re just judging on the surface. So give him time. He deserves it. And so do you.

So I’m not trying Cookie Dough Ice Cream anytime soon, but I’d be open to buying my date some. I’ll get Chocolate Chip. And he can pick me up in his Jeep.



Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at NicoleMRoberge@hotmail.com.


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