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Why do I compare everyone to my bad relationship?

125 Answers
Last Updated: 04/08/2021 at 6:53pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jackie Dross, M.S. Community Counseling


I have a passion for working with people from a non-judgmental, strengths based approach to meet their goals for personal growth.

Top Rated Answers
August 25th, 2016 1:24pm
This is normal. A bad experience can sometimes follow you into good ones..the main thing to remember is that you're deserving of happiness and the bad relationship you had led you to the good one you have now.
September 7th, 2016 3:32am
It's human nature to compare yourself to others, but if you think your relationship is bad, maybe you deserve something better
September 8th, 2016 8:15am
Comparing is a normal behavior. We all compare at one point or another. Only you know your relationship the best. Try not to continue a bad relationship, there are healthier options.
September 18th, 2016 5:04pm
If you had a bad experience, it shapes you. Your brain remembers exactly what hurt you and if you experience something new, you have to learn that it is different at first.
September 23rd, 2016 2:08pm
Well, it's pretty easy to work from what you know. If you had a bad experience, all you're doing is trying to keep it from happening again. It's not the most healthy thing, however, and with time you can learn to move past it, and give new people the chances they deserve.
September 24th, 2016 9:42pm
Perhaps you're feeling unsatisfied with your relationship. Maybe it's time for you to evaluate if you're happier leaving than staying.
September 30th, 2016 3:31am
You can only compare what you already know! If you have only had bad then you would assume everyone else is the same.
October 12th, 2016 1:33pm
You might be trying to make youself feel better. As when you're comparing to others, you will feel kinda fortunate that you're in the same situtation
October 13th, 2016 12:55pm
You try to find every single common things to your past relationships and assume it would be the same
October 20th, 2016 9:37am
It's not us our ego is doing that. The inferiority complex makes us jealous. Just fight it............
November 6th, 2016 3:44pm
Because of the bad history and your association with this person, you may be trying to figure out what went wrong the last time. Since you deserve better this time, comparing can be good so you can judge whether a person will treat you right.
November 18th, 2016 10:00am
As human beings we naturally latch on to negative experiences because that's how we learn; a baby learns about hot things by touching a hot thing, then it thinks about the hot thing every time it goes to touch another hot thing. Not that I'm saying relationships are this simple, but that's why, you're afraid the same thing is going to happen because you have this negative experience that you've learnt from.
November 19th, 2016 12:38am
It might be that we're traumatized in that certain relationship. We constantly fear in failing, especially in relationships. It is like you're scared in driving a car, so you constantly stop or crash instead of progressing forward. It is normal. But sooner or later we will realize and be brave enough to step on that gas and move forward because we know now that we've learned enough and trust ourselves enough to reach our destination.
November 26th, 2016 8:16am
Because bad relationships are the one of the worst things you have overcome. And naturally, when someone new comes along, the spark and attraction is there but you can't help but compare the feelings you felt before to the present. It's understandable. You were hurt. I suppose it's an instinctual way of protecting our self,because the feelings you felt before in your bad relationship is happening again.
December 10th, 2016 3:30pm
You've been hurt before and you don't want to feel that way again. It's totally normal. I do the same thing, but honestly it's not fair to the new person. I try to remember that everyone is different and isn't going to treat me the same as my bad relationship. If you instantly compare everyone to someone from the past, then you may push them away miss out on a great person. You could also express this concern with a new partner to let them know how you're feeling. They may be able to clear up any doubts or negative thoughts you're having about the relationship.
December 30th, 2016 10:54am
Bad relationships tend to linger longer in the memory because we focus in on what went wrong and what we could fix from our own perspective. It becomes a strange feedback loop, we seek out the worst parts of the relationship and where we went wrong, and therefore, the better parts are illuminated and drawn to the light. If you continuously focus in on what you could have done to make the relationship better, you proceed through memories with a sort of self-blame that makes the dark parts darker and the light parts lighter. This may be one reason why bad relationships often seem better in memories than they did in reality, and why we continuously compare current partners to past partners who mistreated us or lacked certain qualities in spades.
January 4th, 2017 4:59am
Maybe, you feel the need to compare everyone to your relationship, because you feel you don't deserve what is happening to you. Its like trying to make everyone's relationship seem bad because you don't want to come to terms with how bad yours is. You're trying tho point out others flaws to make yours go away.
January 20th, 2017 2:06am
Bad relationships can be very traumatic. Until we properly address that trauma, we very well may, as a defense mechanism, see those traits in other people as a way to protect ourselves.
March 2nd, 2017 9:17pm
You're probably really insecure and very hurt from that bad relationship. You will be surprised to know that you're not alone in doing this. Many people do it because they're scared of going through either the same thing or something similar or even being hurt in general. I will say this, even though you've had all of this happen, it's best to start any and every relationship whether serious or not, on a clean slate. No assuming, no judging and just kind of not taking with a grain of salt. Everyone has the ability to hurt someone, but you need to give them that option of doing so before automatically thinking they'll do it, you know? Trusting others isn't easy, I know. But there's nothing wrong with giving people just a safety net of some trust to their name. You know what I mean? All in all, my best advice is just be positive about meeting new people, getting into new relationships and building those gateways to something wonderful, which will help break down those walls. I wish you luck.
April 5th, 2017 5:11am
Because that relationship really hurt you. It has made you insecure and you think that everyone you meet will you treat you like your ex.
May 6th, 2017 2:25am
Often times we have set in our mind our own personal thoughts about the perfect relationship. When our own relationshis fail to meet our set standards then we usually compare our relationships to those who are on the level in which we desire to be.
May 12th, 2017 2:47am
It's a natural thing, for people to compare themselves to others. Generally when someone sees something wrong, that's all they can think about. Whether it's jealousy, hatred, or loneliness, comparing every other couple to your bad relationship may only make you see things as worse that what they truly may be, or it will be enough to get you out of that tough situation. It's completely natural, don't ever feel as though it's wrong or that you shouldn't do it. It's just one of those little things that everyone does.
May 19th, 2017 10:08pm
If you are still comparing, it's obvious you haven't moved on from the old (bad) relationship. Suggest you deal with the feelings from that relationship before beginning a new one. Deal with those feelings first and forgive the person in the old relationship. Only then will you be able to move into a new relationship in a healthy manner. Begin to see each person in your life (whether in a relationship or not) for who they are and the goodness they can bring into your life. Wise choices can prevent a multitude of heartache.
June 3rd, 2017 4:41pm
It occurs naturally after being in a bad relationship. One shouldn't beat themselves up about it however try their best not to let the comparison ruin any potential relationship. Using the positives and the negatives of the former relationship can be a good yardstick but giving the benefit of the doubt to the next person is equally important. Even sharing with them at some point may help them understand what you went through and your behaviour.
July 26th, 2017 4:38pm
Hey... this is so common and is likely a defense mechanism that your brain triggers to protect your heart from being hurt like it was in the past. We hope that history will teach us the triggers and help us understand the signs of an unhealthy relationship, but sometimes doing so can have a negative effect. By juxtaposing/comparing your current partner with those in your past (that did not work out), you are likely focused on the negative red flags that you have seen before and not the positive traits. Unfortunately, it is a self-fulling prophecy and you will only find what you are looking for and wonder why you can't seem to find any luck in love. If you only use the labels you have in your toolbox of bad relationships, are you really giving yourself and your current partner a fair chance at love? Past bad relationships carry heavy baggage, but it is your choice to take that luggage with you to your next destination. Give yourself a chance to create a new past by focusing on the present relationship you have and giving it a chance to be something different!
August 18th, 2017 11:27pm
When we have bad relationships we can tend to use our experiences with them as a sort of barometer for success (or failure). So if we see traits in our current partner that were also present in a past one, it can invoke similar (not so good) feelings. It is important to understand that everyone is different. Instead of holding partners up against others you have been with in your life, try to see them for who they are, this might even help you work around any negative feelings that arrive in relation to your previous bad relationship.
September 13th, 2017 5:48pm
Having a bad relationship is an excellent learning experience, because you learn what you don't want and don't like. but it's so easy to begin to compare relationships to that one. try to remember each person is different and therefore the relationship will be different. don't let the bad relationships of the past eek their way into your future.
September 14th, 2017 9:59am
Our brains are great at remembering when things go wrong. It's helpful, that's how we learn not to put our hands in a fire. The flipside is that it can sometimes hinder our ability to trust that a new situation is just that: a new situation. Or a that a new person is not that nasty relationship that hurt us in the past.
October 18th, 2017 6:53pm
It's easy to compare everybody around you to someone you had a bad relationship with as what could be called a defense mechanism. Of course I would have to know you better to give you a solid answer, but there's a chance that you could be comparing people to a past bad relationship because you're trying to keep yourself from ending up in that same situation.
October 22nd, 2017 2:52pm
Your bad relationship had a dramatic effect on you. It's in the back of your mind as it was bad, and you fear having another bad relationship, hence the comparison. Youre looking for things or signs that match the bad relationship so you can get out quick and not get hurt. You need to relax and remember everyone is different, even tho they may seem the same as your bad relationship, they arent.