How my last relationship is still triggering me, 5 years later.

It’s been 5 years since my last relationship ended, 4.5 years since I realised I deserved much better, 2.5 years since I met the love of my life and 8 months since we got engaged.

It’s safe to say now I am incredibly happy, secure and content in my romantic relationship, but there are STILL moments, even to this day, that the insecurities and anxieties instilled in me from my past relationships, manifest and rear their ugly head, leaving me a panicked, ruminating bubble of depression.

I really thought I was over all the hurt from that previous relationship. I was convinced that I had faced and overcome every challenge that comes with feeling vulnerable from falling in love again, so it surprises me still when something happens to trigger a past insecurity, leaving me in utter panic and realising just how damaged it left me.

I’ve recently been going through a phase where an experience from my past has come back into the front of my mind, and has left me doubting my self worth and security in my current relationship. It actually took me a while to dig deep and work out what exactly ‘it’ was and why I was feeling so unsettled, but after some time alone to process my thoughts I worked it out…

It’s G’s birthday coming up this weekend. We are in lockdown. I obviously want to make it as special as possible for him but at the same time, there’s not much we can do within safe limits. On top of that, G is the most humble, non-centre of attention person ever (a wallflower, if you will) and would prefer a simple ‘quiet’ day, just the two of us – no plans, no frills, no surprises. Just a nice day. Sounds lovely, right?

But something so little & innocent has bought up HUGE feelings of anxiety and panic for me! I worked out that these feelings are because: in my last relationship, on my ex’s birthday, 3 months before we broke up and called off our wedding, he wanted a quiet birthday. He wanted to go to Columbia road in the morning so I could buy some flowers (looking back I think this was an attempt to shut me up for the rest of the day) and then all he wanted to do for the rest of the day was to sit on his phone, on the sofa. That was it.

I remember being really sad about this – I wanted to spoil him, to maybe go out, do something fun together, treat him, maybe go for a nice meal… ANYTHING? But he had zero interest in spending time with me or making a fuss at all. I was hurt and upset about his lack of enthusiasm about his birthday and spending quality time together, but in all honesty we were at a really rocky point in our relationship, already deciding to put wedding plans on hold to see if we could work through our issues (spoiler alert: we couldn’t).

It was a small blip at the end of our relationship which I really hadn’t thought about it since…. until now.

Hearing G wanting a quiet day, no frills, nothing special, sent my mind into overdrive. All those thoughts and feelings and hurt I experienced those years ago came flooding back and I’ve felt super vulnerable in our relationship since -which is just baffling. It’s completely irrational! But I guess that’s what the trauma and hurt of past relationships does.

I’m aware I might sound super dramatic right now – obviously my ex’s birthday celebrations (or lack thereof) wasn’t traumatic, but that in the lead up to what followed, totally was – him saying that he wasn’t willing to work on our relationship anymore, trying to navigate living together after a huge breakup, watching each other go on tinder dates with other people whilst our wedding invites sat unsent on the dining room table, me crying myself to sleep wondering how I’d get over it, emailing our wedding guests and vendors admitting the relationship failed and the wedding was off… that was traumatic.

Anyway. After finally working out why I’ve been feeling so shit recently, over some ham, egg and chips for dinner (what a dish), I explained all of this to G. He, unsurprinsgly was just lovely. He comforted me, we laughed about the absurdity of these ridiculous worries (having just booked our wedding venue last week), and he reassured me that history wasn’t going to repeat for us.

I guess the point of this post is to show:

  • Firstly, how even though we think we might be over something, that we shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed if insecurities do come back up. That it takes introspection and looking deep within to work out our problems; that we should be proud to have that self-awareness to work it out, face our vulnerability and to not put pressure on ourselves to be flawed in any way.
  • Secondly and more importantly, it shows how important communication is in a relationship. How maintaining that pure, open, raw honesty in your current relationship is one of the most important traits you and your partner can have. If you can be open about your worries, anxieties, dreams, insecurities, you can overcome anything together; the big and the little things.

I have no idea if this post will be helpful to anyone (or if it’ll just be good for the snoopers who like to see me flail) but it’s been really cathartic to write about, it feels like a diary entry almost.


Lots of love to you all.

Katie xxx

Photography by Sarah-Ellen

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