If you are like most guys who have dated more than one woman in your lifetime, chances are you’ve dated someone else’s ex. This is the nature of the world we live in – relationships end and new ones start every day. Life goes on and in some cases, hurt goes on with it. It begs the question – can hurt be loved away?

Here is the story: You meet a woman and she has everything you want. She is beautiful, smart, great personality, into you etc. As you get to know her, you learn that her last relationship was less than good. She wasn’t in a relationship; she was in a relationshit. The guy she was with did a number on her. He exploited her and was emotionally (if not physically) abusive. He didn’t support her in any way. His behavior caused her not to trust. For all intents and purposes, she is the total package minus the elephant in the room. She is what you want and she likes you – but is she ready for an emotional commitment like a relationship? Who knows? The bigger issue is whether or not you are ready to handle what comes with being involved with a woman who has yet to totally heal from her past.

Let’s be honest – Every woman has at least one issue. Most have multiple. This is not anything you haven’t already seen or heard. This is just one of those things as men that we must deal with in our interaction with the opposite sex.  The catch is when those issues that women have that aren’t related to us come up – how do we respond to them and her (especially if she is emotional)?  There will be a time in your interaction with her that something will come out that will force you to address and it will have little to nothing to do with you. What do you do?

Being a man is about the ability to wear multiple hats. More expressly, it is about our ability to discern which hat must be worn at which time. If you are married or in a relationship, there are moments where she wants to talk you. Sometimes it is as her husband/man. Sometimes it is as a friend. Sometimes it is as just a man. Or as a counselor. Or as an objective voice of reason. Or maybe she just wants a sounding board at the moment. Either way, you wear a lot of different hats. She expects that from you more than you know. Your role will vary depending on the situation and your response should not solely be based on the fact that you are her husband or man. This is one of the reasons why men generally weren’t made to be emotional creatures – meaning more often than not, true men are not guided by their emotions when speaking or thinking. We tend to lean toward what makes sense and our responses will often be based in logic. That doesn’t mean we get to just shuck the consideration of the emotions our responses may invoke but more that we have to give serious thought to the emotions prior to the response. We do this because even in logic, insensitivity to her issue will not help much of anything.

Here’s a novel thought – if all males shared the same ideals when it came to relationships and how we treat women, this would likely be less of a concern. Take for example the absentee father. A daughter growing up without her dad – the first man who shows her that he loves her and the examples of how to expect and accept good love – in a lot of cases does more damage than we realize. If you don’t believe it, ask any woman who struggles with “daddy issues”. They come from him not being there and trying to make up for it by simply gifting her constantly or trying to buy her affections. They come from her wanting his attention and him being too “busy” to give her some of his time. They come from the relationshit that her mother and father shared for many years leaving her to resent the way her father treated her mother. What happens when these women get older? They may, in some cases have an incredibly skewed perception of men. She struggles with attention seeking behavior whether minor like the need to have a lot of guys in her circle of friends – often having far more male friends than female friends. Or it can get major like seeking the sexual company of a lot of different males in the attempt to fill some void or the lack of love they may never have received. They look at love as a possession and not a purpose. So males who seek them in relationships have to “buy” their way into her heart. In some cases, they base the relationships they try to have with a man on the relationshit she witnessed for years between her parents – unknowingly creating a bunch of her own relationshits in the process. Two very general points can be taken from this; one, her “daddy issues” are not her fault especially if she never learned how to deal with them and two, how guys treat women (good or bad) regardless of the connection affects her for her entire life.

This issue in particular is of note because her relationship with her dad forms her initial ideals of what a man is in her mind. She thinks a man is strong or weak based on what she got from her father. She won’t accept being treated less than she deserves if her father treated her like his princess. Conversely, if she didn’t have that interaction with her dad, her basis for how she feels she should be treated by a man may very well come from the guy she likes and is attracted to. If this guy was her first relationship (and in some cases her first sexual encounter) and he dogged her, what does this do to her long-term?

Are you a man who is capable of balancing those moments where her issues come out? Do you have the emotional intelligence that allows you to process those moments and not take them personally? Can you help her cope with the previous hurt in her life that has little or nothing to do with you? All questions to give serious consideration especially if you are serious about pursuing someone who struggles with these kinds of issues.

What about the woman who went through a rough marriage or long-term relationship a.k.a relationshit? Do you have what it takes to help her navigate her anger if she still has it? Will you focus on being the best you for yourself and her because anything less (especially for this relationship) would be a waste of time? If you do something that reminds of her an ex and she says it, how would you respond?

The important thing to remember is that while she may be pursuing a good relationship with you, she occasionally may struggle with things of her past relationships – and not just things he did to her. She may also struggle with how she responded to those things – especially if the response was negative. As a man, when one of the moments comes up, be open to putting on one of those hats mentioned earlier.

Try to picture previous hurt in comparison to allergies. When you know that someone is allergic to peanuts, shoving peanut M&Ms down their throat is ludicrous because of what it can trigger. That is a known allergy. Most of us don’t know what we are allergic to until we come into contact with it and it triggers a reaction. However, once we know – we try to avoid that trigger at all costs.

When you know that she has dealt with a specific hurt, are you capable of avoiding those triggers? If she was with someone who lied to her constantly or did things behind her back that has serious financial repercussions and she was open with you about it, there is a reason she did it. She has no desire to be in another situation where the behavior is repeated. In other words, she has put you on notice. Lie to her and it won’t be good.  Yes, you are not him. But the behavior is similar and it won’t matter when she is upset.

So can hurt be loved away? Yes, but only if that person loves themselves enough to let it go. Sure, there are things we can do. We can be open. We can wear many hats. We can make it clear that we are pushing ourselves to be men of high character in facets of our lives. We can be strong for them in those moments where they need it. But ultimately, loving the hurt away doesn’t fall completely on men. She bears some of that responsibility because it is her hurt.

Loving the hurt away is a novel concept. It will only work in cases where she fully embraces the kind of man you are (or on the path of becoming). Loving the hurt away does not require you to pay for the transgressions of her father or previous lovers. It requires love, patience and time. It does not require you to be Superman. Loving the hurt away requires introspection and the willingness to always see the big picture. It forces you to embrace her where she is and what she has been through – for without that, it is likely she would have never crossed your path.

A man's deepest fear shouldn't be that he's inadequate; it should be that he is not pushing himself to be what he is meant to be - Max