HB: Are you still a romantic or have your relationship experiences made you cynical?

JA: “I’m still a romantic. I still believe in love.”

I love Jennifer Aniston. I absolutely do. I don’t really know why. I suppose it’s because she’s a fantastic actress, she has amazing style, and, really, she’s just as cute as a button.

Jennifer Aniston is also one of the most resilient, graceful people I’ve ever watched endure personal hardships – namely, failed romances.

Actually, I don’t like that word – “failed.” I don’t think that just because they don’t last, they’ve failed. Perhaps “ended” is better.

Anyway, during an interview with Australia’s Harper’s Bazaar, Aniston spends some time discussing how she still believes in love – despite her track record of ended relationships. Not only does she “still believe in love,” but she’s also paying attention to the lessons her past relationships have taught her:

HB: Do you think that women in general do too much in relationships?

JA: “Oh yeah. I think that’s because it’s just instinctual as a woman to be the caretaker of your home. Women complain that men don’t do enough, but it’s your own fault. You train your man to do nothing. You can’t blame someone for not knowing what his or her job should be if you don’t ask for it right off the bat.”

HB: Why do you think the romance goes out of a relationship?

JA: “I think it’s laziness. I really do. I think a good relationship is about collaboration. That’s the way to go in a relationship. I think you just need to talk to each other. Say what you need. Say what you want. That way it’s not threatening. You just need to say, ‘This is important to me.’ Don’t expect your mate to read your mind.”

If you asked me to right now, I could probably rattle off a list of five or six people I personally know who’ve been through the same kinds of romantic ups and downs but who’ve also allowed these situations to taint their views of love, romance, relationships, and even the opposite sex.

Rather than letting those relationships go – rather than learning from both the good and the bad and recognizing that future relationships aren’t past relationships but that we can choose future relationships based on lessons learned – these people are dragging every part of their past relationships, sometimes kicking and screaming, into all their future relationships.

If one boyfriend cheated on us for years, we expect all future guys to do the same thing. If one girlfriend was overflowing with raging jealousy and insecurities, we expect all future girlfriends to regularly flip out.

We become gun shy, so to speak. More than gun shy, really, because instead of tensing up when we hear what might be a bang, we’re actually out looking for the bangs.

Common sense tells us we must learn from the past. We must learn from past successes and past failures, past wins and past losses. If we don’t learn from them, we’re doomed to repeat the old misery and miss out on new joy.

However, learning from them means just that – learning from them. Not projecting the undesirable qualities of and negative experiences with old flames onto new significant others, and definitely not giving up altogether.

Over the past few years, Psych Central has posted articles related to these very things that I think are definitely worth checking out:

And, if you’re looking for more information about or help with developing resilience, I recommend:

Image Credit: Pauleon Tan per these Creative Commons License Attributions