Here are 3 signs that could mean God is telling you to stop analyzing a past relationship experience.
1. If Your Analyzation Has Turned from Positive Constructive Criticism to Negative Self-Degradation, This Is a Sign God Is Telling You It’s Time to Stop Analyzing This Past Relationship
It’s actually a very wise thing to analyze a past relationship. If you never spend time thinking and praying about past experiences, you will never learn from them and you will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. By prayerfully analyzing a past relationship experience, you can mature in the area of identifying people of high or low character, you can learn to better express what you truly mean rather than saying things that are easily misunderstood, and you can learn valuable relationship lessons that God will use to help you have a healthier relationship in the future with someone else.
But there is a danger in over-analyzing past relationships because eventually there comes a point of diminishing returns. If you analyze a relationship too long, it will be very easy to switch from the positive constructive criticism that you started with and then move into an unhelpful self-degradation. Constructive criticism looks for issues and problems with the motive of improving and maturing. Self-degradation looks at the past with a motive of looking for mistakes and errors so you have more fuel to degrade and beat yourself up.
Mark 12:31 states, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This command assumes you are treating yourself with the proper love that God expects us to have. So you can use this verse to also check your own behavior towards yourself by asking, “Would I treat my neighbor this way?” In love you would point out some ways to improve if your neighbor wanted your advice. But you wouldn’t beat a dead horse and spend years telling them what they could have done better.
Treat yourself like you would treat a friend that you love.
2. If You Have Analyzed a Past Relationship So Much that You Now Are Experiencing a Hindsight Bias, This Is a Sign God Is Telling You Stop Analyzing This Past Relationship
One definition of hindsight bias is, “Hindsight bias, also known as the knew-it-all-along phenomenon or creeping determinism, is the common tendency for people to perceive past events as having been more predictable than they actually were.”1 This experience is very common when it comes to analyzing past relationship experiences.
When you look too closely at a past event or relationship, it will often appear much clearer now than it really was in the moment. As the common phrase “hindsight is 20/20” insinuates, it’s always easier to see clearly when you are looking back at something that already happened. The danger in all of this is when we start projecting our ability to see the past on our ability to then see the future. This is where the term “hindsight bias” can be helpful. As one financial investment website said:
Hindsight bias is a psychological phenomenon that allows people to convince themselves after an event that they had accurately predicted it before it happened. This can lead people to conclude that they can accurately predict other events. . . . Investors should be careful when evaluating their own ability to predict how current events will impact the future performance of securities. Believing that one is able to predict future results can lead to overconfidence, and overconfidence can lead to choosing stocks not for their financial performance but on a hunch.”2
This same thing can happen in relationships too. When you analyze a past relationship experience so much, you can convince yourself that you should have seen all the signs that were pointing to the eventual outcome that occurred. While it’s good to learn to see signs to help you see where things might be going, we go too far if we then believe we can always know exactly what will happen in the future based upon what we have learned in the past. Being too confident in one’s ability to project future outcomes will often keep you single because you will never allow a good relationship to progress because you will believe you will already know this will turn out bad.
We should try to be wise and learn from the past, but we must never start believing that we can always perfectly predict the future. Ultimately, God alone knows the future. As Isaiah 46:9-11 states:
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’ . . . I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”
3. If You Are Experiencing a “Paralysis By Analysis” That Is Keeping You Stuck from Moving Into a New Season, This Is a Sign God Is Telling You to Stop Analyzing This Past Relationship
One trend I have noticed about perfectionist is that many of them are actually also procrastinators. You would think that a perfectionist would want to do everything so perfectly that they would start early so they have the necessary time. But some perfectionists wait to the last minute to get things done because they know once they start there will be a potential for mistakes. They also often wait to the last minute because they spend a ton of time overthinking and planning but then leave themselves no time to actually do what needs to be done. As I often need to tell myself when working on a big project, “The only thing better than perfect is being done.”
Even if you are not a perfectionist, it’s easy for this trend to negatively affect you in relationships. You can spend so much time analyzing the past and learning from things that have happened to you that you never actually move forward in life, thus limiting new relationship experiences from ever occurring.
Balance is so important when it comes to analyzing past relationship experiences. You want to be humble enough to learn from the past but you don’t want to be graceless towards yourself either. God does want us to repent of past sins we committed and learn from past sins committed against us by others, but he wants us to go through that process so that we can then move forward even better – not so we can live in the past forever.
As Psalm 96:1 states, “Sing to the Lord a new song.” If you are experiencing a paralysis because you are stuck in a season of analysis, it’s time to move on. God wants you to learn from the past, but he also wants you to sing a new song to him too.