It seems a lot of people I know are dating or maybe teetering on something serious and I decided that I really wanted to write something this week about baggage, and what we bring in to our new relationships or dating experiences.
It seems that this conversation has been broached more than once while I was in the company of others during the last few weeks.
Whether you come from a family that is a product of divorce, or one where the d-word was never uttered, or a former marriage that has recently ended and you are now dating again for the first time in eight years, or maybe this is your umpteenth venture into “seriousville,” we all bring baggage or leftovers from hurt (or not-so-hurt) pasts into our newer ventures.
I don’t think it can ever be helped for anyone to start something fresh without having a few moments where you unwittingly compare the new person to someone of old.
My friend Karen is recently divorced and went out on her first date in eight years the other day.
To say a lot has changed for her is an understatement. She was excited, but nervous and kind of sick to her stomach. Karen has only kissed one person for the last eight years, and she has only known this one man for as far back as she can remember, his peeves, his likes, his favorite food.
That first date was monumental for her, but that poor guy was compared to the ex-husband the whole damn time and he never knew it. She had stowed her excess baggage away in a secretive place for only her eyes to see when she was ready. “First Date Guy” will never get to Date No. 2. Apparently his teeth were terrible, something she now knows she wants in a man (Her ex had great teeth).
My other friend, Troy, has a unique male point of view.
It seems that anyone he has dated and then broken up with has gone on to get engaged in the next relationship after the one with him. His neurosis is really not too visible as he still goes out there to train the next future “Mrs. Not-Troy.” Does he pick the wrong women? Yes. He also comes from a home where he saw his mom go through a lot of hardship, so he feels a genuine empathy for women of the world. He just picks the ones that choose to use him. Baggage or just poor choices?
Baggage is always seen as negative. Personally, I try to take inventory of what I bring with me in a positive light. I tend to look back on the lessons I’ve learned and try to not repeat any of the same mistakes twice (I try … this does not mean it is accomplished at all times, but I do practice making the effort!). We all should, in all relationships from love to friendship to the one you have with the guy at the local corner store.
I chose to pinpoint the dating scenarios here, because those are the ones that always seem to get pegged as “excessive baggage” or they are the topic of this week’s Cosmo.
We all have baggage. What is most important is how we decide to handle our personal baggage: Do we do so with care or just toss it around wily nilly?
I suggest handling it with care so as we gain more experience, we can whittle down to just an overnight bag and not a whole luggage set.
No one ever said dating was easy, but we can make it fun.