Linda Saxy

Author (A.K.A. Linda Bolton)

Tag: baggage

Baggage

One of the greatest challenges I have found in dating over forty is the baggage everyone carries with them. How does your baggage affect your life and choices?

You might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t have any baggage” or “My baggage isn’t affecting my dating life”. Are you lying to yourself? Of course you are! We all have baggage. It directly reflects the choices we make in our relationships. Think about it…How many times do you compare someone to your past relationships? How many times does a response you make to a situation remind you of ‘old times’? Is your baggage holding you back? Is fear of repeating the past keeping you from going forward? How do we get out of this rut?

I know I have been asked many times what do I want…out of life, in a relationship, for my future. I always look back and compare it to my past. This is what I don’t want, this is what I’d like to have, etc. How particular am I? Do I honestly know what I want? Are my decisions based on my baggage?

I have a dear friend who loves telling allegories:

You’re standing on a river bank. The water is rushing past you. A bear is coming to eat you. You can’t swim, but there’s a floatie on the bank. Its not a new floatie. It has a few patches but looks sturdy. Which do you choose? The bear (fear of the future) or the raging river (life and a future) with a slightly used floatie (a friend) to assist you?

You may think the answer is obvious but if you have very heavy baggage from your past the choice may be difficult to make. Do you trust the floatie to get you through? Have you ever had a floatie you can depend on? Or do yo let the bear eat you to avoid a possibility of drowning? What if the floatie is exactly what you needed and the ride down the river ends up being fun? Which do you choose? The choice is yours.

Dating After 40

I have been asked a few times recently if I thought dating later in life was any different that in our teens/twenty-somethings? I asked a few friends and this is what I came up with.

Basically, even though we are older, dating is the same.  The major difference is baggage. The baggage each person brings to a new relationship.

Baggage, you ask? What about being more upfront with our intentions? What about honestly and less fear at stating true desires? Ok, I’ll give you that. Some are experiencing that, however, its our baggage that has brought us to that point. The totes, duffle bags and trunks from past relationships.

By baggage I mean the hurt feelings, guilt and poor self-image. The trunks full of Dickens’ ghosts from Christmas’ past.  I’ve seen new relationships start and end quickly due to misunderstandings brought on by a memory from a bad past. I’ve seen relationships stall due to a fear that they will go bad. I’ve seen some sabotaged a great friendship because of wrong expectations. That trunk that is dragged from relationship to relationship, only opened to add more to it, not clean it out.

How is a relationship to blossom if baggage is in the way? Let’s go back to honesty.  Sharing your baggage with close trusted friends is a start. Having them help you work through your fears.  Deciding from the start that a repeat of the past relationship isn’t an option.  Patience on the part of both parties is the only way a relationship can flourish.  I think we all agree that life is short and we shouldn’t let great people slip though our fingers.  How we can keep them close, despite our baggage, is the challenge.  Losing our fear of opening those trunks and letting the ghosts out is the greatest challenge but provides the greatest reward.

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