When Does Baggage Weigh Down Your Relationship?


Baggage can be a total burden, whether you’re talking about the suitcases you take with you on vacation or the issues that you bring from your romantic past into your present relationship. Ask anyone who saw the recent movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (or read the graphic novels the film was based on)— if you’ve encountered relationship baggage, you can relate to the tale of Scott. He has to defeat his girlfriend’s “evil exes” before they can have a happy, successful relationship. The whole movie is an allegory for how baggage from previous relationships can cause your current love match to fall apart if left unmanaged. The key is to figure out what things are worth taking away from your past experiences, and what things are better off forgotten by all.

How To Tell Which Of Your Baggage Needs To Go

What, then, is baggage worth getting rid of? Anything that gets in the way of your ability to trust your current partner is definitely a problem. If you find yourself constantly doubting your significant other’s honesty just because you had a previous bad experience, you’re only hurting your relationship and yourself. That’s not to say that you should venture forth blindly into a new relationship. However, if you’ve been with someone for several weeks, and they’ve done nothing to warrant your suspicion, then you need to allow yourself to further trust them. People are not all the same, and getting into that mindset is a dangerous thing when it comes to relationships. Trust and communication are truly key to a relationship’s success, so any baggage that’s hindering you in those departments needs to be dealt with, pronto. Besides, you’ll enjoy every moment of your relationship so much more if you’re not constantly trying to catch your mate in a lie.

How Low-Self Esteem Will Destroy Your Relationship

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Another type of baggage that can be extremely detrimental is the type that leads to low self-esteem. It may sound like corny self-help-speak, but you really can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself. Maybe when you were younger, you had a major crush on a classmate who wouldn’t give you the time of day because you were too tall/short/skinny/fat/smart/ditzy/etc. Odds are that the object of your heartbreak was probably oblivious in general, or perhaps just really mean, and you were never as ugly or awkward as you were made to feel. Odds are also good that you’re a pretty different person now than you were then. Maturity has many benefits. If you continue to go through life doubting your appeal to others because of a past mishap, you’re hurting not just yourself, but your potential dates as well. You can’t let negative baggage convince you that you’re not worthy of someone else’s romantic affections. Start focusing on all of the things there are to like about you. Confidence is attractive—self-doubt is not. Remind yourself that all that bad stuff happened in the past and should be left there. You’re a more evolved person in the present.

Learn From Your Past Relationships

Of course, though there is much bad baggage that should be gotten rid of, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t value what we’ve learned from past relationships. If you really want to make the best of your previous experience, focus more on what those old relationships have taught you about yourself than about the other involved parties. Instead of letting a bad break at the hands of a cheater teach you that all members of the opposite sex aren’t to be trusted, take away from that experience that honesty and open communication are very important to you. Be sure to express that to your next boy- or girlfriend. Maybe your last long term relationship was filled with nasty fights because your ex preferred to spend way more of their time with their friends than with you. Instead of freaking out the first time your new significant other mentions girls’ or boys’ night, recognize that you’re someone that wants a lot of one-on-one time in your relationship. Calmly bring this up, and work with your new love to find a good friend-time and romantic-time balance. However, if your current guy or gal keeps trending toward the same bad habits as your ex AFTER these conversations, you probably should consider a breakup. Just don’t let your baggage make you jump to conclusions before you’ve had a heart-to-heart or two.

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