The Unbearable Lightness of Baggage

(As you get older the people you date will have baggage. But how much is too much?)

She is still best friends with her ex.
He’s the perfect guy, but he has kids.
She used to work as a stripper.

Wow, that’s kind of heavy.

And as we get older, we all have more and more baggage that we carry around. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it comes from wisdom. Some of it comes from scar tissue. Either way, as you age, the people you date will undoubtedly have baggage.  The older we get, the more dating history we have, and the more baggage we will find in ourselves and others. Your conflict resolution, bedroom prowess, and overall demeanor will be contrasted against your former partners and vice versa. Fair or not, this is largely uncontrollable. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t compare your current love to those of the past because they are different people — but we can’t help it.

Here’s the reality, you’re getting older and you’ve missed the relationship ferry to what is apparently  a blissful island.  You’re now going to have to cross the waters in a rickety canoe with all the other singles and hopefully meet someone on the way. And these men and women are going to have a certain amount of baggage on their boat, but so what?

You’re going to have to decide if this baggage is worth dealing with, because there are times when it will be too heavy. What if he has a kid? It may be great while you guys are dating and living in separate apartments but once you move in together, you’re essentially adopting a child and are going to have to constanly deal with his baby momma drama. What if she is best friends with her ex? It may be ok now, but do you want some guy constantly coming over your house knowing he slept with your girlfriend? What if she is was a former stripper? What are psychological issues led her there and what are the creepy things she has endured in that profession since she chose it? It’s noble to want to take care of these kinds of people but at some point you need to worry about your own happiness and take care of yourself. If you do choose to take care of these people then you may be compromising you.

So you have to ask yourself, is this baggage too heavy for me to carry? It’s one thing if he had 20 different girlfriends before, she’s a failed model, or he has a horrible OK Cupid profile, but it’s whole other thing if he’s an ex-con drug addict with six kids. If it’s a major issue, then it may be something you should pass on because it’s going to get amplified down the line. But you have to realize, at this point no one is going to be unencumbered so stop being so picky. And you know what, you aren’t weightless either. You can’t afford to be so choosy because the dating pool is drying up and you’re not looking any better in your swimsuit. So stop eliminating potential suitors for inconsequential things and give him or her a chance. Go out on a couple dates and if it works then cool, and if it doesn’t, then that’s cool too. Your future mate is never going to be perfect and frankly, you don’t want your partner to be.

[Photo: A street sign in Kona, Hawaii]

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