Is Your Love Baggage Holding You Back?
By Laura Snyder
Emotional baggage – any issue that keeps you stuck in the past – can wreak havoc on any promising new relationship. It’s easy – too easy! – to dump all that baggage from your last relationship on the doorstep of the next guy or gal who comes along. But sooner or later, you’ll realize you’re just going to have to unpack all that stuff instead of just schlepping it around.
Baggage Claim #1 – Rebound Risk
After a heinous breakup, we often find ourselves clutching a new guy or gal like they’re a life raft on the Titanic. In your desperation to be with someone – anyone! – you’ll wind up settling for less than you want or deserve, thus setting yourself up for yet another breakup. While rebounds are an effective way of reminding yourself that you’re still attractive, sane and fundamentally loveable, when they – inevitably – fail, your ego may be left even more battered than before.
Baggage Claim #2 – The Bruised Ego
Break-ups in general are tough on the self-esteem, but when that’s coupled with a memory of criticisms from the one you love(d), it can be hard to remember you’re worth the affection of someone new. Rebuild your self-esteem by reminding yourself that your critical ex had the problem, not you. Keep a journal or mental checklist of all the accomplishments you’re proud of, and make sure to stay in touch with friends and family who value you. Finally, accept every compliment your new love pays you.
Baggage Claim #3 – Suspicion Mission
When you find yourself the victim of a no good, dirty two-timer, it’s hard to remember that not every partner you pair with is going to try to get a little lovin’ on the side. Fixing the damage of a cheating ex is a hard, but critical, task. Not only will you frustrate your new partner, but you may create a self-fulfilling prophesy by expecting to be treated badly. Start by enlisting your pals to keep your fears in check and remind yourself of what you’re getting from your new love, that you weren’t from your ex.
Baggage Claim #4 – Worthiness Woes
Sometimes it’s not your ex that’s the problem, it’s your partner’s. You don’t know the difference between steam and sauté? She was a gourmet chef. Can’t balance your own checkbook? He was a math whiz. Beating yourself up over perceived strengths and weaknesses will not only damage your self-esteem but will leave you wondering if your new honey can’t do better. Ditch the obsession with the past and focus on what you and your sweetie are building together.
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