Emotional Baggage: Can it affect our new relationship?
While I have been away it has come to my attention while in my quiet time to think and meditate, I have been thinking about this alot. I know that this will affect people differently or even other people will have different views and understandings on this. But from what I have learnt so far after being in so many relationships in the past is this: This answer will vary from person to person, yet I will say also everyone once in awhile will struggle with this based on our feelings and emotions that were in the way towards/to the person that we are trying to be with.We need to understand our feelings/emotions and that we also need to learn from them. They are there for a reason some of the feelings/emotions we feel. Sometimes, we need to confront them and also we need to be real. The question is that we need to ask ourselves is how do we deal with the “emotional baggage’? AND what the behaviour is when dealing with “emotional baggage.”
But in saying/writing this, it also might be that I have finally reached a place in my life where I have matured, learnt and experienced more to where I can now be feel thankful, blessed and grateful for all the circumstances in my past (as challenging as it may have been at times) and allow them to be situations that have helped, guided me in making better choices as I decide to move forward as best as I can for myself and no one else but ME. And in return, I can have that same awareness and point of view when it comes to someone I am dating. Sure, I still have some “red flags” now and again (who doesn’t right?) that I do my best to avoid in relationships — things that would not work for me in the long term, etc. — but for the most part there isn’t a whole lot I am unwilling to work through with someone if I feel like it’s “worth it.”
What I can say/write here truthfully, that we will never really have any idea what is going on for the other person when we get into a new relationship. Because we are just starting out and that there must have been some form of spark or connection we made with that particular someone in our life that has come in. In the beginning, things are usually at an all-time high- high like some form of ecstasy feel and no one is really thinking about anything other than love, lust, and that new sex position that had obviously never been discovered before. But as relationships do grow, progress forward and with the intimacy we feel begins to deepen and things do start to “get real,” our issues that may not have been dealt with may or eventually will tend to surface and we can either avoid what’s going on (and have it come out later, somehow) like we abort it altogether(as the sirens starts to ring and shrill at us) – figuratively speaking; or we can deal with it, work through it, and see what kind of positivity the outcome brings. And most of us already know what our issues are and can point them out, name them, and even pinpoint when and why they get triggered. I think today with a lot of people that go into relationships looking to the other person to “fix” their feelings or issues. For example, in a relationship between a man and a woman, a woman might feel insecure about her body. She may ask the man to remind her over and over that she is beautiful and skinny, though even after he tells her over and over, she still does not fully believe him. In this situation, the woman is looking to the man for validation about something that can only actually come from her. Sure, it feels good to hear nice things about our bodies (or other parts), but the issues really begin when partners look to each other to try and “fix” things. A lot of the time, people in relationships will eventually come to a place where they don’t actually want to do the personal work on themselves anymore and instead want to focus on the relationship. But this gets old so fast and that it can lead to all sorts of resentments and unhealthy dynamics that can be otherwise avoided.
In my personal opinion, the key to handling emotional baggage is to be aware of it, know it, own it, and handle it. I do think that open communication is helpful and necessary in any and all relationships (especially romantic relationships), but I also don’t agree that sharing every tiny detail of feelings is necessary either. Personally, I know what my baggage is. In a new relationship, it will inevitably come up but my first rule of thumb is to see how much I can handle on my own. I ask myself three questions: 1. Is this a new or old issue? 2. What is actually happening in this moment? 3. What can I do to take care of myself? If I can get to the bottom of what’s really going on (example: a jealousy issue, a trust issue, etc.) then when I do to my partner, I’m not a jumbled mess of emotions. My preference is always to handle what I can on my own, take care of myself, and then come forward to share with my partner. There’s a time and place to be emotional, and as a woman I can certainly be emotional, but handling myself with integrity is important to me in any situation. On the other side of that, it’s my hope that my partner has similar views and is aware of his own issues just as much as I’m aware of mine. Not everyone works things out in the same way, and there’s always room for compromise and understanding, but it’s much easier to have an honest, communicative and productive conversation.
The thing is, this “baggage” that we all think drives relationships apart can actually be the everlasting force to hold them together. There isn’t really anything that’s more emotionally intimate than sharing from my heart and saying what I am feeling, without asking someone to fix or change anything. It’s not my partner’s job to “make” me feel better — or less insecure or less critical of myself, or less jealous, if that’s how I’m feeling. That is all down to me. I am the one that can only do this for myself and be in control of it all. We are all human and need the time and space to experience our own feelings and emotions, and when we feel the time is right we can share them in a way that works for us. We all do have a past. We all do have a skeleton in our closet somewhere. We’ve all been hurt in one way or another and we’re all scared on some level — that’s human nature. But we all have a choice as to how we let them impact our decisions when it comes to moving forward with someone else. Sure, we could drag our “baggage” around with us or we could realize that what’s in the past can stay there and we are free to move on forward taking only what we really need and want. At the very least, it might result in a very different relationship and in all honesty, why not we all take the risk? Old relationships ended for a reason and you never know how special or amazing the next will be.