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How Much Is Too Much Baggage?

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future – Oscar Wilde.”

We’ve all made mistakes and most of us have a skeleton (or two or three) lurking in our lives. Everyone has baggage, but as we get older and wiser, we improve and grow as hopefully, over time we learn from our mistakes. For some it might take a little longer to demolish those demons, while others manage as best they can.

When we meet someone, its natural to want them to love us, warts and all. Unfortunately what tends to happen, when that baggage gets unloaded – or offloaded, is that we often end up carrying more than our fair share. So, what is acceptable? How much is too much?

1. Mental & Emotional Baggage

Trust, honesty, respect and communication are the foundation upon which a healthy relationship is built. Be wary if the person:

  • still hasn’t recovered from his divorce, or the loss of his previous relationship
  • is damaged from an unhappy childhood
  • can’t show affection
  • has trust and/or commitment issues
  • doesn’t want children, and you do
  • is married
  • lies or belittles you
  • has erratic mood swings
  • is an addict (sexual or substance abuse)

The aftermath of a breakup is often painful, and the scars from an emotionally impoverished childhood can take years to overcome,  Old sayings such as “the condition upon which you enter a relationship is often the way you exit”, and “fools rush in…” etc. often come back to haunt us. It does pay to take time to get to know someone before its too late.

2. Financial/Material Baggage

Sex and money are two of the major reasons for breakups and divorces.  Alarm bells should be ringing if he/she::

  • can’t hold down a job or  provide a steady income
  • has a record of financial instability
  • is debt-ridden
  • wants to control the purse strings
  • is stingy
  • overly-materialistic

In these difficult economic times and recent recessions, most people have had to redress their financial situation, tighten their belts and adjust their standard of living. It happens; people do experience job losses, or have their company fold, while others choose to downscale. Its natural for any person, or couple, to face challenges in their lives, and adapt after a tough time. However, if a man continually exhibits any of the above patterns, he is one of 3 things:

  1. inherently financially unstable – which, unless you have a trust fund, is going to put a strain on your relationship
  2. superficial, controlling or mean-spirited, which is abusive and will undermine your self esteem
  3. using you; in which case, run!

3. Spiritual Baggage

  • Are your religious or spiritual views compatible?
  • Is one an atheist, while the other more conventional in their beliefs?
  • Are you willing to  date or marry across the religious divide?

Men and women go to war for religious, political and sexual beliefs. Families renounce one another because of religious, political and sexual beliefs. It is fundamental for most people to have something to believe in, to defend their choices, and be accepted in spite of them. As with those who decide to convert to a different religion and/or culture, it is not an easy path, and for while for some it may prove to be too big a bridge to cross, tolerance can work wonders.

As long as we don’t keep hammering on that closet door, we can make peace with our past and let those secrets die a natural death. We can banish our baggage and leave it behind, or re-pack the luggage and move on. If you can’t, then you’re not ready for a relationship. If someone can’t – or won’t – then move on to someone who can.