The last day of 2014 is a good time to visit the idea of emotional baggage. In the spirit of a fresh start tomorrow, I plan to kiss mine good-bye, leaving it behind the unclaimed desk…forever. If the lost luggage people don’t find me that is. (If they do, I shall ignore the phone.)
Just what is baggage? For our purposes, baggage is memory of events past detrimental to events current and future. In the relationship/dating world, baggage is a kind of catch-call term for people stuck on sour past loves. I like this shorthand approach. You can find lots of online stuff about the clinical details, such as they are, but for you and me, baggage is about what holds us back.
And that’s the key. Baggage prevents progress. There is no such thing as good baggage. Good baggage we call memory, or experience; these are positive qualities. Nobody is weighed down and stuck on good past life actions.
My difference with the “oh dear, he comes with baggage” attitude is that it’s all a matter of how you view things. Life isn’t all about sweetness. Sucky stuff happens. Lots of sucky stuff happens in relationships because, what….?
People suck. We visit horrid stuff on each other. A lot.
Not all the time, of course. I have done awful things. You have too. By keeping a calm perspective of our imperfection and that of those around us, we can all take a view that good and bad events create the person we are. Not-so-nice episodes (once we’ve established the lessons they teach us) are one decision away from being nothing but “teachable moments”. In other words, we decide not to carry those bags around.
If you fancy joining me, here’s my plan: When you feel that you are (or told you are) road-blocked by a past misadventure, choose to look upon it as a life-lesson that has no effect on the outcome of what’s happening now. Remove the energy it has over you. Don’t grant it the power to change anything about your life except as a pathway to a better one.
In business they call it a beauty parade.
I have a product or service I’d like your company to buy. Others offer a similar product or service. The purchaser arranges what amounts to a play-off, pitting likely suppliers against each other – not directly, but in some quasi-civilized lions and gladiators way.
As it is with dating. The twist in dating is that it is (almost) always the woman who must be wooed. She advertises for suppliers for the contract that any number of blokes might want to fulfill. Few are likely deemed acceptable to even bid. Depending upon the factors involved, maybe none of them will make the grade.
At which point the request for tender/contract application cycle begins afresh.
This, single men, is the beauty parade of which you are a part. Is your PowerPoint presentation up to snuff?
We have a few different expressions for it:
+ going steady
+ exclusively going out with
+ she’s my girlfriend
All of these are round-about ways of telling the world something about our monogamy…something that doesn’t exist? From the Urban Dictionary:
“…when you are in a non-commit(ted) relationship, but are both still there until the next best thing comes along…”
Maturity and/or age don’t change our thinking about this. We like to hold on to the person currently closest to our ideal, even as we are alert for other, shall we say, opportunities.
We want what we have, and don’t want anyone else to have it, but we also want the option to bug-out, even as we don’t want to be bugged-out on. Make no mistake: this is a convoluted construct only the human brain could invent.
Which brings us to the heart of the dilemma; marriage is the only real commitment. Outside of that, do we have the right or ability to prevent a person we like or love from seeing other people?
A perennial source of friction in relationships is Couples Expectation Syndrome.
Couples Expectation Syndrome is the discord felt in a marriage when one side thinks being married requires specific behavior in the spouse. An example is when wives (and it is overwhelmingly wives) expect husbands to do whatever the wife wants to do. The justification goes alone the lines of:
“Well, I thought we could go antiquing and then take tea at that cute place with the cottage-y decor.”
Of course, that’s fine if he is happy doing those activities, at that time. However, when his pattern would usually be for a game of squash or mowing the lawn at that time, changing his schedule unilaterally is disrespectful.
The expectation of sig. oths. acceding to your wish without the courtesy of asking them is a sure-fire way to create distance.
Husbands. They are not another limb.
My wise and considered friends made a good point last night: that for people to get know us, we need to show ourselves in different lights.
Some people only see us at work, or at the gym or at specific social events. Although it sounds obvious, dating (or even pre-dating, whatever we call that) rewards us when we vary the venue and the activity.
I, for example, tend to play a given role at some social events. That part of me might or might not be attractive to any ladies I meet there. Changing the context – the company, the purpose, etc – allows me to show a different side. My guess is that you are the same.
What people see in us is beyond our control. Giving them a selection from which to choose is not.