If you’ve ever had a bad relationship, you’re probably carrying that baggage into your new relationships. You worry that what happened in a previous relationship will happen again, or you have your walls up so you don’t get hurt.
The problem with baggage is that it can ruin new relationships because you can’t leave the past in the past, and you transfer negative experiences onto your new partner. If you’re tired of blaming your new partner for sins of a previous relationship, keep reading to learn what kind of relationship baggage you may be carrying and how to let it go.
Types of Relationship Baggage
Baggage comes in many forms. The following are 4 of the most common types of relationship baggage you may be carrying into your new relationship.
If you’ve ever been cheated on, you may have struggled to get over it. In fact, it might be the main concern you have about getting involved in another relationship.
When you learned of your partner’s infidelity, you no doubt experienced a range of emotions. Being cheated on can make you question yourself and your self-worth. It can cause insecurity and doubt. I can also lead to being distrustful of anyone new people you might get involved with later.
Abusive relationships can result in psychological trauma that can take years to overcome. After all, you were involved with someone you trusted, who then turned that trust against you.
Abuse is not only physical. Mental, emotional and financial abuse can also take a toll on a person. Abusive relationships can leave physical and invisible scars on their survivors.
It’s not uncommon for survivors of abuse to recreate situations that lead to abuse. Self-harm may be evident by the person inflicting injuries such as bruises due to a longing for the return of normalcy that was the cycle of abuse.
If you were involved in a relationship where you were neglected, you might be carrying the need for attention into your next relationship. Or maybe you felt lonely even while your partner was in the same room, now you engage in attention-seeking behaviors to ensure your partner is engaged.
Entering into a new relationship on the heels of a neglectful one can be tricky. You might feel the need to do things that annoy your new partner because you don’t know any other way to get the attention you desire.
Did your last partner ghost you? Did they dip out on you without so much as a word? Or, did they just simply say it’s over, leaving you questioning why?
Unfortunately, not everyone gets the ending they desire. Some people feel they need closure in order to get over a relationship. However, the best closure is the knowledge that the last person you were involved with is no longer wasting your time. You were probably too good for them anyway, and you deserve better.
Ways Your Baggage Manifests
When you have relationship baggage, you might not notice the way it comes out in your relationships. You might be doing something you usually wouldn’t do, but you don’t know why. It could be your baggage trying to unpack itself.
It can be hard to trust again after getting out of a relationship where infidelity, abuse or neglect were dominant situations. You might find yourself doing things you know aren’t healthy, but are compelled to do like snooping, questioning your new partner constantly and withholding or hiding things from them.
It’s natural to want to protect yourself from experiencing the same type of pain as you did in a previous relationship. But, you could be dooming a good relationship by behaving this way. You might want to consider the reason you’re doing these things and try to work toward building trust, or abstain from further relationships until you can learn to trust yourself.
Insecure attachment is a major cause of clinginess in relationships. If you were neglected or abandoned in a previous relationship, you might begin engaging in attention-seeking behaviors.
You want to know your partner is interested in you and won’t leave you. As such, you want to go everywhere them, be around them all the time, call them constantly when you’re apart. You might even pop up at unexpected times because you “wanted to surprise them.”
This can backfire. Instead of bringing your partner closer it chases them off.
You might avoid conflict altogether in your relationship. Maybe you bottle things up and pretend everything is fine. Or perhaps you shut down and retreat to your happy place when faced with a potentially contentious situation.
Avoiding discomfort is natural, but you should be able to manage disagreements in your relationship without running for the hills. If you feel the need to retreat and avoid when you can’t agree on how much money to spend on dinner, the avoidance could be due to some baggage you’ve carried into the relationship.
How to Let Go of Relationship Baggage
Now that you’ve discovered the type of baggage you might be carrying and how it might be manifesting, it’s time to learn how to get rid of it.
Come to Terms With Your Baggage
Before you can handle your issues, you have to acknowledge that you have them. Self-reflection the best way to get into your own psyche to figure out what your baggage is, why you have it, what behavior you’re exhibiting, and what you can do about it.
You can sit down and with a pen and paper and write down everything that comes to mind about your situation. It might be helpful to have your partner help you. If you’ve had a relationship end due to your baggage, then that is probably the best place to start when self-reflecting.
Talk to Your Partner
If you want to build a healthy, stable relationship, your partner should be involved. They probably have their own relationship baggage that needs some unpacking as well.
When you have open lines of communication with your partner, you build trust and confidence in them and in the relationship. You can lean on each other and help each other manage the baggage that each of you brought into the relationship.
See A Therapist
Face it, there are things you just can’t work out on your own. Even therapists have therapists because they understand that fact.
Therapy is one of the most well-kept secrets of well-adjust people. Talking to a trained professional can help you get to the root of issues you didn’t know you had, as well as help you cope with previous traumas.
You might not even realize you’re carrying baggage from previous relationships into your new ones. The lack of awareness could be the cause of failed relationships or conflict within them.
If you’ve experienced any of the following in a relationship you could be bringing your relationship baggage into the next one:
Likewise, if you’ve found yourself engaging in any of the following behaviors it might be time to work on unpacking your relationship baggage:
There are several causes for relationship baggage as well as several ways it may manifest. If you find yourself feeling feelings of insecurity within your relationship or acting out of character, it could be due to the baggage you’re carrying from a previous relationship.
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