I’ve always hated the term “baggage.”
It implies that that some people are more trouble than they’re worth because of what has happened in their pasts. That those of us who have had the misfortune of cheating exes or tumultuous divorces are somehow doomed by our experiences. It assumes that our histories are our destinies and that we carry our traumas like an anchor around the neck.
Yet the dismissive term of “baggage” ignores the fact that those who have experienced relationship trauma can often make wonderful partners that are more attuned and adept at monitoring and using emotions. That rather than just “getting over it,” many choose to “learn from it,” becoming better and stronger than ever before.
Life is not about what happened to us. It’s about how we choose to respond to what happens.
It’s not the baggage that matters. It’s all in how you carry it.
My now-husband had every right to run when he first heard my story. At the time we met, I was at the tail end of a very difficult divorce and taking the first shaky steps into my new life. I was no longer shock raw from my ex’s abandonment and betrayals, but I was nowhere near healed. Triggers would lie in wait, ready to pounce when I least expected it. I was overly sensitive in some areas and still numb in others. I wanted to be healed and was making active progress, but the finish line was still far in the distance.
And yet even with all of that, my now-husband didn’t run.
Instead, he helped me find my way to healed. He didn’t take the steps for me, but he cheered me. Pushed me. Rendered aide when needed. And waited patiently while I journeyed the course.
If you are in a partnership with someone who is still healing from a past relationship, you need to know the following: