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Relationships with Baggage
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Chris_WebMD_Staff posted:
So you fell in love and he/she has baggage. Now what?

It's funny I hear people in their 30's and 40's saying things like, oh I won't date them if they have kids or an ex!

Did you fall in love with someone knowing they came with baggage?
Chrissy~

Life is too short, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.
Author Unknown
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3point14 responded:
That really depends on the baggage. I need to be fair to myself if it's something that I can or can't take, but I also need to be fair to the other person. I'm 24, and my feeling is that if a person is already divorced at my age or already has a kid from an unsuccessful relationship, I won't be able to deal with it. Why waste their time winning me over if I know from the get-out that it's more than I can deal with?

I wouldn't date someone with a criminal record of violence, wouldn't date an alcoholic, wouldn't date an alcoholic who'd been through treatment, and wouldn't date someone with an incurable STD. I wouldn't date someone who was in massive debt, and I wouldn't date someone who had serious health issues.

I pretty much hold any potential dates to the same standards I hold myself. I can bring to a relationship no children, no ex-spouses, a decent credit score and a pristine vagina. I expect someone to at least be able to give what they can get from me.

My current BF doesn't have much more baggage than your typical upper-middle-class only child. Of course he has issues with his parents and family, of course his history isn't 100% perfect, of course he's dated some crazy people before me. But in general, he's just a pretty normal guy with whom I can have a pretty normal relationship.

I hate to admit, but two and a half years ago when we met, I had way more baggage than he did. I was completely upfront about it from day one, and he was accepting of it. And with his help, I've gotten over most of it and am now just a basically normal person. It's nice not to lump myself in as a "person with baggage" for the first time in my life.
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to 3point14's response:
Pi,

Let me first say that i do enjoy reading your posts, we tend to agree on many topics...Until this one I do agree that you do need to have your best interest at heart, after all, we control our own happiness. I am a few years older than you and I am divorced, it pains me to say that your opinion on divorced men, seems to be fairly standard...sucks for me. I dont have any children, thank god. But after a divorce debt does seem to become a bit of a burdon, but it is something that you can dig yourself out of. I guess my question is, if a guy is divorced, what makes that such a deal breaker? Is that any different than a guy who was with his girlfriend for 5 or 6 years before parting ways?

My next question concerns dating someone with a serious health issues, Im going to assume you mean some type of life threatening illness. Disease is a part of life and you could be with the love of your life and 2 or 3 years into a relationship, they could become sick, god forbid. Would you leave them, because they are now ill? I am pretty sure you wouldn't. So hypothetically, if you met someone and you hit it off and 6 months into the relationship, he tells you that he has a terminal illness, what would you do then?

I am just curious as to how you view those situations. And congrats on clearing up your "baggage"

IC
 
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tlkittycat1968 responded:
Yep. My DH was separated from his now ex when we started dting. He also has four kids from that marriage. We've been together for almost 11 years and married for 9.

Divorce at a young age wouldn't necessarily have been a dealbreaker for me. I mean, what if both people were very young when they got married and then realized it wasn't working out and they parted on good terms? Birth control has been known to fail so why would that be held against someone? And as for an incurable STD, what about herpes? It's the most common STD out there and many people don't know they have it.
 
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3point14 replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
Hi hi IC.

For me, divorce is only a deal-breaker because of my age. It's only because I'd consider it a red flag if someone my age had already gone through the feeling that they wanted to spend forever with someone and had it not work out.I just think it shows somewhat poor judgement to marry super early, and the fact that it had been so bad that there was no saving it would show that the person had allowed emotion to put them into debt, thatisn't something that fits in with my standards for what I want in a partner. Or it means that they quit early, which I also wouldn't like.

It's funny actually because my uncle and I recently had a conversation about this. He's a divorced 46 year old father of 2 teenagers, and was telling me he doesn't want a woman with "issues"- which he was saying would be kids, an ex-husband, the desire to have kids, debt...I finally told him that to find a woman that would be appropriate for him to date with none of his "issues" would mean that she had issues! If I were to be 46 and looking at a potential partner who had NO kind of history of debt,kids and emotional entanglements, I honestly would assume they're pretty guarded emotionally. Not my type. So I see what you're saying 100%. I just feel like because I've kept that kind of drama out of my life with relative ease, I could expect that from a partner.

You're actually incorrect about the illness thing...if you read my posts a lot you know I live with the man I believe to be my soulmate, M. M and I came very, very close to splitting up last year due to his sleep apnea and subsequent weight gain. Had he not been returned to his usual through surgery and a new diet/exercise regiment, I was more than willing to walk.

Agin, it comes down to age. If I were 50 and the man I'd spent 20 years with was starting to deteriorate, I'd be more than willing to work with that. But I'm not about to tie my life to someone who won't either enjoy it in the capacity I want to, or won't be around to enjoy it with me. It just doesn't make sense to me to make a lifelong committment with someone I know won't have what I consider to be a happy life. I know, it's mean and callous and harsh. But on many levels, I'm kind of mean, callous and harsh.

My abusive-ex and I (before things went really downhill) had been discussing marriage. When I told my grandparents about it, my grandfather was only a few months away from the COPD he'd suffered with for years finally killing him. The piece of advice he gave me? Not to marry Ex because Ex had a spinal cord injury for which he was prescribed Vicodin. My Grandfather, who had been castrated by illness, told me that to try to spend forever with someone who was "broken" was just stupid. I agree with that, and coming from someone who had burdened his spouse of 46 years with his own sickness, I figure he knows what he was talking about.

I don't want to spend my healthiest years pushing around a wheelchair or wiping someone's butt. And in your hypothetical of being with someone for six months and then them dropping something like that on me, I'd appreciate them for giving me an early out before I fell more in love with them, and immediately put on hold whatever romantic relationship we'd been building. In a perfect world I'd be able to be a supportive friend and HypotheticalMan would back off on the idea of being with me, but that's selfish on my end and realistically he'd resent me and hate me for being so selfish.

And then I'd go on a hike, to remind myself of WHY health matters to me, and I wouldn't regret for one second my decision.

Thanks for the congrats, and hope this clarifies!
 
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3point14 replied to tlkittycat1968's response:
If you're asking me, I think an early marriage shows poor judgement. And I've had an abortion because my birth control failed, so my feelings on that are pretty black and white.

I'm not saying I'd dislike them or make any judgement call on them having herpes, I just know that with my anxiety issues, it would make a sex life without fear impossible for me. I don't want to have that fear or just honest visceral gross-outedness when I'm depending on that person to be my sole sexual outlet.I'd resent them for it, and not be able to help myself from dragging them over coals for it, why put us both through it?

I'm not saying my standards are how everyone should feel, or that anyone's wrong for feeling differently. They just have worked for me so far.
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to 3point14's response:
Pi,

Sorry for sounding so judgemental, i didnt mean to come off that way and after i posted, i said shoot there was something i wanted to add and it was just that. I appreciate your clarification and i am sorry to hear about your grandfather. But his advice is spot on. As far as my divorce, it wasnt a mutual ending of the relationship, there were things that i had done, that she deemed unforgetable. No i did not cheat on her or anything of that sort. So my concern is that when i do tell some that i am divorced and that it was more her doing than mine...the obvious assumption would be that im a complete jerk or idiot...insert adjective here. When in all reality im not. Its just amazing that one decision can affect your life in ways you would not have ever imagined.

thanks again for the reply!
 
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3point14 replied to 1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on's response:
Oh, hush, you didn't sound judgemental and definitely not "so" judgemental. All you were doing was asking questions, which I'm glad to answer.

And not to be judgemental myself, but do you tell people that you divorced because it was "more her doing"? That would put me off a ton from someone, just to editorialize.

If I were you, I'd just leave it at divorced, without getting into fault. To me, the kind of person who assigns blame when they casually talk about it still has a lot of unresolved feelings about it. It doesn't make you look like a jerk or anything, but just that it's something that you haven't moved past. If we're talking about in a situation where you're trying to make a favorable impression on a new woman, it could be that the way you're presenting it could seem bitter.

(No offense! Not that you seem it. Just how it CAN come off)

I'm sorry your divorce is affecting your single life and rest of your life. It is a haaaard thing to go through without the reprecussions being crappy too! If you ever need a place to vent or anything, these boards have a ton of kind, thoughtful people who give really good advice.

I wish you the happiest adventures in your newfound singlehood!
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on replied to 3point14's response:
Pi,
I appreciate your feed back, its kind of nice to know that my radar isnt to far off. As far as bringing it up, i try to avoid it as much as i can, but the question always seems to pop up. I dont want to sound arrogant, but I am a decent looking guy and i am in good shape, so maybe they wonder why im single? Because the divorce question usually pops up after they ask if im seeing anyone and i say no, i have been asked why not? So that double edged sword creeps up again, either i say, im just not looking for a relationship (to which they assume i am lying, because im not attracted to them or because i have issues, which i clearly do, lol) or i can say, im not ready for one, same assumptions apply, then enter the divorced quesiton. Which i agree with you totally, about just leaving it at divorced. But being a woman, if you are talking to someone whom you find remotely attractive, you wont just let him get away with that type of a lame answer. So they pry, if i say i dont want to talk about it, it seems as if im hiding something, which i am. If i am honest, my insecurities come out and im screwed either way. I know that i do have a lot of unresolved issues with it, but i am working on those. To be honest i am in no place mentally or emotionally for that matter, to really get into another relationship. In terms of delivery, i tend to be a bit on the dry/sarcastic side, so bitter makes sense. Wouldnt be the first time i have been saddled with that title, but i have a lot of walls up, so thats my defense mechanism i guess.

Thank you so much for the well wishes and your time, i really do appreciate your input.

IC
 
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gd9900 responded:
YUP...sure did. Been there and got the burn marks, the "doormat" tatoo on my forhead and the damned t-shirt! Forgive my seething, the pain is kinda recent.

Granted it was kind of a weird scenario...I'm friends with this guy from work. Friends for quite some time and one day he asks me if I am married - yes friends but just friends from work...I work with primarily men. Anyway I said no, having recently been divorced. He asked me what happened and after telling him he says "anyone is a fool to leave you." Then he tells me he is unhappy in his marriage and going through a divorce. Said he was looking for a place to stay...I offered a room at my house, being I could use the extra money and seemed it would help him out.

Right away he wanted involvement...and I shyed away from it because I still had a ways to go in healing from my divorce. We started doing things together over the course of a few months, and my feelings started to grow a bit. We decided to "see" each other, and needless to say I fell in love. Maybe it was completely wrong, but I fell for the things he did and said I felt I could trust again. He tells me he doesn't like his wife, she is abusive emotionally and physically (to him, not the kids). The kids started coming over on the weekends, and it was very apparent how close they are. I distanced myself at first, and slowly we got comfortable around each other. They are great - (boy age 11, girl age 13).

The divorce was progressing...but a few days ago he decided to go back. Told me he misses his home and his kids - he is sorry for hurting me, etc. Thing is, I know how this will play out for him. I don't blame him for wanting to go back for his kids. I just hope I am strong enough to make better decisions for myself when he decides he wants to leave her again.
 
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EB2009 responded:
I'm a 34yr old woman married and divorced twice, apparently I'm an arsehole magnet and theres no aerogaurd for that yet, my 1st husband lied about his past saying he was never married before me ( we almost couldn't get married on the set date as he was secretly getting divorced, thank goodness for the 31 day period and having to sign) but he didnt have kids. I gathered he lied coz of the issue of people not wanting baggage and although he was taking my choice away I figured he wouldn't lie again ( compulsive liar) I left him when we were pregnant with our 3rd.
DH2, had a past as well, they had 3 kids, giving us 3 kids each, baggage much? we went on and got married and had 1 more baby together, after him dumping his kids on me then taking off to do what he wanted, 6 1/2 yrs of the raising 7 kids alone I had a complete mental breakdown, I was stuck in bed for about a year! I went to mental health to get myself help and support, DH walked out 3 days later (little did I know at the time, it was him ruining me as 3 days after he walked out, I bounced back to my old happy self.)
I am now in a relationship (not even close to getting married) but he has 4 kids from a previous, plus a criminial history, in fact he had to do 8mths not long after we got together for a previous crime. While with me he hasn't broken the law and we've been together for 2 years now.
Everybody has baggage, it just depends wether that person is meant to be for you or not, I look after my own kids the same as my BF looks after his, we help each other from time to time but ultimately we are responsible for our own kids. We bring out the best in each other, if you're a forgiving person you'll forgive their past mistakes and only judge on the mistakes made while with you. They say a leopard cant change its spots, but Im not datig a leopard, Im dating a human being and we all make mistakes, its what we learn from our mistakes This day and age, we're bound to pick up baggage along the way, and another word for baggage is experienced, it just means you've lived life and taken chances.
 
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dfromspencer responded:
Hi Chris

Another good question! I don't feel that whatever they might have done before you, should be taken into account. Everyone makes mistakes. Its how you learn from those mistakes that makes you a better person. We may never forget, but we can certainly forgive. So, be a forgiving person, and give it a try. You never know, it just may be the one you were meant to be with?

Love those questions Chris, Dennis
 
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dfromspencer replied to EB2009's response:
I just read this reponse, how true. In order to live our lives, we must take chances.

I hope this is the one for you, i really do. Dennis
 
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MENDEZWARD replied to dfromspencer's response:
How many times can you keep forgiveing a person? I can't turn the other cheek, i only have 2. And what if he doesn't learn his lesson? I feel like my mate is very disrespectful in alot of ways, but he doesn't get it.
 
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mediweb responded:
Depends on their Philosophy on Life. People loving souls, would never tire of strangers,and grab the opportunity to explore further the real personality.Friendship or dating are only superficial contacts. Reality checks in when a long term dedication is sought.


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