Midlife relationships are sometimes tricky because a lot people have a good deal of psychological baggage from 50-something years of living. We might be carrying around negative encounters, skewed perceptions, and psychological triggers from previous relationships, such as long marriages that ended poorly. Although psychological baggage could be turned into new self-knowledge and function as the basis for life wisdom and improved compassion, unresolved bags can steal our hopes and dreams producing seemingly insurmountable challenges in new connections.
If relationships are so difficult in midlife, why don’t you throw in the skillet, combine some book clubs, purchase a few cats, and call it a day? Because we are living longer lives, since lots of individuals want another swipe at the love lottery, since there are now a great deal of recent studies which point to all of the health benefits of love, love and passion. And when the billion dollar dating self-help business is any indication of the collective will of mid-lifers to find lasting love, then it seems abundantly clear that despite the numerous constraints that could accompany middle-aged dating, most singles in midlife would love to discover a loving partner with whom to discuss their lives.
Even if we do not get derailed from the exes, children, homes, careers, debt, and legal woes, we could by the psychological baggage we drag along in tow. Many mid lifers have been deeply hurt in previous relationships through negligence, infidelity, possibly even abuse. And for a few, these painful experiences might be made worse by family court orders that sense unjust and negating.
Generalising negative experiences to the whole male or female population is tempting as we try to take care of pain we expect never to feel again. We might be walking self-fulfilling prophecies searching for evidence that life is unfair, especially to us. And while all these feelings and reactions are clear, they’re not conducive to sustaining a healthy relationship. Thus sooner or later, people in midlife that are serious about finding love, must make a decision: hold onto their anger, fear and victim status, or go ahead, move on unencumbered, and find love.
Letting go and moving on is not straightforward. If it were, everybody would do it. This journey requires us to take the time to have a relationship together one filled with new self-discoveries and increased confidence the organic by-product of accepting responsibility for minding our very own heart-holes, and filling up our empty souls. After we have our pasts, adopt recovery, and clean off the rubble that has gathered through time, obscuring our authentic and special selves, we’ll become more fulfilled, happy and whole individuals, and then we’ll naturally draw like minded individuals toward us since the wholehearted always appear to be attracted toward each other.
I was emotionally guarded, rather defensive, and utilised a variety of masks to handle my undesirable and misunderstood vulnerability. I not only had baggage from previous relationships, I’d baggage from my childhood also. Yes, my emotional baggage was heavy, but I did not think I could do without it, because in my head, it was my defence, warning me of possible dangers ahead. However, at a certain point I realised it was the love or luggage, and I picked the latter.
So let’s say that you have done the same. You have pulled yourself together and are one of the lucky ones, drawing healthful spouses toward you, and end up in a loving and possibly lasting relationship. What now? It is one thing to come up with new thinking and behavioural patterns within ourselves, but putting them into action and integrating them in the everyday life of a new connection demands a much different bag-o-tricks.