I have been asked a few times recently if I thought dating later in life was any different that in our teens/twenty-somethings? I asked a few friends and this is what I came up with.
Basically, even though we are older, dating is the same. The major difference is baggage. The baggage each person brings to a new relationship.
Baggage, you ask? What about being more upfront with our intentions? What about honestly and less fear at stating true desires? Ok, I'll give you that. Some are experiencing that, however, its our baggage that has brought us to that point. The totes, duffle bags and trunks from past relationships.
By baggage I mean the hurt feelings, guilt and poor self-image. The trunks full of Dickens' ghosts from Christmas' past. I've seen new relationships start and end quickly due to misunderstandings brought on by a memory from a bad past. I've seen relationships stall due to a fear that they will go bad. I've seen some sabotaged a great friendship because of wrong expectations. That trunk that is dragged from relationship to relationship, only opened to add more to it, not clean it out.
How is a relationship to blossom if baggage is in the way? Let's go back to honesty. Sharing your baggage with close trusted friends is a start. Having them help you work through your fears. Deciding from the start that a repeat of the past relationship isn't an option. Patience on the part of both parties is the only way a relationship can flourish. I think we all agree that life is short and we shouldn't let great people slip though our fingers. How we can keep them close, despite our baggage, is the challenge. Losing our fear of opening those trunks and letting the ghosts out is the greatest challenge but provides the greatest reward.