Over 40? What Emotional Baggage Are You Carting Around That’s Keeping You Single

It’s time to leave your old emotional baggage behind so that you can create the kind of love that you want!

Let’s face it, as you get older it can feel like it is harder to meet someone who isn’t carrying a cartload of emotional baggage. Just listen to the dating horror stories that you and your friends exchange with each other. It can feel like dating is hopeless for those moving into the second half of life.

But the problem isn’t just with all the weirdos you may meet on some random app or dating site. The truth is you’ve got some of your own baggage that is getting in the way of your relationship success. You may not be aware of it, but you’re probably carrying enough baggage that you’re about to go over the weight limit.

Whether you’re divorced, or single and never married, once you are over 40 you can’t help but cart your emotional baggage into your dating life. But this doesn’t have to be a permanent block to finding your soulmate. The truth is, it’s never too late to find the love of your life.

Let’s take a look at the main types of emotional baggage you are carting around that’s keeping you single and what you can do to release it.

5 Types Of Emotional Baggage Blocking You From Love:

  1. Your Exes

Every time a relationship ends, you collect a brand new bag to add to your collection of emotional baggage. Each failed relationship has it’s own brand of baggage but they all fit into the same category.

These bags can be labeled, “I don’t ever want to feel (or experience) that again!”

Say your ex cheated on you – you certainly never want to feel the pain of that betrayal again. It seems “normal” to focus on finding a man who would never cheat, or to take on the belief that all men will cheat and decide to just stay single.

Perhaps you and your ex grew in different ways (or your ex never grew at all while you continued to evolve) and you find yourselves like two strangers living in the same house. You decide that you will only date men who attend the same personal growth workshops/spiritual retreats/church events/etc. If he is not going in the same direction as you then he is not worthy of your time.

Or maybe your ex was emotionally or physically abusive and you finally mustered up the courage to move on. You avoid dating because you just don’t feel safe in the world and you don’t trust anyone with your heart. It’s so much easier to focus on your career where you gather accolades and can do no wrong.

Whatever the circumstances of your break-up, creating elaborate strategies to avoid repeating the same mistakes is a recipe for staying single. You can’t create from lack and any form of “not a cheater” or “not an abuser” will just keep you stuck in that cycle.

Like trying to NOT think of a pink elephant – first you have to see the pink elephant and then cross it out and remove the image from your mind.

If you’re focusing on what you do not want to experience you’ll have no option to avoid it altogether – first you have to draw it in – and then X it out (just like the pink elephant).

When you’ve been around the block it’s all too easy to think you know what you really want, when you’ve actually become clear on what you do NOT desire. That will never make it possible for you to find the long-lasting love you seek.

  1. Your unrealistic expectations

Do you believe that your baggage should be without any blemish, easy for another to carry, and beautiful to look at? Then you may be setting yourself up for continued disappointment in love.

You and your beloved will have disagreements, you will disappoint each other, you will have miscommunication. That’s because he will always be a different person than you.

It’s a fantasy to think that another person will handle the same situations as you would. Different people respond differently to stress, to loss, to challenges that will inevitably come your way.

Just as you have challenges as a single person, you will also have those when you are coupled off. It is unrealistic that you and your soulmate will always be on the same page.

It can be easy to dream of that magical relationship with a person who just “gets” you, where you never fight, and he anticipates your every want and need. Isn’t that what a soulmate relationship looks like?

These fantasies of happily ever after are deeply ingrained in our subconscious and are a false standard that no person can ever live up to. Your soulmate is that person who will be able to navigate the difficult parts with you instead of against you.

A conflict doesn’t mean you’ve picked the wrong person – a conflict simply means you are both human. Learning how to turn a conflict into a deeper connection is part of the skillset that you can learn for love to last.

Let go of your need for perfection. Release that long list of “must haves”. And see what you can discover when you release any expectation of what your soulmate relationship looks like and how it functions. You may be surprised by who shows up.

  1. Your projections

We have a saying about judgment that simply explains how this particular bag works to block you from love, “All judgment is self-judgment.”

Ultimately when you are judging someone else it’s about you. You can think to yourself that a man is not emotionally available after a first date, but if you took time to look at how open and vulnerable you allow yourself to be (or not be) when getting to know someone and you’ll begin to see all the ways in which you are not available for a relationship.

Projection as a concept is a self-defense mechanism. It’s much easier to project our thoughts and feelings that we struggle with onto another person.

Why would you want to deal with your own imperfections when it is so easy to see all the ways someone else fails at being a good partner?

Accepting responsibility can seem like a harsh reality however that is the path you must take in order to come to learn and grow from all situations. You are ultimately responsible for what you think, feel, and do. No one is making you feel a particular way.

You are the common denominator in all of your relationships. Seeing your situation through this lens will give you the courage to look at how you can open up and become more authentic, more vulnerable, and more curious about others.

Accessing compassion for yourself – even when you make mistakes or behave badly is the key to loving yourself no matter what. When you can give love to yourself in this way you are laying the groundwork to love another person in this way as well.

Love creates more love.

  1. Your childhood experiences

If you’ve ever said (or been tempted to say) things like, “You’re treating me just like my mother did!” You know how much your childhood experiences have impacted you in your intimate relationships..

Your childhood wounds are the foundation of most of your emotional baggage – it’s where the first bag got packed – in your family of origin.

You may have come into the world as a blank slate but your parents immediately saddled you with generations of baggage that you didn’t even ask for.

None of us are loved the way we wanted to be in our childhood. The meaning that you assigned to the difficult events of your childhood are still with you today; they are guiding you to make decisions as a grown adult.

If you have a few siblings, or many, you can see how these experiences landed differently with each child. A parent’s divorce can be devastating for one child, while another shrugs it off and takes advantage of the situation.

When parents treat children differently it can lead to deeply held grudges or a sense of entitlement. Numerous studies have also been done on the effect of birth order on personality and on how successful you are in life.

Whether you are aware of it or not, you had a choice in your family of origin to take some things on and to let other events go without much thought.

The events that landed with you in a negative way shaped how you show up today. Your triggers are made up of these childhood wounds and are a big part of your emotional baggage.

Most of your strategies for getting and receiving love were formed in your early childhood.

Maybe you get annoyed and nit-picky if someone doesn’t load the dishwasher how you like it. Maybe you get controlling when you feel anxious about a situation. Or maybe you become passive aggressive when you don’t get your way.

Perhaps you deny your needs and try to pretend like you don’t have any. You end up deferring to those you care about, thinking that if you take care of their needs they will at some point in the future take care of yours.

Whatever strategies you used as a child, you will revert to them when you are in conflict as an adult. Instead of calmly assessing a situation and communicating with your partner, it’s all too easy to fall back to a strategy that got you what you wanted from your parents.

Remember that this person you are in a relationship with is not responsible for any of those things that happened before you met. Taking responsibility for healing those childhood wounds and letting go of those outdated strategies will open you up to be much happier in relationship.

  1. Your fears

There are plenty of things to be afraid of in this life – dark and dangerous streets at night, global warming, dying alone, crumbling democratic norms, to name a few. Worrying about whether or not some stranger you meet on a first date will like you is not one of them.

There is a big difference between fearing for your physical safety while standing at the ledge of a cliff and an emotional fear that you feel about what some one else may think of you.

However, we carry so many fears within us that we can’t allow ourselves to just be open, authentic, and vulnerable.

Success at dating and intimate relationship requires that you feel the fear and do it anyway.

Have an awkward first date? Be authentic with how you felt with your date and make a request if necessary.

Have a fight with your partner? Face your fears and be the first one to reach out to reconnect.

Feel like there is something missing in your current relationship? Be the one to step and have the uncomfortable conversation by sharing how you feel.

Stepping into your fears (as long as there is no physical danger) is the key to stepping into your highest and best self.

However, before you can take that step, it is imperative that you clear out the emotions that were triggered from all of your past emotional baggage so you are no longer carrying them into each new situation.

If you do not unpack your emotional baggage beforehand, you risk blocking yourself from creating a great love relationship because you can’t navigate around all that baggage you’ve been carrying around – it clouds your vision.

The good news is that releasing emotional baggage from the events of the past is quite easy to do by accessing your subconscious mind. We have a home-study program that walks you through a deep healing visualization that will allow you to remove all the emotional baggage from these 5 different types (and many more):

The Burn Your Baggage Formula™

Listening to this program is like pulling up the weeds in a garden plot so that once all the things you don’t want are gone you can plant anew and create what YOU DO WANT.

Creating long-lasting, soul-satisfying love requires you to leave as much of your baggage behind as you can and begin each new relationship with an open and curious mind.

Let go of your past baggage and you’re ready to take the next step toward your beloved.

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

Suggested Reading