Check your luggage at the door.
Though you've now been told for about the 37th time that, "it's not you; it's me," we're thinking it's time to consider the fact that it might, in fact, be you.
And no, we're not insinuating that he broke up with you because of the way your hair frizzes up in the summer, or because you're always leaving Cheez-it crumbs in bed, or even because you sexted his mom by accident. No. What's really weighing you down, and effing up your love life, is all that emotional baggage.
Trust us. We've been there. And no, we're not projecting. Though on the list of the 5 ways you can tell you have emotional baggage, number one is...
1. You're projecting.
Those with baggage can oftentimes be riddled with self-doubt. What makes this self-doubt even worse is that, as you see the worst in yourself, you also begin assuming the same of others.
If, for example, you're on a first date and feeling wary and quick to judge, you might automatically assume that your date is judging you just as harshly. This, in turn, could make you defensive. Way to kill the buzz before you've even shared your first toast, right?
If you're experiencing negative feelings about the person you're with, ask yourself where these feeling are coming from. Could it be that you're making unfounded assumptions?
2. You're paranoid.
We don't blame you for being a bit suspicious about infidelity, especially if you've been burned in the past. But in order for a relationship to work, you have to trust each other.
If you don't fully trust him—or even if you do, and are just being cautious—your paranoia can manifest itself in some extremely unattractive ways: clinginess, neediness, breaches in privacy... (No, we don't condone e-snooping of any kind.)
No man (or woman, for that matter) wants to feel as if he's under constant surveillance, especially if he did absolutely nothing to betray your trust. So keep your suspicions in check, unless he's done something that's actually worth worrying about.
3. You're comparing him to lovers past.
This goes beyond simple paranoia. It's more subtle and insidious. If you see him smile in a certain way—or utter a certain phrase—and you immediately think of your abusive ex-boyfriend, or that immature idiot you rebounded with, or that unfortunate one-night stand, you're letting your past drag you unnecessarily down.
Do you consistently find yourself souring on new dating prospects simply because of unfortunate similarities? It's important to remind yourself that he is not your ex. Try thinking, instead, of all the amazing qualities he has that your ex most certainly did not.
4. You're throwing up walls.
We've written in the past about the secrets healthy couples shouldn't keep. This is because, in order to fully commit to each other, you should also know each other pretty darn well. Holding back on emotions, or reliving painful events from the past in ways that affect your present, can keep a relationship stagnant.
So ask yourself: what have you been keeping from him, and why? Chances are, he can tell you're hiding something, and we're sure he'd rather hear about it than be stonewalled.
5. You're holding back from commitment.
OK. So commitment-phobes are everywhere, and some of them aren't carrying an ounce of baggage. But in many cases, the fear of tying oneself down can be indicative of a deeper problem. If you're not giving any of your relationships half a chance, it's time to do some soul-searching.
There's nothing wrong with being single, but is it what you really want? And if it's not, what's making you hesitate when you come across the possibility of love?
If all else fails, consider talking to a therapist or a love/dating coach about burning that persnickety baggage.
In the end, it all comes down to trust. Want to leave that baggage behind? Allow yourself to trust again.