5 Types Of Emotional Baggage You Need To Leave Behind If You're Over 40 & Want To Find True Love

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If You're Over 40 & Single, Here Is Some Common Emotional Baggage You Might Need To Let Go Of To Find True Love

It’s time to leave your old emotional baggage behind so that you can create the kind of love that you want and a healthy relationship that will last!

As you get older, it can feel harder to meet someone who isn’t carrying a cartload of emotional baggage.

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Just listening to dating horror stories can feel like romance 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 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. 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're carting around that’s keeping you single and what you can do to release it.

Here are 5 common types of emotional baggage that may be holding you back from a healthy relationship and lasting 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 its 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 if your new guy isn't going in the same direction as you, he's 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.

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.

2. 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, disappoint each other, and have miscommunication. That’s because he'll 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's 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 — it simply means you're both human. Learning how to turn a conflict into a deeper connection is part of the skillset you can learn for love to last.

Let go of your need for perfection.

3. Your projections

“All judgment is self-judgment.”

Ultimately, when you're 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're not available for a relationship.

Projection as a concept is a self-defense mechanism. It’s much easier to project your thoughts and feelings that you 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?

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Accepting responsibility can seem like a harsh reality, however, that's 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're 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.

4. Childhood experience

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 saddled you with generations of baggage you didn’t even ask for.

The meaning you assigned to the difficult events of your childhood are still with you today; they're guiding you to make decisions as a grown adult.

If you have a few siblings or many, you can see how these experiences are different 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.

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.

Taking responsibility for healing those childhood wounds and letting go of those outdated strategies will open you up to be much happier in a relationship.

5. Your fears

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

There's 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 someone else may think of you.

However, you carry so many fears that you can’t allow yourself to just be open, authentic, and vulnerable.

Success at dating and intimate relationships 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 an uncomfortable conversation by sharing how you feel.

Stepping safely into your fears is the key to stepping into your highest and best self.

However, before you can take that step, it's imperative that you clear out the emotions triggered from your past emotional baggage.

Otherwise, you risk blocking yourself from creating a great love relationship because you can’t navigate around all that baggage you’ve been carrying around.

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

RELATED: 12 Questions You Must Ask Him If You're Dating After 40

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Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches, soul partners, and the founders of Creating Love on Purpose. Their work has helped thousands of readers connect with what it takes to find a true soul partnership and they can help you too. Book a private session today to explore what you need to do to finally find your beloved.

This article was originally published at Creating Love on Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.