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In the first few encounters with a potential partner, we tend to assess their assets as well as their baggage. For example how many marriages and divorces has this person had? How many children, stepchildren, or any volatile relationships with exes?

Then, there is the area of addictions such as alcohol, porn, or gambling. These are heavy baggage type people. If there is a history of bankruptcy or a criminal history then this is also major baggage.

A good question to ask yourself is, “Do I want to start a relationship with someone who has major baggage or would I prefer a partner with carry-on size baggage?”

No matter how much chemistry you feel in the first months, assessing baggage weight is imperative. Does his or her baggage exceed the excess weight limit for what type of relationship you want?

Many times, people stay with someone thinking “my partner will change.” However, this is a hope that denies current problems. Change is always possible but you should never count on it. Look for a partner that you don’t have to change, especially as you mature.

You don’t want to spend your days, months, or years with the disappointments from the after effects of addictive behaviors. For example, gambling money creates instabililty; porn addiction creates distrust and can break a relationship; and, alcohol can leave behind emotional or physical destruction. Don’t be the person who rationalizes “he or she is stressed and has a few beers or a couple of glasses of wine at night to relax” or “he or she only gets drunk once or twice a year.” Don’t rationalize. Decide what you want in a relationship and wait for the right partner. Don’t accept the extra baggage unless you like to be weighed down. Most can live a lighter life alone.

Weighing In

Just as you do when flying, put the luggage on the scale and decide whether it exceeds your limit for the kind of relationship and life you want. Save yourself a lot of time, energy, and pain in the future.

What about compassion and love? Every relationship is tested as life presents itself with joys and sorrows, but when you begin with less baggage the relationship will withstand challenges and will also have the space to enjoy the lighter times.

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