Dealing With Relationship Baggage

So you're a mature guy who wants to date a confident, experienced woman. However, one of the first problems that crops up is that you both carry baggage along with that maturity and experience.

Think about how that relationship baggage can get in the way of getting to know each other, and maybe you can lighten the load on both of you.

Her After the Divorce
When you've been around enough divorced people, you start to notice some trends. For starters, a woman who's divorced says she wants a real man. She got tired of having to take care of her ex, dealing with his lack of responsibility and seeing him let himself go physically. She wants a guy who takes charge on dates, takes care of home repairs, shows financial strength and keeps himself in good physical shape.

Him After the Divorce
You on the other hand, are tired of women who seem interested primarily in your financial contributions to the relationship. You're tired of being nagged. You're tired of her unrealistic expectations for the perfect man. And you want a woman who exercises, watches her weight, and makes an effort to look good for you.

Her After the LTR
Although a long-term relationship can be like a marriage, some things are different in terms of the interactions. When a woman comes out of an LTR looking for a new man, she wants to avoid the same old pitfalls. She wants a guy who communicates, a guy who has ambition, a guy who is willing to make a commitment.

Him After the LTR
You, however, want a woman who is into you, not into a relationship for the relationship's sake. You want the freedom to be yourself, and a woman who adores you just the way you are. You want a woman who is confident, not clingy, a woman who is financially independent and successful in her career, a woman who's affectionate and not too demanding.

Letting It Go
These expectations for a different kind of partner are natural. The pitfalls come when you go on a first date and make those expectations too apparent. Don't complain about your ex's weaknesses on the first date. Don't complain about how the previous woman wronged you. And don't let your date do that either. Steer the conversation toward your current interests, common activities and what new things you'd like to try.

Moving Forward
You want her to see the best side of you, not the bitter and rejected you. Compliment your date on her clothing or jewelry. Tell her some aspect of her personality that you like - her laugh, her storytelling ability, her people skills. Encourage her to show you her good side by drawing out her interests and talents. If you don't want to repeat the past, don't dwell on it. Talk about your recent accomplishments in self-improvement. Talk about your goals for career or personal growth. Ask her questions about her future plans.

The bottom line: Unpack your baggage before you go on the date. You are shopping for an all-new wardrobe (meaning, relationship), so don't let the old one weigh you down as you explore and enjoy the new one.

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