Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Life As A Baggage Handler

One of the most unfortunate things about dating as an adult (obviously our 20s don't count) is dealing with baggage.

His baggage. Her baggage. Single for 40 years baggage. Recently divorced baggage.

It's particularly difficult when the people involved want to be honest and forthright. I mean, let's be real, it comes up. What's the best way to handle it?

I think the easy answer is, "Not on the first date!"

I recently met a nice man, exactly my age, whom I got to know on a dating site. He's divorced with a child in grade school.  I was excited that he's a serious Catholic and a family man.

We met for coffee, and conversation flowed naturally. But, before I knew it he was telling me about the difficulties, nay complications, of his divorce! Horrible accusations made by his wife regarding the well-being of their child. The sort of thing that you hope no man is capable of.  And although he asserted his innocence and told me that he had been cleared of the accusations... I am still left to wonder what the truth is. Was he innocent or did he just have the better attorney?

See. The thing is, I don't know him well enough to judge his character or determine his honesty. At this point, he had even robbed me of that luxury.

In addition, he told me about something he had engaged in while in the military. Something I am sure many of our troops engage in, when they find themselves in countries where it's common. Something I would hope my husband would never participate in, before or after me. But there it is.

Would I have accepted this as part of his past if I had been given a chance to grow to love him?
Maybe. Maybe not.

In his defense, he said he felt he should put all this upfront, rather than date for a few months and find out it's a deal breaker.
I see his point.  But my point is - give me a chance to get to know you and like you before you ask me to carry your baggage.

At the airport, once you've passed security - they remind you not to leave your bag with anyone you don't know - and not to accept items from people you don't know.  They have your safety and security in mind.
Quite frankly, upon a first meeting we don't know one another well enough to even watch the other's bags while they go to the restroom!

What he did was like asking me to take his baggage before even clearing security.
At least then I could be confident there were no explosives or weapons.


Genevra said...

Sigh. I get the being upfront, so as to not find out things months in that are deal breakers. I respect that. But I so agree with you that some things are just not appropriate to share on the first date. Yet I am shocked by what is shared. To the point that sometimes I've felt that what the man needed wasn't a date, but an hour with a good therapist, because he clearly wasn't ready to date yet. I've wondered if men feel the same way about women, that they share too much on the first date.

TRS said...

I know you understand!

For sure, it's a sign they are not ready to date. A friend of mine suggested that it's a manipulation tactic... which I totally see in relation to Mr. Burns - it was a way to dump everything on me and request acceptance... and in his case, argue later, "Hey, you knew all this going in. You can't say you have a problem with it now."
Which is underhanded and dirty.

I think the other side of it is... especially for someone recently divorced... that they don't know how to tell their story because they haven't' been telling their story to new people if they've been married for some time.
While, from my side of things... I'm so tired of telling my story! I pray every time that this time is the last time. (that'll be a whole other post! )

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh my gosh... that is an AWESOME analogy. Well said. And I agree - the first date is way too soon to spill all the beans. It should take awhile to unpack the luggage. Not months and months, when you've got a lot emotionally invested, but not the first date for-cryin'-out-loud!


Hang in there,


Erin McBride said...

LOVE!!!!!!!!!! the "don't leave your baggage with anyone you don't know" line!
I wrote something similar last week, but I love what you wrote better!

TRS said...

Whoa Erin... that is so weird. Are we really that much alike or is dating just a universal experience?
Ha ha. I swear I didn't see your article. .... I was on the road and reading nothing. I actually wrote mine in a notepad and took nearly two weeks to find time to transcribe it for the blog.
This is too funny!