How To Check Emotional Baggage At Your New Relationship’s Door

Time to break unhealthy relationship pattern of bringing the past into your current relationship.


Some people break up for regular reasons – the timing is wrong or there is too much distance between the two lovebirds. Some people break up because they aren’t compatible sexually – she’s whips and chains and he’s lights and socks on.  Others break up because they have different values – one wants kids and the other wants a vasectomy.

Then there are those who break up because of unhealthy relationship patterns, namely one or both of the partners can’t check their emotional baggage at the door. They don’t just bring one duffel bag to their new union; they bring the entire Samsonite line. 

Now, odds are that everyone has some sort of baggage – we all have bruises, no matter how smooth our love life has been in the past. But there is a fine line between some and too much. Like when traveling, too much baggage and a relationship just won’t fly. 


Recognizing the Weight of Emotional Baggage

For anyone wondering if they have emotional baggage, the answer is: yes. But how much baggage is the question. The way this can be done is by recognizing a sneaky little behavior called Overadaptation. 

Overadaptation is a destructive phenomenon that happens in relationships when one or both people involved change their behavior for the purpose of avoiding confrontation or disapproval.  People who are guilty of this often create a story about what they think will happen if they brought an issue to the table or did something, without communicating – they then withhold or behave in a way dictated by their assumptions rather than reality. 

For example, Overadaptation occurs when:

·        One or both partners respond in certain ways to merely keep the peace because they just “KNOW” how their loved on will react. 

·        One or both partners had a previous relationship where, when challenged, their boyfriend or girlfriend got angry every time.  Now, in the new relationship, the partner never challenges for fear their current boyfriend or girlfriend will react the same way.

·        One or both partners assume they are mind readers, thus preventing themselves from ever being emotionally honest about their feelings. 

·        One or both partners try to play it cool during the beginning stages of a relationship in fear that they’ll scare the other person away based on some past relationship where they were rejected from being open. 

In itself, adapting to a new relationship isn’t a bad thing – people must adapt and evolve in order to improve themselves. But if there is too much mind reading or silent assumptions made, that aren't based on fact, you're walking into the territory of Overadapation. 

At its root, Overadaptation involves a ton of emotional dishonesty; a person who engages in this hides from their partner, shielding them from who they are in order to protect themselves from assumed rejection. This does a disservice to both people – the partner who is overadapting fails to trust themselves and walk the road of emotional authenticity.  The other partner is also left out in the cold, painted as the ‘imagined' A-hole.  Not surprisingly, none of this is a basis for a strong relationship and will ultimately, lead to the relationship ending.   


Four Steps to Stop Overadapting

Overadaptation may just be the most unhealthy relationship pattern, but you can remedy it in four simple steps. These include:

  1. Recognize when you're doing it and why –  Realizing that it is in response to the past is instrumental in dropping the assumptions and getting real.
  2. Give up mind reading – Psychic Friends Network must come off the speed dial. Remember assuming makes an ass out of you and me.
  3. Asking him or her – if you have concerns about what your partner thinks, quiet those concerns by simply communicating in a non-accusatory way(no big shocker here).
  4. Trusting oneself – a person has no reason to hide who they are, unless they’re wanted for bank robbery.  Still, that isn’t a dealbreaker – even Bonnie had a Clyde.  Once you can trust yourself enough to be yourself in the relationship, do you really give your partner a chance to see you and truly love you.


This article was originally posted on Yourtango.

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About the Author

Clayton Olson

Clayton has been empowering individuals and couples from around the world to find harmony and authenticity in their relationships. With a background in Professional Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming, Clayton takes a holistic approach to carefully reconstructing what is truly possible for his clients. Through his work he has revitalized relationships, brought together lost loves, and witnessed clients find their soul mates. Clayton's content has been seen on Fox news magazine, Huffington post, the Goodmen project and he's even had an article featured on The View.