Mid-Life Baggage

The question:

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

The answer:

The closer a person is to middle age, the heavier their baggage becomes.  Hence, the mid life crisis – that stage in life where couples who appear to be happy or to have it all end up divorced.  That is where I am – a middle aged divorced woman navigating a dating world she has been away from for 25 years.

I have not had any major decisions since my divorce, but I pay attention to the small signs in my new relationship that provide hints on how compatible we are.  That is the primary reason my ex and I are divorced, we weren’t really all that compatible – especially once kids were added to the mix.

Following are three areas in which my ex and I struggled and how I’m paying attention with this new guy to see if he is more compatible with me.

Communication I look for signs that my new guy can handle difficult communication.  We are in the very early stages of romance, but have at least had one small bit of conflict.  I was pleased with the way he handled it.  He let me state my frustrations (initially via texting), did not feel the need to defend himself – just listened (or read), and then when I sent a bitchy text he called me so that we could clear the air.  Not dramatically different than the way it would have gone down with ex, but ex would have defended himself or reasoned with me when all I wanted to do was state my feelings and be heard.

Family values was another area where my ex and I differed too much.  Family is important to me and I will spend time doing something with family that I may not have done on my own – just so I can be with them.  When my parents would visit, the only thing my ex wanted to do with them was eat.  Again, I am in the very early stages of the relationship with my new guy, but I look for clues in how important his relationship is with his family.  So far I’m pretty impressed.  He has no living parents, so can’t speak to that.  He seems to put emphasis on his kids, not only in spending time with them but in understanding them.

Hobbies and entertainment was an area where the ex and I struggled a bit, but not to a degree as great as the above.  Ex liked hobbies that weren’t very kid friendly and disliked things that the average kid enjoys.  Our kids love being in the water and we had a couple of different seasonal pools in the yard over the years.  Not only did ex not want to get into the pool with the kids, but he didn’t want to have ANYthing to do with the pool.  To a very extreme degree.  I look for signs that my new guy finds interests that he can share with his kids.  Some examples include: fishing, swimming, hiking, camping and many more family fun activities.

In response to Baggage Check daily prompt.

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