Dealing with Sexual and Emotional Baggage

Many people have baggage from their past experiences, but no matter what the past was, you control your future. By dealing with your baggage, you'll take a weight off your own shoulders. Here are some common issues.

Commitment phobiav

Maybe you had a bad 'imprint' for relationships when you were growing up, and learned love can be damaging. Perhaps you had your heart broken and that made you feel as if love isn't worth the pain. There's no need to be in a relationship - many people are happy single - but if you often fall head over heels then withdraw once your love's reciprocated, or string people along without engaging emotionally, your issues may be damaging to yourself and others.

There's no magic answer but examining your past for relationship patterns and seeing whether they've made you happy can help you work out your course of action. Don't pressure yourself to have a relationship if you're not ready but try to separate genuine emotions from negative learned patterns. If you're not ready for love, be honest with partners if you want to have sex - and keep it protected.

Abandonment issues

Divorce is common nowadays, and is just one thing that could trigger feelings of abandonment. This can lead to clinginess, co-dependent relationships and, ironically, pushing people who love you away to prove your fears have foundation. Learn to love yourself and you're more likely to have a happy, healthy relationship.

Baggage comes in many forms and there's no shame in seeking help unpacking it. Counselling can help if you find it hard alone, as can supportive friends and family. Be honest with yourself, take responsibility for the patterns that you've repeated (that doesn't mean bad things that have happened are your fault, but choosing to stay in a bad situation can be an indication of your self worth) and above all love yourself. Do things you enjoy, look after your body and self-worth - maybe even happily ever after - is more likely to follow.