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Spring Cleaning Your Relationship Closet

Spring is here and as we prepare to do our annual spring-cleaning of our house, we should be sure and clean out our relationship closet as well. There are many things we do in the past that shape who we are today. It is important to look back every so often through the old photo albums, letters and other mementos.

This is a great opportunity to reflect on what brought you to your current dating status.Looking back on past relationships is a good way to make sure you are mentally prepared for a new relationship. If you can look at old pictures and say "What was I thinking" or "Thank goodness he ran off with that woman" then you are probably ready to move on with your life. On the other hand, if your thoughts lean to wanting to draw a little black mustache and devil horns, then you probably need a little more time (and possibly a good therapist). Reminiscing is healthy, longing and visions of revenge are not.There seems to be some disagreement on whether one should carry dating baggage.

Some people prefer to take all of their relationship baggage and put it into one small carry on bag that they take from relationship-to-relationship. Others like to date someone who has no baggage, as they prefer not be the one who has to carry the bag.A certain amount of emotional baggage should be carried with you. This reminds us of the things in past relationships that did not work and what we can do improve them for the next relationship. We should all arrive at a stage in our life where we don't need a skycap to carry our bags. Ideally, we would all be secure enough with ourselves that we would just carry what we need.

Dating partners should be encouraged to share their emotional baggage at some point in the relationship. It does not have to be within the first week of dating, and it does not need to be unpacked at once. Take your time and pull out things as they become useful to the new relationship.There are people who prefer not to know about their partners' past relationships.

Sharing every detail is not important (or recommended) but there are things that should be shared, like: How did you end things; was she clingy?; does he still want you?; is he still living at your house?.Revealing the past to your current dating partner is tricky. You certainly don't want to cause them unnecessary paranoia or heap any additional insecurity on a new relationship by sharing every detail of a past relationship. Disclosing important details about your sexual past is important. Sharing details about your sexual conquests is not.The way someone behaved in a past relationship is a good indicator of how they will behave with you.

It is important to source out these indicators and pay attention to them as your relationship progresses. If your warning light goes on, don't ignore it, but immediately pull over and assess the situation. Ask more questions about past relationships and don't ignore the warning signs.Knowing if your dating partner is friendly with their ex is a good idea.

Being friendly with an ex is a sign of maturity. But by friendly I mean that they have lost the desire to exact revenge and torture, not that they meet weekly for coffee. You want to know that your new dating partner has moved beyond the hurt, pain and anger of the previous relationship and is ready to move forward with you.

Oftentimes we carry around a lot of hurt and anger that we unnecessarily inflict on our new love interest. Remember, the one that gave you your baggage is in your past. If you must carry a bag from relationship to relationship, make sure that it contains only the most vital elements necessary to make your new relationship work (and that it matches your outfit)!.


Heidi Heller Niehart is a former syndicated singles columnist and the author of Quiche and Tell: Advice and Recipes for Singles, a compilation of articles broken down into the stages of relationships. Ms. Niehart is also the founder of the Dating Hall of Shame (, where the broken-hearted, dumped, and bad date survivors can go to commiserate and share a laugh.

You my contact Ms. Niehart via email at

By: Heidi Niehart

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