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Am I a baggage magnet?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 25, 2010 08:00 AM

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This is the second Confused we've had this week. We're all confused. Get creative.

Q: I'm 28 was recently told by my fiance (whom I dated for 4-plus years before getting engaged) that he didn't want to marry me. I had relocated to a god-awful place in WNY to be with this person prior to our engagement. When it was broken off abruptly, I hightailed it out of there and returned home to be with my family after about 10 years away.

Since moving home, I have reconnected with past flames and been on a few dates with people I just met, all ending in complete lack of interest on both sides. It seems, however, that the people who are in the same proverbial "boat" -- either in the midst of a divorce or recently out of a long-term relationship -- seem extremely interested in me. I am a bit weary about jumping into a relationship like this, which leads to my questions:

Do people with baggage seem to cling to others with baggage in order to cope with their situation? Is a relationship stemming from said baggage less real/meaningful?

– Confused, Boston

A: Yes, Confused, people with "baggage" might be more attracted to you after hearing that you've been through your own ordeal. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It just means that they're looking for an understanding peer.

But water seeking its own level is just a part of it. This is also about age. After 28 or so, everyone has history. Everyone is coping with something, whether it's a divorce, a bad break-up, or simply being single when their friends aren't. It may seem that everyone drawn to you has mega-baggage, but really, you're just re-entering the dating world four years older.

And yes, I believe that people who have survived heartbreak (and Western New York) are capable of having meaningful relationships, even with each other. It's not about misery loving company. It's about empathy loving empathy.

Readers? Does baggage seek out baggage? Is she seeing a legitimate pattern here? Does she seem ready to date? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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