Please Stow Your Baggage…

What toll does our emotional baggage take on our ability to have a successful relationship?

When we start any new relationship we bring lots of our past into that new dynamic. Of course, most of us call it baggage…

So, what is baggage?  Urban dictionary defines emotional baggage as:

Painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past sexual or emotional rejection.

Past hurts? We all have them and I think that we all  also take those past hurts for granted. We survive them and then push forward to move on. Unfortunately, we rarely actively deal with our baggage, even when we know that we have a full set.

Are the effects of past hurts negatively impacting your ability to be present in your relationship or your ability to be a good partner? Are you making your current date or significant other pay for the sins of your exes?

Today, let’s talk about how to identify if your emotional baggage is sabotaging your relationship. Following are 5 signs that your baggage is getting in the way.:

1. You Project. People struggling with baggage are often consumed with self-doubt. What makes this self-doubt even worse is that, as you see the worst in yourself, you also begin assuming the same of others. If, for example, you go on a first date and are feeling nervous and quick to judge, you might automatically assume that your date is judging you just as harshly. This, in turn, could make you defensive.  Projecting kills a relationship before it even starts. Don’t assume…

2. You’re Paranoid. If you’ve been burned in the past, it’s normal to be concerned about cheating.  But in order for a relationship to work, you have to learn to trust. If you don’t fully trust your partner—or even if you do, and are just being very cautious—your paranoia can manifest itself in some extremely unattractive ways: clinginess, neediness, breaches in privacy. A sure fire way to get someone to want to RUN away from a relationship with you.

3. You Compare To Your Ex. This behavior goes beyond  paranoia.  If you see your date smile in a certain way—or utter a certain phrase — you might immediately think of your abusive ex, or that immature idiot you rebounded with, or that terrible one-night stand — you’re letting your past drag you down.  It’s important to remind yourself that he/she is not your ex. Let each experience speak for itself.

4. You Throw Walls Up.  In order to fully commit to each other, you’ll need to know each other pretty darn well. Holding back on emotions, or reliving painful events from the past in ways that impact your present, can keep a relationship stagnant. So ask yourself: what have you been keeping from him or her, and why? Chances are, the other person can tell you’re hiding something, and I’m sure they would rather hear about it than be stonewalled.

5. You Won’t Commit. Often, the fear of tying oneself down can indicate a deeper problem. If you’re not giving any of your relationships half a chance, it’s time to do some soul-searching. There’s nothing wrong with being single, but is it what you really want? And if it’s not, what’s making you hesitate when you come across the possibility of love?

Baggage is not a joke. So, if you suspect that your past hurts are holding you back in your life, it’s time to get to work on repairing them. I recommend working on it with a therapist so that you are as healthy as possible when you enter your next relationship.

What do you think is the most common type of baggage? Have you dealt with your baggage or is it getting in the way of love in your future?

Thank you to for sharing the 5 signs…

Photo credit: Noel Zia Lee’s Flickr Photostream


Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Tips


I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

Subscribe Now

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

4 Comments on “Please Stow Your Baggage…”

  1. December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    By my age, I figure we all have ‘baggage, I’m just trying to reduce mine to “carry on.”
    Take only what you need and leave the rest. I’m thinking a tooth bursh and some good deordorant. Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Holidays and Enjoy always, T

  2. adalamar
    December 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Great post. And I agree with you. I have a bit of baggage. I am very furtunate however, that the man I am currently dating, knows about it and is patient enough to help me through it. Hopefully soon, that baggage will be small enough to fit in a doggie bag. 🙂

  3. December 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    I love this post. I am a person with an excessive amount of baggage. starting from an absent father, moving on to sexual abuse as a child, then a terrible 7 year marriage, and then an abusive relationship which ended in my forearm being shattered and emergency surgery. That being said, I have an awesome boyfriend right now that knows every bit of my baggage and loves me anyway. He’s very patient and always tells me how good I am to him and how all the others were idiots. It helps in the healing and shrinking of how the baggage effects me overall.


  1. Do You Have the Guts To Trust? | Couple-tastic! - February 3, 2012

    […] capacity for trust and offer it from the start, intimacy can really never develop. So, it’s time to check the baggage from old relationships behind you and start working out that intution so you can enter into a new […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: