Starting a new relationship can be a fun adventure, but it’s not too many dates before you can see the excess baggage they carry. Each person you fall in love with leaves an imprint on your heart, but some leave you with a suitcase full of issues. Some relationships end on a friendly note, but others can leave you devastated and with many unanswered questions.
While the person you’re dating may be excellent and check all your boxes, having excess baggage can undoubtedly be a problem. Some folks do a better job of moving on from the past than others, but it’s something that can ruin your relationship before it even gets started.
One of the most significant issues is that emotional trauma or heartbreak can manifest as doubt and skepticism, driving a wedge between you two. Additionally, they may be unwilling to commit for fear of history repeating itself. Are you skilled enough to notice the signs of someone that carries excess baggage?
Ten Red Flags of Excess Baggage
They say that when you fall in love, you give a piece of your heart away. Sometimes, people don’t get that section back because there was no closure. You want to fall for someone who can give you their entire heart, and not just the remains that someone else didn’t take.
Here are some red flags that someone carries excessive baggage from the past, and moving on to the future will be a challenge.
1. Your Partner Compares You to an Ex When They Carry Excess Baggage
It’s no fun to be compared to someone else, especially if you’ve never met them. If you’re dating someone that constantly compares you with their ex, you should save yourself the heartache. You can’t connect to someone who is stuck in a former relationship.
Many things can trigger someone to talk or think about their ex. Triggers can include music, food, a location, or even the way you look at them. They need to find a way to unhook themselves from the past so that they can move on, and this often requires therapy and hard work.
2. The Emotional Connection Is Missing
If your relationship is going to go anywhere, you need to have an emotional connection. Physical connections are good too, but they don’t have the power that an emotional one does. When there’s an issue in the relationship, many people feel that something is separating them that they cannot identify.
The thing that’s keeping you apart is the ex in the middle. They’re preventing you from getting too close because your partner is afraid of the past repeating itself.
They’ve got their guard up, and this keeps you at arm’s length. It’s all an effort to protect themselves, but it can hurt you in the process.
3. A Person Who Carries Excess Baggage Wants to Be in Control–Always!
Nobody likes a controlling person. When someone has been hurt in the past, they may try to control the present to keep from experiencing that pain again. One way that someone tries to control you is by asking 20 questions about everything.
If you want a night out with friends, they may want to know where, when, who, and why. They may start dictating how your hair should be styled, the clothes you should wear, and even if makeup is acceptable. If you allow them, these power issues can spiral out of control, so make sure you notate any red flags that indicate they want to dominate your life.
4. They Keep Secrets
There’s a lot to learn about someone new you’re dating. However, one of the best ways to establish trust is by being open and honest. You don’t want any secrets between you as this can be the start of an unhealthy relationship.
It’s easy to find out when your partner is lying if you know how to do a bit of investigative work. Dishonesty or keeping things from you is a big red flag.
5. Someone with Excess Baggage Might Hesitate to Commit
One of the main reasons for commitment issues is because someone has been hurt in the past. If you want to take the relationship to the next level, but they’re still calling you a friend, then there’s something off. Commitment issues are very painful to the person who doesn’t carry excess baggage.
6. They Talk About the Ex Often
It’s normal to casually mention the ex and what they did, especially when you’re first dating. However, this individual should not be the topic of conversation continuously.
While sometimes a person can innocently bring up things in conversation, it shouldn’t be the main topic of most discussions. If they seem to mention their past too much, you need to talk about the future seriously.
7. They State They Need Closure
When someone gets dumped, there’s all this unfinished business that creates excess baggage. There are so many questions and pain that come along with it. There might be many things they need to say to their ex, and they can’t move on until they get the closure they need.
Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D. from Psychology Today, shared a fascinating philosophy about humans and story structure. She says that everyone wants a start, middle, and ending to their life’s book.
They want to be able to see where they were, where they are now, and where they’re heading. However, it interrupts the story when someone walks out of their life and doesn’t give them the closure they need. They’re left to sort out the pieces and try to rewrite their lives, and it’s often a challenge.
Rewriting your life’s story is sometimes painful, but it’s a necessary part of the process if you want to move on.
8. They Have Stuff That Belongs to Their Ex
Holding on to the possessions of an ex is not always the best move. You either hold onto them for spite, or you want to hold some leverage over their head. According to Men’s Breakups, there are some guidelines to live by when it comes to possessions.
First, if the value of the item is under $50, let it go. Things that are cheap and replaceable are not worth the headache. Second, someone might want to keep the possession because it’s maintaining a piece of their history.
While a picture or other souvenir is acceptable, you must be cautious about someone who keeps a small shrine to their ex. This just all shows that they’re not over them, and there’s some excess baggage they need to handle.
9. They’re Still Friends with the Ex On Social Media
Social media is a large connection of friends and family both near and far. While many folks have “friended” their ex on these social sites, it can be a big red flag. If you had a bitter breakup with someone, it’s common to block them on social media so that they cannot see your posts.
However, if the person you’re dating is still interacting with an ex on these sites, it’s an indication of trouble. They’re not over this person, and they’re using whatever means possible to keep in contact. An even bigger warning sign is if they’re liking and commenting on their posts.
10. They Run Hot and Cold
One sign of someone who can’t let go of the past is that they tend to run hot and cold. One minute they’re as hot as molten lava, but the next, they’re as cold to you as an arctic chill. It can come across that they’re playing head games with you, but it’s just their baggage that’s bringing them down.
It’s a significant weight when you carry around guilt and upset from past relationships. If you see inconsistency in them, it’s probably because they have wounds that never healed from their previous lover. Being hurt in the past makes them suspicious of potential partners, as they don’t want to be burnt in the future.
Final Thoughts on Deciding if Your New Partner Carried Excess Baggage into the Relationship
It’s impossible to lose a significant relationship with someone you love and not have some baggage that you carry. However, the problem is when the load you carry affects your current and future relationships. You want to be with someone just as emotionally available to you as you are to them.
What’s even worse than not having an emotional connection is living in the shadows of a great love gone wrong. Excess baggage can cause someone to compare their current relationships with their ex, even so much that they try to have you morph into that person. If they won’t commit, didn’t get closure, and tend to run hot and cold, then you must ask yourself if it’s worth it.
You may be in a relationship with someone for years who will never commit to you as they don’t see you on the same level as their ex. If the person is willing to get help and work through those things, it’s one story. However, if they don’t see their actions as a problem, you might want to rethink any relationship.