People who carry emotional baggage into a new relationship usually display these 8 subtle behaviors

Jumping into a new relationship is super exciting, but things can get a bit tangled if either of you brings along some emotional baggage. I mean, who hasn’t been there, right?

Sometimes, those emotional weights sneak up on us, showing themselves through little behaviors. As someone who’s been knee-deep in relationships for ages, I’ve noticed a few signs that folks with leftover emotional stuff tend to show.

After years of observing, I’ve nailed down eight subtle behaviors that usually tip us off that someone’s lugging around some emotional baggage.

Recognizing these signs helps us approach our relationships with more empathy and understanding, which is key for building those deep, love-filled connections.

1) Overreactions to minor disagreements

In any relationship, disagreements are par for the course. It’s just life, right? But when someone brings their emotional baggage along, those little spats can blow up into something way bigger than they should.

These blow-ups usually come from past stuff rather than what’s happening right now. Like, a simple argument about where to grab dinner suddenly turns into a full-blown showdown because it’s tapping into old wounds or stuff that’s never been sorted.

Trust me, I’ve seen how these disagreements can throw a wrench in things. The other person’s left scratching their head, wondering what just happened.

Getting why this happens is the first step to working through it together. It’s not about who’s right or wrong; it’s about having each other’s backs and getting through the tough stuff as a team.

2) Difficulty trusting others

Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. But for those who carry emotional baggage, extending trust can feel like a monumental task.

In my journey as a relationship expert, I’ve observed that past betrayals or heartbreaks often lead to a deep-seated fear of being hurt again. This fear can manifest as an inability to trust their new partner, even when there’s no valid reason for suspicion.

As the famous poet Maya Angelou wisely said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In relationships, it’s essential to create an environment where your partner feels safe and secure.

By understanding this behavior, we can practice patience and give our partners the reassurance and time they might need to build trust. It may be a slow process, but with empathy and understanding, it’s definitely achievable.

3) The tendency to be overly dependent

When a person carries emotional baggage, they often have a tendency to lean heavily on their partners. This can lead to a codependent relationship, where one person relies on the other for emotional validation and support.

In my personal experience, I’ve seen how codependency can stifle personal growth and create an unhealthy dynamic in the relationship.

To understand this better, I delve into this topic in my book Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. In it, I share insights and practical strategies to break free from codependent patterns and build healthier, more balanced relationships.

Recognizing the signs of codependency is essential. It allows both partners to address the issue and work towards creating a relationship that encourages individual growth and shared experiences.

4) Excessive independence

It might seem a bit contradictory, especially after diving into the topic of codependency, but being overly independent can also signal some emotional baggage.

When someone’s been hurt before, they tend to put up walls to shield themselves. They might avoid relying on their partner for anything, insisting on handling everything solo.

While being independent is usually a good thing, taking it to the extreme can hinder emotional closeness and create distance in the relationship.

Keep in mind, it’s perfectly fine to lean on your partner and allow them to lean on you too. By doing so, we nurture deeper connections and build a solid foundation of mutual support, which is what makes a relationship thrive.

5) Reluctance to discuss the past

We all have a past, and it’s shaped us into who we are today. However, individuals carrying emotional baggage often find it tough to open up about their past experiences.

In my own journey, I’ve learned that discussing our past, especially the painful parts, can feel incredibly vulnerable. But it’s through this vulnerability that we truly connect with our partners.

If your partner seems hesitant to share their past with you, it could be a sign that they’re carrying unresolved emotions or traumas. Patience and understanding are crucial here. Give them the space and time they need to feel comfortable opening up.

Remember, healing is a journey, not a destination. And sometimes, that journey is best taken hand in hand with someone who cares.

6) Fear of commitment

Let’s get real here. Commitment can be scary, especially for those carrying emotional baggage. The thought of fully investing in someone again, only for it to possibly end in heartbreak, can be paralyzing.

This fear often shows up as an unwillingness to make plans for the future or a hesitance to define the relationship. It’s a protective mechanism, a way to avoid potential pain.

As raw and honest as this is, it’s important to remember that fear is a normal human emotion. We all experience it at different points and in different ways. What matters is how we handle it.

Dealing with a fear of commitment can be challenging, but with patience, understanding, and open communication, it’s possible to overcome. It’s about taking one step at a time, together.

7) Difficulty expressing emotions

Emotional expression lies at the heart of every relationship. Yet, for those carrying emotional baggage, voicing feelings can feel like an uphill battle.

In my experience, I’ve witnessed individuals grappling with verbalizing their emotions. Often, it stems from a fear of having their feelings brushed aside or not truly understood.

If your partner struggles to convey their emotions, showing patience and empathy can work wonders. Building a nurturing environment where they feel safe to express themselves without fear of criticism can encourage them to gradually open up.

As Albert Einstein once said, “Emotions are our greatest tool in understanding our universe.” In relationships too, emotions serve as a guide to understanding our partners and ourselves better.

8) Sabotaging the relationship

This is a tough one to talk about, but it’s a real issue. Sometimes, those carrying emotional baggage may unintentionally sabotage their own relationships.

They might pick fights over trivial matters, withdraw emotionally at random times, or push their partners away when things start to get serious. This behavior is often driven by a fear of repeating past mistakes or getting hurt again.

As raw and painful as this is, it’s crucial to remember that these actions are not a reflection of you or your worth. It’s about the emotional baggage they are carrying.

Drop the weight, embrace the date

Bringing emotional baggage into a new relationship can complicate things, but it doesn’t have to derail them. Start by being honest with yourself and your partner about what you’re carrying. 

Communication is key—talk about your past experiences and how they might affect your present. Don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist to work through any unresolved issues. 

Remember, healing takes time, so be patient with yourself and your partner. Embrace vulnerability and allow the relationship to grow without the weight of the past dragging it down. 

Together, you can navigate challenges with understanding and build a stronger connection.

For more insights and practical strategies to build healthier relationships, check out my book Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship. Here’s to healthier, happier relationships for all of us.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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