How to spot emotional baggage they’re carrying from their last relationship

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Relationship expert, Dr Pam Spurr, (​on twitter @drpamspurr and at ) reveals the signs that show you're not the problem.

We all come with emotional baggage of some sort. We’ve all been hurt, scarred and had some sort of unhappy dating or relationship experiences.

A certain amount of baggage makes you the person you are today – stronger, more confident, and less likely to take any bulls**t! Too much baggage means they or you aren’t ready for an emotionally healthy relationship.

And there certainly are different types of emotional baggage that affect dating. For instance, how they talk about their exes, gives you understanding about their baggage: have they been hurt? Have they been disappointed? Have they been left bitter? A topic I’ve covered in a previous post.

Here are three main types of emotional baggage to watch out for:

*Do they fast forward everything? Do they want you to be in a relationship right now even if you’ve only had a couple dates? Are they messaging all the time? Yes, you are incredible - and every person should fall in love with you - but this can flag up abandonment issues. They might have experienced abandonment (maybe with a parent) and clings to you with an emotional suction. They can suction the will to live right out of you.

How to handle: It can work if you put the brakes on and tell them you need to slow down. Otherwise they’ll be as annoying as a pesky mosquito buzzing around. If they have other good qualities and if they’ve got enough emotional intelligence, they’ll listen and stop sucking you into an instant relationship.

*Are they constantly game playing? Do they change plans, drop ideas of things to do with you, not ring but then super-make it up to you, etc.? It might seem their confidence has crossed into arrogance. And you think you might bring them down a peg or two. That could be the case but equally this behaviour can reveal insecurities – they try to get the better of you by game playing.

How to handle: You have to be strict when they have this kind of baggage. But if they have some likeable qualities, handle things by not being instantly available to them. Keep busy and see your friends and they might realise you’re someone who can’t be mucked about. 

*Have they got commitment issues? Things seem to be going well, you’ve had lots of fun dates, but they haven’t introduced you to friends or family. They certainly haven’t said anything like they’re falling for you. And you sense they’re holding back.

Commitment issues spring from all sorts of experiences (e.g., their parents went through a painful divorce and they swore off committed relationships) and it takes time to get to the bottom of it.

How to handle: If you like other things in them, start the converdation with the famous words, where do you think this is going? You don’t always get a straight answer if they have commitment issues but your intuition might give you clues if they really care for you.

Or try and get them to, one step at a time, shed this type of baggage. Suggest a casual meet up with his friends. Arrange your diary so you spend a bit more time together and see if gradually, they relax.

It’s a new year soon, so make sure it start’s off right. 

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Follow Dr Pam Spurr on Twitter @drpamspurr  and at

Check out Dr Pam’s ​podcast: 

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