Being present and open to a partner who carries emotional baggage can take a toll on the spirit. Be cautious and be prepared with these helpful tips. 


It happened with one of my female friends. One of her friends was making a short film on a story written by her and she had fallen for the Director of Photography (DOP) of the film during that short schedule. It was the DOP who made the first move, who persisted until my friend gladly gave in; they had a short-lived (but feisty) affair lasting for only about a month or so.

The brevity of the relationship should in no way be equated to lack of seriousness. My friend was serious, it was the DOP who chose to walk away. Why? I don’t know. He chose to divulge some of the most treasured secrets of his life to my friend right at the second meeting and that initiated the mutual spark… I guess. My friend still isn’t certain why he left.

Later, when we sat down to analyze the discrepancies in the relationship, I concluded that my friend shouldn’t have trusted his emotional excesses. “You can’t trust someone who tries to come close by divulging his weaknesses right away. You two weren’t emotionally intimate enough for him to have acted so. There are people who try to win over you by a show of emotional intimacy. It’s good you aren’t seeing each other. As a friend, I couldn’t approve of the basis.”

This partnership wasn’t meant to be; however, emotional excesses does take its toll on long-term relationships as well. How do you deal with a partner who carries too much emotional baggage—of the past, of present discrepancies, and of future (anxious) anticipations? Let’s explore.

Read the Signs

How do you decide whether your partner is visibly disturbed or not? What exactly tells you he or she is grappling with some emotional baggage? A sordid past? Or may be a bitter heartbreak?

It isn’t unnatural for anyone of us to express grief every now and then. Is your girlfriend’s sudden emotional outburst only a matter of the moment? Or, is it associated with other signs of depression? Be aware of these red flags:

  • He/she is demonstrating strange habits like obsession, unusually late sleeping, excessive complacency about health and appearance (indications of low self-esteem).
  • He/she is having emotional conversations over the phone with someone from their kin, but refuses to divulge the topic of conversation to you.
  • He/she is inhibited, mechanical, and emotionless during sexual intercourse.
  • He/she is unusually reserved with emotions.
  • He/she is reluctant to divulge his/her past.
  • He/she expresses suspicion at your thoughtful actions.

Identify the Problems  

Unless you read the signs, you will not exactly be able to address them. Why exactly would she be continuously wary of your efforts to make the relationship work? Why exactly should a surprise dinner act as a red flag for him? Why would that special gift from you be viewed as a superficial attempt at pleasing? There is a problem.

Don’t dismiss these emotional discrepancies merely as an inability to appreciate your efforts. There might be some serious emotional healing to do—a serious need for relationship spring cleaning.   

All of us would like some of our secrets to rest at the deepest recesses of our hearts. You may be in favor of giving your partner the much-coveted space. Most of us do that. But excessive secrecy is never conducive to trust and relationship harmony, so excessive guard should be prudently viewed as a red flag.

What if long hidden secrets come back to haunt your future as well? What more? You have your own emotions to contend with. Won’t you feel stifled if your partner continues to hide their past and present problems and future speculations from you? What more, sensing your partner is unable (or unwilling) to share their worries with you can trigger feelings of inadequacy, even resentment. As though your partner doesn’t trust you with their secrets, but can regularly confide in friends.  

Recruit Help  

Don’t flare up. Instead, try to dig deep into the matter.

Digging deeper can be done in many ways, but don’t be afraid to ask your elders to chime in (your parents or your partner’s parents) as well. You shouldn’t let anyone solve every minor and major problem for you; however, you can ask for guidance when you’re dealing with grave concerns. Your elders might have gone through similar problems earlier in their lives, all the more reason you can count on their experience. At times, your partner’s parents can even help illuminate important aspects pertaining to your partner’s past. No matter what approach you decide to take, though, never shy away from talking to your partner before taking any constructive step.Source