In my 20’s, most emotional baggage references were geared toward women. In my experience, the words man and baggage would rarely occupy the same sentence. Although naive then, I was intelligent enough to know that it was just a matter of semantics. However, I still formed my opinions regarding how relationship matters should be handled, based on gender. Years of experience led me to believe that women tend to be more in touch with emotions while men generally tend to make decisions based on logic. However, maturity allowed me to understand that men and women possess both the emotional and logical capabilities to end up in the same predicaments – no matter how they get there.
Men and women alike can have baggage from childhood, relationships, and other life experiences that render them disadvantaged in relationships. In my 2015 book release, Let Me Tell You Like I Told Myself; Love’s Truth Never Changes (Pen Legacy), I posed a question to my readers asking “Why is it so hard to believe that men are sensitive; sometimes more than women? They are much stronger; they can carry way more baggage.”
Are you in love with a man who over packed the emotional baggage? Are his mental suitcases jam-packed with hurt, inadequacies, or pain? Contrary to popular belief, men do experience hurt. Sometimes men can have a more traumatic experience around their feelings due to imposed societal roles and other factors that render them ill equipped to process, grieve, and let go of past hurts.
Do you know that guy who gets within inches of commitment then breaks out in hives? Have you dated the man who accepts your love but gives you the scraps left over from his stint with “Ms. So-and-so?” You could be lying next to him right now; listening to his sweet nothings as you make plans and arrangements with him for a future that will never come to fruition. Does it baffle you? Let me simplify; he is bogged down with the finest luggage a hurt man can carry.
Does this sound familiar: “I do love you but I am just taking my time to really figure things out.” That is understandable, but three years in? This man clearly suffers from emotional detachment issues. He may never get anything right handling you with those used-up, dysfunctional gloves that he used with other women. You are not the source of his pain and if he does not grasp that, you should not wait year over year for him to start figuring that out – you may need to send him packing.
There is already enough work to do in relationships where both parties are ready and willing. What you may not grasp is that trying to move forward with a man who says “On your mark, get set….wait” each time his stomach starts bubbling with fear may lead you on a one-way-trip to nowhere. You may be on a one-way-trip to nowhere. What he may not understand is that every time he pumps the brakes on you and jolts your confident existence, he is causing you to bump your focused head on the dashboard of doubt. His anxiety about what you might do injects fear into your otherwise confident intentions.
This is in no way male bashing – this is behavior bashing. Instead of suspecting that women can be the only emotional flight risk, men should also perform a proverbial baggage check before committing to fly on the wings of love. Everyone has had relationship experiences that are life changing and we all survive the best we can. If you are in a dating relationship and both of your eyes are not open to the facts you will never know what you are truly getting into. Don’t rush, but take your time in learning the very being of a person. You do not want to find yourself in a committed relationship with a person with luggage that is too heavy to carry for the both of you.
If you have tried-and-true love for someone, you can love them through baggage claim, idiosyncrasies, incapacitates and fears—if allowed. You should try if you are truly invested; just make certain they invest in you and appreciate all your help unpacking. When your special someone is vulnerable and confident enough to say (in so many words/actions) “Baby ____ happened and you are too important for me to lose because of the past”- they may be worth your time. If they are honest enough to say, “I really like you a lot but I am not ready,” they are worth respecting and wishing well. Bon Voyage. Be leery of anyone who will merely sweet talk you into carrying a few of their bags while thinking about where to go next? You decide.
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