Baggage is emotional turmoil caused by some issue in someone's past.
Guys are happy to help out their girlfriends with emotional issues. But if the baggage becomes apparent too early in the relationship, then a guy will probably bail. Also, baggage causes people to pressure on or damage a relationship, so it may be doomed from the outset.
I think everyone has some form of baggage. We need to purge that baggage, or manage it, in order for a relationship to work.
Here are some forms of baggage:
This is the most common type of baggage I've seen: a woman just can't get over her ex-boyfriend. It's not that I'm being compared to him-I don't even think I get that far. Some women hold on to the idea that the ex may come back into her life. Or they just don't have resolution after the relationship goes sour.
If someone can't come to grips with a relationship's end, they will be unable to function in a new relationship.
I've referred to the "white whale" from Moby Dick. The white whale is the prize of the character Ahab, who lost his leg in a prior battle with the whale. At the center of the book, is Ahab's burning desire for revenge. Our white whales are those people we have been pursuing, even if we've lost some battles with them. They are that person we never get, or get sometimes, or had for a while-they are always there, and we are perpetually feeling close to winning.
I had a crush on a girl in college, and I found out that she had a combo ex-boyfriend/white whale baggage thing going on. Her boyfriend had cheated on her and they broke up but she remained infatuated with him. She talked her friends' ear off about it and drove them crazy-so crazy that her friends encouraged her to start anew with me. I ended up becoming good friends with her. Well, I guess he actually wasn't her white whale-the two are now happily married with a beautiful baby. I'll take credit for being such a stupid drunk who couldn't win her over in college. I hope they realize how much I did for their family!
The other day my friend Margaret and I were getting lunch, and I pointed out a tall gorgeous girl dining alone. "That's the kind of girl I love," I told Margaret. Margaret pointed out something that I didn't even notice: "Um, look at how meticulously she is pulling things out of her salad. You don't want that kind of baggage." If I go out to dinner with a girl she's not eating or has strange control issues with her eating, then there is baggage and she'll have to beat this before she's ready to date.
It's tough to date a girl who has an unstable family. Sure, I know it's my job as a supportive boyfriend to help her out or let her vent if someone in her family is annoying her; but it's really tough if there are deep family issues that were never resolved. Walking into a situation like that can further damage the family. No significant other has the power to fix historical family problems.
Waiting to be Hurt Baggage
This kind of baggage causes people to interpret harmless events in the relationship, and/or things that are said as a sign that things are going to start going poorly. If someone is living in paranoia throughout the relationship, assuming things will go badly, it will eventually wear on the other person and drive them away. Also, a person who assumes they will be hurt can not trust anyone-and trust is the core of any relationship.
Any baggage will cause someone to act irrationally. So, if someone is flaky, wavers between being into you and not being interested, disappears after appearing interested, or etc, chalk it up to baggage. Baggage comes in many forms, so who knows? It's much easier for you to dismiss a disappearing guy/girl as having "too much baggage" and move on.
Do you agree with my definition and types of baggage? I assume you see "commitment baggage" with guys. What are the most common types of baggage you've seen? Do you agree that everyone has baggage, and do any types of baggage make it impossible for a person to function in a relationship?