Could My Unresolved Emotional Baggage Be Holding Me Back From Finding True Love?

“Dear O&M,

I’m a bit on the shy side, so I’ve put off emailing you my question… I think I’ve also struggled with how to word it. Here’s my best shot: how is my unresolved emotional baggage holding me back from finding true love?

I’m not even sure true love exists so maybe I’m not asking the right question. I know I have a lot of emotional baggage. So I’m trying to figure out if I’m destined to F it all up again, or if I can overcome the mess that I’ve been when my heart gets involved. I swear I’m normal in all the other parts of my life.

Please help!


Hi Madeline,

Thanks for your question and we want you to know that you’re not destined to F it all up and you can overcome your unresolved emotional baggage. Destiny has nothing to do with whether you get love or not. Your desire to have a lasting loving partnership can be enough motivation to create the internal shift to heal and move on from your past experiences.

By addressing your unresolved emotional baggage you’ll take back your power and wildly increase your chances of finding true love. BTW, true love is not destined, it’s something two people work at, but first you have to become the “right person.”

Let’s dive right in and help you understand where your emotional baggage comes from, what it looks like, and how to transform it.

What Is Unresolved Emotional Baggage?

Emotional baggage comes from a few different sources:

  1. The disconnect between how you desired to be loved and how you were loved in your family of origin.
  2. Any hurtful experiences in your previous relationships.
  3. The meanings that you assigned to events from childhood and previous relationships.

Emotional baggage is a common way of describing unresolved emotional issues that stem from negative experiences. These events can be from childhood or past relationships.

Your past experiences in love shape how you approach love and dating. How you manage your emotions from these experiences helps determine whether you’re able to move on, or if they become baggage that gets in the way of creating healthy relationships. Having unresolved emotional baggage can stunt your ability to create and maintain lasting loving partnerships.

8 Ways Your Unresolved Emotional Baggage Holds You Back From Finding True Love

  1. You Can’t Manage Emotional Triggers

Unresolved emotional baggage can hide in your mind like landmines and the next thing you know you’ve gone from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds.

When you’re triggered your big prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain that can analyze and solve problems) is offline and you’re responding from the reptilian survival brain. A fight/flight/freeze response has been activated and you’re no longer capable of responding rationally.

Being triggered means you’re reacting to the current situation based on past events. You’re no longer in the present moment and you’re not responding from your logical mind. Survival instincts have kicked in, and you may revert to old strategies.

Emotional triggers are on a dial-switch, so you can be triggered on a scale from 1-10 . The first step to managing your emotional triggers is to recognize that you’re triggered. Getting triggered is a normal human occurrence and being triggered doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

Emotional mastery doesn’t mean you never get triggered, it’s about your behavior when you’re triggered. Just like having integrity doesn’t mean you never make a mistake. Having integrity is about your behavior when you make a mistake.

It’s unrealistic to think you’ll never be triggered. Dealing with your unresolved emotional baggage is like disarming the landmines so that you’re dealing with what’s actually happening in the moment. Your partner is not your mother, father, sibling, or past romantic partners that hurt or disappointed you.

To be efficient your subconscious mind links similar events together. It connects these similar events using the Law of Association, or a simple way to think about is your mind files together similar events by saying, “This is like that.” Your unresolved emotional baggage has you responding in the moment as if you’re still in the past with someone else.

Being triggered into past behaviors and old strategies keeps you from connecting with the person in front of you in the moment — and this is how your unresolved emotional baggage blocks you from the love you want.

  1. Your Heart Is Closed To Intimacy

Your unresolved emotional baggage has built a wall around your heart and blocks you from the love and connection you desire by keeping potential partners at a distance.

There are many reasons you could be emotionally unavailable for an intimate relationship. Heartbreak, trauma, addiction, and abuse from childhood can all contribute to you hiding your heart in a castle surrounded by a moat full of hungry alligators.

Unfortunately, even with a strong desire to share your life with someone if you don’t heal unresolved emotional baggage you won’t be able to risk your heart in order to let someone in. You’ll need to create new strategies for giving and receiving love, ones that don’t come from past hurts and disappointment.

Emotional intimacy requires you to be authentic and risk your heart. There are no guarantees in love and having unresolved emotional baggage can fool you into believing that it’s better to be lonely and alone.

When your heart is open you can speak your truth and listen without judgement, allowing you to look for a connection rather than perfection. No matter who you choose to partner up with the two of you will have miscommunication, misunderstandings, and even conflict. Learning to love an imperfect person starts with loving yourself warts and all!

Accepting that risk is part of all relationships you no longer have to fear it or build walls against it.

  1. Your Unresolved Heartbreak

Whether or not you initiated the breakup the end of a relationship is difficult and can leave you heartbroken.

It’s appropriate after a breakup to take some time to heal your heart. Learning to deal with sadness and grief is an important part of life and growing up. Avoiding these emotions is another way you can create armor around your heart and block yourself from the love you want.

You can’t avoid the pain of heartbreak by looking for someone who won’t ever break your heart. This is a perfect example of choosing to avoid pain instead of choosing love.

Healing your heart doesn’t mean you condone bad behavior or have to engage with someone who mistreated you. Healing means you’re no longer carrying an emotional  charge from the heartbreaks you’ve experienced.

By healing your heartbreak and embracing forgiveness you can open to love again.

  1. Trouble Setting & Keeping Boundaries

When it comes to intimate relationships the boundary lines are blurred more than any other part of your life.  The myth of the Hollywood movie where 1+1=1 creates a codependent, unhealthy dynamic. No one completes you.

When you have unresolved emotional baggage drawing the lines between you and your partner becomes even more difficult. You may either take too much responsibility or not enough.

You’re the only person responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and actions. They belong to you and you alone. Own them, and take responsibility for how you feel, and every single one of your relationships will benefit from it — particularly the one you have with yourself.

Saying to your partner, “You make me so ____[angry, sad, etc.]____!” as if the other person put a gun to your head and said, “Feel this feeling or I’ll shoot!” is one of the most common ways people abdicate responsibility for their emotions.

Imagine a street with a concrete barrier down the center divide. You’re responsible for everything on your side of the street and nothing more. You’re responsible for what you think, feel, and do (or choose not to do). This is on your side of the street and 100% your responsibility.

You’re not responsible for what someone else thinks, feels, or does. That’s on the other side of the street and doesn’t belong to you. You have no control over what happens over there.

Your unresolved emotional baggage can fool you into believing you’re responsible when you’re not, and vice-versa. The skill of learning to take responsibility for your own emotions and not to take responsibility for the reactions and emotions of others requires practice.

Cleaning up the past and stepping into forgiveness rather than placing blame clears the path to creating a deep connection with your partner.

  1. Guilt, Shame, and Regret

It’s normal to wish you could get a second chance in life, to be able to go back and fix a mistake you made. Holding onto your mistakes and beating yourself up about what could have been will keep you stuck.

Unresolved emotional baggage that triggers you into guilt, shame, or regret will make you feel unworthy of love. Whether this is conscious or unconscious, part of you will always believe that you’re destined to repeat past mistakes.

Transforming and healing guilt, shame, or regret starts with compassion and forgiveness for yourself. You won’t get through life without making mistakes, just make the effort to learn from yours and then move on.

Unresolved emotional baggage can cause you to have unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. Perfection is not required for love because love is not something you have to earn.

Every person is imperfect including you, so you’re in good company. Accepting your imperfections allows you to love another imperfect person. This is the foundation of a true love relationship.

  1. Avoiding Conflict

Your desire to avoid conflict will keep your beloved hidden from you. It will cause you to twist into a pretzel to avoid fighting with your partner. You may swallow your thoughts and opinions because you don’t want to upset them.

Your unresolved emotional baggage can cause you to avoid conflict at all costs, this will shrink your confidence and tank your self-worth. You won’t feel safe expressing your feelings, and you may act out with passive-aggressive behaviors.

Perhaps your fear of conflict is rooted in unexpressed anger, or in a fear that you’ll be rejected if you show your true thoughts and feelings.

Conflict is a normal part of interacting with humans particularly when you’re involved in an intimate relationship with them. Being able to work through your differences in a healthy way creates an emotional intimacy that cements the trust and love between the two of you.

Avoiding conflict doesn’t make it go away, it just creates an emotional chasm between the two of you that blocks intimacy and connection. With the right person, you’ll find your way through conflict to create a deeper connection.

  1. Anger And Resentment

This famous Buddha quote, “Holding onto anger and resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die,” can change your perspective forever about anger.

Anger and resentment are poison to your emotional well-being, and they can sabotage your chance of finding a lasting, loving partnership.

Maybe you were taught that anger is an inappropriate emotion and have suppressed your expression of it your entire life. Or perhaps you’re harboring resentment from sacrificing your wants and needs to try and make your partner happy. No matter the circumstances that initiated your anger and resentment you’ll have to express it and release it if you want to create lasting love.

There’s a lot of judgment in our society labeling anger as a toxic emotion. All your feelings are valid including anger, however, taking your anger out on others is not an appropriate or healthy expression of anger.

If your unresolved emotional baggage includes anger and resentment, then it will block you from love. Only by changing your relationship to your anger and letting go of your resentment will you be open to a healthy, lasting love relationship.

  1. Unrealistic Expectations

Unresolved emotional baggage can create unrealistic expectations making it impossible for any partner to measure up.

You’ll be in a relationship with another human being, not some mythical perfect partner. The real kicker is that your beloved will be a completely different person than you. They will have their own strategies, mental/emotional patterns, and past experiences that will be unlike your own.

Judgment is the most common block to long-lasting love. Your unresolved emotional baggage has you creating lengthy lists of qualities you desire in a mate. Perhaps you have a litmus test for every potential partner and treat a date like a job interview, making sure they fit your very stringent criteria.

If you struggle to find anyone who is even worthy of meeting for a date or believe there is no one out there for you, you may have unrealistic expectations that are protecting you from risking your heart. Stop looking for reasons to say “No” to a potential partner, and instead look for reasons to say “Yes” to a date.

How To Heal Unresolved Emotional Baggage

If you don’t address your unresolved emotional baggage, you’ll continue to struggle to find the lasting love you desire. The only way to create emotional connection with another person is to speak your feelings to them.

Unfortunately, you may be cherry-picking your feelings sharing the ones you like to feel, and hiding and repressing the negative ones that feel badly.

If you’re afraid to feel anger, sadness, hurt, fear, shame, or guilt or you judge yourself because you’re harboring these feelings then loving someone will never feel safe.

Learning to express your feelings, without judgment takes practice, and you’ll have to muster up kindness and courage to risk and speak your truth.

The biggest mistake people make is to judge the success of their communication by the response they get from the other person. This puts your power in the hands of the other person, and on a date that person is a stranger.

Instead, embrace your emotions and practice expressing them to potential partners. This lets you know more about their capacity to be a good match for you or not.

Rather than twisting into a pretzel trying to please a person you just met, just speak up and share your authentic truth. The right person will stick it out with you, and you’ll resolve issues together.

Over time this will grow your self-worth and heal your unresolved emotional baggage. If the idea of dating this way frightens you, working with a trained professional will exponentially speed up your healing as well as provide a safety net until you can trust yourself.

The Walters’ Method is our tried-and-true system for growing your confidence from the inside out so you become your own authority allowing you to heal your unresolved emotional baggage, and select an ideal life partner to grow with through all of life’s challenges.

Book a complimentary Soulmate Strategy Call with us to find out more. We’re here to be your guides to the long-lasting love you desire and deserve.

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

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