Dating Someone With Baggage

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a friend about dating a man with baggage. What is baggage? Baggage can be children, unemployment, an ex-wife or an ex-husband. My friend is strongly interested in this guy, but he has all forms of baggage. He has 3 children with an ex-wife (well they are separated), and while he is employed, he struggles to live independently and pay the agreed support for his 3 children. My friend, who has 0 baggage, questioned whether or not she can handle his baggage. In the past I dated a man with baggage, so when she asked for my opinion, I referred back to my experience.

I dated a man with a different baggage than my friend’s guy. My boyfriend at the time had 5 kids (count ‘em 1,2,3,4,5), 3 baby mothers, and his income was barely enough to support himself. Keep in mind this relationship was YEARS ago. I have grown immensely in whom I date, and limitations on the baggage count. Anyway, at the time it was A LOT of baggage to deal with, especially since I was so young. I liked my boyfriend; however I had reservations about the relationship. I have 0 children, and at the time I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. I was in a position of personal and professional growth. Some might ask (and some did ask) “Why are you with him?” It was a question I did not know the answer to, except to say the same thing women on Maury say, “But I love him.” Well the “love” eventually faded. I had to be honest with myself and consider what I wanted for my life. Clearly my boyfriend lived his life, but my adult life was just beginning. I wanted children of my own; he already had 5. I wanted to be in a relationship without outside interference; he had 3 baby mothers. I wanted to have a career and grow professionally; he was still growing professionally too, however he had 5 kids to support (that’s a lot of MOOLAH!) Love, or what I thought was love, was a great feeling at that moment, but it was too much baggage.

My father, who I consider a wise man, gave advice that stuck with me. He advised that if I married a man with kids, eventually I would be supporting the kids financially and emotionally. My father asked me whether or not my boyfriend was doing everything possible to increase his minimal income? Was he doing everything possible to support his 5 children and himself? He wanted me to understand that my boyfriend’s baggage would eventually become my baggage. Needless to say I had quite a bit to think about after the conversation with my father. I decided the situation was not beneficial for me and my goals. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I don’t have regrets about any of my dating experiences because they’ve helped me grow and realize what I want in a mate. That experience helped me think about how much baggage I am willing to handle. I am not willing to deal with multiple kids (1 is fine), multiple baby mothers (1 is fine), and someone who is not ambitious and pushing themself to the max (this is non-negotiable). So to my friend I say, it is true that you don’t know when love will hit you, but you also have to be realistic and consider everything! I do not judge people who are in situations like mine or my friend’s, however if it bothers you then take a moment to think about what you really want. Do you want to avoid the drama and travel with a carry-on, or is it worth paying the baggage fees? #thinkaboutit

*What do men think about dating a woman with baggage? Is baggage a deal-breaker? What are your baggage limits?

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About thedating3ds

At 31 years old I experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of dating and relationships. My friends and I often vent or seek dating advice from each other, which propelled me to create an outlet for myself and others to share their experiences and advice. "Dating Do's, Don'ts & Duh!!" (TheDating3ds) is not a male bashing blog. Obviously because I am a woman my experiences will reflect a woman's point of view, however I encourage men to comment on discussions to present a male perspective. Posts may be fictional or nonfictional experiences and any advice I offer is not professional. Please browse the blog and leave a comment. ♥

Posted on January 25, 2012, in PhDating and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. RUN!!!!!!! Just Kidding. I think you gave a very sound testimony and I know your father to be the best man along with my brother to gain wisdom. We all have baggage whether it is emotional, family, ex’s etc..and the truth is that when you are in a relationship that baggage becomes your baggage as you stated. I actually have a friend who married a man with 5 children and 5 babies mothers but he is in oil and financially paid and takes good care of the children financially. the problem was he did not do well with them emotionally because he was always out on a boat or something like that. My friend married him but she actually took the responsibility of taking care of the other children emotionally and took the kids even when her husband was not in town because she knew the mothers deserved a break. She is very rear but she embraced it all and was an attorney so when the momma’s acted crazy she was the law…lol.

    At my age it is hard to even meet men without baggage that includes, children and ex-wives but I was recently faced with a decision and opted to get out because it was just not the baggage I felt I was interested in dealing with. Peace of mind is very important to me so baggage depending on what it is is not an option. If he can not afford the children and his responsibilities I would look at if he is in school, or trying to work on a few things to help him be financial stable to take care of himself. When I add up the cost of a man I look at where I am and where he is and if he is not even where I am as a person who is sacrificing to do somethings for myself but at least maintaining a very basic living then I can do bad all by myself. Great post and again great advice. Your Dad is a keeper and I love that he did not tell you to get out. Grateful you had a great ear to get advice from because the man lasted as long as he did cause I had the wrong voice in mine aka my dad…lol

  2. Hi Rasia,

    The mere mention of the term ‘baggage’ seems to elicit such an extremely emotional (and unwarranted) reaction that I avoid this word entirely. The concepts behind the term are crucially important & the understanding that a Level Playing Field is a MUST should be discussed Early-on.

    At issue here are the promises & level of committment that each of the parties is CAPABLE of making!

    Personally, there is only ONE type & ONE level of committment that I would even consider offering-up to the Next “Love of My Life” companion, and it goes something like this : YOU are the first priority in my life & you have my UN-divided attention. Your needs & well-being WILL come first in my life, well BEFORE any job, and certainly BEFORE the wishes of any other human being.

    And… when I get around to saying those words, I AM going to MEAN THEM!

    I think it should go without saying that I would NEVER utter these words to anyone who was not willing to offer the SAME in return. Quid Pro Quo.

    Your Father’s advice is fully accurate & well taken. Any parents’ first duty in life is to their children, as it should be. This is also why I’ll NEVER date anyone who has kids.


    • So u mean ppl who’s having kids they don’t deserve to be loved?u must understand while were living there’s lot of challenges we a face.jst take as its happen to u u will b happy?

  3. Your article (and your Dad’s sound advice) has made me feel much better about my own situation. I was dating a man who was separated with 6 children. I don’t have any children and was always a career girl until fairly recently. I thought I could handle the situation until I ended up having panic attacks! To cut a long story short I walked away and have become ultra picky about who I will and won’t date. I know everyone’s situation is different but you have to do what will make you happy and have the courage to walk away from a situation that you know is wrong.


    • Hi Ally!! Sorry it took so long for a reply. Thanks so much for your comment! You are absolutely right, you have to do what will make you happy. That is so important! I’m glad you’re finding your happiness without all the baggage. :)

  4. Oh it certainly depends on the baggage and where you are at the time I think. I dated a guy with a kid when I was 22. In the end it turned out things didn’t work out but even though I was young him having a child didn’t bother me. Just recently, aged 25, I dated a guy who was going through a messy divorce and custody battle and that was too much baggage. I was in a happy, grounded place knowing where I was going and what I want from life. He was a mess, and I didn’t want to take on his problems and issues, he was relying on me totally to pick him up and help him through right from the very beginning and it was too much to take on. Now I’m in a pretty picky place and nobody I have met for the last 6 months has ticked enough boxes for me to make the move from dating to relationship.

    • Hey Lalli! I totally agree with you! I do believe it depends on your place in life, and also your growth in life. The older we get, the more we realize what we are willing or not willing to accept in dating. I used to be called picky, but I see nothing wrong with being picky. Some people are picky about what type of car or house they’ll buy, but when it comes to dating they’ll deal with whomever gives them the least bit of attention. Those who aren’t picky often end up unhappy. Thanks so much for your comment Lalli! I’m sure you’ll find someone who’ll tick most of your boxes. :)

  5. Your nasty comments are so typical for a black woman. Of course there is always the self proclamation of being “better” then others because you have conformed yourself to the pursuit of superficial material items. Such as the infamous ‘degree’ and of course the car and other non entities. You speak lowly of a man who obviously was having a difficult time. In this Great depression it is not easy for men. Especially if it is a black man. But you are so quick to condemn him for “not being up to your level”. So arrogant, elitist and hateful. So, so typical of your type. Perhaps you weren’t good enough for him? As a typical sell out, materialistic American woman. he may have seen you as not being worthy as a result of your inability to actualize real life. You feel so above men that you do not think of the fact that perhaps it is you and your (legendary black female) attitude of hate that may have turned him off. Absolutely worthless. I hope that you are happy with your degree. When markets crash lets see how valuable it is. Lets see how many men step up to provide for you when survival of the fittest becomes the norm. So worthless you are. But pretty typical.

    • Hi Sulu!!! Thanks so much for your comment! I have found a man who is a provider, and who loves my “typical” black woman traits. I may be pretty typical to you, but your words are pretty typical of a scorned woman/man (not sure). I may be worthless, but I live and breath happiness every day. I hope you find the same happiness. Again, thanks for your comment and continue to read!!! :)

      • Dont pay that clown any attention,im a black man that got on top of my game..that dude is just bitter because he probably got he is Broke,ugly and dumb….lol

    • Man you are a Busta ..step ya game up and quit hatin..I got mine,get yours lil bitch

  6. I have a boy fd he wont marry caus i have a 14 yrs lof son.

  7. so i feel love lost to realistic. very sad.

  8. Stay away from baggage as long as you can. If there are children the ex will always be in the picture or always get alimony. Eventually, you will pay beyond your fair part to compensate. Relationships are difficult without other issues.

  9. I am in a relationship (my first) with a man who is twenty years older than I am and has four children with three different mothers , one of whom was his wife. He has lied and cheated on me from the inception of the relationship yet I feel the need to stick it out . Everytime that I think things will be better, I am reminded of his baggage through the outside interference of his children’s mothers which he prioritises. I do not want to interfere with his relationship with his children but I am not sure how much longer I can be in a relationship that consists of this type of baggage as it would be so great to be with someone who doesn’t have these other priorities . I would definitely recommend to anyone out there to NEVER , EVER get involved with a man with children from a previous relationship (s). You wont have your own life with him – at least that has been my experience.

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  13. hi. i am also in the same relationship. although when i started dating by boyfriend, it wasn’t that bad. but after a couple of weeks, his business have gone bad, his child’s mother wouldn’t give the child back to him and the mom and the child is in the US, we’re here in Asia,there’s a lawsuit against him and his business partners are betraying him and now his living paycheck to paycheck. ever since all of these problems appeared, we don’t talk a lot and see each other a lot anymore. because we’re long distance and he has to save money. i asked him if we should be breaking up, he said he doesn’t want to make decisions for now and he doesn’t want to drag me down to the mud with him while his life is getting crazy. what should i do? i told him i will wait for him to pull his life back together and we agreed to talk everyday on the phone or skype, but it didn’t happen. should i still wait or let go? btw, the last time he texted me, he told me he’ll come visit me and want to spend a couple of days with me before he leaves to the US

    • Hi Pinky!

      It appears that your boyfriend has a lot going on in his life right now, and for the sake of your relationship, it may be best to give him space to get things in order. It is not fair to you that he cannot devote the necessary time for you, and make you a priority at the moment. I can only imagine that you will begin to feel stress from his lack of attention, and thus he will feel stress from you. Things can get sticky. Having baggage is fine, but to be involved with someone while they are going through their baggage is a hard task; especially long distance. I would also suggest that you take a good look at your relationship to see if it is really what you think it is, what you thought it would be, and what you really want. Thanks for commenting!

  14. I just broke off a 15 month relationship with a guy who has 3 children from 2 prior marriages. Lots of baggage…Long story short…. It was only 2 weeks ago when I asked myself if I wanted to get to know his kids and deal with his controlling ex wife. Since this lifestyle(ex and kids) don’t jive with my lifestyle, it was a very clear decision…. the answer is “No Way”. I don’t even care to know his kids(since he hid them from me for 15 months because of his Ex). Instead of blaming him for all his baggage, all I have to do now is remind myself that his baggage does not suit my lifestyle at all. I told him I had a great time and walked away. It hurts so bad but I care for myself more…

    • I commend you Mary! Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do, but we know in our hearts what is best. Dating someone with baggage is definitely not for everyone, especially when there is an overbearing ex involved. And it seems that your ex has some issues to deal with before he is able to have a successful relationship since he hid the kids from you like you said. I agree with you that blaming him is unnecessary, and instead use the experience as a lesson learned. You’ll be just fine! Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. And take your time getting to know the man. Because if he doesn’t treat you right and with the respect you deserve, his children will learn to treat you the same way.

  16. not sure if this post is still going? but i have recently ended a 9 month relationship. his kids were getting violent to their father. stealing and the x wife wouldnt let up even showing up at the beach one day and hitting him. i felt like i was being neglected which in turn made me argue with him. he ended up ending the relationship and disappeared. i feel guilty for arguing.

    • Hi Lisa! It sounds like there are some deep issues that need to be resolved between your ex, his children, and his ex-wife. They are issues you should not have to deal with and I think the question you should ask yourself is why you feel guilty about arguing? I say take time to reflect on the relationship and whether or not it was worth the time and effort, then really assess what it is that you want in a relationship and see if all that drama is on your list. No relationship is perfect, but there are some things that have to be resolved before you get involved, and it seems like your ex and his family had some issues to resolve. Good luck Lisa and thank for your comment!!

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