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?