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How to Stop Being Attached to Someone

by Samara Harris

Your heart lives in the past, your brain lives in the present, your gut feels what can’t be seen. Allow your heart to catch up to your brain and gut.” – Anonymous

It feels like just yesterday when I was in a relationship, and my stomach would catch butterflies at the sound of his name, even seeing it pop up on my caller ID. We were happy, two young kids in love—or so I thought. I kept wondering if love was supposed to feel like that—perfect but unstable at the same time.

It was like he was there but remained elusive. We were together but not really, and it could have been that push/pull effect that kept me trying harder, wanting to get closer, wanting to know more. Then, before I knew it, I had fallen so deep into the rabbit hole that my emotional attachment became unhealthy.

What does it mean to be emotionally attached? Having an emotional attachment to someone is, in other words, lacking the ability to feel free. Their behaviors always have an impact on your overall mood. If you struggle with self-validation and self-confidence, you might define your self-worth by how others see you—in this case, a partner or lover.

Your sense of self-worth will completely depend on your partner’s regard, and some men will PURPOSELY not give you what you want—like validation, clarity, and compliments—because it then means they lose their power over you. Having you crave what you want the most can lead to an unhealthy emotional attachment if given in small amounts over a longer period. Usually, in relationships like this, the partner will do something to demonstrate they care about you, whether it is a gift, offering physical affection, or complimenting you, just slightly. This creates an unbalanced relationship.

Related articles: Toxic Codependency

Mind games, such as the push/pull method, are usually used to create an environment where emotional attachment is developed and nurtured. This method is a form of manipulation employed to gain the interest of someone who may be otherwise disinterested, or the other person simply wants more from the relationship than he/she is willing to give. It starts with telling someone how important they are in your life, pumping them up with the impression of unconditional friendship, loyalty, and devotion, and then you go cold turkey.

Show indifference by postponing or canceling meetings, stopping all contact, or responding to them only briefly. After a while, pull them back in when you sense they have been starving for your attention. When someone does this, they are confident in their ability to keep you on the hook, dangling a steak in front of you but never allowing you to get close enough to take a bite.

This creates unhealthy emotional attachments. So, how do you combat this? Well, first, you have to recognize the type of people who play these games to create these environments. They are usually narcissists or sociopaths. It cannot end well. If you are someone who suffers from low self-esteem but is kind and empathic, you are their primary target. Games used to create an emotional attachment are done solely for power in the relationship—your partner is craving it and will do whatever he/she can to acquire it.

While some emotional attachments are healthy – like the ones that help us to maintain good relationships with family and friends and motivate us to do our best, some aren’t. The next thing you want to do is analyze your situation. How do you go about differentiating between good and bad attachments? Here are some negative signs to look out for:

  • Demanding Communication From Your Partner

  • Always Agreeing With Your Partner

  • Sacrifices Are One-Sided

  • Distancing Yourself From Friends and Family

  • Relying On Your Partner Emotionally and Physically

  • Checking Their Social Media

  • Needing Constant Reassurance, Love, and Affection

In my relationship I was not one to pack on the PDA and was fairly confident; it was after my injury that I became dependent on my partner, I found myself needing constant reassurance of his love, paranoid and checking his social media accounts, but all the while, he did nothing to avoid this from happening. He provided me with no space to feel safe in the relationship. I felt my position was doomed, but then he would do one small gesture to keep me hanging in there and then, take it away again. It went on like this for some time until I learned he was simply cheating on me with someone else.

When you’re in a relationship you want to receive and give love:

  • Love is Warm and Exciting

  • Love is Selfless

  • Love Requires Nourishment

  • Love Feels Free

  • Love Empowers

  • Love Never Changes

While attachments can be good and bad, they are usually toxic and transient. Plus, it is all about exercising power in the relationship. To avoid relationships like these you need to build a strong foundation for yourself based on self-love, self-worth, and self-confidence before you get into a relationship. When you enter a relationship feeling lonely, insecure, or incomplete you allow space for an incompatible partner to exert their power over you, therefore, creating a toxic emotional attachment.

We see this a lot with rebound relationships, where a person is fresh out of a relationship and immediately gets into another one without allowing themselves time to heal. If we treat relationships as accessories – something you add to your life without taking anything away, we will find that if a partner decides to exit the relationship it will not have a lasting negative effect.


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