Just Ask Amy: Emotional Attachment

One of the ways that I describe an emotional attachment is this: Pretend you have a red construction paper heart and a blue construction paper heart. You put glue on both hearts and stick them together and let them dry.  What's going to happen when you try to tear these two hearts apart? ~A little bit of blue is going to be left on the red and a little bit of red is going to be left on the blue.  This is called an attachment.

In a relationship, it works very similarly.  As you share more intimate details about your life with the other person, you are also sharing bits of your heart.  The more intimate details and the more conversations, the more emotional attachment is occuring.  Throw sexual acts into the mix and it's like giving a BIG CHUNK of your heart to the other person.  The more sexual activity (and it doesn't just have to be sex) that enters into the relationship, the more difficult it will be to get over that person if there is a break up. This is why you see couples that have broken up, but still can't get over the other person...or keep running back to the other person.  They are still emotionally attached.

So, how do you prevent emotional ties in the future? We are emotional beings, so preventing any emotional ties from happening is going to be near impossible.  However, you can prevent how severe the ties are:

  • Follow the 2M2S rule: Is it Too Much, Too Soon?  Sometimes too much information is shared too soon in the relationship.  Take your time on sharing the details of your life.  As the other person earns your trust, then you can start to share some details.  Just remember that it needs to be a trickle of information, not a waterfall.
  • Avoid Sexual Activity.  Easier said than done right?  Especially when you really like a person! But, if you want to avoid the messy drama, then avoid the sexual stuff. 

So, what if those emotional ties are strangling you?  Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Remember that it takes time to heal and that everyone heals at different rates.  One of the hardest things for couples that have broken up is to watch their X seem to be doing just fine.  If it's taking you longer to heal, that's ok.  Take your time and heal up well before you jump into another relationship.
  • Practice the 2 C's: Contact and Content. Limit how much you are in contact with your X. If you are texting them everyday, you aren't going to heal very quickly.  And when you do talk, watch the Content.  If you jump back into the the 2M2S issue, you are going to be right back where you started.
  • Remind yourself that they are your X not your "Ex. " You have chosen to X them out of your option list for a reason.  When those feelings of loneliness or need for something comfortable creeps in, remind yourself why it ended.

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