How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About

Learning how to emotionally detach from someone you care about – or love with all your heart – is a process. These tips for detaching will help you retain a sense of yourself in your relationship.

How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care AboutThe Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by Susan Anderson defines the phases of grieving over a lost relationship and detaching from the person no longer in your life. This book is designed to help all victims of emotional breakups – whether it’s a recent loss or breakup or a lingering wound from the past. This is your chance to start fresh, in a new stage of life.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,” said Khalil Gibran. “And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” That’s a wonderful suggestion for getting on with your life: take a step back and let time and space flow between you and your lost love. Below, I describe what it means to “let there be spaces in your togetherness.” Here are a few tips for healthy detachment…

5 Ways to Detach From Someone You Care About

Emotional over-involvement happens when thoughts become focused on the other person in ways that are unhealthy for both the individual and the relationship. Over-involvement can lead to feelings of anxiety, agitation, helplessness, depression, anger, and even resentment. “Disentangling” or detachment’ is about creating enough emotional space between yourself and another person so you can see the realities of your relationship and make healthier choices.

These tips revolve around detaching from an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, but can be applied to any type of friendship or relationship. I had to learn how to detach from my sister, who I can’re about deeply.

Focus on yourself – not your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend

For others to love and respect you, you have to love and respect yourself. To love and respect yourself, you may need to make practical changes in your life. Maybe that means losing a few pounds, going back to school, or spending more time with people you respect. Maybe it means getting up early to exercise or finding out about student loans. To detach from an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, write down your goals and take specific action steps towards achieving them.

Give yourself – and your ex – space to heal and breathe

One of the most important tips on how to detach from someone you care about is to take a step back — though your instinct might be to move closer! Instead of crowding your ex, find your self-identity. Figure out who you are apart from your love relationship, marriage, kids, and family members. Give yourself (and him) room to breathe by developing your own interests and life. This is difficult when you’re emotionally over-involved or even obsessed with the other person, but it’s so important.

Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher is another great book on detaching from someone you care about. The intention of this book is to make the recovery after a breakup or divorce less traumatic and healthier.

Look at your relationship objectively – practice detaching yourself

You may have been invested in this love relationship or marriage for years; now, you need to look at it objectively, with your mind and gut (not your heart). Is this the love relationship you wanted for yourself, before you met him? Would you want your daughter, sister, or best friend to be in this relationship? Did your ex willingly meet your needs and respect your wishes? Do you do the same for him or her? If you had to do it all over again, ask yourself if you’d choose the same person again as your partner. These questions may help you detach from someone you care about and get on with your life.

Decide if you want to stay in this relationship

This tip is for couples who are still together, but wonder if they should break up — because sometimes you need to start detaching from someone you care about while you’re still together. Before you can think about overcoming lost love, you need to decide if you should stay together — because many couples do stay in unhealthy relationships. So, can you accept your partner exactly the way he or she is right now and not complain? Or, are you both willing to do what it takes to work on your relationship (eg, marriage counseling, support groups, or reading books or taking communication classes together)? A healthy relationship can’t happen when only one partner cares enough to try to rebuild it.

Focus on the fact that the pain of detachment is temporary

how to emotionally detach

“How to Emotionally Detach From Someone” image by atimediade via Pixabay, CC License

The initial pain of detaching from someone you care about is usually the worst part of it. I know how heartbreaking it is; it may feel like you’ll never love again, never trust again, never laugh again…but trust me, you will get over your lost love. It’ll take time, it’ll take support from your friends, patience, and maybe even 40 days and nights of wailing and gnashing your teeth – but you will be happy again.

Do think you’ll never learn how to detach from someone you care about? Keep reading about ways to move on and heal. I recently wrote How to Get Over a Bad Breakup – maybe it contains the right tips for detaching from someone you love.

If you have any thoughts about detaching from someone you care about, please comment below. I can’t offer advice, but I can listen. Sometimes sharing your feelings helps you gain clarity and insight.

My prayer is that you find ways to detach and start healing.

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129 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Ok , I found out my wife was seeing someone else the weeks ago and we are Finacialy forced to live in the same house she continually lies about talking to him and seeing him but she makes it too obvious we have been together 17 years and married 15. I have not been the greatest husband through these 17 years and I have changed greatly over the last 5 years but she is emotionally abusive and verbally abusive but I love her more than anything . I beleive she is playing me between this other guy who she has known from high school and she isn’t ready to let me go at my expense … she is jerk ing me around and says she doesn’t 2ant me to leave the house. She wants all the stuff that our marriage consists of but not me … and Im confused and hurt but I think I’m ready to move on .


    • evakathy says:

      I think is time for you to think about ur self and give the opportunity to have someone who would love you and respect you as person and specially as men… Let her go and life will take care hwr… Have faith and our lord and ur self too.. God bless you

  2. Jenny says:

    The man I was having a relationship with used to compare me with another sect of women and sometimes used to tell me that they were better than me and that’s why he would rather be associated with them than with me. He also used to tell me that I was flabby and that I needed to work out. He actually used to allow me to believe that he really liked me by asking me whether my parents would agree to him marrying me. I was so stupid and desperate for someone in my life that I let him verbally and emotionally abuse me. He even used to sleep around with other women while being involved with me and had no qualms about it. When I caught him in the act, and asked him if he would have liked it if I were to do the same thing to him, he said no. Wow. That was a partial eye opener. But, the part of this article that suggests that women should ask themselves whether they would recommend a man that they loved who was abusive or manipulative to either their sister or mother is what really opened my eyes. I would never recommend the person I am talking about even to my worst enemy. Thank you Kathy for this article.

  3. Idontmatter says:

    I am a toy to my boyfriend. He actually enjoys my emotions, even when I’m sad (he has said this on several occasions). He doesn’t care how sad I get until it becomes an inconvenience, i.e. I stop trying to please him constantly, than he gets annoyed. But when I finally get to the point of being sick of how I feel around him, its like he’s a different person. Suddenly he understand perfectly how I felt all along, and he knows all the right things to say, and he says them all until I’m too tired to resist him anymore. I’m starting to think it’s all fake. When he pretends to feel bad for hurting me, its only when I’m pushed to my very limits. He acts like he empathizes with me only at the bitter end and only if he must, so he must be faking it. But I yet I don’t really know. I just know he is gone and I am sad and alone, AGAIN.

    • kathy says:

      you not alone God love you and is time for you to find ur self ur spirit ur soul and ur heart what is exactly is Love… let it go if hes for u he will comeback to you.. but this time different because now you know exactly was is Love staring with you first ……and pray to my lord and he will give you the courage to keep going… .

      .“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.”

      ― James E. Faust

  4. Sareen says:

    I don’t knw ver to start ,M wid dis guy fr 2 yrs evn though his not ma first bf bt still i got vry attach wid him, fr a pst few days m fellng cut off by him n vry lonely its like i keep crying oll d time ..i tried to stay away fr him many times i tried to talk or get close wid another guy bt i jst cnt ,i really wnt someone helped coz its driving meh nuts oll i evr wntd was a nic guy who wud love meh no matter wt, its like i hv let ma whole world to revolve around him..dos sm1 hv same situation or m oll alone by maself!!

  5. Rahul says:

    Hi all,

    I am extremely attached to this girl, who obviously is no longer with me. To add to it she left me and married some one else mainly because she belonged to a different religion and her parents wanted that. Yeah i know this is how it is in some parts of third world countries. But what is difficult now and even before was that she was always firm on the fact that she loved me.

    Even when she got married, starting from the first day she said and was in contact with me saying that he hates it there and she loves me and that she realised how much she loved me after getting married to someone else. I being the stupid or good whatever guy i am supported her through her adjustment phase.
    Then she got pregnant, she said she never wanted that and that she never betrayed me and that even now she loves me a lot. She asked me not to cut off contacts with her, not to abandon her because she needed me. Again I was there.

    But the point is its very difficult for me now and it has been vey difficult for me all through these days. I see her sometimes going out with her husband, it hurts me The sole fact that I am suffering fro anxiety and insomnia while those guys are making out makes me sick. I am somehow trying to cope with all this. She still says she loves me and maybe one day she might come back but she cannot do that now because her family has spent a fortune for that marriage and she was never so strong to take a move by herself.

    Now it has come to a point that instead of me focusing on my life I am lost entire day thinking what they might be doing. How they’ll be having fun. How i am left behind.

    I need and I desperately want to come out of this and be the happy guy I was. I am very upset and I dont know how to help myself.

    Please comfort me through your guidance. I might have been foolish or weak throughout. Maybe i did the right thing.
    Whatever, but I have been extremely upset by all of this.
    I just want my peace of mind and happiness back.

    Thank you.
    Any help or counselling is greatly appreciated.

  6. Cee says:

    I need some advice! I’ve been in my relationship with my boyfriend for 5 years. the last 3 years have been very rocky. And also may I add the last 3 1/2 have been long distance. We’ve always worked through things and he’s such a passionate lover. There were many times I’ve walked away and he would stop me and I few times he’s walked away but I e stopped him. The love between us has been so good when things are great but he’ll when things are bad. He doesn’t approve of “new” male friends or the thought of me entertaining a conversation with one. I’ve always been more outgoing & social. I e always respected my relationship because of my love for him. But for the last 2 months it’s been hell on earth. Our communication has been horrible and he recently voiced his disappointment in my lack of support for his career. I’ve been so worried about making ends meet in the other aspect of our relationship that I lacked supporting his career. I apologized and tried to put forth more effort but got upset when he started becoming slightly distant due to the things I’ve said(ex. I wouldn’t work with him; because how could we work together if we can’t meet eye to eye on our relationship!) but he took the ” I wouldn’t work with him” to another level. So this was where we were struggling then not to mention I messed up! I went to go visit him for some time because I need time with my man, I felt that that’s all we needed was time together. Everything was fine until we starting messing around with each others instagrams. I was joking around about a post he was chatting in long paragraphs to some girl(jokingly) and then he went into my Instagram looking and knowing I don’t entertain guys I was fine but…. I forgot I exchanged instagrams with a guy ( not to engage in any type of relationship but just because he asked to follow me) I never gave this guy my number and also told him I had a BF. Where I messed up at is this guy commented on a pic of mine and when my BF asked about him, I said I didn’t know who he was which at the time I didn’t remember but it was later I realized oh snap! I do know who that was. But do you think I wanted to bring that back up to my BF knowing how he gets!? Nope! Its like he’s been focusing more on his self and working even harder on meeting his goals. He said I need to just focus on me as he will do the same and eventually we will discuss but he refuses to talk about it because it’s going to take energy away from him that he can be using on his business. He seems so happy and every time I try to get some clarity because I can’t focus he’s like NO! You’re not going to get the outcome you want if you force me to talk about it! I’m pulling out my hair because he’s distant and I just want to be with him so I’m trying hard to detach my feelings and focus on me. I feel so weak. I love him so much. He’s also linked up with this young lady in the industry doing projects and she is quite stunning. He’s living his life all happy why am I hAvinv such a hard time. Please help someone

    • Cee says:

      P.s basically I got caught in a lie and my insecurity from it has feeling lost with Lot of anxiety, depression and has me obsessing over my BF while he’s doing just fine focusing on his work. It’s like he does t really care about me anymore and I just want to come to the realization regardless of whether the situation was innocent or not I lied to his face and I’m afraid he looks at me differently and may be preparing g to leave me😖😖😖

  7. Joanne says:

    Hi. First of all, thank you for posting this article. I am going to be a freshman in college in the next few weeks. During my senior year around March, I got to know a guy who I found nice, caring, smart, and fun to be around. We knew each other as acquaintances since our freshmen year of high school, but we really got to know each other more this year. We both admitted that we liked each other, but made an agreement to stay friends and get to know each other because we both didn’t know if we’d be able to support each considering that we both are going to college trying to figure out purposes in life and also, we both have strict (Asian parents).

    Overall, I found it difficult to communicate with anyone for a very long time until recently, I’ve shared a lot of my burdens with a couple of my friends, such as my anxieties and fears of the present and future, after having a fun day at a music festival with them. I feel a lot better now. I’m just afraid that I’ll go back into depression and not keeping myself motivated in life. I’m also afraid of losing that guy as a friend.

    Now, I want to detach myself from this obsession of when is he going to message me again or talk to me again. I still have a crush on him, but I just want to be friends with him, now trying to treat him as any other friend (including my guy friends) because firstly, I don’t want to be in a relationship right now, since my parents don’t let me date and I need to work on myself first before bringing someone else into my heart romantically, secondly, I want to keep him as a friend because he is in my circle of friends who are either going to the same college as me (I’m commuting) or a community college only 5 mins away and he is a nice person who helped me a lot and is still helping me, such as helping me understand Christianity better because I don’t believe in Buddhism as I’m leaning towards being a Christian, and thirdly, he is going to the same college as I am, so it’s nice to keep in touch. I just don’t want to be obsessed while keeping him as a friend in my life. Anyways, thank you for listening. It makes me feel better knowing that someone is listening.

  8. Niyah Rae says:

    I need some advice…
    My boyfriend and I have been together only 10 months he has a daughter she was 6 when I came into the picture now she’s 7. She’s so attached to her dad that now I feel like its starting to separate us as a couple. She left to see her mom for two months and those two months for me were amazing but when his daughter came back things changed. He stopped sleeping with me in the same bed he slept with his daughter we stopped being together as a couple . I still want to be with him but. Not like this but I’m not going to tell him to choose between me and his daughter because in reality there’s no competition I will lose him.
    What should I do…

    • Brenn says:

      I think you need to let go of something so he can be the dad he wants to be. Did you say he stopped sleeping w you and is sleeping w his daughter, though? If thats what you meant to say, well thats ODD. If thats not what you meant to say, then understand that she comes first. Hopefully as a good parent that he hopefully is, he will keep her first. If he loves you and wants the relationship w you, he will show you that. Some people(males and females) aren’t so good at getting across what they want. If thats a possibility, then ask him. Don’t nag or whine. Just ask. I think that telling it like it is(to a certain point), is so much easyer than making up excuses or beating around the bush. The later can be so traumatizing for everyone. Good luck. Just be honest but don’t be crazy about it. If he gives you the same respect, you’ll know. And if he is wishy washy about it, then listen to your gut and not your heart.

  9. janelle says:

    My boyfriend and I have been together 7 years. We met young and stayed together while I was in college. Now graduated and moved in together, I’m definitely rethinking our relationship. Before when we were younger and didnt have grown up responsibilities it was fine. No bills or real jobs, partying all the time, neither of us worried about the future because we never fought and everything was great. But then I feel like I started to grow up and Im leaving him behind. I have stopped partying as he still goes almost every weekend. He has no problem leaving me alone all night even if I ask him to stay he gets mad. He has gotten lazy with making me feel wanted. At the beginning he would take me out and pay for everything, bought me things on holidays, now he complains when he has to spend money and this last year and a half he didnt go anything for me for my birthday, nothing for valentines day and just in general he hasnt taken me out without me saying I want to go out. Another thing I never thought about before was him smoking. Now I hate it and keep thinking in the future he is going to have so many health problems and look older than he should and if we had kids I dont want them around it (no offense to anyone on here who smokes, just a personal preference.) So as some of these things are issues eventually in other relationships and can eventually be fixed with work from both sides, there is ONE BIG issue. He doesnt want to get married. And waited 5 years to tell me. He says eventually we will when we are a little older but Im not willing to wait that long. Yet none of these things are convincing me to leave. I spend more time thinking about leaving and how my life could be without him than anything else but I cant make myself do it. I still love him and think of how can I change to make him want me more or he will eventually grow up and change but the fact is I know Im wasting my time. 7 years of my life. Im 25. If I keep waiting Im gonna end up be married and having kids way later than I wanted. I dont know how to make myself finalize the decision. Another issue on why I dont leave is the fact I dont think I would be able to live on my own financially, I have few friends because I put all my time and energy into my boyfriend (all of whom are married with families so rooming with any of them isnt an option. My relationship with my mom is terrible if we live in the same house. I get in one arguement with her and Im glad to come home to my boyfriend. We dont argue often, but we just dont want the same things. I just feel like I really have put myself so deep into something I cant get out of. I have thought of everything I would plan to do if I could leave like getting my own place, a new better job, take a vacation, maybe even move away eventually. But leaving is the first step and the hardest. I just dont have a good enough solution to leave my situation.

    • Evakathy says:

      I feel your pain.. .. I was in relationship for 19 years and he lied to me and I didn’t took actions… My best advise for you is leave him… That’s the only way u would know if he live you and to make change for both…. Sounds that u guys are in. Routine and 7 years always are the first you staring thinking what exactly you wanted from your relationship…. If you love him and you love your self more you has to leave him…. Don’t tell him nothing pack you things leave and he will feel what he lost…. If you stay with him you will never know if he love you or he’s just comfortable with you… As women and person you deserve to be his princes to every men you give your time… Is hard but you can do it whit God help.. Good luck to you God bless you

    • thabs says:

      The mistake we all women do is being too available to boyfriends that don’t care that much about us. My advice is love yourself enough to believe you will make it without this guy. To start with, there is no such a thing as not being able to make enough money to support yourself- in this case the solution is to change to a cheaper neighborhood. I don’t know how is it in your country, but in South Africa informal settlements are cheaper in terms of rent. Allow yourself to go deep down to ground level, start again and learn to be completely independent. The guy knows very well that you are fully dependent on him, and guess what he takes you for granted. In the end you will attract the man who will fully love you, I am sure you are a beautiful woman. You are at least beautiful enough to get a better man. At least you owe yourself that much.

  10. Cath says:

    Ok so need some guidance. I had a 3 months affair with someone I work with. I still work with him. We still have lunch together sometimes and chat – but just as friends. He called if off for the sake of his relationship with his gf and while I understand this and am happy to be friends, I still want more physically. Everything I say or do in that way gets shut down. I know I need to move on and spend less time with him but can’t seem to make myself do it.

    • Cendal says:

      I have been friend-zoned, by this one guy that i’ve know for quite a while now, and we would flirt a lot, so I thought he felt like more than friends but I guess not. “while I understand this and am happy to be friends, I still want more physically. Everything I say or do in that way gets shut down. I know I need to move on and spend less time with him but can’t seem to make myself do it.” you just explained my feelings

      • Cath says:

        It’s so annoying it hurts so much but he has just got a new job and will be leaving soon so I guess that’ll pretty much put a complete end of things, probably for the best really but I’m struggling.

        • Evakathy says:

          I see u wanted more them just friend flirt… Probably leaving to another new job… Your situation will change and he will feel different and continuing with friendship and finally what really he feel about you… Sometimes things happen for reason… If he’s for you as friend or more them that it will be.. Be positive. And put your energy for what u wanted with your spirit.. God bless you..

  11. Sarah says:

    My husband and I have been going through some issues, big time. In May, he left me for a few weeks and during that time he slept with someone else…he really honestly and truly seemed sincere about his apology and regret that it happened. Even still, it was hard for me to let go of. It’s been tough, so we still argued over it and I couldn’t hold back my slick comments, my insecure comments. I made this man my life. I have kids but none are to him, my youngest two do call him Daddy. Well we got into a fight on Thursday, I threw his clothes out and he left…again. I haven’t spoken to him since really, a little on Saturday but nothing else since. I don’t know what’s going on with him. I love him, I miss him, and I want him to come home…I don’t know if he will or not, I feel like if it weren’t for that heated argument and me tossing his clothes out, he probably wouldn’t have left but here we are…I lost myself earlier and I cried uncontrollably. I couldn’t get ahold of myself…I just wanted him to come home. I am scared I will lose him for good and he will never come home…he isn’t speaking to me. I don’t know what to do. Reading other people’s stories has been helping me….is there any advice anyone can give me? I just want to get a grip on myself. It’s been hard and I could really use the help. I love my husband…on Saturday when I spoke to him, I didn’t really get the vibe that he really wanted it to be over but I know he is going to use our fight from Thursday as long as he can to stay away. Why would someone who loves you so much just want to be away from you like this? This is the second time it happened…I have a lot of my own issues I need to work out though.

  12. Deborah says:

    I haven’t been able to read all the posts, but I read enough to see myself in a lot of them. I’m on my second marriage to a man I fell very in love with. The chemistry was undeniable, but through the years with all the fun and great sex, I missed some crucial signs about what a narcicist he was. I was raising 3 children from my first marriage and I was busy, besides being a very independent woman. Years later, when all the kids were old enough and gone, I started noticing things. Selfish, rude, obsessed with himself and his friends, and sports, and toys. His time was for HIM, not US. He came first in everything, I was beneath him. Oh, the words of love are always there but his actions say otherwise. I am 66 he is70. There is so much to this story but for now all I have to say to anyone young enough to start over is this…go and get your life, get your happiness and peace, do NOT settle for a person who does not make you a priority in their life. If a person has to ” think” on their own for awhile but says they still love you, it’s a warning sign. If you love someone and value them, you do NOT let them go. You realize what you have and keep,them close to you. I have had therapy to learn how to detach from him while staying married because of my age. I don’t want a second divorce at this stage of my life. I kept myself really well, good looks and good body, and he is a selfish bastard. He doesn’t value me, only himself. Beware of men who are only interested in what’s good for THEM. It’s a red flag waving really large for you. Heed the warning and don’t waste your life or your precious love.

    • Nan says:

      Thank you so much, Deborah, for your insight and for sharing your wisdom with us. There are many things you said in your comment that absolutely reverberated with me. I wish you emotional strength and love.

    • Ericka says:

      My husband is a narcissist also. 17 years with him. Your post says it all.
      I am planning on leaving soon. No one deserves to be unhappy or depressed, same thing ,as I have for years. It’s very scary , I have no clue what to do first but I do know one thing, I can’t be more miserable and I decided to give up. I am detached from him, emotionally, physically haven’t been with him in 6 years. I’m 50 and he’s 67, we have grown apart because he is the master b*&^%rd.

  13. Nan says:

    This is really embarrassing, yet I need advice so here goes.

    I am struggling with detaching from my daughter’s recent breakup. Sounds crazy, right? It happened 5+ weeks ago (they were together for 14 months, and she saw him as her future… Everything she has ever wanted, and she has been in both short- and long-term relationships, so she has learned what she really wants in a guy). They are both college sophomores (same college). She was his first long-term relationship, and he treated her as wonderfully as she did him. I’ve never seen her love and respect someone so much. She’d say “I know he’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me.” His family and friends love her, and I was thrilled that she found such an awesome guy.

    He has some prior loss issues (deaths of close family members), and my daughter has some abandonment issues as well (first love broke up with her after 2+ years of being together), my ex-husband and I separated -and subsequently divorced – after being together for 28 years, and then she had another breakup from a 2-year relationship when she started her freshman year of college). She didn’t have a good or healthy relationship with her dad (he was emotionally, verbally and spiritually abusive to me and to both of my kids, who are now 23 and 20). I realize that’s a pretty high-level synopsis, but I don’t want to go on & on.

    My daughter is doing really well, working on herself to be the best she can be and to change the things she knows need changing/strengthening in her life. She is still completely in love with her ex, and though she realizes they can’t be together right now, she firmly believes that if they are meant to be, they will find their way back to each other. They have chosen to remain “friends” (she would rather have him in her life on that level, than not have him at all). They’ve talked through things, and shared with each other that they still love and care for one another; he just needs time to figure out some things in his life, and doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now. He’s the yin to her yang… They have seemed to balance each other so well since the day they met. They’ve even been intimate on a couple of occasions since the breakup.

    My dilemma is, I feel like his breaking up with her is affecting me worse than my own breakup of my marriage. I have no love lost for my ex (we’re cordial), and it has taken me almost 5 years to deal with his control over me, as well as the PTSD I’ve experienced from being in such a long-term abusive marriage with a narcissistic control freak. I cry just about every day for my daughter and her ex. I feel distraught that rather than communicate and attempt to work out whatever was going on inside him, he broke things off. I realize how insane this sounds, and I beat myself up for being so emotionally invested in a relationship that isn’t even mine. It feels like the “scab” of everything I and my kids went through during the demise of our family unit, has been ripped off all over again. I don’t understand how her ex could seemingly flip off the light switch to his deep emotional feelings, so quickly. I’m jealous at the thought that he will find someone else, even though that’s not his desire at all, and he has made that clear. He just thinks he needs to be alone right now. I feel like a teenager for having these thoughts and feelings. I guess I was in love with them being in love, and I had never seen my daughter so happy. She would have married him. I’m just heartbroken, and I can’t seem to get a handle on how to del with the loss of them. I’m so afraid he will find someone else, and she’ll have to once again grieve the loss of him all over again… Feeling like she wasn’t “enough” and is easily replaceable.

    This is ridiculous. I feel crazy. I’m emotionally drained from continually crying over this. I’m torn between wishing he will come back to her, and thinking maybe it’s better for her heart to let go of any possibility of that. I know that after the relationship they shared, it is going to take a long time for her heart and mind to let go. He seems to be doing okay (though it’s obvious to all who know him, that he’s really not okay). He’s a compartmentalized thinker, whereas she is a more passionate spirit and more emotionally driven. It just seems so easy for him, and I can’t wrap my head around that. How could he love her as much as he did, yet seem to be okay and moving forward without her? My heart is broken.

    I do realize that I am basically living through my daughter’s relationship. I must be, or I wouldn’t feel like this breakup happened to me. I cared very much for him, and I’m hurting for the loss of them. I have feelings of his abandoning her rather than loving her enough to work through whatever his issue is. I’m angry at myself for giving him too much credit for being so mature, when it’s obvious that he’s not as emotionally strong as I thought. I don’t want to hurt like this anymore.

    Any words of wisdom for a hurting Mom? Thank you so much for whatever you can offer.

  14. Angie says:

    I have been married for nearly 29 years with 3 grown up children. I found out that my husband was having an affair last December and it was going on since August. This was not the first affair I found out as he had one for 3 years just before I conceived our first child.

    He kept up with the affair until end of April and I am unsure if he has continued with it.

    I have tried my best to forgive him and to make our marriage work by being extremely loving to him. We even have better sex life than before but his behaviour towards me is giving me lots of doubts if he is really trying to let go of his relationship with this other woman and to make ours better. He is constantly on his lap top or hand-phone texting and staying up till 2 to 3am when I am already fast asleep. I hate him for what he has done and is doing to me but at the same time, I don’t seem to be able to leave him.

    This is causing lots of stress to me

  15. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I can’t offer advice on how to detach from someone you care about, but here are a few questions to think about:

    What can you control or change in your life, to help you gain freedom from this unhealthy attachment?

    How are you contributing to your problem?

    What do you believe about yourself?

    Where does your self-worth come from?

    I encourage you to write down your answers to these questions. The key to detaching from the person you love is inside you. I don’t have the answers. You do. The trick is finding those answers that are already in you, and acting on them.

    May you find emotional and spiritual freedom in your life. Can you hear God knocking? The best way to detach from someone you love is to attach to Someone who loves you more than you can imagine.


  16. amit pancholi says:

    one of my friend was going thru a very depressed phase.i have done everything in my power to help her.but during that phase of time i started growing feelings for her.i tried to control them,but at the end i thought of discussing with her and she said no,i knew that the answer will be no,but she really wants to be friends with me?what to do?Is it my fault?she has told me no need to worry,but deep inside it is hard for me

    • kathy says:

      If she said no is no… is you think been close to her is affecting you to have more feelings… probably is better to stop been around her. sometime is better to stop things, before we get more attache and get worse…. maybe after you not around she will have the chance to feel that you are more them just a friend…. people don’t know what they have until is going! you deserve to be wanted and loving too… god love you

      • amit says:

        ya buddy she has some family issues relating cast,so according to her we do not have any future…and she told me that there is a guy in her cast also likes her from past 1 year ,and there is mutual feelings…but she does not wants to get involve with him also as she doesn’t want to get in a relationship..that is the only reason she has considered me as a friend..frankly speaking for the most of time i was also treating her as a good friend ,but it was at her time of depression i got emotionally attached with her

        • amit pancholi says:

          ya buddy she has some family issues relating cast,so according to her we do not have any future…and she told me that there is a guy in her cast also likes her from past 1 year ,and there is mutual feelings…but she does not wants to get involve with him also as she doesn’t want to get in a relationship..that is the only reason she has considered me as a friend..frankly speaking for the most of time i was also treating her as a good friend ,but it was at her time of depression i got emotionally attached with her

  17. Shannon says:

    Hi I find myself shaking my head that I even googled “how to detach from someone” when that very search should have me questioning my actions. I have had an off and on relationship with someone who is younger than me for 3 years now. When we are together we are great but when it is time to end the current “episode” of our relationship it is horrible. Just when I finally feel like I am ok and not thinking of him and missing him as much he pops back up and draws me back in. Yes I know that it takes two people but I have such deep strong feelings for this person that I ache when I am not around him. So back in April after 3 months of no contact he reaches back out to me and for the 1st time things really seemed different. He seemed different and so did I, we were getting along well. After a few weeks he found out that his roommate was selling his house so he needed to be out soon and his search for a new place started and he was having no luck finding a reasonably priced place. I offered for him to come and stay with me until he finds a place and he accepted my offer. He moved into my spare room so he was more or less a roommate but we continued on with whatever it was that we had going on. Then one day everything changed with how he was acting and I had a gut feeling that he was either seeing someone or at the very least was talking with someone he was interested in and my gut was correct. We got into a very heated discussion with the gist being that he never really had feelings for me and he doesn’t attach to anyone and that I was basically a FWB and that our age difference was a problem…blah blah. I can’t understand for the life in me why he would move in with me knowing my feelings. I don’t think I was his last option for a place to live but it was the easiest thing for him to do. Here is my problem for some reason I want this person in my life and I don’t really know why. I would like to learn to be his friend only but I don’t know if I can do that. I know the best thing is for him to move out and me move on but I can’t detach enough from him to do it! I feel like I am going crazy…HELP!!

  18. Grey says:

    I am having the hardest time dealing with my current situation . I fell hard for a guy I met online. We’ve been talking for about 4 months… Calling , face timing & texting all throughout the day. Although I’m aware it’s very quick but we’ve discussed future plans & both of our desires to be together. We spent a weekend together in April ( meeting up 1/2 way as we live a great distance from each other) had a fantastic time.
    All of our interaction& affection was 2- sided… Bc I was so elated things were falling into place with such a great guy! We made plans to meet up in June… I purchased some rather expensive airplane tix to go to visit him.
    Last week he sent me a text that said ” good nite beautiful” & that’s the last I’ve heard from him. I’m heartbroken . He has not replied to any texts or calls. I feel if I at least knew why he chose to walk away I’d be so much more capable of moving on.
    I’m completely obsessed with trying to figure out what happened & if we will ever have a chance. Meanwhile , how can I have such little respect for myself to allow my thoughts to be constantly occupied with someone that hurt me so???
    My prayers for anyone trying to emotionally detach . It’s very difficult … I have good days and then .. Bam! A bad day. I hope I can make healthy choices to eliminate this pain.

  19. Aleya Anne says:

    This is such a timely article to read.

    The pain of detachment most especially from a relationship of not being in a relationship. With the hookup culture nowadays you experience breakups from your not really boyfriend who you have been seeing for a significant amount of months.

    I have been seeing this guy for 6 months (we are both expats working overseas in ME) and he has shared significant amount of personal information to me. I started developing emotional connection with him but I dont want to jump the gun so I just take each day at a time and enjoy his company.

    We have discussed going on holidays together and it was set that we will speak to each other and finalize it (he was homeward bound for his holidays). I agreed and wait for him to get back to me. However he decided to up and leave his work here without even telling me and deleted me from his contact.

    I was left bewildered and lost and I dont know what just happened. Of course me being deleted from his contact signals that he does not want to speak to me anymore and it hurts. I know I should respect that – in his mind that is the best decision to do (ghosting on me) and its something I cant control.

    I just need to start somewhere to move on. I need to detach but I dont know where to starts. HELP!

    • Grey says:

      I’m sorry Aleya… I can relate to your pain. How hard to lose someone you were attempting to build a future & relationship with … But the “kicker” of not knowing why he chose to end it & not tell you why. I will keep you in my prayers.. It’s my hope we both find a way to deal with our difficult emotional situations xoxo

  20. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    The best way to emotionally detach from someone you care about is to plug in to something healthier and more awesome! A man is NOT the best thing that could ever happen to you, and breaking up isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Men and relationships are fantastic, but not the sole purpose of our lives.

    What is important to you in your life? If nothing but your relationship is important to you, then you’ll have a difficult time detaching from someone you care about. To be emotionally strong and healthy, you need to find different sources of peace, joy, and inspiration in your life. You need to create, to find freedom, and to learn how to express yourself without needing a man.

    The pain of detaching from someone you care about is bearable if you replace it with something spiritual, such as your relationship with God.

  21. Midah says:

    I am not sure which stage I am at. I just know I am in a relationship that I am not happy in. I have been with him 7 years. Obviously there is an attachment. I know and feel in my heart it is time to move on. To walk away. I just don’t know how to take that first step. Just the thought of walking away breaks my heart and keeps me in tears because I can’t help but replay everything we have been through…seven years of devoting my life to this person. It’s just so hurtful. Every day I tell myself “today is the day. You can walk away now.” But then I become so afraid of stepping out of that circle that I end up back in it just by the thoughts that go through my head. I am a strong believer in how valuable of a woman I am and what i deserve so why is this so hard for me. I just want to walk away and work on myself. I want to grow as a person and accomplish my goals. I work four jobs and i start at 6am-1am seven days a would think i have no time to hurt nor think…but I do…. what else can i possibly do to keep my mind busier… to build that self respect and dignity and walk away. How do I remind myself how awesome I am and how valuable I am?

    • thabs says:

      Hi Midah,

      I sympathize with you and understand the situation you find yourself in. I once was in a relationship with my university sweetheart and we moved in together after few years of our relationship and we have a wonderful baby boy together. He became scare in the house during weekends and the situation became worse as he became scares even during the week. My child was used to daddy taking him to school and it all changed as we walked to school as I didn’t have a car of my own and was studying full time at the time. One day, i looked at my child sleeping and thought about what kind of life would he live if i continued in the relationship I wasn’t happy at all, then I decided after thinking deep and realized my child would probably an angry child as I was stressed myself. The relationship took from me a chance “to be” career-wise like in your case and my personal goals did not matter at all. I took a leap of faith and took my child to my moms place and I planned my exit. I talked to people from church to ask for a place to stay for a little while I was looking for a job. I ultimately moved out and applied to many jobs and I found one. Within a year I have a house and car of my own PLUS i get a chance to stay with my baby and take care of him while I am mostly happy. I moved away from an eight year relationship as I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t easy but worth it. I must confess I am a strong believer in Christ and believed always that God has better plans for my life.

      My advice to you is please move now before you give up on your dreams and your life completely. keeping busy will never take away your pain, just take the step and move if you haven’t done so already. NOBODY WILL DO IT FOR YOU

    • Ericka says:

      I am going through the exact same thing. I Have been with my husband for 17 years, I have to detach and start over while I’m young enough. We have nothing anymore . Both of us stay together because of force of habit, family and friends. I am now depressed isn’t that great….. My plan is to leave , cannot be unhappy and depressed.

    • Sila says:

      To emotionally detach from someone you love, try repeating energy clearing statements such as every where that I am (say your name), I uncreate, delete and transmute it. and try saying what would it take for me to be happy and everything in the way of that I uncreate delete and transmute it. Say these 30 to 40 times a day. Be patient, it takes time eventually it works.

  22. kathy says:

    I was with my boyfriend for 19 years… we just promise with ring to be together for eternity. he was separated and with 3 kids.. i found out he lied to me.. he was having sex with “ex wife” and I confronted.. now he is not even talking to me…. I feel horrible I feel betray and I don’t have desire of leaving this pain… i feel my life is over i feel emptiness in side my heart and my soul…. i even scare my self every second of my life… and also wanted just to kill him and do my self too…. only god and prayers is helping me to continuing at this moment…. how can i stop all this thoughts?! I wanted my life back my spirit and my heart for feel the beauty of life.

    • debra says:

      Hi Kathy!!!
      Right off the bat,if he cheated on you he is the scrum of the earth,First what do you mean you thought of killing him,and then yourself NO NO NO NO OK
      We’re not talking like that,no man in this world is worth you going to jail or he’ll for.Let go of this piece of s**t. Pray Kath prayer changes things,trust me I know. I am going through something similar to your situation,the things is l plan to get over and move on with my life.l suggest you do the same.Good luck Kathy,and God bless you!!!!!!!

  23. Lisa says:

    “Over-involvement can lead to feelings of anxiety, agitation, helplessness, depression, anger, and even resentment.”

    Hi, It’s Lisa here from South Africa… I need to vent and any advice. I met up with my first love a few months after my husband of 10 years had his final affair and I kicked him out. It was amazing because he (my first love) had just come out of a bad relationship himself…a match made in heaven? not quite…It was a deeply emotional interaction, though strangely enough because of my Christianity and his confusion about his feelings – it started as an intense physical but awkward thing and then developed into an intensely emotional platonic “friendship” thing with underlying feelings of more…Life as a single mom became too hectic and coupled by my own insecurity about his feelings I moved back in with my parents 3 hours away…but inevitably we kept finding our way back to each other and this thing like friendship but more intense grew between us on and off in cycles for the past four years, yet we never see each other – it is all conducted daily on whattsapp or a few calls. We laugh a lot, talk a lot, share a lot and connect on a very deep level but I have always felt a block when I thought of moving nearer to him. In fact I have often had those exact symptoms, you listed above as being over-involved on an emotional level. He suffers with depression and I have a tendency to absorb the emotions of others. I am codependant by nature so when he recently announced he is moving overseas’s I flipped. He refused to tell me the details and just withdrew. I had all the normal emotional reactions one might expect and then I remembered his depression and realised that a depressed person often thinks everything will be perfect somewhere else…I told him this and then said it was something he should consider but then I realised that I am so in tune with him that I picked this up, I know his moods, the tones in his messages and him and yet WE ARE NOT EVEN DATING OR IN A FORMAL RELATIONSHIP!!!! Once again I have been playing the part in making someone else happy, encouraging, sharing of myself and giving and getting very little in return. I went from one codependant relationship straight into the next without even realising it…and I am just as miserable! He is an amazing creative, kind hearted, gentle man but he is emotionally unstable and I am going up and down with him. I am not sure how to deal with this. I love him but I am not sure I want to be with him the way he is , I feel sorry for him but I know I cant fix him. I have invested too much of myself in him and now I need to emotionally detach from him without making him feel abandoned! Huh, he didn;t think of me to that degree. I have a terribly soft heart and I am always trying to rescue, assist and help others, to my own detriment. Yes…time to emotionally detach…again (sigh). When will I EVER get this right?!!!? Right now we are obviously not talking but should I cut him off completely or slowly or simply limit the contact. Everything feels different now that I am aware. kind of awkward. As a friend I feel I should support him with his depression but as a person who gets emotionally overinvolved I realise that supporting him is hurting me. This is so hard. I will pray about it. Please pray for me too. God bless – Thank you for listening to my rambling thoughts :)

  24. ruchi says:

    Hi! I was in a relationship. I love him alot & as usual plan many things for future. He told me truth about his past affairs & m happy with that. But slowly i realizes that he telling me lie and meeting my best friend. I asked him directly about that initially he take it as joke . but when i asked seriously then he broke up with me. Now he talked me as a friend. I am trying to be frienf but my feelings are not changing and infact whenever i come to know that he is going out with my best frnd or talking to her i feel very bad. He told me that i did wrong to him by doubting him but they both lied to me is it correct. I m trying but i didn’t understand what to do. M tryingy best to detach myself from him but sometumes i am unable to do it plz suggest something.
    Thank you.

  25. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Diogo,

    I hope you find a way to give your girlfriend the time and space she needs to deal with her family issues. If you and she are meant to be together, she will find her way back to you. But if you push her to have a relationship with you, you will only drive her family further away.

    Sometimes detaching from someone you care about involves being strong enough to do what’s best for her. Right now, she has decided that distance is best…and I hope you can respect and honor her wishes, no matter how difficult it is for you. Trust and have faith that whatever is meant to be WILL happen, regardless of her family or anyone else!


    • Addam says:

      I’ve just recently practiced the art of detachment. My wife and soon to be ex, in my personal belief, has moved on. Although we are not legally separated. I know and I can see that I’ve been replaced. It hurt very bad for almost one month. I can even see in her movement and behavior that she is physically involved with him and I’ve never seen him. Well on Monday 6th of March, I cried in my car before therapy. It’s been at least 2 weeks since I had a real cry like that. I asked myself what is my therapist going to say that I haven’t heard before. Well I went in and said the same crap. “She’s doing this and that and scares me and she’s ruining her life and my sons life and I want to help her”. To which my therapist replied, “why do feel the need to care about her”, Bam! I felt the greatest relief. I already know she won’t change. She responsible for her actions. You know in your gut that she is sleeping with another guy. So why do I care? Truth is I dont. I just wanted what I thought I had but what I really had I’m looking at right now. It’s almost so disgusting that the feeling cancels itself out with relief. I can only say I did love her with all my heart but not anymore. I didn’t deserve this even my son. But Im the strong one and I need to love myself again and be there for my son. I do see her when I see him anymore. I see a boy who will get a better life. I had a talk with my father in law about this. He says that since she has been living with her family that they noticed her bad behavior and weird decision making. He says they have even gotten after her. It’s so weird because she sold them the best story when she moved out of my house saying that I was a terrible father and husband. It was the worst time of my life. Now the tables have turned. I doesn’t feel good but at least my in laws see what I’ve been saying all along. She is their problem now.

  26. Diogo says:

    Hello! I’ve been in a very special relationship with an amazing girl, however she has serious family issues that didn’t allow the relationship to keep going, so she decided that the best for us was to be apart for now, for her to solve her issues and then do a brand new start… However it might take time and she told me she didnt want me to wait for her…

    Well I can’t… i just can’t detach… because there’s still that hope that things will be allright again… I Still talk to her everyday which makes it worse, but if i don’t talk to her i freak out… I can’t be still… If i stay still at any point i lose my mind… i have to exercise all the time cause that’s the only part of the day i can free myself from this hell… In one hand i wish i could just leave so i could heal with time… but on the other hand i love her way too much and i know she needs my support, eventhough sometimes she doesnt really recognize it.

    I Don’t really know what to do

  27. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    It takes strength and courage to detach from someone you care about. No matter how unhealthy the relationship is, it’s always hard to walk away! Detaching involves letting go of the hopes and dreams you had for your future, and the idea of spending your life with that person. It’s a huge loss, and you’ll go through a difficult grieving process. But, if you let yourself grieve, you will come out the other side. You WILL find ways to be happy again, and you will find that detaching is difficult, but staying attached to someone who doesn’t care about you is much worse.

    So, my prayer is for you to find the courage and strength you need to detach from the person you love. May you reconnect with your self, and your source of spiritual strength and peace. May you connect with God, and not lose heart. May your hope and faith in the future override whatever pain you feel right now, as you detach from your relationship and overcome the feeling of lots love. Amen.


  28. Camilian says:

    I have been married for 22 years. My husband is a passive agressive control freak. I have come to the point where I am issolated have no skills to support my self have very little friends and have to take his constant minipulation, Threats, and degration if I disagree with any thing he may want. I just asked him if he would study our Sabbath lesson and the first words out of his mouth were. ” I need my alone time” ? I don’t want any thing from him any more I just want to start stashing money to support my self and get out of here. Unless you can teach me how to not let him control me or to over come this behaviour.

    • Yvette says:

      Wow, I feel your pain, I have only been in my relationship for less than six months, but it was fast, hard and deep. He initially came across as, strong and confident, which was attractive, but as time passed, I began to see a really, really scared boy in a man’s body. This happened when we had obstacles to face, as long as there were no threats, especially financially he was strong. The phone bill is due and there is not enough money to pay it, our phone service has been suspended. He went to the house where he lives, I guess he couldn’t handle it when I told him it was not in my budget to pay the reconnect fees. Now I’m sitting here alone. Wow! I am considering not letting him back in, but I miss him now that he is not here. I am sorry I allowed myself to get emotionally attached.

  29. Catrena says:

    I just don’t know what to do anymore with my marriage. I’ve been married now for almost 18 years and have 3 daughters with my husband. I feel stuck and have become very isolated. I have tolerated my husbands countless affairs and alcoholism for the
    entire 18 years. I have tried to
    justify his behaviour and tried being the strong wife and say I
    wasn’t going to let his alcoholism
    and the behaviour that follow it
    destroy my family, but I simply don’t know how much more I can take. Obviously I have a very forgiving personality, I guess, I don’t know what’s wrong with me and why I continue to allow this behaviour. He’s very manipulative, and when I’ve threatened to leave before he’s made things very difficult and made suicide threats. I worry about my girls! Knowing that I could have done something to prevent that from happening and I didnt would devastate me for
    them. Right now though my girls don’t like their dad at all and have asked my why I don’t divorce him. They don’t want anything to do with him. My girls are now 17, 15 and 13. I don’t know why I can’t let go; I’m miserable, my girls are miserable. I feel like I’m just afraid of the emotional hell I will
    go through, but I don’t understand that because it’s got to be better than this. I think about him moving on which he will in a matter of days and that feeling of not being important or him wanting me just hurts. What is wrong with me?!?!? What is this? I’m tired of feeling like I need meds for depression and anxiety to get threw my life. I know that only treats the system and does nothing to fix the problem, but I’m the problem and how do I fix me?!?! I’m a good person, I’m kind and thoughtful, but this is something that I just can’t figure out. I’ve been to several couselors and yet still here I am.

    • Jennifer says:

      The fact that you have been to counselors and are still there made me say ‘Wow’ out loud. I am sure they have given you guidance, tools, advice and nothing short of a step by step process of how to do it. Fear is keeping you there and unfortunately that is not a very good way to live, for yourself or for your daughters.
      I unfortunately witnessed this very thing with a co-worker who has been married for 21 years. She left, only to recently go back. Even against the advice of her husbands counselor. It is hard to speak to because of your children. But ask yourself, what would you tell each of your daughters if they were in the very situation you are in. Why are you not doing the same for yourself. If anything, you are teaching them that it is okay, and it is not. I would suggest you create a plan, and do it one step at a time. You also need a network of support whether it be family, friends, counselors, and or support groups. Bottom line the only ones who are hurting here is you and your girls. Your husband continues his cycle of behavior because you allow it. You allow it by staying. So with that, why would he change, and thus the cycle continues. Your threats to leave are just that, because your words are not matching your actions. His threats of suicide are just that as well, and of course manipulation on his part, and yet you are still there. Which is also him controlling you. You are in a horrible situation and I encourage you to seek the advice, steps and help from your counselors of leaving.

  30. Laurie PK says:

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story here, for your words will help others see they’re not alone. My prayer for everyone who is struggling to detach from someone they love is for healing. I pray you find strength to stay focused on your future, faith that you will be happy again, and hope that you will become healthier than you ever were before. May you move forward in confidence and security, and may your trust in God be renewed.


    • Jennifer says:

      What a beautiful prayer! I believe all those to be true. One thing we need to remind ourselves while we are in are struggle is that it is temporary. Having faith and seeing that vision for yourself of healing, happiness and getting through it to become a better, stronger version of you also helps the steps in the journey, though painful, at times very necessary. I am speaking from experience, and was one of the individuals who originally posted here about 8 months ago. Keep moving forward, getting up, putting one foot in front of the other, and I promise you will get through what you are currently struggling with.

      I would like to share a quote that I have taped to the front of my computer monitor at work as a daily reminder that we all deserve better for ourselves and we know in our hearts that we should not settled, because we are good enough and deserve better for ourselves. The quote is:
      “If you’re brave enough to say ‘good-bye’, life (God) will reward you with a new ‘hello’ ” – Paulo Coehlo

      Be well,

  31. Daniel says:

    Really having an issue and don’t know what to do. The main trouble is I know I am doing this to myself. I am 51 and met someone on the internet a bit over 3 months ago. Since then we talk every single day and since he lives 300 miles away we have seen each other three times each for a few days. When we started talking we both were looking for a possible relationship. Now he says that will never happen..but he tells me he loves me and tells people I’m Hus best friend. I grew up lonely so it is nice to have a best friend. Trouble is I don’t understand why he doesn’t want more. Instead of being happy I’m sad all the time. I am in total obsession mode because I can’t have him. I don’t want to lose a friend but I am really depressed because the fantasy of finally finding love is not true. Any comments appreciated.

  32. john jones says:

    I am 44 year old female. I have a situation that I have no idea what to do. Before my father passed away 23 years ago when I was 20 things were better. When I was 15 my mother started hitting me with brooms and calling the police on me and throwing my clothing out of the upstairs windows. The officer in a small town stopped me and said that my mother didn’t want me to come home. wow. ok. I had a place to go thanks to my fathers company about 15 miles out in no where was a cabin. I was just starting the 11th year of high school. So after much more chaos my father and I spoke and I brought to his attention such as he that I would move alone to Dallas about 5 hours away and get a place to live and finish high school a year earlier and in the top 25% of my class. years later now I am 44 my mother doesn’t know that I have proof that she has called the cops so that when I left her house that 5 cops would be chasing me for no reason. I have proof with a constable and others that she is trying to destroy me and my living. what to do I want to put some legal document served to her so that she can’t keep on with trying to abuse me and I am only 44 and can’t live like this. help

  33. Carol says:

    ( Not sure I’m posting this in the correct spot ? ) I am struggling to remove myself from the pain and suffering of being the party who is “detached from”. My oldest daughter has passed judgement on me that I am “negative” and that when she is around me she also becomes negative. Funny thing is that we were very close until almost 5 years ago when she suddenly became rude to me at every opportunity, wouldn’t look me in the eye and anything I said she contradicted. We live about 500 miles apart, so no opportunity to be around each other that much actually. She married the year before this detachment on her part, and there had been a couple of incidents with her fiance at the time. He turned mean and abusive towards me out of the blue one evening at their home when he served dinner when I committed the sin of …get this….putting butter on my plate for my corn on the cob. I thought he was joking although his face looked furious when he grabbed the corn out of my hand and rolled it in the entire pound of butter saying ” THAT’s how you butter corn !!! ” He then went on after we sat stunned at the table …to say…he was excited about being related to my husband and son but he could certainly do without me. My husband and son are not assertive at all and chose to not react. My daughter was very upset and crying and threw her cutlery and stomped off. She and I went for a drive soon after and I told her that I would have to stick up for myself if he ever did/said anything like that again. She said he was also rude to his own mother. Well what can I say…she married the guy. And we ( her Dad and I ) did contribute significantly ($) to the wedding. I wasn’t asked to go dress shopping….which was hurtful but she did take our other daughter. There was another incident with her fiancé before the wedding where he was angry that we didn’t “appreciate” that his sister booked tickets for flights for all of us. Our immediate family had always planned on flying from an airport closer to us and I have a friend who was going to look after booking our flights. Anyway he called me in the middle of an afternoon and began degrading me for not paying his sister fast enough ( we were trying to decide what to do about it since we had our own points we had planned on using on our own credit cards and wanting to fly from a closer airport ) We ended up just sending his sister a cheque so as not to rock the boat. He told me that the wedding was my daughters and I should not interfere……trust me I did NOT interfere….she is an organizer and although I offered my help in any way she assured me that she was happy to plan herself and I let her do so. She married him anyway. She called in May of 2010 to say they couldn’t come to our home for xmas that year b/c she was expecting. We were thrilled to be getting or first grandchild. I was instructed not to make or buy anything. ( ? ) She visited in the summer one weekend when she was several months pregnant and was rude to me every chance she got….I broke a rule and bought a lovely green and white hand made baby blanket. ” she looked emotionless at it and said ” it doesn’t go with the colour I’m doing in the room “… the market we visited a lady asked her when she was due and the date she gave was a couple of weeks different than we had been told so I said ” oh I thought” to which she snapped ” it’s been such and such date for a long time” the lady looked at me with astonishment that she would speak to me that way. I bit my tongue…again. Eye contact wasn’t made all weekend. Finally I offered the family heirloom shawl that her great grandmother made and all our family came home from the hospital in. She says ” Mother in laws name made one….she’d be pretty insulted if they used a different one” in my mind I’m seething ? the MIL has 5 other grandchildren…this is our first. I could bite my tongue no longer and said . “Well God forbid MIL be disappointed !!!” No problem if I’m excluded from anything to do with my grandchild….what happened to “dont’ buy , don’t make?” that just applies to me ? Why is that? So she flew off the handle as did I…….a couple of weeks later we buried the hatchet temporarily so that they could assist in organizing moving my elderly parents from the Island to the city on the mainland where they also live ( her hubby told my husband and I that she and he had talked about it and that they thought we should move them to our city as we’d be visiting to see baby etc ) Once my folks were moved….with mostly just my hubby and I doing the bulk of it……there was still LOTS to do, find Dr’s, transportation, powers of attorney, find where to get prescriptions, change addresses, get insurances and tons and tons of stuff that had to be done via trips there and from city where we live. A week or so after the move….but still not done….I received an “ultimatum” email. That because of all my faults she was not willing to continue on with me and my negativity ( believe me I was hardly saying anything since the weekend from hell….and I wanted to see my grandchild ). She wanted to meet in a city in between where we both live EVERY week ( 3 hours away from both of us ) ( and we all work ) to have counselling to see what they could do about me. I phoned her insulted she would do something like this via email !! I said that it was impossible for me to do this at that time….I was practically bedridden after the moving of my folks and the stress of it all. ( I have not mentioned so far that I suffer from me/cfs Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and was in essentially in a crash from all the emotion and stress from the past month including her blow up at me ). Well then she said she’d have to detach more than she already had and for the most part that’s what’s happened. I was beside myself not hearing anything about the pregnancy and assuming I’d have to read about it on Facebook when she had the baby. When she went into labour she had her SIL call my husband to ask if we’d come down. Which we did. We do go down to visit my parents every 3 / 4 months and visit them to see our grandson but in between we don’t get any news of what he’s up to or they are up to etc. She’s “cordial” when we visit but after we leave she does not respond to any messages or emails/texts from me. She made a purchase from my husbands employer recently so she has had contact with him ( which she wants….but he with held for quite awhile as he doesn’t “get” why she treats me like she does….basically she doesn’t believe in the illness I have either ). I found out that today she is going to register grandson for kindergarten and it is another great hurt that we have missed bonding with him as much as could have been possible if she would allow facetime or phone calls with him. It’s all punishment for ??? I realize that I can’t ( or even dont want ) to have to be around someone that treats me like that…..but I deeply love my Grandson and he loves me too. If I cut off all relations with her or stir up ……I will be cut off from him also and we will both be punished. The daughter happens to be a counsellor….so probably everything needs to be solved by counselling in her opinion… see how to “fix me”. I’m sorry I’ve gone on so long….I hope that this type of detachment is included in the subject. I am in a lot of pain…and although I try to detach from it , sometimes it becomes unbearable. My other daughter says we need to talk in order to try to change these circumstances but the detached one won’t pick up when I call so guess she’s totally gone. Not sure how she can write off her own mother whom she’s been close to all her life….she actually used to boast about that ? I am also unhappy that some of my other family has not stepped in ( they all say they don’t get why she treats me as she does ) and they continue to visit her ( which she wants as she’s surrounded by a ton of “his” family who all moved to the city they live in. Oh and they NEVER visit my folks who they apparently decided should move there. My Mum has been in hospital for over a month and I did message and ask her to please go visit. She didn’t reply and I highly doubt that she did. So my folks are probably being punished to cause me even more pain. Thank you for letting me vent.

    • Daniel says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. It almost seems like your daughters husband may not like women. This could be why your daughter is so distant..all her engery is going to make someone else happy. Therapy might help but someone has to be willing to be open. Sounds like a hurtful situation.

    • Angelica says:

      Carol you sound distraught and I’m sorry for your hurt. Mother daughter relationships are always fraught. I know that I don’t always treat my mother very well, although I do love her very much. I think that it’s possible to be too close and emotionally invasive (I’m not saying you are, this has just been my personal experience) and this somehow prevents the daughter growing, so eventually they will pull away. I also think that it is possible to come over as more negative than we might actually feel – and it’s also possible that we may all sometimes feel the need to blame someone – in this case your daughter is blaming you. I would say, at a guess, your daughter’s husband is insecure and full of anger. He may have resented or had an issue with her emotional closeness to you. He sounds quite controlling. Perhaps you were controlling too, in another way (I know my mother is) and so your daughter is now looking to him as her primary emotional attachment figure. It’s so hard and difficult to understand and I feel that you will have to strive really hard to rise above it all, and not let it impact on your health. Hope that things work out better for you very soon. X

  34. gina says:

    Hello. I have been in a relationship with a man for 5 years now, we have 2 kids together and i have 1 child with another man. For 3 out of the 5 years its been nothing but hell. He has cheated and so have. The teust issues cane from his first encounter with infidelity. I started noticing his lies and deceit more clearly, to the point where all i think comes out of his mouth are lies! I will admit, i started chatting with other men, it sorta eased some of the pain and made me feel better about myself. This man can not sit still hes always in and out of the house especially during late hours. One time he said he was at a friends but packed a night bag for the club. He does everthing to hide the evidence at thatbpresent time but doesnt do a very good job at hiding it afterwards. Almost if he doesnt really care if i find out the truth. This man slept with my best friend in my house and they both still smiled in my face until i finally found out about their betrayal. I discovered he was using cocaine abd meth. I got a restraining order against him so he would leave my home. We separated for a while and it seemed li very easy. After a while of missing each other and it seem like he wasnt using anymore. We came together again hooing to work things out. Things just got worse! He couldnt except my male friend i had become really close to, not interested in him at all. New years he left for 5 days in my car. Didnt care how i was going to get to work, didnt care about what the kids needed. This time i felt like i did something wrong because lately hes been placing a lot of the blame on me. I felt so sorry and helpless without him. Funny thing is i dont even know why. Financially i take care of the kids and the responsibilities as an adult. He wont even get a job. And when he does he only keeps it fir a few weeks and then gets fired. I told myself that i was the problem and so i started cutting all of my friends that were male off. I stopped texting and responding to face book posts. I thought that this would change things, but tonight he has proved me wrong. He still accuses me of talking to men and lying and cheating. When i read your article this part stood out.

    5 Ways to Detach From Someone You Care About

    Emotional over-involvement happens when thoughts become focused on the other person in ways that are unhealthy for both the individual and the relationship. Over-involvement can lead to feelings of anxiety, agitation, helplessness, depression, anger, and even resentment. “Disentangling” or detachment’ is about creating enough emotional space between yourself and another person so you can see the realities of your relationship and make healthier choices.

    This is how i feel. I seriously thought my body was changing because if age. But i realized all of those things i am going through is because im in live with a man who is in love with hurting me. Because ive been dealing with it he knows he doesnt have to change a thing. Some times ill get home from work and he will just make me feel so bad that im tired from it. Because he doesnt work he doesn’t understand what it feels like to be tired. I recently went to my doctor and asked for anxiety pills because i cannot collect my thoughts with him in my life. I have never felt so weak or broken in my life. I need help detaching myself from him, i think im addidcted to gow things have always been and and resenting what my future has in store for me.

    • Nicole says:

      Gina, I feel compelled to tell you, YOU ARE AWESOME. Any human that can endure all that you have & still have hope is a very flexible being. Dont beat yourself up or get on meds just to accept his poor behavior. You have children & a job. Do you know what that means? You are blessed. There are women who dont have either. Do you pray or believe in God? If so, start asking for help to remove anything from your life that brings you pain. Remember, it only takes seconds to change your mind…1…2..3… Start talking to yourself & building up your confidence & self-worth. You are the only one who can. I send a BIG HUG your way. Love, Nicole

  35. Harmeet says:


    My girfriend had a second phone and she was busy chatting with other people and I realised that she is cheating on me when I turned up at her house without informing she had blocked me on the whats app of the other no she had I am still trying to get away from her but she insist she is innocent and I keep going back to her I want to come out of it please help. My heart pains thinking about her and she know I am madly in love with her she is not being true to me please help.


    • Nicole says:

      Harmeet, You seem to be a great guy with so much to offer in matters of Love. There are so many women in relationships who desires a man to simply notice them & care. Its time that you pat yourself on the back & know what you have to offer a relationship & be secure in that. This may take time to develop, especially when you have someone sending you mixed signals & playiong with your heart. “This too shall pass” can be a great chant when you’re feeling confused. If you need proof of cheating, keep in mind that what’s in the darkness shall come to light. Be brave & stand up. Start to enjoy life as best as you can. She can only hurt you as much as you allow.

  36. Laurie says:

    Dear Blue,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how difficult it is to emotionally detach from someone you care about. It sounds like you are grieving the end of your relationship and the loss of your ex-boyfriend, which is a totally normal thing to do after a breakup!

    I don’t know how long ago he broke up with you, but it’s important to give yourself time to heal. It sounds like you were surprised about the breakup – you didn’t expect it to happen. That makes it more difficult to recover from, because you weren’t prepared to say good-bye.

    One way to heal is to trust that this relationship isn’t for you. You may think it was a good relationship, but clearly your boyfriend wasn’t fully happy. So…it wasn’t all good. My prayer for you is that you have faith that this relationship wasn’t meant to be, and that you are able to learn why it didn’t work out. This knowledge is important, as it will help you love better in your next relationship! I pray you are able to accept this breakup, that you grieve the end of this relationship, and that you can detach from your boyfriend in a healthy way. May you move on into a healthy, happy new chapter of your life – and may you trust that your life is unfolding just as it should.

    I also encourage you to talk to a counselor about how to emotionally detach from someone you care about. Sometimes we process things better when we talk them through with objective people.


  37. Blue says:

    Hi Laurie,

    I have read your article because I’m trying to detach emotionally from my ex-boyfriend who was also my best friend. I am someone who never gets attached to anyone; I only had attachment with 2 people, and one of them was him. He was perfect for me, he did everything right, respected my choices, and was a great support. He was more in it than I was, because I wasn’t ready for a relationship. But I was getting there, and then he decided to break up. We never had any problems, never fought or anything, he just decided to break up. Now, I was ok because I trust his decision, but it was still a shock. One night we went to bed all happy, and the next morning, he’s gone. I may have forgiven him for leaving that way, because like you and many others said, we have to think something good is going to happen. But, I can’t detach from him, we talk once in a while, but I keep checking my phone all the time to see if he’s sent any message. I just can’t seem to forget what we had and what he meant. You’re article doesn’t talk about how to leave something good. I have been in an abusive relationship, thought he loved me, leaving was not easy but I know deep down it was the right thing to do. But what about this one?

  38. Laurie says:

    Dear Kim,

    Thank you for being here. I’m sorry to say that there are no easy answers on how to detach from someone you care about. I can write all the tips in the world, but the truth is that everyone is different and what will help you move forward may not be something in my toolkit.

    Two things have always helped me: knowing that time dulls the pain (but doesn’t heal all wounds), and trusting God that things were meant to unfold this way for a reason. When I stay focused on my spiritual beliefs and values, I can never be defeated emotionally or spiritually! I feel such s strong sense of peace, security, and confidence.

    Have you ever felt emotionally or spiritually secure? My advice is to seek that anchor – a spiritual rope to your Creator and God – rather than focus on trying to detach and overcome the lost love of your ex.


  39. Kim says:

    Hello….I’m currently going through a divorce and having trouble navigating through detaching. My spouse and I were having problems for a long time. I couldn’t understand why everything seem to be spiraling downward until much later. I’m not one who welcomes control from another person. I can compromise but having someone control everything is draining. When I met my spouse I allowed her to control so many aspects of us and me. The element of control led me to a dark place to where we were working against each other instead of with one another. There were also issues with her children early on. After “constantly” being reminded that her children came before me I started to feel like I wasn’t important to her or them. I didn’t feel the jealously in the beginning because I was trying to fit in and become friends with them but when they started disrespecting me and she allowing it that cause a rift and I was constantly reminded where my place was. We went to counseling and I tried to get my spouse to understand why I was feeling this way but to no avail she either didn’t care or just couldn’t understand. As time went on my wife told me that she wanted to save the marriage and that the only way she knew how was for us to separate. Her suggestion was to separate, date each other and get to know each other all over again, then come together and figure out how to put us back together. I didn’t agree because I felt that once we were out of one anothers site there would be no incentive to work on anything. She told me the separation would happen no matter what, I didn’t have a choice. She gave me her word that she really wanted to work the marriage out. As soon as we separated she starting seeking out her next partner behind my back while we were married. On my deceased daughters birthday she told me she wanted a divorce while driving to the new girlfriends house. I was devastated, broken. Soon after she posted a picture of her and the woman on facebook in front of family and friends and announced that we weren’t getting back together. I was humiliated further, crushed, hit rock bottom. She then asked this person to marry her, posted a pic of the ring and then moved the person in with her while we are still married. Now her and the new partner are living together, we are still married but divorcing, I just received papers yesterday. All I wanted was to work my marriage out, rebuild on a stronger foundation. Instead I’m alone in a place where I have no family, struggling financially and emotionally, I’ve healed some but still have a long way to go, while her and the new person are making wedding plans and living in happiness. I’ve been alone since this started allowing myself to go through, processing my part in what happened in the relationship, feeling so much pain that I was sick to my stomach. She on the other hand immediately started seeing someone, didn’t take time to process what happened with us or acknowledge that she had a part in the situation, blaming me saying I destroyed it all. How is this fair, how can this be? How can she be allowed to be happy and move on with another person while I suffer. How do I detach where I don’t feel don’t care. Everyday she enters my mind, she still lives in my soul and I don’t know how to stop the thoughts of her and missing and loving her still. How can I detach?

    • Jennifer says:


      As I read your comment and your current situation I could not help but to relive some of my own pain and feeling as if getting through minutes, let alone hours and days seemed to be daunting and unbearable not to long ago for me as well. Though our stories are much different, we share the pain that we both endured. I lived through it, and unfortunately you are currently still living it. This very site, and the book that is listed on this page is how I was literally able to stop the intruding thoughts of my partner that seemed to violate and invade on an ongoing, minute by minute which at times felt like 24/7 during the countless days and weeks of sleepless nights. I came to the internet as you did looking for answers, direction and hope to help me get through the pain and struggle that seemed to endless. With the help of a counselor but mostly with the book “The journey from abondonment to healing” is exactly what got me through my pain and days. I currently work with my ex and she walks past my desk on what seems to be the hour on the hour and this book has helped me to practically not see her the way that I use to and has helped me leaps and bounds. Mostly I recommend that you do not drown yourself in anything deliberate, meaning music that reminds you of her. I was doing that and could not understand why the thoughts came of her, stop listening to music that reminds you or her. Stop going to FaceBook. I had to do that as well, delete her as a friend and even block her from seeing your page. My point is even though you want to let go of the pain, stop self inducing it and inflicting it yourself by adding reminders of her into your life. I can also tell you that she is not as ‘happy’ as you think she is. And as you eventually came to see, or maybe you saw all along how controlling she was, her new partner will see it too. People like that are not fooling anyone but themselves. And know that others will reap what is sown. I know it is difficult for you to see know, but you should feel free, even though the love is still there, you are outside of the realm of allowing someone to control you. Nevermind not making you a priority or having an equal partnership or support when it came to the lack of disrespect from her children. You settled for way too long, and probably did so as a self sacrifice but at the same time it cost you your own dignity and respect. You deserve better, plain and simple. I know each day is a struggle, but you only need to focus on sometimes getting through the minutes, then your minutes will turn into hours and your hours will turn into days and days weeks, and so on. You will have moments that your long for her and want to go back, do not do that. I highly recommend the book. You can find it on Amazon for less than $7 which also includes the shipping. Also, staying busy is also key. I know you have days where getting out of bed seems impossible, but you must put one foot infront of the other. Know that where you are right now, even at this very moment of reading this message, is that it is temporary. This is not your end all be all, here and now. You are unfortunately going through possibly one of the most difficult things you have ever faced, but it will not defeat you or define you, but make you stronger. I pray that you give yourself the freedom to grieve, and do not hold it in. Talk to your friends and family and make them aware, so they too can assist you in this healing process. They too will be vital in your recovery and they will also help hold you accountable for your thought process and hopefully help to encourage, lift up and support as you pick yourself up, dust off and begin to move forward. You are a strong person and deserve better, know that and believe that, and envision that for yourself. Do not focus your time and energy on someone who has treated you poorly, disrespectfully, and callously. You get one chance at life, you determine your happiness, not someone else. Keep your mind focused on positive thoughts and allow yourself to go through the healing and detachment process. The book I found to be fascinating to say the least and helped me every page and chapter to my recovery. Best of luck to you and remember, where you are right now is temporary, and you will be in a different place in a week, months and next year. Just focus on getting through each day, even if at times it is minute by minute, and some days will be harder than others, but I promise you, you are stronger than what you are going through, and you will get through this.


    • anonymiss says:

      She sounds like a narcissist to me. Check out Sam Vaknin’s work. Its helped me through some rough times.

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Vonetta,

    You’re right that the guy you’re cheating with would cheat on you if you were his girlfriend. He’s lying to you about not being happy at home — the truth is that he has his cake and is eating it too! He has you on the side, and his nice girlfriend at home. As far as he’s concerned, this is the best of both worlds. Why would he have any reason to change?

    Yes, it will hurt to stay with him. But the pain of leaving someone you care about is short-term. Your broken heart will heal — but the longer you put off the breakup, the longer it’ll take to move on with your life.

    You deserve better – you deserve a REAL relationship with a guy who loves you. This guy you’re cheating with is using you, and you’re letting him. My prayer for you is that you find the strength, dignity, and self-love you need to leave him. I pray you find the strength to detach and overcome the pain of losing him, and that you meet a man who will treat you with love, respect, and kindness.


  41. Brooke says:

    I’ve been married for 17 years and we have been having problems for a couple years now. I have been dating a married man for 10 months and have fallen in love with him.. so here is problem: our relationship is based on sex and Control, I’m very submissive to him and he has taught me many things and gained my trust.. for me, I am emotionally attached and the thoughts of him Control my everyday!! After spending the evening with him this past Sunday, he texted me on Tues and said that he doesn’t want to see me.anymore, he is done playing. . I was shocked, confused, lost and it really threw me for a loop. . I explained to him my feelings and he said that he has no feelings no emotions, it’s just how he is wired… I told him that I could not believe that he never had feelings or card about anything and his response was “nope , not a single bit”.. so of course I am destroyed at this point. He physically controlled me in the bedroom, I have been chocked, tied, slapped, cuddled, caressed, spoiled and now that’s all gone. Don’t get me wrong, these things were done because it was a complete turn on, but how do I step back away from these emotions.. how do I get him out of my daily thoughts.. How do I let go??!! His last words “I could own you, but I don’t want to”.. many will judge me for allowing this or think this type of sex is disgusting.. i get that, but please realize that I just need answers or help moving past this so that I can get on with my life. ..

    • Jennifer says:

      Wow. Well, I can tell you that I did order the book that is mentioned in this blog to help me with my own relationship ending. Though it is different, there are similar areas that we both share. You are married so that tells me you need to work on your marriage or end it. If you were seeing someone for 10 months, that tells me you have bigger problems in your own life and should not have involved someone else. I say that because I feel that is what happen to me. I met someone at work who’s been married for 19 years, who’s been in a very abusive, controlling and manipulating relationship, has two children and came to me and confessed their love. We were together for 10 months and just like you…….it’s done. And as a result they went back to their spouse to work on their marriage that hasn’t really worked but for some reason, probably for their two children went back just a few weeks ago. I assume it will not workout and whatever happens will happen.
      I found that I personally was doing things to keep my thoughts invading me all day and night. I was listening to music that caused those thoughts to come that reminded me of the relationship. I was reminding myself, instead of living in the “now” or in the “moment”. The book “The journey from abandonment to healing” is giving me great insight as to why we are feeling what we feel, how to deal with it, and how to move past it and overcome it. I highly recommend it to you.
      I do want to comment on some of the language he used with you…” I could own you” … are not a piece of property and no one should ever feel that about another human beings. That in its self is a big red flag. Those are words of someone who’s controlling, arrogant, and most likely narsocistic and self centered…….not exactly someone you, or anyone should want to be with.
      I have a friend who says “I’d rather be alone than be with the wrong person”……..he is not right for you, regardless of the words he said to you. I have my own saying and I believe it to be true and you have heard it before…..’actions speak louder than words’…and his actions are not mirroring what he voiced. I would go with the actions, and how poorly you have been treated. You are not garbage and no one should feel as if they are kicking you to the curb because they are ‘done with you’. Consider yourself fortunate for it ending. Maybe this would be a good time to work on your marriage or future for yourself and decide what it is that you want, not what someone else wants for you. You have options and you have choices. Think about what it is that you want and move towards that.

  42. Laurie says:

    Dear anon,

    I’ve experienced something similar – I am attracted to a man I don’t know well, and I am 100% sure it’s because I don’t know him! There’s alot of excitement about a man one doesn’t know, because there are no irritations, flaws, weaknesses, pet peeves.

    You’re asking some really important questions about detaching from someone you love, but they’re too big to be answered here! There are things going on in your psyche and life that I know nothing of, and I can’t give you, say, five basic tips on how to let go of someone you care about. Your reasons for hanging on are deep-rooted and strong, and there are no easy answers.

    One thing I might try is allowing myself a few minutes a day to immerse myself in the idea of this man. I’d take a 10 or 15 minute “smoke break”, and just accept my feelings of longing. I’d pretend the relationship was real…..and I think I’d get bored with this figment of my imagination after a couple of days. The novelty would wear off.

    It’s possible that the reason you’re so attracted to this ideal man is because you keep fighting it. The more we fight anything, the bigger and stronger it gets. Sometimes acceptance is the easiest way to slay the dragon.

    Have you talked to a counselor about mentally detaching from the ideal or fantasy of him, so you can feel and process the pain you mentioned? The thing with the acceptance I just mentioned is that it depends on who you are, what you’ve experienced in the past, and your emotional makeup. Some people would be able to shake off the attachment after a couple days of acceptance, while others have deeper things they need to work through.

    It sounds like you want to work through the grief of the pain you’ve experienced in your past relationship. If this isn’t happening naturally, I encourage you to talk to a counselor. You might be surprised at the insights and healing that arises.


  43. Laurie says:

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing about your relationship. I don’t think there are any easy answers for how to stop obsessing about her, especially since you can’t understand her actions. She isn’t making decisions that make sense to the bystander, and this makes it more difficult to let her go.

    I don’t think you made mistakes when you left to visit your friend or take care of things away from home. It wouldn’t be possible to be with her constantly, and mature healthy adults do not need someone there all the time.

    It sounds like you and she were meeting each other’s needs. I wouldn’t worry about her needs, as we could spend hours speculating about what they were! Rather, it’s more productive, healthy, and beneficial to think about what needs she was meeting for you. You needed something, and she was providing that. You were getting something out of this relationship. I don’t know what that was, but I believe it’s far more effective to focus on why you are so attracted to her, and how you can work through the grief of letting her go.

    Don’t fall into the trap of discussing her motivations and actions over and over again. It’s a waste of energy, time, and money. Instead, train your brain to stay focused on how you can heal and move on.

    If I were you, I’d find a new job. I can’t help you understand why it’s so hard to detach from this woman that you care about, but I am 100% sure that the first step to letting go is removing yourself from the situation.

    What does it feel like, to think about starting over?


    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Laurie,

      Thank you for your response. I must say I am surprised that you suggest I find a new job. My therapist, and all my friends who know the situation have not suggested that, not at all. This job is what I have looked for, for many years and I truly enjoy it. Never mind the fact that it is the most money I have ever made, without my college degree. So with that said, finding a job that pays as well as this one does with out a degree is probably slim to none. Besides, I think that would be me running from the problem. She is the problem with her dysfunctional, emotion based decisions and will continue to swing on a pendulum of dysfunction. Her marriage is toxic, negative, and simply not a healthy environment. I am currently reading a book about being in the “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and he describes this dysfunction as both parties feeding off of the negative. And the need to be needed, and not loved. I was enlighted by that because anything that either one exudes for the other is love. It is a very twisted relationship. I think it is just that. I have heard the countless stories for two years of the abuse, manipulation, control and on and on, and yet she goes back. Yes, I agree I am trying to understand why she did it, and the truth is I will never know and most likely she will not express her low self esteem, all that comes with being beaten down for 20 plus years. The cycles of what come with it are explained in Tolle’s book no different than an a true addict. The addictive cycle that comes with the cycles of the drama and dysfunction, they feed off of it. I on the other hand have no time for such drama, even though I allowed myself to get caught up in it.
      You asked what I got out of the relationship. It was on a level I never knew or experienced. I have never had what felt like the fourth of July in my chest or stomach every time I saw her. Feeling as if I was being electrocuted by touching her, it was magic. Making love for three hours every time we were together, the laughter to the extent of feeling as if I truly pulled muscles, the all encompassing way she made me feel and she voiced I made her feel the same. So with all of that said, I cannot wrap myhead around the decision, but never the less a decision I cannot control. I know she has two small children and so if your therapist, family, friends, books and any and every source she used said to run and run like hell……why did you go back? I do not find it a coincidence that she went back about a week after her husband called and asked her to speed up the divorce papers so he could potentially marry this other woman he had been with for a couple of months who came with three children of her own. Michelle was totally threaten by someone having a blended family with her children, in what she has always deemed her home. Instead of running away, and signing the papers and allowing herself to continue to go through the grieving side of divorce, she ran back.
      At work lately I am appauled at the sight of her. My feelings have changed to wishing I never met her. I have never thought that about anyone and I was in other relationships that ended due to cheating on their end, but I’ve never wished that until now. I have also realized I trust absolutely nothing that comes out of her mouth. This has been the third time she has done this, and all along being so adiment that she was not going back because she now saw the dysfunction of their so called marriage. She openly admitted that she has worn a social mask for years and never shared her story with a single co-worker even though she’s worked here for 7 or 8 years……I come along and its immediate. It was an attraction from go……we both felt it and just about every worker / friend commented on the glow and would ask how many years have we been best friends and or how long have we known each other.
      So with that said, I love how she made me feel when I looked at her, when I kissed her, when I touched her, when we laughed, when we were simply together in the same space……I have never experienced any of the feelings inside my body with anyone other than her.
      I sit in an area that I can lower my chair and not see her walk by as often or at all. I guess it is in the back of my mind as to how long before this blows up in her face……my therapist, and friends all say it’s just a matter of when. I personally want to get to a place where I have far moved on and detached when that day comes. That is why I visited your site and wrote about my story in hopes of letting go and moving forward, even though there are days that I feel as if I am ripping my heart out and question how we went from such amazing experiences to absolute silence and not speaking and whatever relationship we had is no longer.

    • vonetta says:

      hey I have a problem I have been sleeping with this guy and I no that he had a girlfriend. but we been together for two years if that’s what you want to call it. and him and her live together how dumb can I be I love him now and I don’t see anyone but him. I want to get over him but every time I break up with him I let him rite back into my life he say that he is not happy at home so why is he still ther and you no what if he was to leave her I would not trust him because look what we are doing he would do the same dam thing to me please give me some feed back

      • Jennifer says:

        That’s easy. You need to walk away, otherwise the cycle continues and you continue to get hurt. I know that is not what you want to hear but it is the truth, as my therapist told me. You are the only one allowing this to happen. He doesn’t know what he wants, and he continues to ‘have his cake and eat it too’ so to speak, and yet you are the one who is getting hurt and feels terrible.
        Let him go, have more self pride, value and respect for yourself, you are not a door matt.

        As difficult as it may be, it is the right thing to do.

  44. anon says:

    An attachment I had to an ex six years ago has moved to a man I barely know. I have detached physically, of course; I will never see or speak to him again, but it wouldn’t matter if I did because the ‘idea’ in my head is not him (I don’t know him), it’s an idea.

    But he’s in my head constantly and I can’t seem to get rid of him. I actually don’t want to be with anyone else – I don’t want a boyfriend – I’d rather stay with this fantasy. I don’t think it’s wise for me to have a boyfriend anyway, all that would happen was the face of my fantasy would change to their face and it would be an unhealthy attachment again.

    I’ve tried symbolically removing him, taking my mind off it, trying to focus on myself and my needs, I’ve tried saying goodbye in my head etc. and having them walk away. What I want is to feel the pain. I felt the pain when the ex left, and then again after this brief encounter (and it was very brief), and it does feel like dying. But I would rather feel the pain than be stuck in fantasy, it’s just that I can’t feel it, I can’t find it, even though I know it’s under there somewhere perpetuating all of this. I really want to feel it and face it so I can process it and get rid of it. But how do I find it? How do I mentally detach from the fantasy so that I can feel and process the pain?

    • Jennifer says:

      That sounds very unhealthy, and like a cycle you are openly admitting to staying in. You need to step out of it and break away from it. I guess that I should take my own advice, but there in its self lies the question, how do you / we do that?
      For me, I know it would be much easier if we did not work together, but we do. And so for that very reason, I anticipate and unfortunately stay attached to something I need to break away from because I wonder every day if that day is going to be another encounter of “its you that I love and want to be with”. Even though part of me wants to hear that, another part of me wants her to be out of a toxic marriage and to have the opportunity to discover who she truly is. Something that shared with me over the course of this past year, she has no idea who she is, what she likes, dislikes, or wants out of life because her husband has controlled all of those areas…..and yet she goes back. I continue to try and find logic in her ill-logical decision. I can only assume this gets better over time, because I cannot imagine it getting worse. Since I do not plan on leaving my job and neither does she, it will remain as it is and who knows what will come of it.

      • anon says:

        I’d say I’m admitting to it because it’s a problem, but I’m not ‘trying’ to stay in it. I’m trying to get out of it as quickly as I can! I just don’t know how to help myself and I feel like there’s no information on how to make it end.

        • Jennifer says:

          Why don’t you do what I did and order the book that is suggested on the first post.
          Learning how to emotionally detach from someone you care about – or love with all your heart – is a process. These tips for detaching will help you retain a sense of yourself in your relationship. The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by […]

          I ordered this book on Amazon.

  45. Laurie says:

    Dear Zack,

    It sounds like you were both using each other — you both were getting excitement, romance, confidence, and illicit thrills from cheating on your spouses. I don’t think she used you any more than you used her. You’re both consenting adults, both making the conscious decision to betray your marriage vows.

    My thought is that it’s time for you to sh*t or get off the pot. You’ve been enjoying the best of both worlds for six years, and now one of your best girls wants more. You’ve been satisfying your need for excitement and to feel needed, and you cheated on your wife because of your own selfish reasons.

    It sounds like now is the time to make a sacrifice for a relationship, which you haven’t done in the past. Up til now, you’ve sacrificed nothing. You just took whatever you wanted. Now, your mistress wants you to make a sacrifice and commit to her. She wants you to leave the comfort of the marriage you’ve been cheating on for six years, and build a life with her.

    Since you love her so much, what is holding you back? This would seem like an amazing opportunity, a chance for you to be with the woman you’ve loved for so long! I don’t understand why you’re hesitating. Now you and she can be free to love each other and commit to each other, and you can stop cheating on the wife you have marriage vows with! It’s awesome, really.

    Why would you not take this step?

    • Jennifer says:

      I have been reading many articles on this page trying to deal with what initially set out as a search for how to stop obsessing over an ex. I will jump in with both feet and explain my situation since I am struggling to pull myself out of this.

      I started working at a company a little over two years ago and immediately was drawn to another female co-worker. We hit it off from the beginning. About 6 months later, we went shopping together and she revealed to me that she was in a very abusive, controlling marriage for over now 20 years with two small children, 13 year old boy and 11 year old girl. She proceeded to share details of controlling, manipulating and cheating behaviors over the entire course of her marriage. I immediately advised how wrong her situation was and that she needed counseling. She started attending counseling on a regular basis while her husband accused me of being the problem in their marriage and he refused to attend their marriage counseling sessions. Fast forward about 8 months or so and one morning at work I asked her how her session had gone, I always asked how they were. Her response was ‘I don’t know why I bother to go, because I’m in love with you’. It was as general and matter of fact as asking someone to please pass the potatoes at Thanksgiving. She just revealed that she had been in love with me from pretty much the first moment she saw me. As odd as it sounded, I did not disagree, we shared some connection that was out for everyone to see, we glowed around each other and loved being together. In revealing our love for one another, and her deciding to leave her marriage that had been long over probably 12 plus years when he first cheated, I encouraged her to continue counseling and I had started my own with this new found love to someone of the same sex. Shortly after revealing her feelings to me, she called me the next day I left on vacation and told me she made a mistake, and did not want to ruin our friendship. I canceled my vacation, flew back to talk with her and we avoided each other for a few weeks at work. I eventually confronted her about good luck changing her heart and how she feels towards me because it was so electrifying to say the least. Needless to say, about a month passed and she returned telling me she loved me and wanted to be with me. She continued the process of leaving her husband and moved out in March. Her and I spent all of our time together when she did not have her children every other weekend. All the while encouraging and supporting also the advice of her counselors that her marriage was toxic and she was doing the right thing by leaving. Not for me, but for herself and her children. Shortly after that, about 3 months later, she came to me once again and said she wanted to be friends while she worked on her marriage. I stepped back once again and sure enough, she comes back about a month later saying she loves me and wants to be with me. Again, the relationship we had continued. I held my breath for the next three months, and when she introduced my to her group of friends I thought, wow, this is really happening. All along we both were still seeing therapist as we were discovering who we are and what we found in one another. One thing I failed to mention was that her husband never went away. He always stalked, tracked, called, followed, harrassared, threathen suicide, called her friends and family and neighbors and told all of them that she left him for another women. And yet never admitting to the real reasons of her leaving of him controlling, manipulating, cheating and mentally, verbally, emotionally and recently physically abusing her. In that time as well, he met someone that he knew for 2 months who also has three children, and they immediatly start discussing getting married. He advised my friend to speed up the paperwork process for their own divorce so he could pursue his new relationship with this woman. Needless to say, I made the mistake of stepping on a plane again to visit a friend and when I returned, I was greeted with we need to be friends and that she needs to be alone. I actually agreed with that since she had been in a relationship with her husband since she was 16, she just turned 40 this week. Needless to say, I was sitting outside having lunch at work and she approached me and said she was ending our relationship / friendship and going back to her husband. I was and am in shock at the dysfunction and toxic mix of what they deem a marriage. I believe in my heart that she was threaten by this other woman who almost had a blended family with her own children and in the only house she has ever known with her family. As a result, I am sitting here with my head spinning about how to move forward. It is very painful to witness and see her go back into a relationship that all books, counselors, scripture, writing on the wall say to run and run like hell. My therapist says I am obsessing over trying to rationalize her making an irreational decision and this is exactly true. How do I let this go, especially since we work together and I am witnessing this first hand M-F. As for her, she immediately moved back home, wearing her wedding band, and replaced our Friday lunch outings with him just as if none of the past two years ever happen. I would be able to deal with this much easier if we did not have to work together in the same department. We literally almost run into each other a few times a day while coming around a corner or coming or going in or out of the bathroom. I truly want to move beyond what feels like still a very toxic and negative situation that I feel I allowed myself to get pulled into, while at the same time having each of us reveal our love for one another on levels that neither one of us has ever known or shared or even knew we were capable of feeling, let alone for each other. I am struggling to move beyond the wonder of how long before she returns or if she will and what do I do or say. I believe her and her husband are kidding themselves with trying to force a marraige to work that never worked but stayed together for so long due to their children and money. I know this is not my problem, but I feel as if I cannot detach the way that I should and need to because we work together M-F. Please help me understand or figure out the best way for me to move forward.

  46. Zack says:


    I am a married man, been attached to a married woman for 6 years. She has kids and is detached from her husband but hasn’t torn apart her family. Initially we enjoyed each other’s company and the euphoria of the relationship was very nurturing including physical attachment. The romance was incredible.
    This relationship gave me self confidence, self worth and a strong sense of belongingness. Lately our communication and intimacy has faded and she dosent like sneaking around anymore wanting us to break up . She says in future if we both are available then we might consider, but dosent enjoy the current engagement. I feel used as my support during her difficult days helped he cope and become stronger. However, I truly love her and not sure what to do….Break up with my partner for a future with this woman or try to detach myself from her. Its a 6 year long relationship so you can imagine the togetherness, memories and experiences…unimaginable to let it go.

    Would like to hear what others have to say to this

  47. Laurie says:

    Dear Loisie,

    Learning how to detach from the married man you’re having sex with depends on why you’re attached to him. Somehow, your needs are being met by him.

    When you figure out why you’re so attracted to this guy – what you’re getting out of the relationship – then you may be able to detach and get over him.

  48. Loisie says:

    Hi, am in a relationship with a married guy, he is emotionally not available, only calls me when he want sex. the issue here, is that am emotionally attached to him. I want to get over that and also get him out. we are working at one organisation.



  49. Laurie says:

    Dear Jasmine,

    Thank you for sharing here – it sounds like you’ve been through so much in your relationship! I know there have been some good parts, but it sounds like there have been many more difficult things to deal with as a couple.

    Have you thought about going to counseling on your own? Part of detaching from someone you care about is getting healthy, strong, whole and balanced as a woman.

    What do you think about seeing a counselor – not a marriage counselor, but someone for you to see on your own?

  50. Jasmine says:

    My fiance and I have been together a number of years now, we have a toddler and one on the way.. The problem is the first year of our relationship was crap.. I had just broken up with my ex and wasn’t ready for anything, but he pursued me anyway.. He started resenting me after a couple months of seeing each other casually b/c i wasn’t getting over my ex fast enough, so i started to seek and cling onto some sort of relationship with my ex, when his words turned abusive (slut, goldigger, retard).. When i opened up about sexual abuse in early childhood while i was newly pregnant, he was disgusted by me and again with the cruel names and words (worthless whore, dirty cunt, you wanted it) he broke my heart and he kept saying those things, so i continued my on and off friendship with my ex for comfort while he and i were still getting closure for our break up and why.. We only talked about every couple of months.. But my realtionship with my bf just continued to get worse.. After having my son via c-section he trashed me all over town, telling people i was ruined and stretched and cheating then tried telling me he didn’t want people fantasizing about me and making comments.. He cut off my contact with loved ones and looked in the shower and in corners as if someone was going to be there.. His paranoia got to the point that police had to be involved.. And he hates me for that.. We got back together after a month and a half apart to try to patch things up and be a family.. We started counseling both individually and couple.. Recently i’ve found evidence that he cheated a couple months after our reconciliation, when he claimed to be “over the moon” happy, i also found evidence that he’s been flirting only weeks ago.. He said i deserved it the first time b/c i hurt him and this time b/c i don’t ever believe him when he says i’m beautiful, even though he has had a horrible wandering eye since, i got pregnant, would pressure me for a 3somes and looking up other women on facebook, even friends of mine then watched porn right after.. To him I deserve to be punished for the rest of my life, for some mistakes i made the first year we were together.. I know i should’ve taken more time to heal before dating anyone, but i didn’t.. But he also chose to pursue me, knowing situation even after i said i wasn’t ready or refused to return his “i love you” a few weeks after we started seeing each other.. I shouldn’t have consoled in my ex about our problems , but i did.. I’ve acknowledge my mistakes, but he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, i always “deserved it.” In counseling we were both supposed to accept the good from that time and let go of the past, learn from those mistakes and move forward.. I let it go, it still hurts to think about how bad it was, but i don’t use it against him either.. He on the other hand doesn’t i try to talk about an issue in the now and he will bring up something i did years ago from that negative time and say i’m not perfect and spew some more hateful reminders, while avoiding his own wrong doings.. I don’t know if detaching myself will take away his power or satisfaction by hurting me. I’m tired of giving him that ego boost and satisfation of what he percieves as “winning” but i’m willing to try, i just don’t know where to start.. He isn’t like this all the time, only when it’s convenient to open up his bag of tricks to try to hurt me during a disagreement.. Instead of working in issue he would rather hurt me to “win”.. P.S. We have not been in counseling for over a year now.. Thanks

  51. Joanne says:

    How long should I go without seeing the person I got attached to? I typically saw once-twice a week for 4 months. Helpful article!

  52. Laurie says:

    Another tip on how to detach from someone you care about is to accept that at some level, you’ll always be attached to him or her. We can never fully extricate our hearts from someone we love!

    • JoJo says:

      okay… I need advice then. I got emotionally attached to my son’s martial arts teacher… considering taking him to more convenient location but part of me doesn’t know if I can handle completely not seeing teacher at all. But I have a month of carefully considering what to do. A “temporary” break… but I do need advice. I am a healthy person but this person has made me feel a wide range of emotions from irritation, frustration, and giddiness. lol But it distanced me from my husband.

  53. Laurie says:

    Dear Angela,

    That’s great that you recognize that you’re not in a healthy relationship. The first step to detaching from your boyfriend is realizing that you’re not good for each other. Often, we start to emotionally pull away before we leave the relationship – it’s a process.

    Stay true to you,

  54. Angela says:

    This is a great blog just reading people mail and knowing that you are not the only one in these type of situations makes me feel much better. My problem is kind of different, but I want to let go, Im the problem with the man that I have deep feelings for, he was hurt by one of my ex and seem to not trust me anymore. No matter how I try to regain the trust from him, nothings works, we can be in each others presence hug and kiss each other, than he puts up this wall that separates us and steps back. I need to move on because it is not healthy for me or him.

  55. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your comments and book recommendation! Boundaries is a great book on overcoming emotional over-involvement.

  56. TU says:

    Kary, before you get more involved, might I suggest you try Boundaries in Dating with Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend? Men don’t listen to what we say. They listen to what we do. I suggest you watch his actions before getting more involved. He could be playing you.

  57. Laurie says:

    Hi Kary,

    I think you should believe him when he says he doesn’t want a relationship. He is being honest and telling you the truth: he does not want to fall in love and commit his life to you.

    Don’t make the mistake of believing he’ll change his mind! You don’t have a future with him, because he doesn’t want a future with you.

    So, you have a choice: proceed and fall in deeper and deeper in love with him even though you know he can’t give you what you need, or start detaching now so you can heal and move on. Either way, it’ll be painful.

    Where do you see yourself in a year? What kind of life do you want to be leading?

  58. Kary says:

    Hello. I’m a college student and I’m in this relationship that I am not sure what to do with. The thing is that in the beginning of it all we agreed upon a “not too serious” relationship. He stated clearly that he wasn’t looking for love in any relationship for the time being, yet it is not a short term relationship. Hearing that he’s not looking for love sunk my heart 1,000 feet underwater! I like him too much and I could see a future with him. I am confused on whether to leave him or just stick for the ride. I said to myself that I would take this one day at a time but I can’t help but think of the future. Unlike him he doesn’t think of the future at all. I have to clue how he does it.

  59. nj vhanz says:

    hi.. I have this feeling that I fell in-love to a wrong person. He is a Frenchman, married and has a one baby boy. I met him Online. We chatted and video chat for 2months now. I figured out that I was falling in love with him slowly. He always reminded of how he loved his family. I want to detached this feeling for him and stop loving him. I want to let go of this. All i know is I want him so badly.

  60. Laurie says:

    Dear Rachelle,

    Letting go of an ex is one of the hardest things to do! It often seems so much easier to just sink back into life together, to hope that your relationship will improve or change.

    But sometimes the best route is to keep moving forward. I can’t give you specific advice because I don’t know you or your ex-boyfriend, but I do believe that sometimes distance is the best way to see your relationship more clearly.

    Maybe you and he should take a 3 month break from each other? Don’t just drop out of his life without closure or a conversation – that’s not healthy for him or you. But perhaps you could tell him that you care for him and even love him, but you think a break would be the best thing for both of you.

    A break — no contact via email, text, phone, etc — may help you see your relationship more clearly. It’ll help quell the emotions, and give you time and space to take a deep breath and figure out what to do next.

    While you’re on your break, you could start thinking about specific ways to detach from someone you care about. Here’s an article that may help:

    I hope this helps a little. What do you think?


  61. rachelle says:

    btw, i forgot to mention that he’s finally working, but, still he’s unhappy about his job and miserable in it.. i was also thinking that based on how things turns out after my “trip”, i thought i’d like for us to look into getting counseling together.. this is if he’s still around then or still wants to try to fix us.. do you think i should even bother?

  62. rachelle says:

    hi Laurie, thank you so much for your response.. a lot has happened since my last post.. i’ve recently (literally 2 days ago) moved out of the house we were renting which was his aunt’s house. i was trying to get along with him and i thought we were doing fine and seemed to be making progress as he seemed to be making a little more effort than before.. however, now his parents has become an issue between us and it all finally came out that his mom didn’t want us to get back together.. we’ve also realized, my ex and I, that he might be going thru some emotional distress disorder due to all the things that’s been happening.. these are all based on what i see and what he tells me about what he’s feeling and going through. it’s like he’s emotionally disabled and don’t know what to do, how to feel and how to fix himself and us anymore.. he has also mentioned being so depressed and at times thinking of hoping to not wake up when he goes to sleep and other ways that he hoped would put him out of his misery.. he doesn’t talk about committing suicide or hurting himself in anyway, just that he hoped something bad would happen to him so he would be gone.. i think that because he’s now so vulnerable his mom has brainwashed him about me treating him badly if he comes back to me and he has told me that he fears that now but still he won’t let go and hopes that we could try to talk, get along and build a stronger foundation so we get back to how we used to be.. idk what to do anymore.. i’ve gotten along with him and has tried to give in to everything he has asked for but there were days when i would get hurt and it would be so much that all i’d want is to just stay away from him so for days i would ignore his texts and avoid.. and when i did this he would go back to the way it was, of him closing up on me, being cold and distant and we would have to start all over again.. he tells me he tries to see my side of things but he’s hurting too.. now because of all the pain, i decided to lie to him and told him i will be gone on a trip for a few weeks out of the country were it would be hard to get a hold of me.. this is so we could have some break from each other and i’m hoping that it would give him time to truly think of what’s going on.. i’m not hoping that he’d realize how much he loves me anymore, in fact, i’m thinking the worst, that he’d probably realize that he’s better off without me.. i’m just worried about him coz of his state of mind as idk how bad things would be for him while i’m gone… should i contact him just to see if he’s ok? i’d hate to do that coz it’ll beat the purpose of giving us a break but i also don’t want him to ever feel i abandoned him.. i know how that feels coz that’s what i felt he has done to me… again thank you for your time.. i truly appreciate it.

  63. Laurie says:

    Dear Danny,

    Knowing how to detach from your girlfriend – how to heal and move on – depends on your personality, lifestyle, and how long the relationship lasted. There aren’t any immediate prescriptions or quick fixes for overcoming lost love.

    How long were you together, and why did you break up? Have you talked to a counselor about the relationship, and your difficulty moving on? The answers to those questions might help you figure out how to detach and heal.

  64. Laurie says:

    Dear Rachelle,

    Thank you for sharing your story – it sounds like you’ve been through a lot with your boyfriend! I can’t tell you what he’s thinking or what he’s trying to do.

    It sounds like you’re doing all the work in your relationship and you’re making a lot of really difficult decisions. He’s sort of coasting, and contacting you but not doing any real WORK. By that I mean making an effort to spend time with you, get a job, build a life with you and the kids in a home. Texting is super easy and doesn’t require hardly any effort.

    What do you want to see happen in this relationship? Would you rather detach yourself, or do you want things to continue as they are?

    Remember that your boyfriend won’t change. He is who he is, and it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to make big changes in his life.

    If you could have anything in this relationship, what would it be?

  65. rachelle says:

    hi, my situation is pretty complicated and i’m hoping that you can give me some advice somehow.. my bf and i was going on 2 1/2 years by next month. in spite of me having pmdd (which made life really difficult a few days each month), in our first 1 1/2 years together, things were really good and he was the perfect guy who i thought was the one i would want to spend the rest of my life with. a year ago he lost his job and up until now he hasn’t been able to find employment. for the past year i have shouldered everything, (i have 2 daughters from another relationship), i took care of us financially and things would’ve been so bad if things on his end didn’t change. he stopped or rarely became intimate with me, he got depressed and started feeling down on himself, however, i did all i could to try to lift his spirits up by supporting him emotionally, and in every way i could, i spoiled him and basically gave him anything he asked for in the hopes that at least would make him happy even temporarily and i tried to remain the same as i’ve always been. unfortunately, coz of the stress and feeling rejected by him, my pmdd got worst. i had to seek therapy (and at one point i had him see my therapist just so he understood what i was going through, at least that’s what i hoped it would do).. instead he stopped seeing her and i felt more rejected by him. we started fighting so much, more than usual, at times it got physical, i’ve kicked him out a few times and in spite of all the fights, he came up with the solution of moving out of state, to florida (from ny), thinking that financially it’ll be easier for us due to the cost of living.. he convinced me to move and told me that things would get better and he would be better.. for the first 2-3 months i was traveling from ny to fl every other weekend to be with him and my daughters as i had to keep my job in ny. however, i noticed that he wasn’t pushing to get a job and i was stuck traveling which made things a lot harder for me, i missed my kids and i missed not being with all of them.. the stress level for me got higher due to the situation.. the few days i’d be in florida we would find ourselves arguing. then in september we had a huge fight and i kicked him out again. this time it was a lot easier for him to leave because his parents lives 5 minutes away. i’ve realized that having his parents near him made things worse for us, it felt as if now that his parents are nearby, he didn’t care as much to be away from me unlike before when he couldn’t bear the thought of being away from me physically. because of the problems, i decided to resign from my job to stay with my kids.. eventually he came back home, however, arguments and fights didn’t stop. i was very frustrated with how he seemed to take me for granted, our situation, me physically and worst is i started to feel as if he was taking advantage of me and the situation, that i shouldered everything. eventually, he would be the one to just leave and run off to his parents’ house whenever we would argue and i started to feel abandoned more and more.. a month ago, we had another big fight, i told him once again how i felt so rejected by him, how i felt he wasn’t pushing to try to get or look for a job since i was the one who constantly would submit his resumes for him while he surfs the internet for sports news and what-not.. he turned things around on me and blamed my pmdd and how it pushed him away from me coz of it. he said that i constantly just bicker with him and when i would go through my bad days i would constantly push him away or isolate myself which he hated.. i isolated myself coz it was my only way to avoid us from fighting and it was my only way to deal with it to calm me down. i’ve asked him time and time again to let me have my space during those days so i can deal with it in my own way without starting an argument, however he would never allow me to have that time to myself and would constantly push and push or force his way to get to me through locked doors, etc., until we start getting into a fight.. when he left again a month ago coz of an argument, this time i told him not to come back..and this time he didn’t. i’ve tried to detach myself from him, from changing my cell phone number, to blocking him from both my cell and emails but because i still love him, i found myself returning his texts and emails.. in spite of everything, he would text me everyday, from the moment he wakes up and he won’t stop until i respond. i asked him back but he wouldn’t come back saying that he wants us to take our time and try to get along first and go from there. during thanksgiving he never bothered to spend time with me and that hurt me even more. i moved out here for him and yet he abandons me and i feel as if he’s really not making an effort besides his daily texts of “hellos”, “how are you” or “how was your day” and go from there. i don’t know what to think, i don’t know if he’s just stringing me along and i don’t know what he really wants from me. he tells me that he wants to find a job and get back his manhood that he felt he lost after losing his job, he has been depressed and really down on himself, he doesn’t want to jump back into the relationship and wants to “rebuild” us by talking, hanging out and getting along, just like how we did in the beginning of our relationship and eventually he tells me he wants us to get back together.. he tells me he still loves me the same but just wants to take things slow. but he doesn’t really make an effort to see me and i live 5 mins away from him. again, what is this? what is he trying to do? is he just playing me coz i really don’t know what to believe anymore. please help..

  66. Danny says:

    It has been two years and I am still trying to detach myself from my girlfriend. I have annulled my marriage once because I didn’t feel right to marry someone when I am still emotionally involved with someone else.
    Any suggestions????

  67. Shawn says:

    Thank you for an amazing article!
    In addition to all this I pray to God and things work out ^_^

  68. Christy says:

    I’m at a loss. I’m 36 dating a 21 yr old! He lives 5 minutes from me on the same road. I have such strong feelings for him, but he is always in need for something. He has ADD ADHD, a rare stomach disorder and is always anxious without medicinal herb. He knows I have strong feelings for him, but his actions to me are so hot and cold. He has no car, no job and uses his moms cell phone? All he does is focus on how his room looks and when the next grateful dead concert is coming. What am I doing? He broke up with me because he was tired of me hurting him? All he ever does is ask for things and for some reason I would justify it by what ever thing is happening at that moment, but never do we just live in the moment and enjoy each other. How could I do this to myself. He is like an addiction to me. He’s not even that attractive but for some reason he moves me. It’s not even the sex. He wants us to have a day where we are not arguing about something. It’s hard to be with someone that is always stressed out and really has not much to be stressed out about!! What his bedroom? I just wish I had the strength to let him go, I really need help.

  69. tina says:

    Thank you so much for this article. It is very helpful and well written.

  70. Maria says:

    Continuing from up top… He’s not happy we went over everything I kept asking him why he wasn’t happy he doesn’t give me a reason he says he doesn’t know. I cook, I clean, I do laundry so I’m a neat freak but so is he. I don’t get it were great together. He tells me it’s not me it’s him!!!! Is he serious. Bottom line is this I would do ANYTHING for this man. He will not give me z chance he says he’s MADD up his mind he doesn’t see a future for us. He says he loves me but he’s not in love with me. I Feel like I’m dying. To make matters worse my daughter and I moved in with him in January and now he wants us both out by End of August. Were still living together we have dinners, together with the kids were civil about the whole cituation mbut I’m dying inside. I feel like he doesn’t care. He says he’s sorry but in reality I don’t really think he is. And now he’s trying to be a hero he’s helping me find sn apparment knowing I lost my job in may. Unemployment is not enough to cover rent, utility bills, car payment, car insurance, food and all other nevesities. I don’t want to have to take my daughter out of college it’s her 2 year there and she likes it but I can’t afford it. I haven’t told her yet. We still sleep in the same bed, he had said no more sexual relations but I’ve made that very hard on him and Webe been doing “it” I convinced him by telling him Hey it’s just sex No Strings attached. I’m lying to myself!!!!! I love him and I’m in love with him I need advice on how to fight his decision I want to be with him. How can I change his mind. He says he has other priorities. I once thought I was on that list I guess I wad wrong. Please any advice on how to keep him, how to make it work, what to do next!!!! I’m lost!!!!

  71. Maria says:

    My Name is Maria, I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 4 years. These have been the BEST Years of my life. Last year around April of 2011 we had “the talk” he initiated it he tells me
    That he’s not happy anymore. I thought things were fine at the time I guess I was wrong. Having in mind that this was and is the love of my life I begged and pleaded for us to try to save our relationship it didn’t quite work. We broke up for 2 weeks those were the longest 2 weeks of my life I WAS DEVISTATED. this was around his birthday id call him and either he ignored my calls or would pick up but with z very cold voice. I texted him and left him voicemails. One day before his birthday I called and asked him to meet me as friends he accepted under the condition we didn’t speak about our relationship. We met I wore his favorite dress it was like magic we sat and had a few drinks he apologized and said he messed up we left together. We got back together until last week he told me he couldn’t do this anymore that he couldn’t be with me anymore. He still has NOT given me a reason of why. He tells me that he hasn’t been in love with me for the past 2 years. Can u believe that 2 YEARS!!!!! last October while still together he rents a little house and had made up a contract under both our names this was a rental with an option to buy. Here I am thinking wow this is it!!! My boyfriend my home our future together. We have children from past relationships he has 2 sons ages 21 and 24 I have a daughter 20. Now It hasnt always been great in the house but we managed. By December he gives me an ultimatum to move in with HIM. At first I was very hesitant but I didn’t want to lose him so I moved in with him in Jan of 2012. In April we yet again had the talk he’s not happy he says

  72. Joe says:

    In the ending of last year i’ve met the most adoring, loveable, unique, and expectacualr girl someone would ever want to meet. while getting to know her i discovered a lot, learned a lot and tasted the meaning of life. My goals where resigned, determined, and my mind was clear. in the past 9 month my life changed dramaticly and from my last love ( 4 years ago i was broken hearted too i detached myself, it felt like killing the person i was and the experience changed me completly) i couldn’t think that i would love someone again. but that didn’t happen i love this girl even more and i used my experience from the last one to reach levels with this girl that i wouldn’t dream of.
    she informed me many times that she was confused about the relationship because of my age (we are in same age), and my preparedness for a serious commitment and she said i jump into things without thinking ( i sometimes assumed being spontaneous is better, i was wrong) but most of the time this wasn’t a problem and we were having the love of our life she was happy and i can’t even describe what i was feeling, it was ture happiness in its crystal forms.
    in the last days of May she told me that we have to stop she was very cool when she said that i felt that i couldn’t respond to that she told me that se needs a break to think about things and i knew back then thats this is the begining of the end, i was so devastated about that so i recpected her request (although i knew it will cost me the love of my life, but i had to), last week she told me that shes getting married next week it was a mental shock for me, but i hold a solid grib of myself and i wished her the best and after she hang up i prayed for the best for her she deserve it.
    all i’m saying is i love this girl and i think detaching myself will not be easy and wont be in my best interest because i will forget all the memories about her and that would change my personaltiy again for the second time in only 4 years period i wont be stable for years and i will suffer alot in the future. (physically i will not try to be close to her nor i will disturb her marriage nor her life)
    the question is : Is having hopes of her coming back a good thing or its not? why plz?

  73. may says:

    I really need some advice , ive been with my bf for 3 years, and two days bfore r 3year anniversary i found out he was tlking to this girl, but it was 3months ago, i confronted him and he said it was one time , it seemed like he didnt care , it really hurt me bcuz i trusted him he said sorry and stuff, but i still think about it everyday , anf i get really mad over it , idk whts wrong with me i cant let it go , i feel like .. Why should i let him wlk around and b happy , and me just forget about it like nothing happened im 18 by the way and he’s 21 , wht should i do ?

  74. boo says:

    I pray and ask God to help me everyday. Its very hard.

  75. boo says:

    Me and my bf has been together for two years we split up then got back together. I found out a month ago he lives with his ex. He spends five nights a week with me he answers every phone call and text i seen to him on the days he dont spend the night he spends the day with me. I love him very much but its hard to except that he lives with his ex. I dont know what to do. We get along do everything together. But he lives with ex

  76. Lena says:

    I hae tried several times over the last 6 years to detach from my now husband and it hurt each time. Really bad. It may be like quitting smoking. im going to attempt to detach from my husband soon and move to another town. I hope this time it works, because I do Not want to live like this anymore. I cant do it, for my own health, as I now know that I have to take care of myself so I can care for my children. so, here goes. wish me luck.

  77. jordan says:

    my girlfriend of two years broke up with me because we had a little misunderstanding and ever since i have been trying to get her back but she insist not. how do i detach and stop loving her?

  78. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Is it easier to detach from someone you care about if you believe that your life is in God’s hands, and that this breakup is better for you in the long run?

  79. Nicole says:

    Hello I’ve been married for 5 yrs now but we’ve been together 10 yrs total and my husband cheated on me and I cheated rite bac too wrongs don’t make a rite we were both wrong but I had to let him know your not gonna do this to me and I’m just gonna sit back oh hell no I think every man cheats you know how many married men ask me out after me telling them I’m married also its a game u have to play

  80. zziwa says:

    I feet it difficult to leave her now what should i do in order to loose feelings towareds her

  81. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I wrote another article to help you detach from someone you care about. I can’t keep up with all the comments on this blog – I wish I could respond to everyone individually, but I just can’t!

    This article is based on Coral’s comments…

    Can’t Get Over the Divorce? How to Survive Your Marriage Ending

    The tips aren’t just for people going through divorces; they’re for anyone who is trying to move on after a separation or loss. I hope it helps, and welcome your thoughts here or there.


  82. coral says:

    im having a very hard time detaching from my ex-spouse. He has cheated on me through 17 years of marriage. I developed non- hodgkins lymphomia last year and he started talking to women on the internet. I lost my hair and he called me names. I divorced him but since then we have tried to work it out but I caught him cheating on me again. Why cant I get away from him? And why do I still love him please somebody help me? My heart and my spirit is broken and I cant seem to find out why I feel this way.

  83. Squeeky says:

    Im so hurt at the moment and really need advise and i feel just typing this out is also gonna help me not feel so alone. I have been dating my bf for a year and a couple months and for the first 8 months he was crazy bout me told me he wants to marry me lets just say he would have done everything for me and i was not really there… I loved him but not that affectionate etc. We live together and been going really down hill since. Its got really bad he has no emotion to me and just shrugs me off, no matter how much i cry and express my love for him he is not bothered. he goes out and tells his friends all the fyts we have etc and allows his friends to speak really nasty to me and give me afdvice in there tone , and i know him before he would have booted his friend if that were the case. He just shows no care and really nasty i send him messages and no reply. Please give me advice on what i should do. im destroyed and feel like i have no where to go.

  84. lisa says:

    I need some advice…I dated a guy for 9 months and I fell in love with him..Towards the end we argued alot about silly things but he was all I ever wanted. One day I found it in my heart to ask him if he really loved me and if he was serious..his response was “that I care about you but im not in love with you”…Immediately my heart broke b/c I really cared for him. He told me that he loved me before and he wanted to marry one day and everything. I meant his family and all. I was confused and hurt. I asked him if it was someone else and he said NO… We didnt speak in a month, so one day I text him and asked him why did he try me..he called me and told me that he went behind my back and met up with his ex bc they never had closure. This woman cheated on him and treated him horrible- (he told me that she knew about me). I was devastated bc i give this guy the best of me and now he treats me like i never existed. he told me that he dated her for six years and he was willing to take the risk. Im so hurt, I want to let go its been about 4 months but I still care for him and miss him. I hate the way I feel. Now he is living his life with his ex. The last thing he texted me was he was happy with his ex and dont contact him. Did this guy ever care for me? or was it a joke bc he moved on so quick. What should I do now b/c my heart is broken. -btw the other day he contacted my sister bf which is his bff and asked him if he thinks that me or my sister will ever talk to him…Why would he ask that after he treated me so bad???.Im so hurt, and I need some advice. btw he lives in a different city from me..but the his ex lives in the same city as him. How to let go?

  85. Rene says:


    My situation is a little different. I have become a mother to one of my exchange students. We have grown a strong bond over the last 2 or so years. He has become a part of our family. He is now in college and has a girlfriend that he wants me to desperately get to know. The last few visits, he has spent a lot of time talking to her on the phone and I feel emotionally hurt by it. I know this is normal for teenagers to talk all the time but I really need to be emotionally detached but at the same time be a mom to him. He would be devastated if I totally cut him off but I am finding it difficult emotionally. I want to be his mom and that is it without the emotions. I get angry when he leaves the room to talk to his girlfriend. I thought I was so over it. I have even talked to him about it and he tries to be discreet. Of course his girlfriend calls him 5 to 6 times a day while he is visiting and I find that very disturbing. Can you offer any suggestions on how to let go but not let go?

  86. Chawn says:


    I have been trying to detach from my ex for over a year now and as you stated there are good days when I am empowered to move on and there are bad days when I feel as if I cant move on because no one will ever make me feel the way that he does. What makes the pain even worse is that even if I wanted to get back with him I couldn’t because he is incarcerated. I have loved him sine I was 14years old and I am now 28. It hurts because I feel that I have been waiting to begin my life (marriage and kids) with him and now that his freedom is uncertain I feel that I wont ever get that chance again. He is my first love and my only love….

  87. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Renee,

    I’m so sorry to hear how hard it is for you to detach from your lost love… thing to focus on is why you keep breaking up! Obviously something is off kilter with your relationship, otherwise you’d stay together.

    To overcome heartbreak, I encourage you to focus on the reasons for breaking up. That might help you detach.

    If you need more tips, I’ve written about a dozen articles on breaking up and letting go of someone you love! Let me know if you want the links; I can put them here.


  88. Renee says:

    Hi I am finding it sooooooo difficult to detach. I feel like I am going to die. So I never get through the initial detachment because I end up going back. The pain is so unbearable the only way to stop it is if I get back together.
    I dont know if I should be with him or not. All I know is when we split I feel like I am dieing.,

  1. May 6, 2015

    […] If you feel like you’ll never recover from this breakup, read How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About. […]

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