Looking for love and dating has the ultimate goal of forging an emotional attachment with someone. That attachment that will be lasting, fruitful and reciprocated. Now there’s the key word – reciprocated. What happens when it’s one sided? What happens when instead of forging something healthy and strong you develop an unhealthy emotional attachment to someone? Yes, it’s entirely possible, and, it’s happened to me before. You can go on various psycho-babble streams to determine why it happens but I’m more interested in what to do once it does happen and how you break free from it and move on to happier, healthier relationships. But first, we need to recognize this behavior in order to move on from it.
Unhealthy Emotional Attachments and Dating
Recognizing Unhealthy Emotional Attachments
According to psychologists, it’s very important to be able to recognize unhealthy emotional attachments. But what are some of the signs? Well, some are clearer than others, and, frankly it’s easier to notice them from the outside looking in. However, I wanted to give you some food for thought. One article in PsychCentral lists 5 Unhealthy Relational Patterns which I will share with you … consider if any of these sound familiar to you:
- Becoming too close too soon.
What this looks like is the inability to discern appropriate boundaries. According to the author “a relationship that may have started out rough or may have started out too friendly, too fast are often relationships that end in smoke (and flames).” So there you have it … whirlwind romances rarely end in good places, but, you have to ask yourself if this is a common occurrence for you. Do you jump in head first into everything? Are you in perpetual relationship cycles? Meet the love of your life and see forever in their eyes? Unfortunately, because you don’t know them on a deeper level, these are shallow relationships and tend to end just as fast as they began.
- Being clingy, not loving.
This is also shallow but also adds an element of delusion to the mix. You feel like you’re meant to be with this person and will do anything to make it happen, even though it’s not reciprocated. According to the author “a person who is extremely clingy is a needy person who is trying to meet their needs with a relationship that will never be sufficient.” You’re trying to fill a gap or find your “other half”, problem is that if you’re not whole on you’re own you’re putting too much weight on this other person which isn’t healthy. No one else can complete you if you’re not able to live a fulfilled life on your own.
- Over-identifying with strangers.
Just like the rear view mirror falsely shows you things at a distance but objects are closer than they appear, same here. According to the author “these individuals often find themselves attached to people who show them the slightest amount of attention (a smile, a caring gesture, offering their help, etc.) and may eventually come to believe that all of their encounters are closer than they really are.” We all know about looking for love in all the wrong places and with all the wrong people. Unfortunately, it happens more than we’d like to admit. Someone was being really nice and showing us attention and automatically we think there’s more. Reality is that it’s more about us than them, although some people unfairly lead you on that’s true, but generally if you know yourself you can’t get caught up in these situations.
- Going to great lengths to be close to anyone perceived as positive.
This one is very real as well. It’s about looking up and getting attached to someone in a position of some sort of power or influence. According to the author “that “power,” which is often perceived and not real, causes the individual to either become romantically attracted to the person or believe that they can receive some kind of love or affection from this person. Individuals with this skewed relational view often become stalkers.” Eek! Well, it happens all the time unfortunately, you imagine some sort of fantasy that this person will actually want something with you and start believing it. You know the person who can’t take no for an answer? Or the person who puts certain types of people on a pedestal? What they’re looking for is not in the realm of reality unfortunately and leads to more delusion and hurt.
- Getting sucked into the status quo.
People who have a poor self image or aren’t proud of who they are tend to emulate others and pretend to be someone they’re not. They feel people won’t like them for being themselves. They try to fit in with their perceived “better” crowd. According to the author “individuals like this are often seeking some sort of relational validation and is compensating with shallow things.” They think being this way or that or buying this or that will get them what they want. Not so.
Letting Go of Unhealthy Emotional Attachments
So as you can see, unhealthy emotional attachment comes from a place of neediness, delusion and insecurity. So how do we let go of these unhealthy emotional attachments when dating? Firstly, it’s by recognizing your patterns in dating, good and bad. Do you always date the same types of people over and over again? Ask yourself why. Do you always end in dating disasters? Who’s the common denominator here? Ask yourself “am I the problem“? Chances are that you are. Secondly, realize that you might be emotionally unavailable and forming unhealthy emotional attachments leads you just where you really want to be – alone. Emotional unavailability is very real thing. Lastly, be true to you, your wants, your needs and be happily single. You can’t be happy with anyone else if you aren’t fulfilled on your own. Check your baggage and be a whole person on your own who is seeking another whole person. THAT my friends is a healthy relationship.
You are responsible for your actions, no one else is to blame. You choose to be happy or a victim in dating. Letting go of unhealthy emotional attachments will definitely help you move forward in a positive dating direction. Don’t let anyone hold you back from happiness because of something you concocted in your mind. Live in the real world with real people, form healthy emotional attachments with others who reciprocate. Imagine that! There is a pot of gold at the end of the dating rainbow, but you have some work to do before you can find it.
READERS: Have you ever had unhealthy emotional attachments when dating? What did you do? What was it like? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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