Perhaps one of the top questions I receive from readers and clients is asking how to let go of a past love when the attachment is really strong. This attachment isn’t necessarily two-way, but either way it’s definitely problematic. When I wrote about unhealthy emotional attachments when dating a while back I received an unprecedented amount of correspondence from people who wanted to share their stories, many asking for help. It was pretty much the same story, they met someone whom they perceived to be exactly what they were looking for in a partner, this person said the right things and did the right things … or so it seemed. In retrospect there were so many red flags waving around that it was almost impossible to see straight.
Often times this “relationship”, or whatever you want to call it, was a casual in nature (whether sexual or not). Other times the couple may have dated but the relationship ended abruptly or without adequate closure. While other times they rushed into a relationship before REALLY getting to know each other and it ended just as quick. Everyone has a good story to tell and all are completely valid reasons why one might be attached and can’t let go of a past love. The question is: why do these attachments last so long, even when you’ve moved on and even content with your current life?
Can’t Let Go of a Past Love? Ask Yourself Why You’re Still Attached.
Often times we can’t let go because there is something tethering us to that other person. It could be something they’re doing but more often than not it’s all you. You’re the one holding on, and you need to ask yourself why you’re still attached. Perhaps it’s false hope, or they’re just taking what you give them because they’re the “taking advantage” type so you take what you can get, perhaps you’re afraid of being alone, maybe you’re afraid of losing them forever or maybe the prospect of moving on scares you … stick with the devil you know, right? Whatever the reason, you need to figure it out.
I too have suffered from unhealthy emotional attachments and all it did was hold me back from meeting the right person for me. Why? Because I wasn’t ready and I had too much residue to really make myself open to truly giving and receiving love with another. That is when I sought help. Speaking to someone helped me realize why it was that I was so attached, the funny thing was as much as I wanted to blame them it wasn’t about them at all – it was about me. I was challenged to look at what characteristics and actions about that person I was holding on to and what that meant in my life to have them.
I realized they were like a drug for me and I was, for lack of a better word, addicted. They may have enabled me, but I made the choice to let it happen because I couldn’t bare the thought of living in a world without them in it. I was convinced they were my soul mate, that we had an incomparable connection with each other. Question is was I creating this illusion or was it reality. But I felt it, I was convinced. Even though he was along for the ride, I was seeing things that weren’t there. He was a master manipulator and narcissist who drained me of life and love, giving me little in return other than breadcrumbs to keep me around. Does this sound familiar? I can’t tell you how many people have sent me almost the same story. But why do we, intelligent women and men, let this happen? Now THAT is the important question to ask yourself.
Find Out Why You’re Still Attached & Finally Move On
Many psychologists will tell you different things, but you need to find what’s best for you AND do it when you’re truly ready to move on. I had reached my breaking point when I decided I wanted to let go for real, the result was me finding my very own happily ever after. The result, ultimately, was a healthy loving respectful trusting relationship. You can have this too. How? Here’s what worked for me (and what I get my clients to do and is available in my free eworkbook link below).
- Take inventory of past relationships. You will need to write down the good, the bad and the ugly of each short and long term relationship you’ve had and look for trends (and there are ALWAYS trends). You can’t imagine how many breakthroughs have happened after readers and clients did this. It’s really challenging but you’ll see the patterns and that you usually will choose the same type of people and it always ends the same way … but you CHOOSE these people. It could be because of something in your childhood or past experiences or even loneliness. But you need to figure out what it is. A professional or a trusted friend who’s a good listener can help you with that.
- Build your confidence and know your worth. You need to know what makes you marketable in the dating world. You need to identify what makes you a valuable asset to another person. It may sound crass but it’s necessary. There is so much competition that you need to stand out from the crowd and saying that you have a good sense of humor or having a job just doesn’t cut it anymore. You have to be interesting. You have to be a “hot commodity”.
- Surround yourself with good people who care about you. We cannot live in silos and the people around you make a world of difference when it comes to your mental health and ability to let go of things and people that aren’t good for you. In way think of them as the net that catches you when you fall.
- Be your best self! Always put your best foot forward when meeting new people – physically, emotionally and mentally. You need to show others you’re attractive, strong, kind and worth getting to know. This includes not oversharing your life, or demonstrating your baggage and certainly make sure to leave something to the imagination.
- Be happily single. Remember that you don’t need anyone but you value others and want to share your life with a companion, a partner. Make sure your life is full of great activities, friends, and family. A partner shouldn’t be necessary for your survival. No one is your other half. They are someone to walk on your life’s path with.
If you can’t let go of past love, then ask yourself why you’re still attached. It will really help you move on. It did help me – a lot. Another thing I really realized through the process was that some people will always have a special place in our hearts but that doesn’t mean they deserve a special place in our lives. I let go and found my happily ever after and so can you. I can’t promise that it will be easy, but I can assure you that it will definitely be worth it!
READERS: Have you ever suffered from unhealthy emotional attachments when dating? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you need help with finding your true path in love, check out my dating support services here (I can create packages and services that meet any budget): https://singledatingdiva.com/helping-you-find-love/
Need help dealing better with your dating and love life? I’ve released my new workbook to help you attract the love you desire AND IT’S FREE… if you’re interested in receiving a free copy then click HERE and register your name to get the book, tell your friends too because this is a VERY VALUABLE resource! You CAN increase your datability and chances at your very own happily ever after (just like my clients AND me!), you just have to choose to get out of your comfort zone and start thinking strategically. I’ll show you how!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
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I have been attached and often these weren’t guys I even dated, but wanted to. Then there were a few I couldn’t let go of. There are several reasons why but the major one was that they were what I sought and the guys I met weren’t. For example, 7 years ago I reconnected with a guy who had been a friend 10-15 earlier. Just a friend but he liked me and for years I built up this relationship because i was struggling to find someone. We reconnected and I realized he wasn’t the same guy he had been years ago due to life changes. He dumped me less than a month after reconnecting and I was heartbroken. I immediately started online dating and all I was finding were complete losers and it made me more sad. Two years after that I felt healed and tried online again and met great guys but nothing connected. Then I met my one friend and for years we’ve just been friends and nothing more. I’m not waiting for him, I’m just not bothering to look because when I do look I find nothing. I am considering online again though but am afraid that I’ll hurt someone still holding a flame for someone else. On the other hand I may meet someone. Years ago I liked several guys and they didn’t like me so I dated guys I didn’t like. My thinking was that the guys I liked would be interested, but they weren’t and the men t I dated were mean to boot.
Another great post. I have seen a lot of my closest friends can’t let go a past love. these are great advises.
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