When you have been with a romantic partner for a while, it is only natural that you would begin developing deep feelings for them.
At this juncture, you prioritize their happiness and satisfaction, want to be with them, and you may even find yourself desiring a future with them.
While these feelings are thrilling, one of the biggest nightmares many people can face is getting to a point where it feels like they are in a one-way relationship.
Here, the relationship feels strained and toxic. Although it may hurt you deeply, you would need to learn how to detach yourself from someone you love for your health and mental sanity.
The reason for this is simple. If you do not figure out how to emotionally detach yourself from that person you love, you will find yourself pining over what could have been; a mental and physical state that isn’t healthy for anyone, especially not you.
At this point, it is necessary to state that this post aims not to teach you how to become obnoxious or cold-shouldered toward your partner.
However, this post is meant to provide you with strategies and close-kept tips on guarding your heart and emotions as it becomes obvious that you may need to put some emotional/physical distance between yourself and your partner (or an ex-partner).
Try your best to use the information contained in this post when you believe the time is right.
What does it mean to detach yourself from someone emotionally?
The term “emotional detachment” has been primarily used in its negative light. In this context, emotional detachment implies being cold-shouldered and distant from someone.
It has been used in different relationship scenarios like parent-children relationships and vice versa, relationships between friends, and relationships between corporate colleagues.
However, it is necessary to ask ourselves if there’s any other side to the equation. This would help set the pace for the conversation we would be having in this article.
For the sake of this article, we would be examining “emotional detachment” in light of romantic relationships.
Hence, emotional detachment in relationships is a process through which you disconnect yourself from a romantic partner on an emotional level. Usually, this is carried out as an act of self-defense, especially when you begin to notice a downward spiral in the relationship (for several relationships).
Just in case you were wondering if this is even a thing, MedicineNet discusses that intimate partner abuse is a significant public health problem that has affected over 2 million women and 800,00 men, causing homelessness, billions of dollars in healthcare costs, and even death in extreme cases.
Learning how to detach from someone can be a difficult task. However, the rewards are far-reaching because when applied well, this skill can help you protect your heart/affections and can also help you walk away from a toxic relationship before things go south.
In addition, understanding emotional detachment in relationships helps you know exactly what this looks like.
When equipped with information, you can understand what to be on the lookout for as far as our relationship with your partner is concerned.
This way, you can tell when the connection is worth fighting for and when you should simply cut your losses.
Research carried out and documented by the National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that about 70% of people who stayed back in toxic relationships over a long time frame came out with severe mental health challenges like depression (39%) and PTSD (31%).
With these points out of the way, let us take a quick look at why you need to emotionally detach yourself from someone you love once the need arises.
4 Reasons why you need to detach yourself from a romantic partner emotionally
Knowing how to emotionally detach yourself from someone you love when the need arises is necessary for several reasons.
Here are 4 main reasons for this.
1. You may not be able to truly love yourself (again) until you have gotten away from that toxic relationship
One of the things that happen when you are in a toxic relationship is that the anger, bitterness, resentment, and other negative emotions you feel (at some point) may begin to cloud your sense of judgment/self-esteem.
If you do not take specific steps to get out of the relationship in one piece, you may start resenting yourself and turning your anger inward.
One of the fundamental steps toward healing is to become emotionally detached from your toxic partner. Doing this will take power away from them, and this will, in turn, help you to begin your journey toward self-love and improved esteem.
From all we have discussed so far, this should have been evident at this point.
When you are in a relationship with someone toxic, domineering, and who mentally/physically/emotionally abuses you, detaching from that relationship becomes paramount, especially for your sanity.
Hanging around them when it is evident that they aren’t making any efforts to become better will, more often than not, cause you untold harm – emotionally and mentally.
4.Emotionally detaching from someone you love helps you to be in the moment and make better decisions for your future
One of the reasons why many people find it difficult to move on from relationships when it is evident that the relationship is heading nowhere is because they may be caught up in the euphoria of ‘what could have been.’
Under these circumstances, you can see the relationship for what it truly is. Then again, feelings of detachment allow you to see your partner in a different light, for who they indeed are, and not the person your love for them has made them into (in your mind’s eye).
With these in place, you can make clear-headed decisions about exactly where you’re headed.
When you have gone through all of these steps and are finally ready, here’s how to detach yourself from someone you love.
15 Ways to emotionally detach yourself from someone
If you want to stop being attached to someone (your partner in this case), here are 15 steps you should follow.
1.Evaluate your relationship with them so far
Now that your goal is to become emotionally detached from someone you have loved, the first thing you need to do is take some time to evaluate your relationship with them so far.
When you do this right, you will become enlightened to several things, which will help solidify your decision to put some distance between them and yourself.
You would have to carry out this step during the self-introspection stage of this journey. While you evaluate your relationship with them, critically look at things and determine precisely how well (or otherwise) the relationship has fared before now.
Some of the questions you need to answer include determining whether or not your partner has prioritized you as much as you have prioritized them. Have they made compromises at specific points for your relationship to keep blooming (or have you been the only one doing all the groveling)?
If, after this session, you find out that the relationship has been one-sided, you may want to consider moving on quickly.
3.Determine whether your expectations of your partner are reasonable
You may have to keep aside some of your biases and already acquired beliefs to do this successfully.
Put yourself in their shoes for a few minutes and answer a pertinent question; “if you were the one in their shoes, would you be able to accomplish what you expect them to?”
If your honest answer is ‘no,’ you may want to rethink your definition of ‘being inconsiderate/selfish.’ On the other hand, if your answer is ‘yes,’ you are on the right track.
4.Articulate your emotional needs and commit to satisfying yourself
What are the things that make you happy? Those you’ve formerly expected your partner to do for you? This is where you should make a list of them and commit to satisfying them by yourself, to the best of your abilities.
The main advantage of doing this is that this decision takes the power of making you happy/sad out of the hands of your partner and returns it to you.
How do you intend to start moving on from them? Would you like to join a social group, club, or association of like-minded people? Would you like to learn a new skill or hobby? At this point, creating a support system is key.
Your goal at this stage should be to fill yourself up with productive activities that you love so that you do not have to sit around and wait for them.
Would you please pay attention to make sure that your exit plan doesn’t include them in it? At the same time, start making new friends again.
You want to become independent of them. They shouldn’t be a part of your favorite activities and pastimes at this point.
Also Watch: 5 guaranteed ways to emotionally detach
6.Seek professional help
If you think it is necessary, you may want to enlist the help of a professional.
Depending on the nature of the relationship you’re trying to get out of, the professional can help you with sessions that range from mental health rehab sessions, or they may even teach you more about detachment and how to maximize the process.
If you believe you need a bit of hand-holding as you learn how to detach from someone you love, getting expert help will come in handy.
Sometimes, the mental push you need is just a reminder of how awesome you are and how you deserve all the love and attention your partner can give.
Mindfulness helps you be in the moment and makes sure that you remain in tune with your inner self.
Guided meditations, journaling, and affirmation sessions will help you become more aware of yourself (and of the value of your mental health) and will help you appreciate yourself better.
When all these are in place, it becomes easier to stop being attached to someone who doesn’t treat you as though you are worth it.
8.Let go of your high expectations
At this point, you have made a lot of progress on your journey to practicing emotional detachment in a toxic relationship. At the same time, you now know better than to place a lot of power in the hands of your partner.
What high expectations have you had of them before now? This is an excellent time to make a list of them all and let go of them.
Right now, it is almost evident that the relationship is one-sided and that they aren’t good enough for you. The last thing you want to do is place a lot of hope in them.
As far as your interactions with them are concerned, what things would you no longer turn blind eyes to? Are there scenarios you expect them to make some effort in as well? Define these parameters clearly.
As you work toward learning how to detach from someone you’ve had feelings for (and actually practice emotional detachment), putting in some physical distance is necessary.
This is even more important if the relationship isn’t new per se and if you have developed deep feelings for them.
Putting in some physical distance may include moving out of the house (if you’re living together).
Traveling to a different city for any reason, changing the locks on your doors and kindly asking them to leave, or just taking up new hobbies/habits that ensure that you don’t spend all your waking hours with their insight.
Note, however, that the first time you do this may feel terrible (especially if you have grown accustomed to intimacy and spending time with them). It may even feel as though someone is ripping a band-aid off you. But it is all for the best.
You remember the saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” right?
11.Block them on social media or take a break if there’s a need for that
Almost everyone has an Instagram account these days. If this is any indicator, social media may serve as a stressor at this point, especially if you created a ton of memories with them; memories you shared with your connections/friends on social media.
You don’t need triggers like these. They will only make you feel nostalgic and rescind your decision to detach yourself from someone you love (your partner).
12.Allow yourself to grieve
With all the points we’ve discussed above, you probably think that you aren’t supposed to feel anything as you put this distance between yourself and your partner. It isn’t always this simple.
Sometimes, you’ll feel bad and even find yourself asking if you have done the right thing or not. At this point, it is okay to feel grief.
Permit yourself to feel it. It is proof that you can love someone again when you meet the right person. However, make sure that the grief you’re feeling doesn’t stop you from taking all the steps you must for this journey to be complete.
It can be overwhelming, and at this point, you may need to open up to someone you can trust. It could be a friend, sibling, parent, or family member.
Just be careful about who you talk to, and make sure they are both sensible and wouldn’t judge your decision to practice emotional detachment.
Your journey to learning how to detach from someone you love is already stressful enough. You don’t need an extra judgemental person in the scene, although talking to someone can be therapeutic.
14. Give it time
The feelings you’ve developed for your partner will most likely not get wrapped into a giant ball of snow and fizzle away in the heat of noon. It may take some time before you can say you are totally over it.
Take as much time as you need, and do not try to compare yourself with anyone. Different people would react to detaching from a relationship in different ways.
Hence, please don’t beat yourself up when it seems like yours takes much more time to complete.
15.Commit to never going back
Soon enough, the partner you have just separated yourself from may come calling.
They may somehow find you on social media, drop the random here-and-there, ‘I would love to catch up with this kind of message. You don’t want to fall for those tricks.
Depending on who they are, your ex-partner may come clean and tell you that they would like to get back together with you. They may even begin to show you how much they have changed.
While they may have changed, you don’t want to place a bet on that. It is best you walk away, never look back, and March into the limitless possibilities in your future.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.