Despite popular belief, the hardest part about breaking up with your loved one is not getting used to life without them or the heartbreak you go through.
It’s being left with the question: How to detach from someone who means the world to me?
Well, Khalil Gibran once said, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
In other words, you can love someone with all of your heart, but that doesn’t mean that you should become emotionally dependent on them.
In fact, every romance where two people are emotionally codependent is a bad relationship.
Well, if you’re wondering how to detach from someone who is no longer with you, here is a detailed step-by-step guide through your detachment process.
1. Accept that it’s over
Before successfully detaching from someone or even figuring out how to emotionally detach, first and foremost you have to accept the reality.
Your bad relationship is over. Yes, it was bad and that’s why it ended.
I know that this isn’t easy. Your heart is broken and you think that you don’t have the strength to face the painful truth.
Instead, you live in denial. You keep hoping that this is not the end and that you don’t have to go through the process of emotional detachment.
Well, the number one mistake most people make when they end any relationship (and this especially goes for romances) is that they start obsessing on getting their ex – whom they still love – back.
I get it. You miss this person badly and at this initial point, you’d do everything in your power to reconcile with them.
So, you spend weeks or even months trying to subtly get them back or you even openly beg them for another chance.
You patiently wait to see their phone number on your screen and you put your life on hold, expecting this person to return.
I’m not here to give you lectures about your self-worth and why this is something you should never do for multiple reasons. In fact, I’ll just warn you about one thing.
When you find yourself in a situation like this, after a while you’ll turn around and see that you haven’t actually moved an inch – that your state of mind is exactly the same as it was the first day of your breakup.
Despite the fact that this person has been physically absent from your life for some time, you feel like you’ve just lost them.
You keep on expecting their phone call or text message where they tell you they can’t live without you.
That is exactly why it’s crucial not to waste any of your time on running from the truth or on trying to change something that can’t be fixed.
Instead of putting all of your strength into getting this person back, make a decision that, from this moment onward, you’ll start your healing process.
2. Take baby steps
I won’t lie to you – emotional detachment and complete peace of mind can’t come overnight.
Kicking out someone from your life physically is not easy. However, it’s a piece of cake in comparison to throwing them out of your heart, mind, and soul.
Ordering your emotions and thoughts is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. In fact, some even consider it impossible.
Well, that’s not true. This is definitely possible, but it is a process that involves a lot of time, energy, effort, devotion, and – most importantly – patience.
Therefore, you won’t accomplish anything if you rush yourself through this journey.
Instead of being hard on yourself and expecting miracles to happen overnight, take baby steps and go one day at a time.
Of course, there are a lot of people who are convinced that they’ve managed to emotionally detach themselves from someone in a blink of an eye.
However, that is not possible. In fact, in this case, it’s likely that they never loved the person they were trying to detach from for real.
What is even more probable is that they’ve just repressed their emotions, which is certainly not a healthy way to deal with things.
They’ve done everything in a hurry, but all of their feelings will come flooding back sooner or later, when they least expect it to.
Therefore, if you want to avoid this type of destiny, forget about trying to sweep things under the carpet, since this practice will bring you more harm than good in the long run.
Instead, let time do its magic and take it one baby step at a time.
3. Allow yourself to grieve
Breaking up with someone and the emotional detachment that usually follows always goes hand in hand with a lot of grieving.
Well, another mistake a lot of people also make is that they try to avoid this phase.
This is perfectly understandable. After all, there’s not one person on this planet who enjoys going through a heartbreak.
Nobody loves digging through their emotional wounds and risking deepening them even more. However, this is also a vital part of the process of letting go in the healthiest way possible.
Therefore, instead of preventing all of your pain from coming to the surface, please do the complete opposite.
Don’t provoke it intentionally, but if you sense a wave of sadness coming, don’t try shutting it down.
Embrace your pain and see it as something completely normal. Don’t let it define you, but accept that you’re just a human being made out of flesh and blood and that you’re allowed to suffer.
Don’t think of yourself as weak for feeling this way either. If you have the urge to scream or cry, that’s exactly what you should do.
Of course, this type of behavior shouldn’t become a habit of yours. After all, you can’t keep on living like this forever, can you?
That’s exactly why you should give yourself a deadline. Determine a date until which you’re allowed to grieve.
You’re the one who knows yourself the best, so you’re also the only one who can at least predict the amount of time your heart will need to recover.
Up until this date, deal with your pain however you feel like.
You don’t have to be smart and play your cards right during this period; just do whatever is easiest for you (except contacting the person you’re learning how to emotionally detach from).
Then, after this amount of time is up, get your act together and work towards letting go completely.
4. Cut all ties
I’m sure you’ve already heard about the (in)famous no contact rule. It is a technique people usually apply to get their exes back in their lives.
Basically, you cut all possible ties with this person for 30 to 90 days. No phone calls, no WhatsApp messages, no texting… If that doesn’t work, you even go as far as changing your phone number.
You give them a chance to feel your absence and start missing you, and you give yourself a lot of time to sort your thoughts and figure out what and who you really want.
Well, when you’re trying to detach yourself from someone, you’ll also cut all ties with them. Basically, you’ll go no contact with this person.
However, your no contact period is not temporary. Also, it’s not meant to serve as a tactic towards reconciliation.
Instead, it’s one of the steps towards your moving on for good.
Yes, I know we’re talking about emotional detachment here. Nevertheless, this is utterly impossible without physical detachment.
In order to kick someone out of your system, you first have to kick them out of your life. And when I say kick out, I really mean it.
Basically, there is no option in which you two remain best friends.
I know you want to be polite and you probably love this person as a human being before you see them as a romantic partner, but you can’t expect to over get over them if you stay on friendly terms.
Therefore, this means that you simply must break all connections to this person. There is no casual texting, going out for a cup of coffee, wishing happy birthdays or catching up.
Sounds radical, I know. But it’s the only way for you to accept it’s really over, and save your mental and emotional health.
You see, staying in touch with someone you’re trying to forget equals reopening your wounds every time you have any kind of contact with them.
It’s moving forward one step and going back two, which is not your desired result.
Besides, you know what they say: out of sight, out of mind. Just based on this, it’s apparent that you have a way better chance of detaching yourself if you go no contact.
5. Get rid of the reminders
However, cutting all ties usually means much more than just going no contact with someone you’re sadly still attached to.
It’s not enough to change your phone number, unfollow them on social media, block them on WhatsApp, and refrain from talking to them on a regular basis.
In fact, if you really want to know how to emotionally detach and achieve complete peace of mind, you’ll have to get rid of everything and everyone that might remind you of this person, as well.
If you two were in a long term relationship (we’re even talking about an ex husband or wife here), it’s perfectly natural that a lot of things and people around you are connected with this person.
Well, it would be the best if you could at least distance yourself from all of them. This especially goes with your mutual close friends.
I know that you’ve grown to love these people, but the last thing you need is someone who will keep on talking about your ex and your memories together.
Besides, whether you like to admit it or not, you’ll always wonder if these people will talk to them about you and if they can serve you as a channel towards them.
You have to admit that this is the last thing you need if you really want to move on.
Therefore, the best thing would be to cut all ties with these people as well – at least for a certain period of time until you get better.
Don’t worry: If they’re your real friends, they’ll understand your situation. They won’t pressure you into seeing them; they’ll give you all the time you need.
On the other hand, if you’re coworkers with your ex, things can get a little tricky and breaking up is more difficult.
In that case, do your best to keep your relationship strictly professional and, if possible, try finding another job.
The same goes with physical reminders of your failed relationship.
First and foremost, stop visiting the places you and your ex went frequented. This is especially important when it comes to clubs, malls, parks, or coffee shops where you expect to run into them.
The second part is removing all of your photos and memories together from your social media and other surroundings.
When it comes to this person’s gifts and other things that remind you of them, you don’t have to throw away all of it.
Besides, a day will come when each one of these things will put a smile on your face instead of make you cry.
Therefore, the best thing is to keep some little reminders but to hide it from yourself until the critical period is over.
Another significant thing here is music. While you’re in the grieving stage, you’ll probably listen to a lot of sad songs on a regular basis to help you release your sadness.
However, in this phase, you should do your best not to listen to any songs that might remind you of the person you’re trying to emotionally detach yourself from.
6. Stop idealizing your relationship
The next step in your emotional detachment process is all about you idealizing your past relationship (or marriage, if we’re talking about your ex husband or wife).
Don’t worry: You’re not the only one doing this.
In fact, this is a common practice among those grieving over a breakup. You think that your entire relationship is way better than it actually was.
You miss your ex boyfriend or girlfriend so much that you’ve forgotten all about your arguments and everything bad regarding your relationship.
Instead, you remember only the beautiful days and romanticize it even more.
From this point of view, what you two had was a unique kind of love. You had a special kind of bond, a karmic connection.
You’re convinced that this person is your only soulmate and the only man or woman you’ll ever love this much.
Well, let me tell you that this is all pain talking. I don’t doubt that you and your ex cared for each other, but trust me, it was a romantic relationship like every other.
You had your ups and downs. Besides, the bad days apparently outnumbered the good. After all, you broke up for a reason, didn’t you?
Therefore, I promise you that your relationship wasn’t as perfect as it now might seem. Your ex boyfriend or girlfriend has their own set of flaws, and I assure you that you’ll find someone better than them.
I’m not saying that you should forget everything nice you shared with this person either.
Instead, just trying to look at things as realistically as possible, and it will make it easier for you to get over this entire ordeal.
7. Remember that you can survive without anyone
So, you’re in a situation where you’re wondering how to detach from someone once you’ve built an emotional codependency with them.
This often happens in relationships with narcissists.
These people convince you that you’re completely worthless without them and that breaking up with them never means breaking emotionally free from them.
You come to believe that you can’t make it without them, that you need them to continue existing.
You convince yourself that this person is the center of your universe, that your life without them would be pointless, and that your well-being depends on them.
So naturally, when you lose your loved one who was the Sun to your Earth, you feel like you lost all of your self worth as well (even if you realized you were dealing with a narcissist.)
Your state of mind changes to the point where you think that the only way for you to keep on functioning properly is to do everything in your power to get them back.
Well, the key point in your emotional detachment process is figuring out that nothing mentioned above is true.
You don’t need your ex – you chose them to be a part of your life. Actually, as self-centered as this might sound, the truth is that you don’t need anyone to survive. No one but yourself, of course.
After all, you lived and existed before this person came along. So, what makes you think that you can’t keep on doing that now that they’re gone?
Please, don’t forget that you’re stronger than you might think. Even if things don’t appear that way now, trust me that you’re more independent and self-sufficient than you think.
Have faith that you can and will make it.
No, realizing all of this won’t magically make you forget all about this person, nor will it shut all of your feelings off just like that. The truth is that you’ll probably still miss them.
However, you won’t be emotionally attached to them anymore, which is the entire point, right?
8. Get the strength to forgive them…
Most people think that emotional attachment has to mean that you only love this person we’re talking about. Well, the fact is, things are usually much more complicated than that.
In fact, when you’re in this kind of state, it’s pretty normal for you to feel all sorts of emotions.
One day, you love them and want them back, the next you hate them for leaving you, the day after that you think you’re finally over them, and so it goes on.
Don’t worry, this is nothing unusual and it doesn’t make you crazy. In fact, it’s just your brain and heart’s system of dealing with this roller-coaster you got yourself onto.
Basically, the point is that it doesn’t matter how you feel for your ex. The bottom line is the same: they exist inside of you, one way or another.
It’s pretty much the same if you love them or hate them. Either way, you’re still emotionally attached to them and need help letting them go.
That’s why you have to get the strength to forgive this person, even if it’s the last thing they deserve.
You need to let go of resentment and grudges if you want to let go of all the feelings you have for them.
You’ll simply have to find a way to surpass the anger and the bitterness. Trust me: it’s the only way for you to set yourself free.
Be the better person and accept even the apologies you didn’t get. This won’t be easy, but it’s necessary for your healing process.
9. …and yourself
More importantly, you have to find the strength to forgive yourself. You see, sometimes you’re not emotionally attached to your ex – you’re still hung up on the person you were with them.
No, I’m not referring to the happy person you were back then. I’m talking about the fact that maybe you’re having a hard time forgiving yourself for not being smarter and for not knowing better.
Maybe you’re angry at yourself for still loving someone who obviously doesn’t deserve it.
Either way, the point is that you need to remember one thing: You just followed your feelings. You only broke your own heart and you’re not responsible for someone’s misfortune.
Therefore, there is absolutely nothing you have to forgive yourself for. Remember that these things happen and that through something like this is just a part of life.
Please, stop being so hard on yourself and give yourself a break.
10. Know that this will pass
The next step is not seeing this situation as the end of the world. Be optimistic and know that this will pass.
This is just a phase in your life – not a permanent state. You will get over it and you will heal, even though it doesn’t look that way now.
The worst thing you could do is lose hope. If you lose faith in yourself, all of this will be much more difficult.
Trust me, you’re not the only one to go through something like this. In fact, I bet that there’s not a person alive who hasn’t experienced something similar.
Look, I’ll be completely honest with you here. This is probably not the last time you’ll be asking yourself how to detach from someone.
You’re likely to fall in love with someone new in the future, and there is a possibility that you’ll have trouble forgetting them and detaching from them too.
However, it will also pass, the same way this experience will. Tomorrow is always a new day and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see one.
11. Keep yourself busy
Another important thing here is to keep yourself as busy as possible.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to tell you that you should run away from your feelings into overwhelming yourself with loads of work and other obligations.
However, if you’re sitting around and doing nothing, it’s more likely that your thoughts will end up drifting to where they shouldn’t go.
Whether you like it or not, when you’re bored, you’ll start thinking about your ex and catch yourself preoccupied with them again.
So, the best way to avoid this is to have your entire day filled if you want to stop obsessing over this person.
For starters, start a physical activity. Hit the gym, exercise at home, join the hiking club, or do whatever tires your body.
First and foremost, this is one of the best ways to get rid of all of that anger you’ve got pent up deep inside. Also, I promise you that your mind will follow your body sooner than you might think.
When you’re physically exhausted, you have a better sleeping schedule and you simply have no strength left to think about someone you shouldn’t be thinking about.
Also, a good way to keep yourself busy is to find a new hobby. This new hobby can include learning a new language, mastering a new skill, joining the book club, or taking an art class.
It wouldn’t be bad if you could get in touch with some of your old friends either.
I know that you’re probably scared of their reaction, since you’ve been ignoring them while you were in a relationship, but you can always try reaching out to them.
After all, you’ve got nothing to lose. Besides, I have a pretty good feeling that they’ll understand you and take you back.
12. Redirect this energy to yourself
When you’re emotionally attached to someone who is no longer physically present in your life, you spend a lot of time and energy thinking about them.
Of course you want to avoid this, but you feel like you just can’t help yourself.
No matter what you do, you can’t help but wonder where this person is, how they are, and whether they also feel the emotional connection you do.
Not only that, you were spending a lot of your energy on your ex while you were together as well.
You did everything you could to save your relationship, even though there was a part of you that knew it was doomed to fail.
After that, you’ve spent ages crying and lamenting the loss of someone who is still alive. Basically, your feelings for this person have become your be-all and end-all.
Well, now it’s time to change that. And the best way to do so is to redirect all of the time you’ve been giving to your ex towards yourself.
Just rechanell all of this energy and start investing it in the only person who deserves it: you.
For starters, do your best to start loving yourself the way you love your ex. Start thinking about your life as much as you’ve thought about theirs, and taking care of yourself the same way you did them.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is to take your ex off this pedestal you’ve obviously put them on. Stop prioritizing them and switch places between you two.
For a change, put yourself and your own well-being first. Stop connecting your entire existence to this person and remember that your tiny universe revolves around you.
Trust me, your ex isn’t as important to you as they seem to be. You’re the most significant figure in your own life and the only one who really matters.
Therefore, you’re the one who deserves all the love in this world, your mental health comes first, and there is nothing more important than your well-being.
Please, use this time to build the person you’re destined to be. Grow and do everything in your power to become the best possible version of yourself.
Work on your self-esteem, realize the importance of self-love and develop your sense of self-worth.
Once you accomplish all of this, just like that, you’ll stop developing emotional codependency towards other people.
13. Learn from the past
Here’s the thing: As much as we’d like to, the fact is that nobody can change the past. So, the question is: What’s the point of obsessing so much over it?
That’s exactly what you’ve been doing. You’ve been dwelling on the past and completely disregarding the present and future.
Well, instead of this practice (which can be dangerous for your mental health), try taking some lessons from everything you’ve been through.
First of all, this entire experience should teach you never to allow yourself to become emotionally dependent on another person.
You can love someone with all of your heart, but that doesn’t mean that your entire world should stop turning if it happens that you lose them.
Another crucial lesson here is that you don’t actually need anyone but yourself. When you lose a loved one, you are convinced that you won’t be able to keep on living without them. But here you are.
So, I guess that you’re much stronger than you initially thought. You can take much more than you expected, and you have what it takes to go through life on your own, without anyone holding your hand.
Yes, you’re an independent and emotionally self-sufficient individual and don’t let anyone change that.
14. Ask for help
Emotionally detaching yourself from a loved one is never easy. In fact, some people find themselves in a situation where they can’t cope with their feelings in this process on their own.
If this is something you can relate to, please listen to my advice and ask for help from a family member or close friend. Trust me, there is nothing for you to be embarrassed about.
Believe me when I tell you that every burden becomes a lot lighter when you share it with someone else. The same goes with this emotional baggage you’ve been carrying around.
I’m not saying that a third person will magically wipe away your pain. However, sometimes just talking to your best friend or a close family member helps a lot.
It becomes a lot easier to deal with all of this once you know that you’re heard and that you’re not alone.
Also, some people around you have also been through something similar to what you’re going through right now. Believe me, their experiences can serve you well.
Of course, all of us have our own pace and way of handling things. Nevertheless, the way others reached their goal and overcame emotional attachment can at least serve as inspiration.
If nothing helps, there is nothing shameful about asking a professional how to detach yourself from someone in a healthy way. I wish you the best of luck!