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How do you detach from your partner?


WomanWriter

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I've been relatively successful at detaching from my ex fiancee. After a year apart with lght contact and, eventually, no contact, I still love him but I no longer have that obsessive, achy feeling. For the most part, you could say I am over him and have resigned to the fact that a future with him is over. I don't think about him as much at all. Maybe once a day or so, but no bad feelings...or very few.

 

Contrast that with my current boyfriend. I am starting to fall so hard for him that I have butterflies in my chest constantly. I think about him sexually (we are waiting for marriage this time although we both have past experience) and I just want to go crazy and touch myself. I feel like I'm in a trance all day as I blush just thinking about the next time I'll see him. This didn't happen at first. He was the one who pursued me and came on strong. I was interested but had a lot of concerns (and still am waiting for my pastor to be available so we can talk to him about them).

 

But the truth is, I am deeply infatuated now. I have a tendency to become codependent and lose myself in my relationships (even friendships).

 

How do you keep yourself relatively detached without pushing your partner away? Part of me wants to ignore him, but he doesn't deserve that, as he hasn't played games with me and I don't want to do that to him. He knows I requested space and he has been honoring it, but the truth is that I think about him even when he's away. I think about him all day.

 

Being "in love" is nice, when you're with them, but I'm afraid it is going to turn me into a doormat again. I am losing my ability to focus on work, friends, and hobbies. And I know that will lead to him losing interest as it did with my ex fiancee.

 

Besides staying busy, what can you do? I have tried staying busy but my thoughts just wander to him constantly. A lot of things remind me of him. I can't even read the Bible or do my work without some connection to him.

It is not healthy to be this obsessive. I get nervous when I'm around him and start stuttering. This is different than before. I used to be a little more cool and playful around him, but since I am falling for him, I'm sure he sees me changing, being more insecure, which is not the woman he fell for at first.

 

I would like some advice or feedback about your own experiences about how to let go and detach from someone so that you can still be attracted to them but not overwhelmed with emotions and lust to the point where you can't focus on your life.

 

Thank you!

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I do not think you are supposed to detach from this phase. It is what keeps you together. You will lose the "infatuation"phase soon enough and then you will wish to have it back. Be happy with it, it helps love to grow. I must say this is a surprise turn around from disgust.

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what are your insecurities? what are you fears? look them in the eye if you can. dig into it all.

 

are you afraid of becoming too attached? is that how the relationship with your ex fiancee was? were you more invested? makes sense that you'd be a little gun-shy about walking down that road again. i think it's possible begin sabotaging your relationship the more stuck you get in those old feelings. and since the new relationship is relatively young (even if it wasn't), why not investigate these things. open yourself up to them.

 

i tend to agree with victoria. the early romantic stages of a relationship seem to be so important in establishing that initial bond. if you're not entirely there for that (ie trying to avoid becoming too attached), you might miss out on a bit of that beauty.

 

watch out for those old defensive patterns...the times when you kind of retreat into yourself. when you have an experience, the outcome of that experience tends to set a bit of a precedent for future experiences of a similar nature. it's almost unconscious. you just react. when you notice that you're slipping into those old patterns, can you be curious about it? can you open yourself up to exploring what you're afraid of?

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Thank you so much, you guys. It helps to know this is normal. I just wondered for a woman my age if this was a bad sign. I still do want to confront my insecurities too, 90 Hour Sleep.

 

I think I'm afraid that I won't be good enough. I felt that way with my ex because he had more talents than I did and I felt like he was more worldly, which made me inferior and less interesting. He didn't seem to think so at first, but I guess it became a self-fulfilling prophesy. After he left me, I took classes and sports lessons. But I was single and could focus on that stuff. When I get with someone, I lose that focus.

 

I am also a pretty mild person so I'm scared that my boyfriend now will get bored with me. He is more talkative and outgoing and I am more intellectual, quiet, and introverted. I start thinking "What if he thinks I'm too tame and boring?" His exes were loud, big, and outgoing. It's hard to imagine what he sees in me.--Wow...did I just say that...I am re-reading this posting. And I actually think I'm a pretty cool person---I'm kind, friendly, playful, intelligent, and decent. But I still think I'm boring. I guess that's it! I think I'm too boring!

 

I actually feel inferior for not being big enough, too. My boyfriend says I'm the smallest woman he's ever dated (but I am a normal height and slightly overweight). I feel he likes more eccentric, BBW types but I am not that type at all. I haven't talked to him about this because I don't want to ruin his assumption of my confidence.

 

I can be playful, fun, and passionate but I see that part of me shrinking in fear when I'm feeling this way. I lose my train of thought and my wits. There have been a lot of things I haven't told him simply because I forget, from being so paralyzed. It makes me feel really stupid to be in a trance around him.

 

When we met, it was in Co Ed Bible Study, so I was passionately expressing my views and participating in the class. He saw that person. But now, I don't say much in class because I'm aware that he's watching me. I don't like that. I know I have to just pretend like he's not there and just be myself. I notice that he is quieter too. He is less playful than he used to be. He used to make a lot of silly jokes.

 

I guess I just have to accept that I feel like this, but try to assert my wants and needs without being inconsiderate. It did help me to confront my feelings about my ex. I think that is how I got over him. I just sat with my feelings and accepted them as I went about my business. It was hard, but I don't feel repressed. I feel like I worked through some things.

 

I tell my boyfriend now when I'm experiencing walls. He is good about it and tells me we can talk later. I also point out when he seems to be shutting down (he was cheated on by his ex). We have been able to work out some of our concerns on our own, but I feel like there is more to do, even though we are a young relationship.

 

I just don't want to blow this. And if it doesn't work out, I really don't want to keep up the pattern. I want to be attached in a sense, but I still have work to do and I know he does too. I just want to change and have a healthy lifestyle where we don't become enmeshed with each other to the point where we can't be away from each other without being all achy and dependent.

 

Thanks again for your responses. I really appreciate them! Any more are welcome.

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Yes, enjoy it and remember, loving is giving - so that if your intense feelings whether they be love, infatuation or otherwise govern your actions in a way that makes you act too needy and clingy, remind yourself that you can choose to react a different way in order to have things be more balanced nad comfortable with your boyfrined. I wouldn't advise detaching or game playing, but if you feel like you're going to stutter, and you just stuttered five minutes earlier, choose instead to take a deep breath and just stay quiet and present - no need to talk all the time, right? That's just one example of what I mean.

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such an interesting response. sounds like you've made some fairly substantial leaps in regards to your own well-being. that's exciting!

 

i'm wondering, have you put on a mask? when you first met this new guy, you were you. and now that you've formed a bit of an attachment, perhaps you're retreating into a place that you're more comfortable with. perhaps he's picking up on that, and as a result he doesn't feel as free to be himself.

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I'm trying to figure out why anyone would want to detach when they have just starting dating and getting to know each other. What am I missing here?

The only time I want to detach is when things have gone wrong and we break up and never want to see each other again.

 

insecurity. having felt a sense of overwhelming attachment that wasn't fully reciprocated (or at least perceived that way). hard not to retreat into the defensive stance when you're entirely convinced that that particular experience is going to be repeated.

 

have you ever had something that hurt you...and then in future encounters with something similar your natural reaction was to avoid that experience altogther? it's like survival mode. something hurt me, so i'm going to do everything i can to avoid that painful experience in the future. the catch seems to be that those impulses only become stronger. the more one buys into them, the more engrained they become.

 

that's my perspective. dunno how accurate it is in regards to others.

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These responses have been thought-provoking and helpful.

 

Batya, that is great advice. And I believe the same...that love is about giving. But I feel like I am taking, so I need to respond differently to how I feel, and it won't be a game. It just needs to be discipline.

 

90 hour sleep, it is true. I feel like I am wearing a mask and so is he. It is hard not to because I guess I subconsciously am trying to impress him. But now that I know this, I can catch myself and let myself be more expressive. I think you're right that he's trying to impress me too. His voice is high when he talks to me and he seems to act more gentle than normal. But I like his normal voice and his regular demeanor. I want him to be himself and I assume he wants me to be myself too. It's hard but at least I can try. It helps if I only think of him as a friend. If I tell myself "B is my friend. He's not going to reject me for saying that" then I can be more assertive. But if I tell myself "B will be turned off if I say that..." I shrink up in fear. So I guess I have to think of some things to tell myself that I can recall when I'm feeling intimidated.

 

One thing that helped me was to change my Facebook picture from a picture of "us" to a picture of just me. I just got a passport for a mission trip, so I have a new pic. For some reason, posting that picture to my profile made me feel stronger and more independent. I'm not doing it to play games, though. I just have to remember to keep some things just for me and that pic reminds me that I have my own life, my own profile.

 

I guess some other things that help are to think about things that differentiate myself from B. I do have some interests that he doesn't share. If I focus on those, maybe I'll feel less like my identity is disappearing. My ex fiancee expressed his own fear in this area...that he was losing himself by being wrapped up with our relationship...and now I see just what he means. I would like to keep my identity and be happy with or without B. And I hope it's the same for him. I am more attracted to him when he has other interests to share with me, not when he sits home thinking about me, so I assume it's the same for him.

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This seems very true for me also, 90 hour sleep.

 

insecurity. having felt a sense of overwhelming attachment that wasn't fully reciprocated (or at least perceived that way). hard not to retreat into the defensive stance when you're entirely convinced that that particular experience is going to be repeated.

 

have you ever had something that hurt you...and then in future encounters with something similar your natural reaction was to avoid that experience altogther? it's like survival mode. something hurt me, so i'm going to do everything i can to avoid that painful experience in the future. the catch seems to be that those impulses only become stronger. the more one buys into them, the more engrained they become.

 

that's my perspective. dunno how accurate it is in regards to others.

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