How to Break Your Emotional Dependency on Your Ex

by Nina J Appleby

Break Your Emotional Dependency on Your Ex
photo credit: EmilyGrace Photography

Do you feel a strong emotional “attachment” to your ex, but you don’t understand why? Are you finding that you are having difficulty letting go of your relationship because your ex provided you with stability and comfort? After the dust has settled, you now begin to see things in a new perspective that your love for your ex blinded you from. So how do you break your emotional dependency on your ex?

Well, first, you must understand why you are dependent on your ex in the first place.  Often, you became dependent on your ex to fill a void in your life that was most likely created during childhood.  You allowed other people to define your self worth.  When you met your former lover, they probably made you actually begin to feel worthy of receiving love. Probably for the first time in your life, you started to feel like you were valuable and appreciated.

Often, we become dependent on our lover based on the emotional needs that they fulfill. We rely on our partners to provide us with those “feel-good” feelings. Slowly, over time, we make them totally responsible for giving us that feeling all of the time. When they give us the attention that we crave, they provide us with feelings of love and approval.  They make us fell worthy and safe. However, when the relationship sours, the attention stops and our self worth starts to diminish.   It was unfair of us to make them responsible for how we felt every moment of everyday. This is why most relationships end in a “lose-lose” situation.

But there is hope. You can break your emotional dependency on your ex. You must first want to do so. You have to realize that this attachment is harmful to healing your heartbreak as well as your whole wellbeing.

Here are three major actions that you can start to take today to break your emotional dependency on your ex:

  • Learn how to be responsible for your own emotions. You are the only one who has control over how you feel at any particular moment. No one can make you happy or sad. You decide how their actions affect you.  You must become responsible for how you react to others emotionally.  Take control of your entire emotional system now or you will continue to be a slave to it for the rest of your life.
  1. Learn what your emotional needs are and learn how to give yourself what you expected your ex to give you instead. If you expected your ex to give you love and attention, give love and attention to yourself. You will find that you are more fulfilled when you provide yourself with the things that you think you are lacking.
  2. Define your own self worth and don’t let other people dictate what your worth is no matter how much you love them. You are the only one who knows really how valuable you are.  Start to appreciate all of the good qualities that you possess and let no one determine or undermine your self worth. Period! When you let other people define who you are and what you are worth, you give away your power and allow them to walk all over you. You are not a doormat, so stop acting like one.


I hope these tidbits help you understand your emotional dependency on your ex and how you need to break this powerful bond that weakens your inner strength now so that you can begin to heal your heartbreak.  You don’t need to take on each action all at once. Do what you can each day and eventually you will cut through that rope that ties you to your ex emotionally like a chainsaw.

~Here’s to your healing!


Nina Appleby is the author of Heal Heartbreak Now!, which is a 5 step program that allows you to move past the pain of heartbreak, find endless happiness within yourself, and experience Real Love .

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ralo October 15, 2011 at 1:38 am

I’m a heartbreak cuz maybe I’m the one who treat bad her I feel resposable for what happen. I feel depresed I whish this never happen I just won’t acept it. I need help.

abp October 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

So my boyfriend’s son’s mother has an issue with me and always has. At first she tried calling me and talking about the relationship they had together when I would pick up their son. I stopped that of course. She would call all the time which at first was accepted because they need to talk for the son’s sake. When it became a probblem was when she was calling at least ten times a day and it was never about the kid and always about her wanting to fight with him about absolutely nothing. She is the type of woman who uses the child as a pawn. I know that being a single mother is hard but I don’t unerstand why anyone who loves their child wants to break a bond between a man and his son. He loves his 3 yr. old son so much he would even take her two daughters for the weekend as well as his son. She says he is a dead beat dad and that he doesn’t love his son when he tries to pick him up every friday for the entire weekend. We live an hr and a half away from her and his older son’s mother and always are the ones who do the pick up and drop off. It takes 3 and a half hrs. all togetherto pick up the 15yr old and the 3 yr old. It is the same to drop off so 7 hrs every weekend. I know a lot of women who use their children to get back at the childs father but I just wish children would come before hurt feelings. To me it’s selfish. I know a lot of women who would die for their childs father to take them for even one day as well. It just seems in this world noone is
satisfied. I think the best thing for anyone to do is just move on try to be civil and that is being a bigger person. Oh well though people typically don’t care about others just their own feelings. If you really ever loved a person you should love enough to let them go if they aren’t happy with you. Trust me I have done this. It won’t work anyway if you’re hanging on while the other person is looking forward past you.

Paul Schlegel February 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Would like to see your book.

Gray January 17, 2016 at 9:28 am

Broke up over ten years ago. Still dependant on my ex. I hate the way he makes me feel.

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