5 Feelings That Create A Strong Emotional Bond

feelings-create-strong-emotional-bondI was listening to two friends argue about which phone is better, an iphone or blackberry. I had heard and read well researched and informed logical and technical arguments for either side when deciding whether to move from my BB to an iphone. But what was very interesting about this conversation (and many similar “conversations” between iphone and blackberry phone users) is that the more either side argued for their preferred phone, the more “emotional” they seemed to get. Even my friend who boasts of being a “rational and logical” person seemed to get pretty emotionally worked up.

It reminded me of a quote I read somewhere that “When a person experiences an emotional bond with an object, this object triggers one’s emotions and conveys a special meaning. Consequently, people are reluctant to dispose of the products to which they feel attached.”

In other words, it’ not really about the “object” but about the special meaning we attach to the object. It’s the same thing with people we hold with high regard or feel so deeply about. It’s not so much about the “person”, but the meaning we have attached to who they are to us. The more they mean to us, the more emotionally we feel attached to them.

When it comes to attracting your ex back, that “special meaning” your ex attaches to you may be the difference between succeeding and failing.

As mentioned several times in my articles and book, most people spend so much time and effort on the “how to” of contact, and many don’t get their ex back because despite their efforts, they fail to trigger emotions that cause their exes to be reluctant to dispose them off because they feel a strong emotional attachment.

If your relationship was for a relatively short period of time (a few month to a little over a year) or had so many problems that you didn’t have enough time to create a stronger emotional bond, instead of cutting off all communication, getting angry because your ex broke up with you, or doing things that cause him/her to stay away from you, I encourage you to work on thoughtful and caring communication that makes your ex feel that he/she can’t let you go because you are too special.

Instead of counting days until your next contact (a.k.a. limited contact), rehashing past conversations or worrying about what to say next (over-analyzing), or nagging your ex about going out with you on a date, spend more time creating a strong emotional bond by text, email, phone, face to face — and everything between.

The feelings you should be working on strengthening include but are not limited to:

1) Liking or feelings of affection (liking is very different from love);

2) Emotional safety (or feeling that he/she can open up to you without fear of you using his/her vulnerability to hurt him/her);

3) Autonomy (feeling that he/she can be his/her own person and is free to love you without you acting all needy and clingy);

4) Consistency/Reliability (confident knowing that you will be there through the good and the bad);

5) Trust.

If you were together for years and had developed a strong emotional bond, dig deeper into what caused your ex to lose that feeling that you are too special to let go, and once again make yourself “special” by enriching your emotional communications and experiences.

At the end of the day, it’s the strength of the emotional bond between you and your ex that makes all the difference.

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10 Comments

  • I was the best girlfriend and supported him when he had nothing. He moved into my home and i paid his bills and even paid for his tuition to go back and complete his degree. Then I found out that he was texting other women and when I confronted him he said I control and suffocate him. We ended breaking up. He moved out and now will not respond to my texts or calls. We bumped into each other and he completely ignored me. He has a pattern of cutting off people, not only with me, but with his friends, relatives and all exes before me. So I think that he’s just a hurt person. How can I make him feel him safe again to come back to the relationship?

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    • I am all for “supporting” the people we love, and even those that we don’t, but I think you acted a little too desperate, sacrificed too much and acted like his “parent” … moving him in, paying his bills, his tuition etc. Even parents don’t do all that for their grown up children! In the end he resented you and lost respect for you.

      Even after he has shown you who he really IS, you’re still “covering up” for him. The person you should be concerned about is YOU. You are the one that needs help feeling safe in a relationship so you don’t have to literally “buy” a guys love and try to keep him “captive”, just so you have a boyfriend.

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    • It depends on the stage of the process you are in, and how she’s been responding to you.

      Bad idea if she’s still distant, if contact is random and far-between, or if she’s still angry/resentful. It won’t be received well.

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    • Something of emotional value is that which moves us emotionally and makes us feel that someone really KNOWS us and therefore CLOSE to us. It can be something that increases our level of comfort, feeling of companionship or pleasure, builds trust or strengthens us. This is different for each person.

      Since I don’t know your ex, I can’t zero on what is of “emotional value” to him. But you know him. Instead of superficial conversations, use what you know about him to connect to him.

      Also see my article: How To Make Your Ex Miss You Enough To Want You Back

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  • My ex has apologized for hurting me but I still have concerns about our compatibility. We had big fights over our differences that could not be addressed by either of us compromising. For the longest time I ignored my feelings and kept looking for signs that we could work out our differences but in the end it could not work. And while I still love him very much, and I know he loves me too, I don’t see a future that’s fulfilling to both of us. Am I being unreasonable here and is there some other way to look at my situation?

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    • No, you are actually being very reasonable. It makes sense that if you love someone you should at least give the relationship another try. But there are some situations where you have to make a choice between what FEELS right and what IS right.

      If you’ve honestly tried the best you can possibly do, and in the end neither of you is going to be happy, there is no point getting back together if you are not compatible in important areas.

      The question you have to ask yourself is, “Did we do the best we possibly could have done.” If the answer is a resounding yes, let the feeling that you have to be together because you love each other very much go. But if the answer is “no”, then you owe it to yourselves to explore all possible ways to reconcile your differences.

      I can’t tell you another way to look at it without more details about what those differences are. Perhaps, we could talk by phone. I may be able to give you better advice with a little bit more insight into your relationship.

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  • Yangki in your Dating Your Ex book, you talk about the nine types of bids for emotional connection. I’ve noticed that my ex’s bid for emotional connection is mainly for emotional support. He is depressed and reaches out to me. I respond as you advised and he is turning towards me more and more. I’m worried though that he is only using me as emotional support. Is this normal?

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    • You have every right to be concerned. It’s a very thin line between being emotionally supportive and allowing yourself to be used.

      I suggest that you continue responding to his bids for emotional support but if you feel that it’s the only reason he’s reaching out to you, gently suggest he seek professional help as you are not well equipped to help him. Make sure you first create an emotionally safe environment for this kind of conversation to happen, otherwise it may not go well.

      Also when he reaches out for emotional support, see if you can identify the other bids for emotional connection. Most of the time they overlap. The more of them you can identify and respond to, the more likely you are to elicit the right emotions he needs to feel in love (pages 223 – 293).

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