I have been asked what I mean by “emotional distance” and if it’s the same as “no contact” so often that I might as well address it as an article instead of a response to a comment.
First things first. The “emotional distance” I talk about in my articles and book is NOT what many call or know as “giving space”. I don’t even think “emotional distance” is the right phrase because “emotional distance” also means detached, aloof, standoffish, unapproachable, and that’s not what I am talking about. I have tried to think of a better phrase but draw a blank, so I’ll use “emotional distance” for now. If someone knows a better word I can use, help yours truly out (helping out a friend however, is not the same as “English grammar” lessons, moreover written in bad grammar that even I know is bad grammar).
- There is a major difference between what we know as “giving space” and the “emotional distance” I am talking about.
In “giving space”, you are taking a break from EACH OTHER by creating physical distance and/or cutting of communication between YOU and your Ex. The situation is too much to handle for either of you, and one or both of you decide that it’s best to not talk or see each other for a while.
In “emotional distance”, you are taking a break from the EMOTIONS (of an argument, a break-up or old relationship. The goal is NOT to create space between you and your ex, the goal of “emotional distance” is to leave the unwanted emotions in the past by:
1. Not talking about or bringing up the argument, break-up or old relationship until you both have calmed down and are ready to talk about it without stirring up or dragging back unpleasant or unwanted emotions.
2. Creating new positive feelings and memories. This of course takes time and creativity, I mean a lot of creativity because the relationship you had, however great it was is now something of the past.
Trying to recreate that relationship is not starting over. Some of the things you said and did that made your ex feel good and positive may not trigger the same feelings anymore — and may even annoy or turn him/her off.
And you can’t pick and choose which emotions from the past get dragged back. You may think you are bringing back “positive memories” but he/she may also be reminded of something “negative” that happened before or after the memory you are trying to remind him/her off.
When you’ve created better memories, you can talk about the old relationship and all it’s problems and it won’t matter because of the new feelings and new memories. To get there however, you have to let the old relationship die by not dragging it to the present and by creating new feelings and memories to replace the old. Both have to happen for the new relationship to begin. If you just avoid taking about the “old relationship/break-up without creating new memories, the old relationship and it’s memories will fade away, but with no new feelings or memories to fill the space that was “the relationship”.
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