How to Release Attachments to Past Relationships

How to Release Attachments to Past Relationships


We’ve all carried baggage from past relationships at one time or another. Whether it’s from a past love, friendship or even a family member, we carry the baggage from these relationships with us, and it can affect everything we do. Everything.

The problem isn’t actually the baggage itself but how we allow the baggage to define us. Can we figure out who we are independent of the baggage or has the baggage created who we are?


If the baggage is defining who we are, then we owe it to ourselves to release its hold over us. “Just let it go,” they say. But just letting it go is a much more difficult task than it sounds. Letting go of something we have been carrying around with us for a while isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is possible.

Here are some ways to help us begin the process of releasing the hold our baggage has on our lives, the decisions we make, and our existing relationships.

How to Release Attachments to Past Relationships

1 – Be willing to release the attachment

Why we hold onto baggage is different for all of us. We might use it to shield us from future hurt, to help propel us into action, to allow us to feel certain emotions, or to keep us from moving forward. Any action motivated by the baggage we hold onto is not serving us.


We often want to release the baggage, when in some way it is giving us something we think we need.  We know it isn’t healthy, but on some level, we keep justifying it to ourselves. Letting go of the baggage is hard and doesn’t happen overnight, but we have to start with the affirmation that it is what we need to do.


2 – Journal

We should start writing down our thoughts, beliefs and the behaviors that affect our mood. Be honest and just write anything that comes to mind. It’s important to create a judgment-free zone where we are able to be real with ourselves. As we continue to write, we will start to notice patterns and triggers that we can begin to recognize and change.

Research backs this claim. Mental health experts recommend journal writing as a therapeutic intervention for patients.

3 – Challenge the Story

We write our life’s story from our perspective. If the story is not contributing positively to our current reality, it is up to us to challenge it. Our story is from our point of view, as it should be. But to begin to let go of the baggage, it is helpful to take a step outside of our story and write it from another perspective. Another perspective helps us to release the overwhelming emotion we feel and can help us break the hold it has on us.



4 – Find the Positive

Every relationship, even the bad ones, serve a purpose in our lives. Our goal should be to find something positive that will help us reframe how we look at the relationship.


Maybe the relationship helped define acceptable behaviors, made us stronger and more resilient, or helped us become more grateful for small moments. We can only begin to let go once we stop focusing on the bad and shift our focus to the silver lining, however small.

5 – Treat Others With Kindness

It is easy to treat kind people with kindness, but make it a goal to treat everyone with kindness – even those less deserving. This shifts our focus from past bad behaviors to future good ones. When we stop letting the bad behaviors of past relationships determine our future actions, we can begin to let go.


6 – Visualize Your Own Version of Happy

As we begin to separate ourselves from the baggage, it is important to visualize what our happiness without it looks like.

How do we feel and act in our relationships with others? And how does our time alone make us feel? Finally… How do we make decisions without the baggage as an influence?

Once we have a clear vision of what life is like without our dependence on our baggage, it is easier to make choices with that future in mind.

7 – Release Expectations

As we begin to act independent of our baggage, it is important to move forward without expectations. It is our expectations that will keep us tied to the behaviors of our past relationships. We oftentimes have expectations, some of which are unrealistic, without even realizing it. That is why journaling is so important. You will become aware of when the baggage is creeping in.

Final Thoughts: It Can Be Healthy for You to Release Past Relationships

It’s okay to be a little weary of the process. We harbor a great deal of emotion and it can be painful to get through it. If we continue to hold onto it without facing it, it will affect everything we do. Don’t wait until there is a risk of losing something wonderful to release the baggage.


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5 thoughts on “How to Release Attachments to Past Relationships

  1. Hi, I am struggling with exactly this problem! I was with the second “love of my life” for 18 months, living together for the final 10 months. We were deliriously happy. Every second together was a blessing. Until one fateful day…
    Suddenly one day she threw me out (via text message), without warning nor reason, telling me she would tell me later why but for the moment needed me to go.
    Following a big heart to heart where she promised that she still loved me but just wanted us to separate the houses out again even though we would stay together as a couple, I did as she asked and went. Two weeks later I had found an apartment and I called her to arrange collecting my belongings…she told me I could not go to her house to collect them, and that she would send them to me instead. I reluctantly agreed but pointed out that at the same time she owed me an explanation…to which she fully agreed. We arranged that she would send me my stuff and, once I had unloaded it all, she would come and we would go for a coffee so that she could explain to me why I had just found a flat, moved house and lost the love of my life in such a horrible and cold way. FYI She insisted that it was not because she had someone else…
    The day of the move came, the truck turned up with most of my stuff (*another story not relevant here!) but she did not show up. I called her to see what had happened and she told me that she was busy with something, and that we would meet later on, and that she would call me later to arrange it…I said ok and continued to finish off my move…I loaded another load in the lift and took it up, when I came down a couple of minutes later, she was there, with her sister and two “big blokes” and they proceeded to attack me!
    The sister grabbed me by the throat and proceeded to try to strangle me, whilst trying to kick me in the genitals.
    I was utterly taken aback. Never in 18 months had we even exchanged a cross word or even disagreed on anything nor had I done anything wrong of any kind. And suddenly this!!!
    I did not fight back, partly because of being a pacifist, partly because of not wanting to hurt a woman, and partly because I wasn’t sure if the two “big blokes” (whom I’d never seen before) were armed or not…so I let them carry on and just calmly asked what on earth was going on.
    The two women then proceeded to scream at me (like in some kind of crazy horror film) the following accusations…
    They said “I had locked myself in our bedroom with the key and four blokes, that we had gone through all her paperwork and discovered that she owned two apartments” (one I was living in with her and the other next door was her mum’s who has Alzheimers and was living with and being cared for my us) AND they said “I had decided to steal them from her.” They had also decided that to steal the apartments from her “I had decided to kill her mum,” and to do that they claimed that “I had put poison in the food at home” and demanded the antidote from me!!!!!
    By now I was freaking out at the sheer surrealism and ridiculousness of this list of entirely invented fantasy accusations with no base in reality what-so-ever, and the two “big blokes” were demonstrating severe embarrassment (I guess they had been conned into coming to protect these “two sweet innocent ladies” from a “psychopath” but what they saw was two psychopaths attacking a sweet innocent gentleman, and at this point, they pulled the women off me and dragged them away screaming their insults.
    I had no choice but to call the police and press charges, fearing for my own safety, of further attacks, and of them apparently fully believing their bizarre fantasy and going to the police themselves with these wild claims thus bringing me even more problems…(NOTE: Check out the Spanish law as it is heavily in favour of the woman in these kinds of situations and there is no such thing as innocent till proven guilty as far as the man is concerned here – I would have had to prove my innocence to avoid prison!!!)
    So, the slow Spanish legal system means that we are still awaiting a date for their trial (As I write it is Feb 2017 and the attack took place in April 2016!) Meanwhile, she did trump up another list of false charges in an attempt to do me more harm and we were in court three days later with her claims that I had “psychologically mistreated her for the last four months of our relationship, and now that she had thrown me out, I had been stalking her.” she said. ALL COMPLETE LIES AGAIN. (My friend and ex-wife of 11 years and mother of my kids was LIVID and is ready to testify in my defence if necessary!…and several other ex-girlfriends too if it comes to it)
    Thankfully, the Spanish legal system although unbalanced and very slow, did not fail me on this occasion and her case was immediately thrown out of court as they told me they could see she was clearly lying, and this was to count against her in the real trial of the attack. There was a preliminary hearing of that trial back in October 2016 and the charges were increased by the court to a more severe charge which may carry a prison sentence for her and her sister…and now we await the announcement of the date for the full criminal trial for the attack.
    OK, so, one would expect it to be easy to see that she is clearly mentally ill with paranoid delusions and write her off and forget about her and move on with one’s life etc etc…in theory.
    Sadly I have been unable to do just that. The sheer shock, horror and injustice of the attack haunts me, the severe lunacy of their bizarre claims, how they even came to think that in the first place of such a truly honest, genuine and gentle guy like myself (I even spent many nights caring for her mum while she was at the gym (or doing god-only-knows-what in hinesight!)) *I’m not saying I’m perfect by any standards but amongst my faults I guarantee are NOT any kind of anger problems or mistreatment of anybody in my life ever or any kind of underhanded things like in their fantasy!! All of this on top of the loss of the love of my life. I know I was conned. I know it was all an act but I miss the “girl she conned me she was” every second of every day – even though I know she didn’t even exist.
    Since this happened everyone has rallied round me, knowing I am not even capable of thinking such things, let alone planning or doing them. Most have shied away from her fearful of her craziness and of being at risk themselves by associating with her. She has even tried to speak to some of my friends to tell them that her claims are all true – thankfully they have all dismissed her and told her not to tell them things that they may not believe.
    Most of the people in my town have told me I had a lucky escape as she has a reputation for being crazy (I didn’t know this before as I am new to the town) Her mum has Alzheimer’s, her dad committed suicide when she was 8, her sister is definitely a psychopath. That being said, I was always grateful to have such a gem that had lived through all this a come out so perfect and awesome, very glad that she had come to me to be loved, respected and cared-for for the rest of our lives – of course I now know this was just her successful acting.
    I am desperate for the trial to be finished. I am desperate to be able to “just let go” and move on and it is getting easier as the months pass but is still dragging on and proving difficult and I just don’t know how to get past it and move on completely. I am afraid of another relationship at the moment as I do have a tendency to be too trusting, to take people as being as genuine as me and will never forgive myself for placing my children at risk when they came to stay with us and she looked after them occasionally while I was at work – I cannot help wondering what could have happened if she had decided that it was one of my kids doing all that instead of me!! It does not bear thinking about. I want to move on. I have a lot of love to share with some lucky and deserving (this time!) lady out there but feel stuck on the last hurdle of getting over what this woman did to me. Any further help or tips you could give me to help me get rid of this horrible experience once and for all would be truly appreciated. Many Thanks.

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