How to Deal With an Ex Who Still Relies on You for Emotional Support
Transitioning from a couple to exes is almost always difficult, especially if your former S.O. still relies on you for emotional support.
Putting in the emotional labor without any of the perks is exhausting, and it might even be holding you back from living your own life to the fullest. Scroll down for tips on how to deal with an ex who still relies on you for emotional support.
Define Your Relationship Now
If your former flame still relies on you for emotional support even after you've called it quits, chances are your relationship didn't end on bad terms. Still, that doesn't mean you cannot (and should not) define your platonic relationship post-split. If you've agreed to remain friends, (and really meant it), then your ex turning to you for emotional support isn't actually that unreasonable; just think about all the friends you already have in your life who call or text when they're having issues with a significant other, family member or whatever else.
However, if you broke up and didn't agree to be friends (or just aren't at that point yet) and are still get panicked texts from your ex about whatever might be going on in their life, it's time to determine exactly what you want your post-relationship bond to look like. Don't be afraid to be open and honest about your expectations.
Beyond detailing what you want your post-relationship bond to look like, you also need to establish boundaries within your own life. You might have no qualms about helping your ex through a difficult time because you still care about them, but the occasional text or in-person conversation is a lot different from being your ex's constant source of emotional support. If your onetime-partner depends on you more than you'd like, there's no harm in having a conversation and laying down some ground rules. This could include everything from establishing designated times to talk, to deciding which (if any) topics might be off limits going forward. While it's admirable that you want to be there for your ex, you shouldn't be doing at the expense of your own best interests.
Don't Make Yourself Too Available
Again, while providing emotional support to an ex can be admirable, it's also important to note that doing so is a slippery slope. Being too available for a former flame could easily prevent you from forming and investing in new relationships. It might also send mixed signals to your ex, who could interpret your concern and kindheartedness as you wanting to potentially get back together. That's why it's important you aren't too available to them, and to establish those aforementioned boundaries.
Take a Break
If, after your conversation and establishment of boundaries, your ex still relies on you too much for your liking, there's no harm in suggesting that you take a break from one another's lives. If you aren't ready to take such a big step, or are worried about how your ex might interpret said suggestion, go ahead and start off slowly. Propose that you go a weekend without talking to or depending on one another, and see how that goes. Over time, your ex might come to realize that they don't need to rely on you as much as they once did. This will allow both of you the freedom to grow and explore new relationships without closing the door completely on whatever bond you have with one another.
For more relationship advice, click HERE for a list of things you should never wear on a first date.