We’re back! After a brief summer hiatus, we return with our landmark fiftieth episode. Join Tom, Ryan, and Jacob sharing stories of emotional attachment: the good ways we attach to other men, and the not-so-good ways we attach.

We open the episode by catching up on our summer trips and activities, and Tom gives some clarifications from our previous episode on “Letting Go.” We also have our “manly morsel” segment (it’s always been called that), talking about Jacob’s shame of Grubhub and what Ryan should do on his upcoming long train ride.

We then dive into our discussion on emotional attachment. It’s a callback to a previous episode on emotional dependency (or “emodep,” though Ryan doesn’t exactly like that nickname). We differentiate between “dependency” and “attachment” and share both our positive and negative experiences in relationship with other men.

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Enjoy our EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT episode! And don’t forget to comment below: How have you experienced attachment with other men, both healthily and unhealthily? Have you seen an unhealthy attachment in one friendship effect a healthier one in another?


About the Author

  • I enjoyed listening to this podcast! Great work.
    First of all, I trust you have a great trip to Alaska Jacob. I too, have been to 49 states, and Alaska is the only one I haven’t been to, although I’ve seen Alaska from a distance when I was in Price Rupert, BC once.
    I trust your trip to CT is a nice one Ryan. Sounds great. And Tom I have been to Bar Harbor myself, but I never got bitten by mosquitoes there. Sorry about the poison ivy…my family is very allergic to poison ivy, but strangely, I am not. Then again, I am the only one in my family who is left handed, so perhaps being left handed means one is not allergic…hahaha!!!! Glad to hear about your trip to visit people and places.
    I’ve been fortunate to travel all across the US and Canada by train…really to about every corner…When I was a boy, we used to take the train from New York to visit family in North Carolina..trains like the “Southerner” and “Asheville Special.”
    Now…on to the podcast. I have been so afraid of ever depending on another for emotional dependancy/attachment that I have gone the opposite direction in a way that is not healthy either. Over the years, to even pick up the phone and call someone was a big hurdle as I hated to be a bother. I have known people who were very much this way, and eventually sucked the life out of people and wrecked their friendships…and I am very sensitive about that. There is a very obscure verse in the Bible from Proverbs that says, “let not your foot be seen in your neighbors house, lest he weary of you and hate you.” I always second guess myself on this, and tend to operate in the shadows as a result…I’m afraid I’ve not found a balance…

    • We’ll make it to Alaska one day, Dave! It beckons me all the more…
      I feel you on hating to be a bother. Especially with straight men, as I may have recently blogged about. There’s clearly a balance between reaching out with healthy dependence and overextending my foot into my neighbor’s house, in a proverbial sense. I think it may be a lifelong journey of determining the right balance. But what a thing to be able to process such matters in a community like this.
      Thanks for listening, brother! Appreciate all the feedback.

  • Hi Tom, Jacob, and Ryan,
    I’m really glad that you guys are back with the podcast!
    I enjoyed listening to each of you talk about your struggle with emotional attachment! In counseling we talk a lot about the four attachment styles: secure attachment, anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and fearful attachment. Our attachment styles are formed when we are children and can impact us into our adulthood. I resonate with Tom’s closing remarks about being a child at a small Christian School, and feeling so much rejection from the other boys in my class.
    If there is a part II of emotional attachment, would love for you guys to talk about your attachment styles!
    My attachment style is more of the avoidant attachment style: Avoidant attachers tend to be emotionally distant from their partners. Avoidant attachers take pride in their independence and can see attachment as weakness. They like to process emotions on their own and don’t like to share vulnerabilities with anyone else. Unfortunately, they tend to pull away when they need help most. They are not as attentive as their partners because they worry they will become too co-dependent, and this will take away their independence. They also can shut down emotionally during arguments or close themselves off from feelings (Science of the People).
    Best Regards,

    • Thanks for listening, Landon! I agree that attachment styles are a helpful way to think about emotional attachment. I don’t want to say too much, because who can say what the future holds, etc., etc., but stay tuned 😉

  • Great podcast guys! Glad to have you back after a break. Sounds like there were some great adventures that happened and are about to happen. I would love to go to Alaska some day. A super train that takes you across country in a flash would be amazing!
    I know I’ve become emotionally attached to someone when I shouldn’t have been and I ended up very hurt. I had made a great friend on Twitter 2 years ago. We messaged each other nearly every day for a year. We had so much in common, from the shows we watched, political views, just about everything. The only main difference is he was out and then there’s me who is just now dealing with all of this. Long story short, he was very outspoken on certain things, and so he would get suspended for different lengths of time. Eventually we ended up being blocked from talking to each other and then eventually his account was totally suspended and that was a year ago this month. I had become so attached that I was to the point of thinking about turning my back on everything I believed in on the chance that our friendship ever became something more. So yeah, when we couldn’t talk any longer, I was crushed. So I’ve been trying very hard to balance the friendship and relationship line even more than before just to be safe. But at least the guys I do have relationships with are very healthy, and for that I am very thankful.

    • Hey Chris, thanks for listening! And thanks for sharing this story. One part that stuck out to me was where you said, “I had become so attached that I was to the point of thinking about turning my back on everything I believed in on the chance that our friendship ever became something more.” I can relate–not just to my convictions faltering, but to emotional attachment making my heart… I don’t know, more pliable? I was trying to describe a certain friendship to my pastor as I was wrestling with how to navigate emotional attachment there in a healthy way, and I said in sudden realization, “My heart bends so easily around him.” It was one of those moments where a turn of phrase comes out of nowhere but as soon as you say it you know it hits the nail on the head.

      • Ryan, I’d say pliable is the right word to use there for sure. And it’s crazy how having a conversation with someone will help you finally will have a realization you’ve needed for so long

    • As hard as that relationship undoubtedly was to navigate, I pray you’re stronger for it, Chris. I can point to at least 3 or 4 such friendships in my life that I’d let consume me. I’ve since recognized all the more strength and balance in my future relationships, and I’m so grateful.

  • I’ve been lurking for a couple of weeks, since I just found you guys. I wanted to binge all the podcasts (at 1.5x speed, because I’m impatient) before I reached out. But this podcast has been such an invaluable resource. The reminder that I am not really as alone as I convince myself I am has been a huge help.
    From before the break (which I didn’t have to suffer through), I wanted to comment on your discussion of masturbation. I know there was a comment on the last post about it being too much. Sometimes it feels a little uncomfortable, but that’s mostly because no one else is talking about it. I would rather you approach it with humor than never touch on it at all because of fear. If we’re too afraid to be real with each other, we stay divided and drowning in shame.
    I am really grateful for you guys and your vulnerability. I look forward to the chance to listen in on many more of these conversations.

    • Hooray, another lurker out of hiding! So glad to have you with us, Jacob. Thanks for listening and reaching out and supporting what we’re doing. There are times when we absolutely go “too far,” but you’re right, it’s only because we’re overcompensating for the lack of openness in our Christian culture. Hopefully we find a healthy balance the further we go.
      Don’t be a stranger! Look forward to more exchanges and stories shared.

  • This post hits close to home. I’ve been having issues on people and my attachment with them. Thank you for this. Letting go is an act of faith, indeed.

  • Finally getting around to this one. Really enjoyed hearing the stories of each of your friendships, and what those looked like – how to learn & grow from both healthy and less healthy friendships.
    Maybe I’m the minority, but I can’t put words to the emotional attachment I haven’t felt with friendships? There were many times that I wondered if I would be “too much” for a friend, but that stopped me from reaching out most times. Not healthy for me, but the friendships still suffered because I wasn’t being fully present. Looking forward to the next one, hoping it will clarify more for me.
    Also…. everybody’s reaction to the delivery was priceless. Y’all are great.

  • Oh my gosh this episode was really amazing! I was listening to it on an app and felt like I had to comment. This was super amazing because each of your stories I felt like I could relate to in my friendships just this past year. I am so grateful that I am not alone in the ways I pursued friendships, and how these emotional attachments affected me. So yeah just very encouraged to hear this one and I appreciated all of the vulnerability on the podcast. One more other side note I guess. Its funny you mentioned that some would prefer to go right into the topic, and when I first started listening I actually felt like that for the first 2 I listened to. However as I have progressed I actually enjoy the beginning just as much as the main topic and I love hearing random things about your lives, or your morsels, beats or whatever it is they are called. So yeah just wanted to encourage that part as it is something it took to get used to but now I feel like it is part of the show and is so great!

    • We love it when our listeners comment! Thanks for jumping over here with your thoughts, Josh. Glad some of our friendship stories could cross the airwaves to your own life! That’s super encouraging to hear.

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