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26 Honest Steps to Let Go of Someone You Love and Move On & Find Peace

If you’re having a difficult time letting go of someone you love and moving forward, especially if you still think the relationship is worth holding onto, you’re not alone. Here is how you can do it and move on after a breakup so you can be happy again.

let go of someone you love

One-sided love is truly the most painful type of love you’ll have to deal with in your life. It’s demeaning, insulting, and so painful that it makes you wonder why love even exists. So that’s why you need to learn how to let go of someone you love.

There are times when a relationship ends, and you feel relief, and then there are times when it ends before you’re ready to call it quits. Unfortunately, this is just one of those things in life that you can’t control, which is why losing someone you love is one of the hardest emotional situations to get through. 

If you have lost love for whatever reason, it may feel like you won’t ever be able to move forward.

The first step to letting go is knowing how to do it.

[Read: Letting go of people – Why it’s so hard, 29 signs you must and steps to do it]

The act of letting go is simply the act of moving forward without the person you loved. It is always easier said than done. Even though every relationship is different, it’s about being able to look at it and feel something other than loss.

Like turning any negative into a positive, if you can look at the good things and hold them dear, while still recognizing that holding on is no longer good for you, you can emotionally move on.

Being in a relationship with someone you deeply love and then losing that person is truly heartbreaking. Whether you lost them through a breakup, illness, or tragedy, letting go of someone you love will always be unbearable.

No words adequately describe the pain. Maybe you can’t even imagine yourself ever healing and/or moving on. But it’s possible.

And even if you don’t believe you can truly let go, you know you have to. Letting go of someone you love, no matter how painful, is necessary so you can get your life back on the right track. [Read: 42 rules to forget someone you love and cared for in the fastest way]

What does letting someone go actually mean? 

If you don’t know what letting go of someone you love means, it involves loosening your attachment to that person. If you are emotionally attached to them, then you can’t let go. Your grip is so tight that it doesn’t allow you to move on.

Letting go also means that you are not dwelling on the past and that you are going to give the future a chance. It means choosing the unknown over the person who you were so familiar with – and being okay with it. [Read: How to let go of a relationship – 17 things to do to walk away unhurt]

Once you let go, you will have more emotional strength. You finally know and trust that things will get better with time.

It also means accepting the things you can’t change and taking action on the things you can. 

And the true meaning of letting go is allowing yourself to love again with a new person.

Knowing when it’s time to let go

While every person is different, there is basically only one standard of when to let go – when you don’t feel happy anymore. Life and love are supposed to make you feel good, not bad.

And if you find that you are in a relationship that is not fulfilling your deepest needs, then it’s a sign that your partner may not be good for you and that you should let go. [Read: Fear of being alone – how to let go of your fear and find peace]

If you are already separated or broken up from that person, then you are still probably feeling down and depressed, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. That’s also a sign that it’s time to let go.

Letting go of someone you love is a gift to yourself. It might not sound like that would be true, but it is. When you accept what you can’t change, you open up emotional space for better people and experiences to come into your life.

Why is getting over someone you love so hard?

When you love someone deeply, it’s never easy to let go. You invested so much time and emotional energy into that person, and they have been such an important part of your life. [Read: Honest secrets to let go of the past, be happy, and look to the future]

On top of that, most people don’t like change. It’s difficult. Change brings uncertainty, which makes people uncomfortable. But think about it a different way – uncertainty breeds opportunities. Letting go allows new experiences and people to come into your life.

Most people don’t want to embrace the unknown and would rather stay where they are familiar with the people and circumstances. But that just makes you stagnant and won’t allow you to move forward with your life and be happy again.

How to let go of someone you love

Heartbreaks are painful, and it hurts a lot more when you feel helpless. Ever felt like the harder you tried, the more the person you loved slipped away from you? It’s like squeezing grains of sand in your palm. [Read: Why does love hurt so much when it goes bad?]

Love is not for the faint of heart. The broken heart of letting go of someone you love stays with us for a long time. But there are ways to help you grieve the loss and find release without the angst and bitterness building up.

Sometimes, you just have to let go of someone you love if you want to move on. Here’s everything you need to know about letting a person go.

1. Get an answer

It’s hard to let go when you don’t even know why you had to call it quits in the first place. Was it because of you? Was it because they fell out of love? Did you discover them cheating on you? Or has your love died a slow and painful death? [Read: How to let go of someone you love: Rationalize and reason]

Knowing just why you parted ways makes letting go easier for you. Use this reason to take off and face life on your own.

This is important but not always easy to get. Find out why this person doesn’t like you anymore, or find out why they stopped liking you. Getting an answer can give your mind the rest it needs, even if it hurts. 

But if you can’t get any answers, don’t make your own assumptions. Think of it as something that wasn’t meant to be and let go.

2. Accept the lost cause

Don’t live in denial. Accept that you can never get this person. You’ve lost. Sometimes, we can’t win it all, and you’ll just have to accept it. You’ve more likely already communicated your concerns to them before finally breaking up.  [Read: Ways to fall out of love when you see no future]

Just like dealing with an addiction, you need to accept that there’s a problem before trying to overcome it.

3. Have self-respect

Love takes away any self-respect you may have. And while that may seem cute when both of you love each other, it isn’t so sweet when love is one-sided.

Stop trailing your lost love. And don’t go dedicating silly love songs on YouTube. [Read: Signs the one you love is thinking of you too]

You may feel like you’re pouring your heart out, but the person you like may think you’re an annoying pest with no life. Have self-respect and respect this person’s space. Sometimes, nothing you do can ever change the way someone feels about you. Instead, focus on yourself by peeling back the layers towards regaining that self-respect.

4. Keep your memories

Remember how your heart was ripped in two by this person? If you want to let go of someone you love by hating them, you need to keep those bad memories alive.

If you have any self-respect, you should feel insulted every time you recollect the way you were treated by this person. [Read: What should you do with old love letters?]

5. Avoid this person

Almost always, the person you like may start to avoid you. After all, they don’t care about you. But even if this person doesn’t avoid you and decides to pretend like nothing ever happened, start avoiding them. 

How can you behave like a friend when you clearly have feelings for someone? If you don’t avoid this person, you’ll only feel worse. It’s not easy to avoid someone you love, but you have no other option here.

Letting go of the person you love if you’re still hanging around their shadows doesn’t help. Don’t go to places where you know you might bump into them. Don’t waste any more time with someone who thinks your love is worth nothing. [Read: 30 secrets to get over someone you love fast and not give a damn anymore]

Change your routine if you must; heaven knows you need a breath of fresh air. And don’t stalk them on social media. Erase them from your contact lists, unfollow them, or even block them out of your social media accounts and your life. In short, cut off contact and pretend that they don’t exist, at least until you find a new relationship.

6. Avoid hearing any news

It becomes easier to let go of this person if you don’t keep in touch with them while you’re in the process of letting go, be it online or offline.

If you have common friends, avoid them too, or at least let them know that it’s difficult for you to talk about what happened. Avoid checking their Facebook page every evening, as this will give you the space and time to move forward without this person interrupting as you process your feelings.

The person you like doesn’t care about you. How long are you going to keep them on a pedestal and worship them like a loser? [Read: Still attached to your ex? Why it happens and how to break free]

7. Keep yourself occupied

This person you love so much is not even thinking of you. You mean nothing to them. Admit it. You’re the only one pining about your lost love. This person you like has forgotten you already. 

Even if you’re thinking of this person a hundred times a day, in all probability, the person you like may not even think of you once a week. How does that make you feel? Don’t you think you need to move on?

One of the healthiest ways that you can do to keep yourself occupied is by empowering yourself by focusing on your self-care. Or do something else, anything at all, as long as you can meet other people who appreciate you for who you are. [Read: Rebound relationship – 42 signs, rules and how to have fun in one]

8. Get angry

Or get bitter. Get loco. Hate this person for the way they treated you. Don’t fight these feelings. Instead, feel angered and pained. How could someone you cared for so much treat you like you were dirt and walk all over you? Doesn’t this person even have a heart?

It’s okay to feel bitter if that will help you move on from the relationship, especially if you’ve spent so much time together and they ended up cheating on you. Just know when it’s time to move past that phase and continue with your life.

9. Listen to hate songs

Spotify is filled with hate playlists. Pick the songs you like and explode them in your ears. Let each song you play remind you of how messed up you are right now because of the way the person you liked treated you. Force yourself to get over all the negative emotions.

And after listening to a whole playlist of angry songs, listen to one happy song that always makes you feel good about yourself. And step out of the house as if nothing happened and go meet someone new!

10. Every time you close your eyes

Every time this person comes into your mind, force yourself to see only their negative side. Remember how they laughed at you or treated you like a child when you pleaded to be taken back? 

Replacing all the love you have with hate or anger can sometimes be easier than just trying to overcome the affection you have for someone. After all, hate is just as powerful as love. As long as you know how to replace all the love with hate, you’ll know how to get over someone you love. [Read: Types of love you’ll experience in your life]

But let the hate you build up be a temporary thing. Turn your love to hate, and eventually, when you’re feeling stronger, turn that hate to indifference. It’ll be easier because you don’t really hate the one you like. You’re just feeling bitter and lonely right now.

11. Accept that you did your best

Relationships are hard work. Are you certain you did your best and have done nothing wrong to hurt the other party, but things had to end the way they did? [Read: The right way to love again after a breakup]

Then you have a better chance of accepting why things had to go the way they did. This gives you a better chance at letting go and moving on once you know you don’t have any regrets and loose ends.

12. Accept there is nothing left for you to do

So, your relationship may have been rocky for a long time. You tried everything to save the relationship. 

You quit your job, stopped seeing your friends, and bent over backward so that you could pour all your energy into the dying embers of your love. [Read: How to move on from an ex when the heartbreak is fresh and hurting]

However, no matter how hard you try, relationships do end, and the sooner you accept that, the easier it is for you to let them go.

13. It’s the best thing for you

Make it clear to yourself that some things are just not meant to be. You had to let go of someone you love, no matter how much you loved them. No matter how crazy and painful it is right now, it’s still the best thing that has ever happened to you.

And someday, it will all make sense. Keep this in mind so that the emotions and memories will not catch up with you and make you do something you’ll regret. We know it’s hard to lose the person you thought would never be just a part of your past, especially if you think of that person you’re dating as the one you’ll spend the rest of your life with.

Now that isn’t the case anymore, it’s important to think that the relationship came to an end because it’s the best thing for you. Staying in a relationship when you know it really is time to end won’t do you any good.

[Read: Most common post-breakup mistakes you should never do]

14. Learn from it all

There’s no sense letting go of someone you love, going through all the pain, only to come back around and experience all the drama again. There’s always a lesson in the process. If you can’t get what you want in the relationship, at least you learned some precious lessons.

Just remember to learn not only from the bad but from the good as well. This also prevents you from going back to the person or from getting into a similar situation in your next relationship, both of which may end up tragically as well.

15. Give yourself all the time you need

Nothing cures the pain you feel but time. However, there may be wounds so deep that it feels like they will never heal. You think you’ll feel that way forever. But give yourself time to heal. Let it wash over the pain and bring healing. [Read: How to move on from a relationship in a healthy and happy way]

If time can’t completely heal your heartache and help memories become distant, then at least it can turn those painful, vivid memories into blurry renditions. You’ll be surprised that it doesn’t hurt as much anymore.

16. Don’t dwell in the past

You can’t move on if you keep hanging around in the places you used to go together, if you still have their stuff all around your house, or if you still stalk them on social media. 

According to relationship experts, replaying the whole scenario in your head and dwelling on your past mistakes are unhelpful and will take a toll on your moving on progress.

To let go of the person, let go of their memories, both happy and sad. If needed, forgive. Forgive them and forgive yourself, too. Let go of the baggage so you can move forward and take on new experiences. [Read: Moving on! Upbeat songs to get over your lost love]

17. Take it a day at a time

Even if time seems suspended in a haze of tears and pain, you’ll get through. Though letting go is a process that may feel like it takes forever, if you take each day a step at a time, it feels less overwhelming. 

Keep yourself busy and focus on your goals for the day, even if you feel like you need to just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. [Read: The stages of a breakup and how to get through them]

18. Think positive

Dark thoughts of doom and hopelessness never help you. They just sink you further down the dump you’re in. Think you’ll never find someone better? Think you could’ve done better to prevent the break-up from happening?

Guess what, you’re wrong on both! Keep a positive outlook and see your life as only beginning once again. This helps you feel positive and look forward to the future more than you look back at the past.

19. Have a healthy outlet

Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, joining a skills-learning class, traveling, journaling, or meditating, find a healthy outlet to fill the space in your mind *and heart* that was once filled with thoughts of the person you had to let go. 

Resorting to productive activity, even if it’s just a round of sparring or an hour of jogging, helps you keep a healthy mind. [Read: Dealing with heartbreak: Steps to do it the right way]

20. Go out with friends

The love of your life may have left you, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. You have friends and family who love you and care for you. While you were in a relationship, you may not have paid enough attention to other people around you aside from your partner.

It is important to spend time reconnecting and catching up on all you missed. They help you take your mind off your troubles and perhaps even inspire you.

21. Travel

If letting go of someone you love proves to be difficult, especially if every corner you turn reminds you of them, then get away. Go far away. See new places. Experience new things. And maybe even meet new people. [Read: Inspiring travel destinations for soul searching]

Immerse yourself in all the new sights and sounds of the places you travel. Maybe when it’s time to come back, you’ll come back a different person.

22. Focus on yourself

Being in a relationship before may have deprived you of your own growth as your every move is centered around you with a partner. This time, you have nothing else to think about but yourself. 

Knowing how you can grow as a person without having someone beside you teaches you more things about yourself and even makes you a better person in the process. [Read: Inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]

23. Let new people in

Letting go is difficult, no doubt about it. That doesn’t mean you block yourself off from the idea of meeting other people. Don’t be afraid to make friends and allow some friendships to develop into something more. At some point in time, you’ll feel ready to let new love in.

Perhaps, the only way you truly let go is if you let a new person in. Don’t be afraid of that. Maybe that’s really just all you need.

24. Stop fantasizing

One of the things that a lot of people do is hold on to the hope that you will get back together. You fantasize about the moment that it “might” happen. But you need to stop doing that.

Chances are that it won’t happen. So, you need to stop thinking about the loss of the dream. [Read: How to move on and deal with a breakup with a smile]

25. Leave the theory of “The One”

Growing up, we’re surrounded by fairy tales and stories of our soul mates. But fairy tales aren’t real. They give people a vision of love that doesn’t usually come true for most people.

Just because you feel like your ex was “The One,” that doesn’t mean that they were. There is probably someone better for you out there.

26. Seek professional help

If you have tried all of these things, but you still can’t let go of someone you love, then you should seek out a licensed marriage and family therapist. You may also want to consider calling the National Institute for Psychotherapies for low-cost therapy.

Having the help of an outsider to give you an unbiased perspective will definitely move you towards getting over it and moving on.

[Read: How to stop holding onto a relationship that’s over]

6 clichés that will help you cut off contact forever with someone you love

Unfortunately, even if we can’t recognize it, just because we have someone in our life doesn’t mean that they are good for us or that they’re destined to be with us. 

It doesn’t matter what type of universe you believe in, what religion you subscribe to, or what you think the meaning of life is. To let someone go, you have to believe in your heart that everything truly does happen for a reason. Yes, it’s the worst thing anyone can say to you, but there is some solid reasoning behind it.

1. Everything happens for a reason

Have you ever had something in your life that looked disastrous but then ended up being one of the best things that have ever happened?

Like when you run out of milk in the middle of the night, so you go to the grocery store in your pajamas. [Read: Things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex]

What always happens? You run into someone from your past whom you haven’t seen in a while. You are instantly embarrassed and think that it was one of the worst moments in your life.

That is, until the next day when the guy you ran into from high school calls to say that he hasn’t stopped thinking about you and was so glad to run into you out of the blue. Bad-good. Everything happens because it’s supposed to.

2. If one person is unhappy, both are going to be unhappy

Relationships rarely end because both parties are really happy. In fact, there are not many times when they end with even one person being happy.

If you’re in a healthy relationship, both of you need to be happy and fully committed to making it work. If you lose someone because the relationship wasn’t working, then the key to what you have to hear is that it wasn’t working!

Even if he was the hottest guy you’d ever met, treated you better than anyone ever has, or made you feel like they were the best person in the world for you, obviously, they were not. 

You wouldn’t want to be with someone who wasn’t as in love with you as you were with them, anyway. [Read: Easy steps to be blissfully happy in a relationship]

3. You can’t make someone else happy—you can only make yourself happy

This is another phrase that does nothing to help you when you’re missing someone, but if you stop and think about it rationally, it may be the very thing to get you past your loss.

The person you were with wasn’t happy with you, and they had a responsibility to make themselves happy and be honest with you about it. Being with someone who is unsettled or unhappy only drags the other person down, and that’s not how you want to spend the rest of your life. 

Part of knowing when and how to let go of someone you love is understanding that sometimes, your happiness does need to come first. [Read: Tips to fall in love with yourself and be a better you]

4. It just wasn’t meant to be

This is one of the most aggravating clichés for sure. But the truth is that life is not fair. That is one of the hardest lessons that we learn in life, but it’s an important one.

Things happen to us that don’t seem right, but you have to believe that, at some point, all of the pieces of your puzzle will fall into place. Holding onto something that just isn’t going to work out won’t fix anything; it will only hold you back.

5. The right person is out there for you

The truth is that there is someone out there for you who is better suited to help you make your dreams come true. But if you don’t learn how to let go of someone you love but who isn’t right for you, you won’t be able to open your heart enough to let someone else in.

A heart can only have one love to hold in high esteem. If you’re holding onto memories, loss, or grief, you won’t ever be able to be in the here and now. 

This might cause you to miss out on your true love when they enter your life. You have to be open to the things around you to discover what your path is. [Read: Real soul mates: 20 signs you’ve met the love of your life]

6. No one ever speaks ill of the dead

Just like no one speaks ill of the dead, when we lose someone in our lives, no matter how we lose them, we have a tendency to paint the experience in an idealized light. 

Rather than remember all of the bad signs, fights, and feelings, when you lose someone whom you weren’t ready to lose, you have a tendency to only remember all the things about them that you’ll miss.

Letting go of someone you love the right way

Love is like a drug. It doesn’t matter how you get it, as long as you have supply and it gets you high. And when the supply is cut, the withdrawal becomes so severe you literally feel the pain. But that’s what letting go of someone you love is.

There is no perfect relationship. There will always be peaks and valleys in every relationship. If you want to move on and let someone go, then you have to see the relationship as it really was, faults and all. 

Otherwise, you will continually compare future relationships with an unrealistic view that will keep affirming that you can’t let them go. It is a self-perpetuating cycle.

[Read: How to get your self-esteem back after a breakup]

Discovering how to let go of someone you love isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. If you try to take the emotions out of the loss and see things in rational terms, it will help you to make sense of what has really happened. It will also help you to see a path to freedom from being held in the past. 

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...