Letting go of someone you love when your relationship feels like one battle after another is never easy. These 15 steps help you do it—without bitterness.
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 a 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 moving on.
But it’s possible.
And even if you don’t believe you can truly, if not fully, 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.
Letting go of someone you love
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.
#1 Know why you had to call it quits. 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?
#2 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? 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.
#3 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 backwards just so you could pour all your energy into the dying embers of your love.
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.
#4 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 painful it is right now, it’s still the best thing that ever happened to you.
#5 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 relationship, both of which may end up tragically as well.
#6 Give yourself all the time you need. Nothing cures the pain you feel but time. However, there may be wounds so deep, it feels like they will never heal. You think you’ll feel that way forever. But give time a chance to wash over and bring healing.
If time can’t completely heal your heartache, 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.
#7 Don’t dwell on 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. 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! 9 upbeat songs to get over your lost love]
#8 Stay away from the person. 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 him.
Change your routine if you have to, 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.
#9 Take it a day at a time. Even if time seems suspended in a haze of tears and pain, you’ll get through. It may feel like it takes forever, but if you take each day a step at a time, it feels less overwhelming. Get yourself busy and focus on your goals for the day, even if it only means you have to put one foot in front of the other. [Read: 10 stages of a breakup and how to get through them]
#10 Think positive. Dark thoughts of doom and hopelessness never help you, sinking you further down the dump you’re in. Keep a positive outlook, and see your life as only beginning once again. This helps you look forward to the future more than you look back at the past.
#11 Have a healthy outlet. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, joining a skills–learning class, traveling, writing, or meditating, find a healthy outlet to fill the space in your mind *and heart*, which once filled with thoughts of the person you had to let go. Resorting to a 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: 10 steps to do it the right way]
#12 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 have not paid enough attention to other people around you aside from your partner.
Now is the time to reconnect and catch up on all you missed. They help you take your mind off your troubles and perhaps even inspire you.
#13 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.
#14 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: 13 inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]
#15 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. 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.
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.