“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were” ~ Richard Bach
If you’ve ever been in a relationship, chances are you’ve also experienced a breakup. No matter the reason, letting go of a relationship is tough. You’ve invested time, energy, and emotions into another person, and it can seem like you’ve wasted your time or made a mistake. It’s one thing to say that if you love someone let them go and if they come back, they’re yours but if they don’t then healing from that can be difficult.
Letting go of a relationship can be really painful. Losing anything you love hurts, and a partner is no exception. You might feel a little lost, lonely, and afraid of trying to love again.
But, the pain of a breakup doesn’t need to last forever, and you can absolutely get back out there and find love again even if that doesn’t feel true right now.
A lot of the prolonged pain we feel following a breakup is driven by 2 things:
the way we’re thinking, and
the amount of time we spend going down memory lane.
Although the memories and thoughts will always be with you, the way you view them can change. Letting go of a relationship is something you can do!
So, now you’re probably wondering how to let go and how to move on or wishing that you knew how to stop loving someone so you can feel better.
We have emotions for a reason, even if they’re painful to experience sometimes. Journal about them, cry it out, talk to a friend.
So, if you want to express the emotion, do it so that you can move on.
2. Fight the urge to withdraw or stay in bed
Being sad and upset is OK, but after a while, start showing up for yourself and your life.
You can be sad and still go to work, and you can be in pain and still choose to find fun and joy in your activities.
The more aspects of your individual life that you show up to, the faster you’ll build new habits that support letting go of a relationship and moving on.
3. Stop looking for answers
It feels so important after a breakup to analyze and understand why the relationship didn’t work.
Even if you’ve been given a simple answer from our partner like “I’m not in love,” you will still replay the relationship over and over again, looking for more answers while getting over someone you loved.
Your brain is addicted to this cycle and thinks your breakup is a problem to solve. But it isn’t! Part of letting go of a relationship is knowing there isn’t an answer or solution that will satiate the pain.
4. Break up with your ex, completely
Stop texting them, stalking them on social media, or looking through your phone at old photos and messages.
Every time you do one of these activities, you’re resetting the clock and making the process of letting go of someone you love and moving on even tougher. Break up with everything having to do with your ex! Delete the messages and photos, block them on social media so you can’t see them, and remove them from your phone. This may seem excessive, but it helps you move on faster.
5. Accept that it’s over
This is both the hardest and most rewarding part of letting go of a relationship. You two are over.
Of course, it’s painful to read that. But it’s true.
The more often you can remind yourself of this fact, the easier it will be to hear and accept.
6. Challenge the stories you’re telling yourself
“I’m not lovable” “I’ll be single forever.” Do you find yourself telling yourself these kinds of stories when you love someone but can’t be with them?
Well, they aren’t real!
Just because things didn’t work out here, doesn’t mean you are doomed forever. There are almost 7 billion people on the planet!
And, perhaps there is a great partner out there looking for you right now.
7. Practice gratitude
Sometimes letting go of a relationship means being grateful for the time you did have together and what that relationship gave you.
Maybe you found a love of travel during that relationship, and maybe your ex introduced you to a new hobby that you can’t imagine living without now.
Being grateful for how you grew during that time can help ease the pain.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.