How To Let Go of Someone You Love: 15 Tips for Saying Goodbye
One of the hardest things you can ever do in life is let go of someone you love. Whether you have been in a long-term relationship that’s turned toxic, need to escape a friendship gone bad, or have been dumped by your partner and are struggling to move forward, at some point you have to wipe your hands clean of that person and get on with your own life.
But this is often easier said than done. Cutting someone from your life who you have loved and care about certainly isn’t an easy thing to do. You can’t just have your memories erased like the characters in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. As psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, explained in Psychology Today, “Friends and lovers who have entered our hearts can stay there forever, no matter what they have done. The heart tends to only remember the good, the mind remembers the bad, and the two together can create many a sleepless night for even the strongest-willed human being.”
So how do you get over that special someone? There are a number of ways you can do this, but first, you have to understand why letting go is so hard and then recognize the signs that you haven’t moved on. Then you can truly work on healing yourself and working out what you want from future relationships.
Understand if the Relationship is Worth it
The most difficult part of letting go of someone is coming to the realization that the relationship just isn’t working. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend you’ve known for 20 years or your current partner. When you understand you don’t want them in your life anymore it’s a hard thing to process. If you feel like you are in a toxic relationship or your partner is not listening to you or treating you with a lack of respect, you have to be honest and ask yourself if you want them in your life. If they are not contributing positively to your day-to-day living, it may be time to end the relationship.
Just like you would quit a job if you weren’t fulfilled or felt like you weren’t being respected, this also applies to any relationship you are in. Remember that nobody is perfect either, but if the bad outweighs the good, it’s time to let go.
Signs You Haven’t Moved On
So you’ve taken the plunge and ended things with your significant other. That’s the first step. The next is coming to terms with the end of the relationship and moving forward. As the great motivational speaker Tony Robbins says, “many people break up, but never truly discover how to move on.” You do not want to be one of these people. So how do you know if you are? Below are some signs that you haven’t moved on.
- You think of that person constantly throughout the day
- You talk about them all the time to your friends
- You are always wondering what could have been if things worked out
- You stalk them relentlessly on social media
- You text them randomly or try to call them
- You are angry with them and want to get back at them
While these behaviors can be expected during the first few weeks of a break up, if they continue for months later that’s not good for your mental or emotional health. They will also stop you from finding a positive relationship with someone who truly deserves you. To help you get your life in order, here are 15 tips on letting go of someone you love so you can get on with your life.
1. Cut Off All Contact
This is going to be super hard but it’s the only way to put this person out of your life for good. This doesn’t just mean not talking to them. Delete their number and email. Unfollow them on social media. You have to completely cut this person from your life. This way when you are at your most vulnerable and want to reach out, you won’t be able to contact them. As they say, out of sight, out of mind.
2. Don’t Play the Blame Game
When a relationship ends badly (especially if you are the one getting dumped), it’s very easy to put the blame on the other person. Even when this is true, such as a relationship that’s gone tits up due to the other person cheating or because of their toxic behavior, you have to put that to the side and get on with things, no matter how much it hurts.
If you stay angry at that person you will begin to blame them for everything wrong in your life and you will soon find yourself on a downward spiral. Don’t let their bad behavior bring you down, otherwise, you will find it hard to connect with people and create new relationships.
3. Master Your Emotions
Following on from the previous tip, you need to learn how to control your emotions. Letting go of someone you love can bring up all sorts of feelings–resentment, anger, betrayal, hate, sadness, and revenge to name a few. These are just some of the feelings that can go through your head during the days and weeks after a break up. Being able to harness these emotions will help you process the break up and move forward. Putting any negativity to the side is key to successfully being able to improve your mental health and get back out there are start dating again.
4. …But Don’t Be Afraid To Have a Cry
Having control of your emotions is important, but don’t be worried about expressing your feelings either, especially during the first few weeks. That is the time you will most likely be impacted by the breakdown in the relationship. If you have been spending every day with the same person for a couple of years and then find yourself living alone, it can be quite daunting.
Have a good cry and let everything out. There is nothing wrong with showing your emotions, but you don’t want to be a bubbling wreck every time your friends come over to see how you are doing. Get it all out and then begin to harness your emotions and find the positives from the situation, no matter how small. This will aid in you getting over your lover much quicker and is much better than breaking down every five minutes.
5. Stop Fantasizing
Often when we split from a partner we care for greatly, we find ourselves imagining things might turn out ok. People like to fantasize about giving the relationship another go, believing their ex can change. This is not going to happen and is not healthy for your mental state. It’s like putting a band-aid over things. There are reasons why the relationship ended and fantasizing that things will change if you give it another go is not the way to go about things.
6. Self-Care Is Paramount
If you have come out of a toxic relationship, looking after your mental and emotional health should be a priority. Take the time to look after yourself however you see fit. If you need to talk with someone, chat with family or friends or see a counselor or psychologist. Work on yourself and create better behaviors that will benefit your next relationship. It could even be something as small as treating yourself to your favorite ice cream or buying that jacket you have had your eye on for weeks. Do whatever you need to do to help you get yourself in a good space
7. Forgive and Forget
This won’t be easy, but at some point, you have to forgive your ex for whatever they did that made the relationship end. No matter how much they hurt you, forgiving them is a great way to put a final full stop to that chapter of your life. You also have to forgive yourself for any role you played in the breakdown or mistakes you made during the relationship. Take some time to heal yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually before getting back on the horse.
8. Reach Out to Friends and Family
You can’t get through a break up solo. You need the support and strength of your friends and family, so don’t be afraid to contact them when things turn bad. No matter what has happened they will be the rock upon which you can grab onto and unburden yourself. Talk through your issues or problems with your friends and family and it will be like a weight has been lifted off your back. They can also keep you distracted and remind you that you deserve better and that there is that special someone out there waiting for you.
9. Get Professional Help
If talking to your friends and family isn’t helping, it could be time to get some professional help. While this might have been frowned upon at one stage, seeking help from psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors is a fantastic way to get advice from people who understand what you are going through. Relationship therapists can equip you with the tools needed to get over your loved one and move on with your life.
10. Keep Busy
Whether this involves hanging with your friends, diving into work, or becoming a fitness fanatic, find ways to keep your mind active. The more you are doing the more likely you are to not be thinking about your ex. Spending your days crying in bed isn’t going to fix the problem. You need to keep on living your life like normal. One suggestion is to introduce some kind of morning workout routine or meditation session so you can have a clear mind from the get-go. This can set your entire day up and help you focus on everything else but your ex.
11. Understand It Takes Time
Getting over someone you love takes time. No matter whether it was a short fling, a long-term relationship, or your best friend from high school, parting ways with someone you have feelings for is tough. But with anything in life, over time, things will get better. It might not seem that way at first, but you have to trust the process.
According to research published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes 11 weeks to feel better after a relationship ends, while another study found it takes closer to 18 months to heal from the end of a marriage. However long it takes, you have to understand that eventually, things will get better. Give yourself a good three months to come to terms with everything before you decide to dip your toes back in the dating pool.
12. Don’t Use Past Experiences To Justify Your Current Situation
When a relationship ends, we often spend hours thinking about what went wrong and whose fault it was. When doing this we can often look back at our entire relationship history and pinpoint moments where things went awry. During this time it’s not uncommon to remember what it was like as a child and how other adult relationships, especially your parents, might have impacted you. If your parents always argued and eventually split, you might believe that those same problems will plague you and that you’ll never be able to have a successful long-lasting relationship.
This is an idea you have to get out of your head. Just because your parent’s marriage failed or your uncle cheated on his lady multiple times doesn’t mean you won’t find happiness. You are writing your own narrative and can make healthy choices that lead to a positive relationship. Stop living in the past and basing your life on the outcomes of other people’s relationships and focus on the now and invest in your future.
13. Learn From Your Mistakes
As with anything in life, when things don’t go right, the best way to push forward is by learning from the mistakes we made. This also applies when trying to let go of someone. The relationship you had, be it a lover or best friend, obliviously went sour at some point. If you can analyze why this happened and address the issues, it will benefit your future relationships.
It can teach you more about what you want from a relationship and what works for you. This will enable you to meet someone who is on the same frequency as you. You will be less likely to make the same mistakes again if you understand where you went wrong in the first place.
14. Don’t Jump Straight Into the Sack With Someone Else
A lot of people believe the best way to get over an ex is to hook up with someone else as soon as you can. While the rebound is great in theory, it can often cause more problems than it solves. If you’ve been with someone for five years and then try and sleep with someone else a week after breaking up, you are not in the right headspace. While sexual gratification might be fun, you are probably doing it for all the wrong reasons. Many people have a quick rebound fuck as a way of spiting their partner. This is not healthy. It’s also unfair on the other person if they think it’s going to be something more than a one-night stand.
While a rebound will certainly boost your self-esteem, you want to be doing it for the right reasons. That’s why you should take some time to yourself before getting hot and heavy between the sheets with strangers.
15. Figure Out What You Want From Your Next Partner
Whatever the reason for your previous relationship ending, there’s no doubt it had something to do with the personality of your ex, so with that in mind, start working out what you want from your next partner. Write down the qualities you are looking for and the type of person you want to date. This will help you move on and leave you feeling confident that you can find someone with the same values you possess.
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