Getting Over Him When You Can’t Let Go

Starting over after a breakup or divorce is one of the most difficult and painful things you’ll ever do. But take heart, for you will get through this! You’ll let go, heal, and feel happy again.

Letting go of someone you love is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do – but healing is within reach! Don’t give up hope. Believe that your heart will beat strong and true again, and your soul will unfold to welcome new people, relationships, and love into your life.

In all aspects of life, different things work for different people – even when it comes to getting over someone when you feel like you can’t let go. The older I get, the more I realize that acceptance and surrender is the best way to get over something I didn’t want to happen in my life. My tips below revolve around accepting what is, because that is truly the only way to heal.

If you believe that this is how your life is supposed to be right now, you’ll find it easier to get over someone. Whether you’re dealing with a painful divorce or relationship breakup, you must believe wholeheartedly that you are in the right place in your life. Getting over someone will be easier when you believe that – for some reason – your life was meant to unfold this exact way.

You can’t let go because you refuse to believe that your life could actually be better from now on. Instead of wishing things were different, try embracing what is.

Getting Over Someone When You Can’t Let Go

I’ve written several tips-based articles for people who can’t let go, ranging from starting over for women over 50 to practical ways to let go of the past. In this article, I share my favorite tips from a variety of past blog posts and Blossom newsletters.

Don’t just skim through these tips. If you’re serious about getting over someone, you need to dig deeper. Learn why you can’t let go and what is holding you back from moving forward in your life. That really is the only way to process your emotions and heal.

Know that when you say “I can’t let go”, you are prolonging your pain

Instead of focusing on the idea that you can’t let go (which isn’t true!), focus on what you want your life to be like. The golden ticket to getting over someone you care about is acceptance.

can't let go getting over someoneSay this out loud: “This is the way my life is supposed to be right now.” Accepting your loss doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck or unhappy. Surrendering to your life doesn’t mean you’ll never create change in your life. Acceptance and surrender simply means you stop resisting the truth of your circumstance.

You might even say this: “This is the way my life is supposed to be right now – and I’m grateful and happy that things are unfolding the exactly way they are. There is a reason and a purpose, even if I haven’t found it yet.” Even if you don’t believe it, keep telling yourself that you’re in this position of having to get over someone for a reason. A good reason.

Practice acceptance for one hour

Instead of regretting the breakup, grieving your loss, or beating yourself up for the mistakes you made…try accepting and even being glad about it. Just try this for one hour. Changing how you think about your loss will help you get over it.

I’ve been reading a lot of Byron Katie lately; she writes about the power of our thoughts. We don’t have to believe everything we think, she says. If you believe getting over someone is impossible and you can’t let go of the past, then you’ll stay stuck in your pain. But if you believe this loss was meant to happen, you’ll find yourself free to be happier and healthier than before.

Be aware of your personality and past issues

On How to Get Over a Breakup, I quote Martha Beck:

getting over someone can't let go “Most often, heartbroken people are unknowingly grieving a loss or trauma rooted in childhood or adolescence,” she says. “That’s because we tend to fall in love with people who remind us of those who cared for us – even badly – when we were young and totally vulnerable. We become childlike when we feel securely adored, letting go of all inhibition. The failure of adult relationships is often caused by the dysfunctions we internalized as children, and the devastation we endure when we’re rejected almost always opens ancient wounds, making us feel as bereft as an abandoned little kid.”

Is it possible that you can’t let go because of something that happened in your childhood? Maybe getting over someone now involves dealing with something that happened when you were younger, more trusting, and wholehearted.

Ask your loved ones for specific types of support

What do you need from your friends, family, and neighbors? Do you want to talk about the relationship or breakup, or do you want to focus on other things? Tell them what you need. Your loved ones want to help you and will be there for you, if you reach out.

You might even ask your loved ones to give you their advice for getting over someone. What have they faced and how did they heal? Who or what did they think it’d be impossible to let go of? Ask someone you trust to walk alongside you. Don’t face this alone. Be honest that you feel like you can’t let go, and you need help moving forward.

If you’re getting over someone who left you, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

Do something different – challenge your mind and spirit

I went back to school when I was 40 years old, and earned my Master of Social Work at UBC. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my self-confidence! It was scary and exciting, challenging and uplifting.

What have you always wanted to do, try, experience, see, or be? A huge part of getting over someone involves challenging yourself to take healthy risks in your life. If you think you can’t let go, start small with a one-day workshop or a morning-long class. Meet new people, put yourself in new situations – especially if you don’t feel like it! Reward yourself for taking risks, for taking active steps to get over your loss.

Volunteer – participate in meaningful work or service

This tip for getting over someone is from Preston Ni, in The Break-Up Cure: 7 Ways to Heal & Find Happiness Again:

“The next to the last tip [for when you can’t let go] is to reach out and help others in greater need than you. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit an elderly home, or engage in other types of meaningful work or community service. Realize how fortunate you are. Let service fill your heart with love and gratitude , and come back with a new perspective.” Volunteering has the potential to change how you see yourself and the world, which will help with getting over someone you love.

Learn what it means to let go

no relationship closureIn How to Let Go of Someone You Love, I describe how getting over someone is about grieving the end of a dream. Maybe you didn’t have a grandiose plan for this person in your life, but their departure means that you lost a huge part of who you are.

Getting over someone – when you think you can’t let go means you need to say goodbye to who you thought you’d be. It’s about ending a chapter of life that was important to you. This is painful and sad, and takes time. Give yourself room to breathe and space to heal.

Remember the Serenity Prayer

This is my favorite tip on how to handle a break up: trust God that your life and relationships are unfolding the way they are supposed to.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

Surrender will make you more than reasonably happy in this life. It will help you see the value of getting over someone, the supreme joy and peace of realizing you were wrong when you thought “I can’t let go.”

Do you believe in God? Spend time in His presence, enveloped in His love. If you can’t sleep at night, let God take over the night shift. You don’t need to go to church or be a Christian to spend time with God, letting His peace and spirit fill you.

You can do this. Give yourself time and space. Accept that getting over someone is part of your life right now. Stop telling yourself you can’t let go, and start embracing the life God has waiting for you.


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6 thoughts on “Getting Over Him When You Can’t Let Go”

  1. I’M hurting badly, over a guy that I should have Departed from years ago! I take responsibility for not LOVING MYSELF ENUFF! The pain is really rough at this time. I Believe/know I’ll get over this, it’s just when?? ITS HURTS BADLY. I LOVE HIM, BUT I LOVE MYSELF-I GUESS NOT ENUFF?

  2. Dear Katherine,

    I can feel your pain – it sounds like you’ve been through so much loss and grief. I sympathize. It is such a huge blow, to realize that you’ll never see someone you once loved again. Even though you and your husband didn’t have a wonderful marriage before he died, it’s still a terrible shock and loss now that he’s gone. He was a huge part of your life.

    Have you considered a grief support group? The best way to get through anything is to walk alongside someone who knows what you’re experiencing. You don’t need to be “fixed”, and you don’t need quick tips for getting over someone…you need a companion to walk through this valley with you.

    Finding a support group for widows is the best way to cope, because they will understand what you’re going through. Are there any groups in your area; will you call and find out?

    In sympathy,

  3. I’m so lost right now. I once had a wonderful marriage, but life had taken shots at me, I lost one brother when he dropped a rifle, and died in my arms. I was only 15, he was 14. List my baby brother to his drug addictions, he burnt to death along with his wife on New Years Eve. 3 months later, I lost another brother to cancer. I tried to numb my pain away with drugs, and destroyed my family’s love for me. I don’t blame them, but my daughter, the love of my life despises me, my husband has not left me physcially, but he sleeps alone, all he wants from me is his dinner. And I held on, cleaned up, thought if I kept trying, I could restore us. But I was fooling myself. And that realization hit me 3 days ago, and I can see clearly we live separate lives, he’s never going to come back, And sadly, we are 64, we have been married 38 years. The pain I’m in, I can’t see daylight right now. Will time help. No, this hurts a little too much. And I don’t know what to do about it.

    1. Please dont give up. Im so sorry you been thru so much .love n prayers to you .you deserve to be loved and i pray your daughter opens her heart n mind up n deals with her hurt and tries to see where you been n understand you .and to realize we are all only human we make mistakes .n not to judge you .to just have love .we only get 1 mother .love is the key to life .love yourself n know your worth. Prayers to you love n hugs

  4. One of the best ways of getting over someone is to don’t look back. It’s way better to look towards future and be excited, what life brings to you. You can’t go back, life goes on and so have you to, if you don’t want to stumble. An old quote says that luck is found on the street, so go out and be aware for everything life offers to you!

    Life is so much brighter if you don’t concentrate yourself on briefing and being sad. Just keep in mind, that you are in the game again :)