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5 Tips for Letting Go of Someone You Will Always Love

When you have no choice but to leave a relationship behind, you need to change how you think. These tips for letting go of someone you love will help you find freedom from the past.

how to let go of someone you love

letting go of someone you love

These tips are inspired by a reader who asked for help detaching and letting go of someone she cares about (her husband), even though he’s not quite “gone” yet. Here’s part of her email: “My husband of 3 years is planning to leave me without an explanation,” says Michelle (not her real name). “He is in a band and tours every now and then, but that has never been a problem till this tour… within a week of being on this tour he started distancing himself. No calls, hardly any replies to my messages on Facebook. I want to know how to let go of someone you love because I believe he will leave me.  How do I start over?”

In this post on letting go of someone you love, I focus on reconnecting with the most important person in your life: you.These tips will help you move forward in your life.  In my “letting go of someone you love” ebook (described below), I offer more in-depth information.

5 Tips for Letting Go of Someone You Will Always Love

It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you love isn’t something you do once – and poof! You’re free, healed, and happy. Rather, letting go is a journey peppered with steps forward and steps backward, good days and bad days.

1. Accept that you did the best you could in your relationship

Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty or bad about the choices you made in your relationship. You did the best you could, you loved as much as you were able. No matter what you did or didn’t do in your relationship, it ended — and it probably would have ended regardless. If you want to be happy and healthy – which involves learning how to let go of someone you love – you need practice acceptance.

2. Decide what needs to change in your life

You have to actively decide you want to let go of someone you love.  Who do you want to be? Where do you want to live, work, love, play, and laugh? Instead of mourning the fact that you have to start over because your relationship ended, I want you to try celebrating it. Stop focusing on your ex and the pain. Instead, focus on the excitement of a new beginning and fresh start. I know it’s easier said than done – especially if your husband left you for another woman – but it’s better for you in the long run.

3. Accept your lack of control

To let go of someone you love, you need to accept that you can’t control many things in your life. You can’t control who loves you, who leaves you, who helps you, who betrays you. You can’t control your neighbourhood, the traffic, the weather, or the economy. Of all the things you want to change in your life, remember that you can’t change people. You can sometimes change circumstances, and you can change your attitude and response to events and people…but you can’t change your husband, children, coworkers, neighbours, or family members.

If you need a more step-by-step approach to letting go of someone you love, read How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days: A Day-by-Day Guide to Saying Good-bye and Getting On With Your Life by Howard Bronson.

4. Tap into your soul – start over spiritually

The happiest people are those who are in touch with their spirits.

Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health. Tap into your soul by meditating, praying, taking time to really listen to your heart, reading Scripture or other soulful books, and talking to people about spiritual matters. The end of a relationship – when you’re trying to let go of someone you love – is a perfect time to start getting back into your spiritual life.

5. Get outside help for letting go

A life coach, counselor, financial adviser, or even a professional organizer can help you let go and move on.

Whether you should hire a life coach or talk to a counsellor depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with self-identity, major life changes, fear, anxiety, depression, or your marriage – then I encourage you to talk to a counsellor. Therapists can provide objective feedback and guidance that our friends and family can’t offer. If you have money problems, financial advisers can help you become financially independent. Professional organizers can help you declutter — which can improve your physical and mental health.

letting go of someone you loveI wrote 3 Powerful Secrets and 75 Tips for Healing Your Heart because I needed to learn how to let go of my sister. Letting her go was the most painful and difficult thing I ever did.

To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches on letting go. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is when you’re letting go of a loved one. It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering your passion and identity.

Here’s what a reader recently emailed me about Letting Go of Someone You Love: “I gobbled the book down. Great help in putting things in perspective and in taking positive thoughtful action. Many thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences.”

Here’s another article I recently wrote on how to let go of someone you love: How to Get Past the Pain After He Broke Up With You.

I hope these tips on letting go of  someone you love help. Please feel free to share your story below. I can’t offer advice, but it often helps to write your thoughts and feelings, even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed.

It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you cared deeply for is a process that takes time. I recommend you let yourself heal gradually, and grieve your loss. Don’t expect to be happy overnight! It’ll take time and work, but if you take it slow and steady, you’ll find yourself coming out of the tunnel of darkness.

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958 thoughts on “5 Tips for Letting Go of Someone You Will Always Love”

  1. Your tips are very good and helpful. Okay my boyfriend of 6yrs. I don’t want to let go but his ways are forcing me to let go and he don’t understand. Okay he blames me for everything that goes wrong, never hold himself accountable for anything, never apologizes, say he is sorry about anything, but he can see when I do something but just not him. He always brags on himself a whole lot as if everybody is beneath him. If it’s not about him then it’s not about anything so I told him he should just be with himself. He would talk about himself allday long if you let him, but it’s just talk because he can’t hold a job down, it took him a long time just to get a car and he don’t have his own place yet, he be back and forth with me to his mama house, he don’t like big responsibilities I think, sometimes he act as if he is 2yrs old, and he is 35yrs. Old, I never know what his intentions are because he say one thing then do another. Always blaming me for everything, never see what he does, I am not perfect but I am a good woman who deserves real love, my boyfriend act as if something is wrong with him, maybe he is a narcissist, he has all those ways I read, but I don’t know for sure, but he sometimes act as if he can’t use his own mind got to do what I do, mimic things, acts like we are in this big competition, and I am like how you going to compete against your own woman as if I am his enemy, then he wonder why I don’t want to be with him anymore, he used his looks to think that he can have any woman and he thought that i was going off of that were he supposed to get what he want but he thought wrong that’s why he be from my house to his mama house because I told him I want a rea l man not a little boy, but he is not a bad person or as nothing it’s just I can’t deal with those ways of his I don’t know if he know he doing it or not but it’s got to be too much for me to handle, being with him is like being by myself sometimes and I don’t like it, it’s like if i don’t make a move, he want either, I just don’t know about this, I never been with a guy who acts like this, could someone please speak up on this, what should i do?

  2. I am so thankful for this article on letting go of someone you will always love. It’s not something that one can often predict during the onset of a relationship. When you have no choice but to leave a relationship behind, you need to change how you think.

    But while I read this article I’m relaxed and pleased that it happened now, and didn’t happen later. I am still in grieving mode but I have come to terms with the fact that this guy ‘Johnny’ doesn’t like me back. I have been unable to find the words to describe this feeling I’ve been having sometimes during yoga or meditation. One of the things that I have learned in life is that when you are connected to people. If you really love some one then ‘let it go, if it comes back it is yours.’

    This has helped in my life to let go of so much hurt from my husband and just move on. We have a 7 month old baby girl but I just felt overwhelmed thinking about the relationship. But I know you can control how you respond to someone whose acts require forgiveness on your part. Just as high as one might feel at the tip of that love, the lows can be devastatingly painful. It’s time to learn how to let go of someone even if you love them. Even if it means I’ll be spending life alone, at least I’ll be at peace.

    Letting him go is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do – and I’ve done some hard stuff. I know it is good to let go people like that go…but it is painful. Thank you again for these tips for letting go of someone you love, they help me find freedom from the past.

  3. Hello, I met a wonderful man 1 year ago and from the start it was like I found my other half. But a few months back when all things were going perfect he said something was missing. He the gave me back my key and left. He came back that day and we cried together and he said he was wrong that without me in his life that was the piece missing. However, since that day he has pulled away from me and we have not spent any time together. He says he loves me but needs to be alone. I am having so much trouble letting go. With him I was so open and free.One day we were ok saying I love you before we went to sleep. When we woke the next morning he wanted to end things. He has asked me to wait for him to get his head together, but has limited his interactions with me and my kids who looked at him as a father. I need to move on but my heart is so broken I just want to cry. My kids need me to bounce back to be an example for them with their own break ups in the future. How do I let go? How do I stop blaming myself for the break up? I feel like a stalker when I see him around town. I even go in a whole different direction than he might take since he comes to my town to drop off his coworker. I miss his touch, his laugh,and I just want the pain to end.

  4. This makes a lot of sense. I am still have a hard time letting go of pain from my past. I shall take further steps to letting go and the healing process which is in slow motion.

  5. Dear Vatalinie,

    I think you need to trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable with your boyfriend – if you don’t trust him – then you have your answer.

    If you decide to give your boyfriend another chance, then you have to prepare yourself for a long time of building trust. It takes time and effort on both partners’ parts to rebuild trust in a relationship.

    What is your boyfriend willing to do to help you trust him again? Is he aware of your feelings, and will he work to regain your trust?

    These are complicated questions, which is why sometimes it’s better in the long run to let go of someone you love. Both of you have to be committed to rebuilding your relationship. You can’t do it alone!


  6. Hi. I’ve been in a relationship for a while. About two months ago my boyfriend broke up with me to be with his ex/baby mama. He said that he didn’t want to be with her but that it was best for his son and that she deserved a second chance. Our break up lasted for two weeks. We made up because he said he made a mistake and that she wasn’t treating him right. So I said that needed time because I didn’t want to feel like a second choice and that we weren’t going to just pick up where we left off. So after a while we started going out again. Today, I found out that he slept with her during those two weeks we weren’t together. I feel heartbroken and can’t stop picturing them together. I know we weren’t together at the time but really? Having sex with someone else that fast? Those two weeks I spent crying and thinking about him. I didn’t even want any other guys around me. And the fact that he didn’t tell me and just let me fall back in love with him makes it worst of all. Am I over reacting? And what should I do? It hurts and I just don’t know what to think or say anymore. I love him but it’s like he didn’t really love me if he moved that fast. Now I’m just thinking, “Is he going to compare me to her?” “Is he thinking about her when he’s with me?” “If she treated him right would he still be with her?” So many thoughts in my head and I just feel so bad.

  7. Dear Conflicted Future,

    I really believe the best thing you could do is get counseling for yourself. Get an objective perspective on your marriage and life, and talk through the decisions you have to make. Sometimes the healthiest thing we could ever do is get strong emotionally and spiritually, and everything else falls into place.

    I know a woman who couldn’t convince her husband to go to counseling, so she went by herself. She got happy! Strong, confident, and able to handle whatever came along. Her husband, as a result, left her because he couldn’t control her anymore.

    Sometimes letting go of someone you love isn’t about getting him to counseling…it’s getting yourself as healthy as possible.

  8. Conflicted Future

    Hi there, my situation is complicated like most. I met my husband in college. My background is more colorful in the social world than his, I dated more, I had more sexual partners I lived, as I’m 4 years older than him, and not as sheltered as him. We had arguments and fights, words were said by him, feelings were hurt and damaged. We still married, even though days before the wedding he accused me of flirting with a friend of mine, and then sent flowers to say he was sorry!!! CLUE MUCH. We had dreams, goals and interests. We married and moved (military) to our first station. There are argued and loved, and argued and loved. He would freak out when I would get angry and try to talk to him about what was going on, or argue because he didn’t respond to anything I was saying. His parents apparently NEVER argued in front of their kids and it totally led him to believe life was perfect and people who were married didn’t argue. SHOCKER for him. We moved again. We are married 2 years by now, I started to doubt our relationship as he was deadly jealous of friend I had, male and female. he didn’t understand why I spent so much time with friends and didn’t spend time with him, which we all spent time together, and him and I spent plenty of time together alone. I’ve always had guy friends, I don’t get along with women too much because of the games they play dealing with the men in their lives. Anyway, so I was friendly to everyone but talked more and had more in common with the guys in the group. Non of the other women took offense as they new the differences in our likes and dislikes and new nothing was going on or going to happen. My husband was jealous anyway. We were on the brink of divorce when we decided to take a vacation and see if we could work on the problems in our relationship. Well I got pregnant with our first child. He deployed and was gone 7our of 9 months of my pregnancy. We had our DD and things were fine, never better. But then my relationship with his folks went down the drain, as he has never set any sort of boundaries with them, and they would come visit when ever and for how ever long they wanted without consulting my wishes. His mother held a grudge with me for not letting her be in the delivery room when our daughter was born. Anyway, The baby was my responsibly 100%, he never woke up, never helped change, never lifted a hand to help in anyway, not even to allow me to shower, or to eat alone. Our daughter was a year when we found out our DS was on the way. Fighting and arguing still were the majority of our lives and I felt more happy and alive when he was deployed. His jealousy faded a bit as who would be with someone with a young baby and pregnant, I imagine he thought. Our DS came and things settled down again, but the rift between myself and his parents was getting deeper and deeper, and I couldn’t even stand to be in the same room as his mother. He of course held her up so high no one could compare. Fast forward, DS is 1 year and we found out our third and LAST child was coming. She was meant to be, one time, in months and there she was. Our sex life has never been the center of our relationship even though my husband wishes it was. He once called me a whore and didn’t understand why I could sleep with so many people and not him every night. So DD was born and we found out we were moving to another country. My mother told me not to leave, to move in with them, to not go she said she didn’t feel right about the move. Well I ended up gaining about 20 lbs because of the stress of the move with three children under 5 and moving and leaving my family. We move and we get settled and from the get go things have been an argument, a fight, settle and fight and argument, settle. The past 9 months I’ve been debating on leaving him for good. My oldest DD hates to hear us argue, as its more like I talk he listens, he doesn’t respond, I started to get upset because he is completely ignoring what it is that is troubling to me or him, or the kids. I had a conversation or many conversation with him about changing for the children, for me, for our relationship, for the health of all of us, as I’ve asked him what are my faults, what bothers him and I’ve been working so very hard to make things work, to make things better, and I feel I’m the only one trying. He will try for a week or two and then fall right back into his sarcastic, (trying to lighten the mood) way of talking. He gets furious with crumbs, with clutter, with the children being children, with toys and shoes, with yelling and playing, so very quickly. He yells at the children frequently, calls them names tells them they are bad, and horrible children. Yes I get frustrated with them but I never call then horrible, or that they do everything wrong or they are bad all the time. He doesn’t know how to communicate with them, to be gentle to get them to put away theirs without barking orders or yelling them to crying. They are children and I will not change them or groom then to be seen and not heard. I’ve asked him to go to counseling and he has refused in the past till this year when I threatened to leave if he didn’t go to counseling and I would call his supervisor in order to fix his home life. He went once, (which now I’m not sure he was telling the truth as I’ve never really trusted him after his betrayal of my months after we were married, (going thru my email accounts and online social profiles). I often think he lies to just not have to talk about things or deal with the issues. Anyway, so he went once, he worked at dealing with the children and communicating better with everyone. Well, two weeks ago it’s started again. Snotty under the breath remarks, sarcasm, why I don’t sleep with him like he wants, why I’m always busy, why the house is cluttered why why why about everything. I’ve asked my parents for helps and suggestions, and he hasn’t’ told his parents anything about any of our troubles. They think everything is perfectly fine. When in actuality I’m ready to up and leave, but seriously can’t because of the cost of flying all four of us home from this country. We have 1.5 years left and I swear I just want to get the hell out of here. But thinking for my children’s future and my own, staying married for 10 years, which would take us to the time we leave here, would give me half of his retirement and such for living. I’ve done a lot of research on this and know my options. It’s just hard to think, should I leave now, or try and wait the time out here? I’ve asked him what he needs me to do, to work on. I’ve tried so hard so very hard to make the times together pleasant, but there is always something that ruins the happy memories with him. We have happy ones, but the bad ones out weigh the good more often then not for me. And my oldest DD is leaning the same way, as she loves her daddy so very much but has started to show signs of low self esteem, flinches when you wave your hands around if talking about something. She herself has an attitude now, and back talks. I try to talk and act the way I want them to learn and become as young children and to grow up to be. It seems like every time I set something up for them, a behavior an action, a way of doing things the right way, he has to mess it up and they go back to the behaviors and attitudes I’m trying to stop. Life is an uphill battle in teaching them and molding them into responsible young people. My DS (4) blames everyone else for anything that happens to him, nothing is his fault, when he does something and I caught him, I see him, he flat out lies about it. I realize this is true from some children, but his fathers behavior is a direct reflection down upon him. I guess I know what I have to do, its doing it. It’s fear of the unknown, of starting over, of dealing with failure, and the loss of 10 years, but the beautiful gain of three wonderful children. They are my life… So as I think I know what I need to do, what is your advice and or suggestions of the here and now to deal with this situation? Thank you so very much for your help!!!

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