When you let go of someone you love, you release the hold they have on you. You become free to move forward and be happy again. Here, you’ll learn healthy ways to let go of a relationship, heal your heart, and move forward in your life.
“My heart is broken into a million pieces,” says Briana on How to Emotionally Detach From Someone You Care About. “No matter how much I tell myself that I deserve better and remember that he cheated on me, lied to me and made me feel bad about myself, I still feel a horrible ache from missing him. I try to tell myself that one day I will meet someone who is right for me…but my thoughts constantly go back to him. At first I still talked to him and hoped that he would want me back, but now it’s strictly no contact. I have had loss in my life before (my father died and my husband left me six months later) but I never felt as devastated as I do now. Why can’t I let go?”
You are not alone – and you will find ways to heal your heart and let go of someone you love. I focus on looking upwards and inwards, on re-establishing your self-identity and self-worth. I also share a portion or two of my “how to let go of someone you love” ebook – which I describe at the end of this article.
Giving up on a relationship doesn’t mean you are weak. Sometimes it means you are brave enough to let go.
How to Let Go of Someone You 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.
And, know that letting go of someone you love is like losing a piece of your identity.
“You hold on because you are holding on to something that keeps your sense of self intact,” writes Camilla Gibb in This is Happy. “You have come to know and understand yourself in relationship to this person. You can let go only when your sense of self, your cohesion, no longer depends upon the idea of them, an idea that remains for a long time inextricable from the very idea of yourself.”
If you truly want to let go of someone you love, then you need to change how you see yourself. You need to be aware of who you were in that relationship (a girlfriend, a wife, a lover) and accept that that season of your life is over.
When that relationship was alive, you were that person. But now that the relationship is over, you are someone new and different.
1. Consider the idea that this season of your life is right for you
You may feel unhappy, sad, wrong and lost when you’re struggling to learn how to let go of someone you love. You don’t feel loved, warm, centered, or right. Maybe you feel depressed and unworthy, alone and afraid.
But what if this breakup, separation, or divorce is actually the best thing for you? What if you knew what God knows about your life and future…can you imagine what it would feel like if you found out that letting go of this person you love is the best thing for you?
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Learning how to let go of a relationship is painful. It hurts, and there is no way around the pain. Unless you allow yourself to entertain the idea that this really is the best way for your life to unfold. I’ve written about how my sister stopped talking to me, and how it was the most painful thing in my life. And recently I realized that learning how to let her go was one of the most important things I ever did. I found freedom, joy, and peace in accepting her decision and letting her go.
2. 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! I spent a couple of years wallowing in regret, self-recrimination, and low self-worth. And for what? It did no good at all. It was actually harmful because I was wrestling with unknowns. I didn’t know why I lost someone I loved deeply, I had no idea why she chose to leave me.
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. If you want to be happy and healthy – which involves learning how to let go of someone you love – you need practice acceptance.
3. 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? Yes, you need to grieve the fact that you have to start over because your relationship ended. You need to go through the pain, process the loss, and work through the disappointment and broken dreams. This is active grieving, and it is so healthy! Actively grieving your loss is doing exactly what you’re doing: searching for tips on how to let go of someone you love, and actually applying those ideas to your life.
Avoid the temptation to focus on your lost relationship and the pain of letting go. Instead, take time to consider the possibilities and options. You are on the verge of a new beginning and fresh start in your life. This isn’t easy. I know. It’s painful in a variety of different circumstances, and it requires strength and courage. But encouraging yourself to focus on seasons ending and fresh new beginnings can help you learn how to let go of a loved one and move forward in hope, faith, and peace.
4. 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 neighborhood, 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, neighbors, or family members.
One of the hardest things about letting go of someone you love is not having closure in your relationship. Read How to Move on From an Ex You Still Love.
5. Refresh yourself emotionally and spiritually
The happiest, healthiest people are in touch with their spiritual and emotional selves. Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health.
“Being spiritual” doesn’t mean you need to go to church, synagogue, or mosque. Being in touch with your spiritual self is about dipping into the flow of God’s healing energy. However you describe your Higher Power to be, step into that flow.
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.
It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you cared deeply for is a process that takes time. Let yourself heal gradually, and grieve your loss. Don’t expect to be happy, healthy, healed 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.
6. Take care of yourself by asking for the help you need
“My husband of three years is planning to leave me without an explanation,” says Michelle on What ‘Letting Go of Someone You Love’ Means. “He is in a band and tours every now and then, but that has never been a problem till this tour. Within a week 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 let go of him and start over? I don’t want to stay in this relationship because I know letting go is the best option for me. But I just don’t know how to start.”
When you can’t let go of the past, you might consider a session or two with a life coach, counselor, financial adviser, or even a professional organizer (sometimes getting a divorce requires literally cleaning out your closets, attic, basement, garage, etc). An objective outsider 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 counselor or therapist. Get provide objective support, feedback and guidance that your friends and family can’t offer when you’re trying to let go of someone you love. 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.
Help Letting Go of Someone You Love
I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets and Practical for Healing Your Heart to help you cope with the loss of a relationship. It hurts to let go of someone you love – even if you’re not “in love” anymore. The pain of breaking up affects every part of your life: your daily routine, work, family relationships, friends, hopes and dreams for your future, and even your financial plans.
The first version of this ebook was called How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets (and 75 Tips!) for Healing Your Heart. I wrote it several years ago, and have learned a lot about loving, losing, and letting go since then. So, I rewrote the ebook. My prayer is that it helps heal your heart, and gives you comfort and guidance.
To learn how to let go, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is to let go of a relationship. It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering who you are.
How are you feeling? I welcome your comments below. Writing about your relationship and the breakup can help you heal and move forward in your life.
May you find healing and faith – forgiveness and hope – as you move forward in your life. God didn’t promise days without pain, sun without rain…but He did promise strength for the day and light for the way.
Do you need relationship help? Get Mort Fertel's 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage. It's helpful - and free!