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What “Letting Go of Someone You Love” Means

The most important step to letting go of someone you love is to learn what it actually means to detach and be free.

If you learn what “letting go of someone you love” actually looks and feels like, you’ll find it easier to shake off those chains and break free. I’ve written an ebook and many articles about how to let go of someone you love, but I haven’t actually defined the term. So, in this post, you’ll learn what it means to release your hold on someone or something.

Every week we explore a different theme on Blossom. This week is letting go of the past and making room for new growth, fresh life, creative ideas. This is the second post in a Four-Article Series; the first was How to Forget Someone – A Lesson in Deadheading. The next two articles revolve around letting go of an obsession with the past, and forgiving and forgetting an ex boyfriend or husband. Today, though, we’re jumping into what I actually mean when I encourage you let go of someone you’re in love with.

What is “Letting Go of Someone You Love”?

What advice have you already received about how to let go of someone you love? Before you scroll through my tips, take a moment to listen to that still, small voice inside you. Tell me how it feels to let go…are you scared, nervous, reluctant, exhausted, or eager? I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below.

Letting go of someone you love involves three main parts:

  • Facing reality and accepting that your world has changed
  • Redefining the image you have of yourself
  • Withdrawing and refocusing your energy

Before you can start the process of letting go of someone you love, you need to start with step one: acceptance.

1. Face reality and accept that your world has changed

The majority of the comments I receive are from readers who don’t want to face the truth. They don’t want to admit their relationship isn’t healthy, and they definitely don’t want to take action to change their lives. They can’t accept a divorce or move forward alone.

Letting go of someone you love means loosening your attachment to the reality of your life. You won’t be able to let go if you grip tightly to a person who is gone or a relationship that is over. The first piece of the definition of letting go involves surrendering to the facts.

The fact is that you have reached a dead end in certain ways of being, thinking, interacting, and living…and if you can’t accept your new reality, you’ll never be able to truly let go and move forward in your life.

2. Redefine the image you have of yourself

A friend of mine is struggling to let go of her husband. He initiated a divorce almost four years ago, and her pain and grief is as fresh today as it was the day he left. She can’t let go of him – and the reason is clear, even to her. She can’t let go of him because she defined herself as a wife and mother. That was all she ever wanted to be. Her self-image and self-concept took a major and direct hit the day he told her that he wanted a divorce.

The more closely your self-image is tied in with the person you love, the harder it’ll be to let go. Our self-concept is often tied to who we are (eg, a girlfriend) and who we want to become (eg, a wife, a mother, a grandmother). If all you want to be is a wife and mother, then letting go of your husband will be excruciating.

How has your self-image been affected by your loss? Spend some time writing about how letting go of someone you love affects how you see yourself. Grieve who you were, who you wanted to be. Reconnect with yourself in a different way – one that involves your new reality in a positive way.

3. Withdraw and refocus your energy

Letting go includes a gradual withdrawal of energy, love, and attachment from the person you love. On the inside, you’ve begun to face and accept your reality (the first part of the definition of letting go of someone you love).

On the outside, you’re starting to change your behaviors. This is the third part of what it actually means to let go of someone you love: you are physically withdrawing the energy you used to give that person. Instead of spending time thinking about them, regretting your past, wishing they were different, wishing you were different…you start to focus your energy on more productive, interesting, and fulfilling thoughts.

And that’s what “letting go of someone you love” truly means: creating space in your life for new opportunities.

When you let go, you choose to spend your time and energy on thoughts and actions that aren’t about that person. So, the definition of letting go involves making deliberate choices and refocusing your energy.

Why is it so hard to let go?

Letting go of someone you love is difficult because you’re:

  • Leaving an important time in your life
  • Separating from people, homes, and activities that you know well
  • Heading into an unknown future
  • Dealing with change

Those are very difficult parts of life to go through, and it’s normal to feel reluctant, afraid, and grieved about letting go. Mixed feelings are natural and healthy…and the only way to deal with them is to go through them.

Pay attention to what you focus on

The more you focus on what you lost, the harder it’ll be to let go.

what is letting go of someone you love

What “Letting Go of Someone You Love” Means

If you put your energy and thoughts towards how sad you are and how much you wish you were back in that relationship, you set yourself back. On the other hand, if you can focus on putting your energy towards hope and plans for your future, then you will start to taste what it means to let go of the past in healthy ways.

I hope this definition of what “letting go of someone you love” actually means is helpful to you. When you can face reality and accept your changed world, redefine the image you have of yourself, and refocus your energy…then you truly are free to move on with your life.

Questions for you

  • How would you define the concept of letting go of someone you love?
  • Who are you letting go of, and how long has it been?
  • What is one word that describes how you feel?
  • How have you coped with letting go of someone you love in the past?

I welcome your thoughts below. While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of letting go of someone you love. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.

On Blossom this week

Letting go of the past and making room for fresh growth, fresh life, fresh Blossoms was my focus this week. Here’s the lineup:

Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.

Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!


4 thoughts on “What “Letting Go of Someone You Love” Means”

  1. I am so sorry you are in such pain Chen Yu. I understand your sorrow and confusion. When someone creates trust with another person and then betrays that trust it is very scary and can be overwhelming. I am glad you are early in this relationship and have not made a greater commitment. There is nothing you can do to change what the person has done. It is not a fault with you or your value. It is about the inability of the other person to be honest. There is likely a reason the person behaved as they did but there is no excuse for being dishonest with someone who loves you and trusts you….you are trustworthy and loving and it will be a significant challenge in your life to come to terms with this betrayal. You are not alone with this big disappointment. When someone reassures another person and betrays them it is wrong and immoral. I know it does not feel like it right now but you will grow from this and create different boundaries around you within a relationship. You will heal. All I know is that you are worth honesty and respect and that will never change. It might not feel like you are worthy because you have been wounded in your heart and in your mind. A wounded person is not always able to think clearly. You are hurt and confused through dishonesty and betrayal. Spend time with people you trust and be very kind to yourself, always. God Bless you as you work through this distress and pain.

  2. – How would you define the concept of letting go of someone you love?
    To be honest, I don’t exactly know cuz I’m quite not ready yet. But letting her is for me giving both of us time to think. But most of all for her to think cuz she is confused and doesn’t know what she wants.
    – Who are you letting go of, and how long has it been?
    My ex girlfriend. We were together for almost a year. Which is for me minimum for a serious relationsip. But I love her deeply.
    – What is one word that describes how you feel?
    I feel afraid. Afraid that letting her go and giving her time (no contact) will make her recognize that she doesn’t want to reconcile in the future. That is better off without me. Afraid that there is no chance to get back together in the future.
    – How have you coped with letting go of someone you love in the past?
    Started to meet new people, flirt and I met my girlfriend which is my current ex girlfriend now.

    And I don’t know if I should answer her or not

  3. I have been with the same person for 25 years. The past couple of months he started pulling away. He then told me we needed a break and He does not know if he loves me anymore

  4. Hi.
    My name is Chen Yu. I have been trying hard to let go of a man who have promised to love me and to have a bright future with me for the past 4-5 months. He had initiated the breakup with a whatsapp. I was left dumbfounded and then when I tried calling he ignored all calls. Can anyone please tell me what to do?

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