By any chance, if you have read Charles Dickens’s classic novel, Great Expectations, then you must be familiar with Miss Havisham. She is a wealthy woman, who plans to live her life in a wedding dress because she was left at the altar by her fiancé. If you are someone who was also jilted in love, you might relate to her anguish. That suggests you are still figuring out how to let go of someone you love.
It is not easy to let someone go that matters a lot to you. After all, heartbreaks can leave you with a wound that you cannot see but feel as intensely as a sharp scrape or a painful ache. But, life has to go on. We cannot sit with the debilitating ache or the scars of love forever. There is a certain maturity in healing, which comes over time.
If you are lovelorn, you might not simply learn how to let go of someone you love instantly. As they say, moving on is an art and we will help you understand the tips and tricks of it, with insights from clinical psychologist Kranti Momin (Masters in Psychology), who is an experienced CBT practitioner and specializes in the resolution of relationship issues.
When Should You Let Go Of Someone You Love?
Imagine yourself holding a fat, coarse rope tied to a wrecking ball. As it pulls away from you, the rope leaves behind a red gash and a lot of pain. When it hurts like that it is time to let go of someone you love who doesn’t love you.
You may feel this achy pull in many situations, for instance, when your needs are not being met in a relationship. Every individual has different expectations that need to be met in a relationship – they could revolve around emotional aspects like spending quality time together or practical ones like managing money. When these needs are ignored, it is time to talk to your partner. But, if they remain too complacent, perhaps it is time to learn how to let go of someone you love.
Irene, a kindergarten teacher, was unaware for a long time that her needs were largely unfulfilled in her relationship. Some introspection and a counselor benefitted her in understanding how her relationship was shaping.
“I asked myself a simple question – who is the person I turn to tell about a promotion or something horrible. It was not my partner but my friends. It was a bittersweet realization,” Irene said. Moreover, she found herself confiding more into her “work husband”, who paid a lot more attention to what she was saying than her partner.
“I had become so embroiled in the complacency of my relationship with my partner that I had started believing his ignorance was a sign of comfort. But of course, it was hard to move on,” she said.
Kranti said that it is better to let go of someone you love who doesn’t love you before it affects your physical and mental well-being. “The thought of moving on may be overwhelming at first but it is a process that one has to approach carefully,” she added.
How To Let Go Of Someone You Love – 9 Expert Tips
“Unrequited love can generate feelings of frustration and anger in an individual. It could even lower your self-esteem,” said Kranti. Before these heavy-duty sentiments plunge you down into deeper psychological issues, it is prudent that you seek help. Get some fresh air and think about what you want to do in your life once you let go of someone who can’t be with you. The vision of the future without your special someone may appear like a wasteland at first, but you can plow it into a garden again with the help of a few tips that Kranti suggests.
“Try and speak with your friends and family about your feelings and get a reality check about whatever you think is going wrong,” she says. In short, pull up your socks. Now, together let us deliberate on a few ways on how to let go of someone you love. Because, my dear reader, the majority of us have had heartbreaks and have not stopped living our lives as we let go of someone we love after a breakup.
1. Snip the contact completely
After a breakup, the harmless stalking of the ex can be a self-sabotaging hobby. So, exercise the delete option when it is time to let someone go that matters a lot to you. Block and remove their number and evict them from your social media circles.
“I wish I would have deleted Melinda’s digital presence from my life sooner,” said Sean, a software professional, adding, “Soon after our breakup, I used to stalk her accounts incessantly and also check when she was online. I had begun constructing her life in my mind according to her digital presence. And, I had come to the conclusion that she had moved on fairly quickly. I was hurting myself with my own thoughts. I have been at peace after I gradually deleted her from my phone – even the old texts.”
Related Reading: Does The No Contact Rule After Break Up Work?
2. Rely on your friends and family
Have you tried letting go of someone but it hurts you? Do you have your rose-tinted glasses on, colored with happy memories of the past? “It is time to take those love goggles off and get a perspective from friends and family,” Kranti suggested.
It is important to have other people to confide in when you have to let go of someone you love who is toxic. When you sit on the couch and bawl or sit in a bar drinking your anguish, you will need your friends and family. Besides, they will help you get a perspective and a reality check.
If you have to let go of someone who doesn’t love you and the unrequited love has put you at the peak of your emotions, the people around you can help reassure you that what you are feeling is not “exaggerated” or “crazy”.
3. Pamper yourself instead
It is very easy to forget to care for yourself when you let go of someone you love after a breakup. Like they show in movies, you may end up in baggy clothes, dirt-matted hair, and a pool of stink. Sadness and dirtiness are friends that you do not want to hang around you for a long time for your own well-being.
So, with the help of your friends or family, step out. Take baby steps – start with a stroll in the park for fresh air if you are trying to get over your breakup. Eventually, eat the food that you like, visit the spots that make you feel good, or even pick up a never-before-tried hobby. While this may not make you feel completely happy, you may feel less sad.
4. How to let go of someone you love? Try journaling
Following a breakup, you may not instantly know how to let go of someone you love. You might mull over what went wrong – it happens a lot in the self-pity phase. These thoughts need a vent and you need to tell your complete story right from the beginning that led to this stage where you have to let go of someone you love after a breakup. Why don’t you try your hand at journal writing? Telling your story in the confines of pages – without feeling judged – is a good way to open up.
Writing the bits of your heartbroken narrative could help you get clarity. You can also see how much you have progressed over years by revisiting the older entries of your journal. If you keep at this habit, it could help you gain a wider perspective on your story, connect you to the past differently, and initiate the healing process.
Related Reading: How To Cope With A Breakup?
5. Adopt an exercise routine
When you have to let go of someone you love who can’t be with you, you may end up feeling dejected, and like Kranti said it might affect you physically. There may exist a constant sense of fatigue, dragging you to the depths of despair. The ache of your heartbreak might translate into the ache of the muscles. If it starts feeling too cagey, it is time to hit the jogging track or the gym. It is the best vent for that consternation that makes your chest feel heavy.
Exercising may also help you rebuild your image in your eyes. Once you see physical evidence of improvement – a body in a good shape – you might be hopeful and pursue more things that may eventually bring you out of your state of despair. But to reach this stage, you have to take that first, enormous step toward deciding to exercise and stick to it.
6. Dump the mementos
Aaron, a mixed-martial-arts trainer, had gradually gotten rid of all gifts and belongings that his partner, Sayra, had left behind when they broke up. But, he had been unable to get rid of the Iranian hat she had given him at the beginning of their relationship. “I had loved it when I had seen it first and she had bought it without sparing a thought. That was her first gift to me, I valued it for the sentiment behind it,” he said.
But it languished for three years in Aaron’s wardrobe after the breakup. He would not wear it but a glimpse of it in his wardrobe always reminded him of Sayra in a bittersweet manner that often triggered some unwarranted thoughts.
One day, Aaron’s nephew saw the hat and said he liked it, so Aaron passed it on to him. “It was kind of a closure for me because I did not throw it away. I gave it to someone who liked it. So, in parting with it, I didn’t disrespect the sentiment behind that special gift,” he said.
While discarding mementos is an instant option, if you are seeking small closures, appreciate the thought behind the gift when it was given to you. And pass the gift on likewise. Find a forever home for it.
Related Reading: How to deal with mementos of a lost love
7. Declutter to let go of someone you love after a bad breakup
Decluttering is an extremely satisfying exercise. If you’re still thinking about how to let go of someone you love after a bad breakup, there is a slight possibility that you have not been able to take care of your room or your home. Somehow, your space may start reflecting your wallowing thoughts – it may appear unorganized and cluttered. It is time to detangle this mess.
Start with the clutter on the desk, organize the pens in a holder, put the books on the rack, and file those stray papers. Dust your shelves, broom your floors, vacuum your carpets and then mop everything with a pleasant floor cleaner. Cleaning up the space may make you feel slightly fresh. It may even change the direction of your thoughts.
8. Start networking to move on and make a fresh start
When you are working on how to let go of someone you love, focus on things you do the best – it could be a hobby or your job. And then think, is there a way to do those things better? If you have an optimistic answer, it is time for you to start networking. Meet more people that further your interests.
Getting out there and hearing new ideas may prove to be a good distraction especially if you are trying to end a toxic relationship. You may begin to understand how emotionally pressed you were in your toxic relationship and also acknowledge the new freedom of your thoughts.
And who knows you might even find someone interesting. In such a case, give love a second chance. Don’t be too afraid or paranoid. But, be cautious when entering into the next relationship.
9. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask a counselor how to let go of someone you love
A counselor is not too far away if you are too overwhelmed with the thought of how to let go of someone you love. WeIf you actually seek help it means that you have acknowledged that you are in pain and that you need support – that is a great beginning. Therapy can help you make sense of your emotions and find a way forward. With a multitude of experienced, licensed therapists on Bonobology’s panel, help is only a click away.
Just remember when you are letting go of someone but it hurts you, healing is a long and learning process. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Forgive yourself for being hurt and committing mistakes and at the same time have faith that you would not repeat the past. The experiences you gather while you let go of someone you love who can’t be with you are the ones that will make you wise.