“Falling in love is less of a process than falling out.” – Micheal French, Writer.
Love, as they say, is a many-splendored thing. Sometimes, when things go amiss, there is no option but to let go of the very love that holds the key to your heart. The challenge then is to learn how to fall out of love – for your own sake as well as that of the other person. It could be romantic love shared between partners or feelings of togetherness and care you share with your friend or sibling. When it ends, it ends.
Whatever may be the case with you or the status of your relationship, the fact is, it is terribly hard to stop loving someone. It takes a herculean effort to get over someone while the opposite happens rather organically. But why is it so hard to get over them when falling in love with them felt so easy? How long will this tussle last? And what can you do to allow yourself to say bye? Let’s find out the answers to all your burning questions.
Falling Out Of Love – Why Is It Hard?
The most simple answer to this question is that love feels good, and we are addicted to what feels good. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that love is an addiction. To stop loving when love actually felt good is hard, much for the same reason as to stop eating when you are hungry. Love fills our primal need for an intimate connection with another human being and letting it go seems impossibly hard because:
- Love feels good: Studies have long proven the biological effects of the intense feelings of love on our bodies. Take this study for example, which, talks about how love, lust, attraction, attachment, and companionship stimulate the release of various essential and feel good hormones in the body
- To not love is painful: On the other hand, this study delves into break up pains. It says how the sensory experience of forcibly having to detach from someone you love resulting into or resulting from a feeling of social rejection is the same as feeling actual physical pain
- To stop loving is to stop dreaming: Still unsure why it has been so hard for you to get over the person you are trying to forget? Take this. The moment you fell in love with this person, you unconsciously began planning a future with them, or envisioning a common goal, a shared dream, or an emotional fulfillment of some kind in the near future. Now, to detach and withdraw, means to trample on hopes, dreams and the possibility of joy. No wonder your instincts resist your insistence on moving on
- Change is difficult: Depending on your relationship with this person, falling out of love is a change from how things have been. And change is always difficult
Due to all of these reasons, forcing yourself to emotionally disconnect from a person you love can feel disorienting and even painful. Knowing these facts is an important first step because it lets you put your pain in context. It helps you approach yourself with kindness and sensitivity and reminds you to give yourself a little break!
How To Fall Out Of Love With Someone – 9 Tips
There are various reasons why you may have felt the need to erase that special someone from your heart, such as:
- Unrequited love: If your love has remained unreciprocated despite all efforts on your part, there is no point in hanging on to an illusion. In such cases, you better teach your heart how to disconnect with that person before the emotion overwhelms you
- Broken marriage or lost love: The spark between you and your spouse is dying and there is no way to reignite the lost relationship. There might not be any overt reason or episode that triggered it. The attraction that brought you together might simply not be there or you two might have discovered diverging values or life-goals with no middle ground in sight. These cases require a bit of tact and skill to simply stop loving and break the relationship
- Forbidden love: There are also instances where perhaps your heart has missed a few steps and gone too far and you have found yourself pining for a person who cannot be yours. For example, a taboo relationship. In this case, you are compelled to make yourself snap out of love, say with a married man or woman, because they are already committed to somebody else. This too can be a roller coaster of emotions and tensions
- Platonic break-up: Finally, there are instances where a friend or someone close to you may have done something to cause you pain, which results in you wanting to walk out of their life. Such episodes can be difficult as you grapple with how to stop loving someone who has meant a lot to you
No matter why you need to learn how to forget someone you love or get over someone, you must prepare yourself to “learn” it nevertheless. Because like the quote from earlier, falling out of love is a process. Here are some tips:
Related Reading: How To End A Relationship On Good Terms
1. Accept that it will take time
So you walked out of the relationship with your pride intact. Unfortunately, you hadn’t accounted for the weepy nights you’d spend thinking about your ex. Now you are here, trying to figure out how to get over someone fast. Relax, you can’t fall out of love with your ex in a jiffy. Healing takes time so allow yourself to be heartbroken and think about them for a while.
Listening to their favorite band, eating the dessert you two always got together, or walking past his favorite apparel store – moments like these will always make your mind wander toward what could have gone differently and why things went wrong. It’s only natural to ask these questions so give yourself and your heart some time to process and heal. Tell yourself, “Taking time is acceptable.”
2. Introspect – Think about your reasons
To help you forget the one you loved, you need to be sure of your reasons. Did you even love them? What did you love about them? Why must you forget them? What will it mean if you can’t? What is at stake? You could practice journaling. In a journal you should write down the following:
- Was it really love? Many people confuse attraction and infatuation for love. Perhaps, you feel excited about the prospect of a new love and when the attention isn’t reciprocated, your vulnerability makes you feel rejected and you confuse this with true love
- Why do I need to forget them? Ask yourself what has led to this stage where you must say goodbye to them. If there is something wrong about your partner or relationship because of which you must stop seeing them, list it down. List down why it didn’t work out. Later, when you miss them, this list will remind you why it was necessary to end it
- What is at stake? Ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t let them go? Who would it affect and how?
- Why is forgetting them good for me? List down every possible way this break up will be beneficial for you to take off your rose colored glasses with which you are mourning their loss
Once you convince yourself how much your life can change for the better when you decide to break up with someone who is bad for you, it might get easier. Writing things down might make you approach a more logical side of things and make you a little bit more resistant to succumbing to the memories.
This is how they did it: When Sammy understood that her 3-month relationship with Trevor was hardly a relationship in the first place, she got over him in a jiffy. She realized that obsessing over him was the only thing that was drawing her toward him. In reality, there was hardly anything organic or real between them. Once she came to this understanding, it became clear that she didn’t actually love him but had only convinced herself that she did.
3. Out of sight is out of mind
The most advisable recourse to deal with any addiction is to cut its supply or create distance between you and the object of your addiction. If you need to stop thinking about your ex or that person whose love is forbidden, you must cut off all contact. Sure you can prepare a list of unspoken boundaries if you wish to remain good friends with them in the future. But for now, you can’t get them out of your system unless you get them out of your life. Here are some tips to slowly wean your mind off their thoughts:
- Don’t visit the places they do
- Mute them or unfollow them on social media (so you do not stalk them and they don’t pop up on your feed every time you refresh it)
- Delete conversations so you don’t feel tempted to revisit them
- If you need to, please lose contact with mutual friends
- Get rid of things that remind you of your ex if you can, like their stuff or something that they gave you
Take as long as you need to gather the strength to continue on without them. You don’t need memories needling you over and over again. Give yourself a clean break!
Related Reading: Why Do Exes Check Up On You On Social Media?
4. Set a deadline for yourself
Yes, we do advise you to take your time. But give yourself a mental deadline about how long you are going to mourn. While there is no definitive answer to how long does it take to get over someone, you can’t keep wallowing and pining for your lost love forever. Easier said than done, we know! When love ends abruptly, it is difficult to look ahead. The art of learning how to forget someone you love includes setting specific targets for your mind too. Think of it as a healthy boundary for yourself.
But here is a friendly reminder to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the time you need, but don’t allow yourself to indulge in masochistic self-loathing and self-pity. You must approach your broken self like you would a child. Be firm but also gentle. Guide yourself out of your misery.
We wish there was some kind of chemical potion or way to just cut off, but it all comes down to you and one decision that says, “I must stop feeling sorry for myself. I must focus on myself.” You need to mentally re-adjust yourself again if you seriously want to forget about them and move on.
5. Face the fear of being single again
One of the primary reasons why falling out of love is hard is that change is uncomfortable. You may know that the relationship has no future but you carry on because the thought of being single again or life after divorce terrifies you. The only way to get over this fear is to face it. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. Preparing yourself for the life that awaits you on the other side of this relationship is key.
If you have been in a long-term committed relationship, your enmeshed life must make the thought of being single again even scarier. Add to that, dependent children or other responsibilities! Preparation, in this case, may take more effort and may include things like speaking to a financial advisor, looking at rentals, finding jobs in a different city, etc. It may be difficult and may take longer. But it is going to make you feel much more confident for the long haul.
This is how they did it: When Jessica realized that waiting desperately for another boyfriend was only making her sadder and she was thinking about her ex even more, she decided to embrace singleness in all its glory. She joined a spin class, was volunteering at a dog shelter in the evenings, and started meeting the girls for drinks every weekend! Take it from Jessica – being happily single and trying to rediscover yourself is a far better option than wallowing in the pain of lost love.
6. Find things to replace your sad thoughts with
One strategy to minimize the feeling of their absence is to replace the hole they leave with something else. Having just fallen out of love with your best friend or your partner of decades, you may feel no one can replace them but you are not looking for a substitute. You are looking for healthy ways, meaningful things, relationships, and experiences that can serve as an antidote to your negative emotions and help you sustain through this hard time. Here are some things you can try:
- Have a replacement thought: Each time you think of them, think of a pleasant thought that you believe in. This will help you steer clear of self-pity
- And a replacement activity: You should know what to lean on every time you find yourself tripping over memories. For example, tell yourself, “Whenever I miss them, I will walk to my door, wear my shoes and step out for a walk. I will miss them outside and not in the house”
- Meet new people: No, it doesn’t mean you need a speed dating spree because you might still be a little fragile to take that on. All we advise is that you just ensure you have a larger friend circle and people to keep you going when you feel down
This is how they did it: Jim is a teacher, and when his romantic partner got engaged to her ex, Jim felt there was no end to his pain. He, then, came up with a technique to mechanically replace his thoughts until his mind started doing it for him. Every time he thought of her, he said to himself, “My students love me so much. I have so much love in my life.” He knew what he had to do when he missed her. He stopped whatever he was doing and watched a film in preparation for the course he was teaching. Love for his work helped him heal.
7. Practice mindfulness to get over one-sided love
Unrequited love is the toughest to forget and cope with. Trying to fall out of love with someone you never dated brings its own set of challenges as the heart keeps pining for something that was never yours. Practicing mindfulness might help you accept the situation for what it is. The following sentences may sound too philosophical, but this kind of introspection can be very helpful. Dwell on these for a bit:
- I can’t really change it, can I?
- It is what it is
- Love is a good thing. I am grateful for my capacity to love
- The only being who will accompany me all my life is myself. I am my true companion. Self-love is real love
- There is no such thing as a failed relationship
- There is no timeline to a relationship. A journey that ends, just ends. It is not a failed or incomplete journey
8. Practice self-care
Another way of filling that void left by your love for them is to replace it with love for yourself and care for your well-being. A new chapter in your life awaits you and you have to gather the strength to turn the page over and find happiness. Indulging in self-love can heal you like nothing else can. There can be varied forms of self-care, some of them are:
- Try new experiences: Do new things, take up a new hobby, sign up for a class, learn a new craft, or join some kind of a club
- Practice the art of living in the ‘now’: Bring a conscious change to your routine, paint a wall with a new color or do something symbolic to let go of the negative feeling of being stuck
- Practice mindfulness techniques: Yoga and meditation can help you heal and strengthen from within
- Prioritize your own interests: You must look at yourself with as much love as the person you’re trying to get over. Give yourself whatever you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself
- Include movement in your routine: You don’t have to punish yourself by forcing a strict exercise regimen. Instead look for creative ways to include movement in your lifestyle. Some ideas? Swimming, going on heritage walks, dancing, gardening
Related Reading: 15 Subtle Signs A Breakup Is Near And Your Partner Wants To Move On
9. Actively seek support
Your loved ones will be your best bet when you are trying to come out of a doomed or toxic relationship. Lean on them. Reduce the burden by sharing it with them. They can be your biggest support system as you try and negotiate your own mixed emotions. They may even provide a fresh perspective for you.
Besides, spending time with your friends and family members will make you realize how loved and special you are. Their care, concern, and warmth toward you will help you understand that you are worth so much more.
Being a part of a relationship dynamic that requires you to withdraw from the object of your love can take an emotional and mental toll on you. The self-pity may cause low-self esteem issues, future trust issues, anxiety, and depression. Do not hesitate to approach a professional if you are grappling with coming to terms with the situation. Should you need that, Bonobology’s panel of experts is here to help you.
- It takes a herculean effort to learn how to stop loving someone while the opposite happens rather organically
- It is hard to stop loving someone because love feels good and we are addicted to what feels good
- To disconnect from someone you love you must introspect about why you want to do it, who does it benefit and how
- You must accept that it is hard, that it will take time. At the same time, you need to give yourself a semblance of a deadline to mourn the loss of love. You can not allow yourself to be consumed by self-pity
- Cut all contact and prepare yourself for the single life. Replace your sadness with alternative thoughts and things to do
- Practice gratitude, mindfulness, self-care and self-love. Seek support in family, friends and a therapist
You don’t have to feel guilty about falling out of love or not wanting to give yourself to somebody who is not the one for you. Relationships evolve with time and it’s best to be honest about your feelings rather than fixating on the wrong connection. You may suffer from guilt and wonder how to fall out of love without hurting your special someone but don’t be too harsh on yourself. Time heals all wounds and it will heal theirs too.
This article has been updated in October, 2022.
There is no timeline to falling out of love. It can happen after years of being in a relationship or you might want to snap out of it after the initial flush of love fades off. It depends on the trigger for wanting to end the relationship.
You are filled with negative emotions. You stop feeling attracted, you do not want to spend time with them, the things that made you infatuated no longer excites you and you realize that you are not compatible with them anymore.
It is impossible to fall out of love with your soulmate. The love you have for them may evolve and take a new shape but it will remain in some form or the other. Soulmates are meant to be together.