How To Emotionally Let Go Of Someone You Love: A Therapist Advises

Break up And Loss | | , Writer & Editor
Validated By
how to emotionally let go of someone you love

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny,” said legendary athlete and bestselling author Steve Maraboli. And he was right. But how do you stop loving someone so suddenly? Well, though we talk about detaching emotionally very often, it’s easier said than done. When you find yourself at that crossroads, how to emotionally let go of someone you love becomes a burning concern.

So, if you’re wondering how to let him go or let her go, fret not. In this article, we’ll tell you all about how to unlove someone you love the most. With insights from California-based psychiatrist and cognitive behavior therapist Dr. Shefali Batra (MD in Psychiatry), who specializes in counseling for separation and divorce, breakup and dating, and premarital compatibility issues, we will delve deeper into the signs it’s time to let go, the reasons it’s difficult to do so, and 11 tips to get over someone.

Signs It’s Time To Let Go Of Someone

Before we come to the question of how to emotionally let go of someone you love, let’s focus on the signs you need to walk away. Most of us like to be in long-term relationships — something we can rely on. We want our relationships to be like strong pillars, supporting our lives. We want them to be with us through every odd storm. But is that the case all the time? Well, not all are lucky to have such relationships, and more often than not, we need to voluntarily let some people go, either for our own good or theirs or merely because of the circumstances. This leaves us wondering how to unlove someone you love the most.

Dr. Batra says, “Sometimes, people think that just because they are in a relationship, they have to keep it going. Watch out for the signs, which might indicate otherwise and you’ll see when it’s time to let go of someone, particularly in a romantic relationship.” She thus helps us with 7 signs that help us realize that it’s time to let go of someone:

For more expert-backed insights, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

1. Lack of respect

So, how do you stop loving someone you once couldn’t live without? Dr. Batra says, “We know it’s time to let someone go when respect seems to be lost in the relationship.” Now, respect can mean different things to different people. For some, it may be the respect that a partner shows toward their career choices, dress sense, or interests. For others, it may be something as simple as sharing household workload equally.

This is what a Reddit user had to say on what disrespect meant to her in a relationship: “If someone walks past the dishes 6 times a day without touching them, don’t believe them if they say they didn’t notice. That’s an adult (one hopes) who is aware that they
need clean plates and forks and probably doesn’t believe in fairies. They’ve just decided it’s a better use of your time than theirs.”

2. Lack of trust

Another major sign that it’s time to let go of someone is when there’s no trust left in the relationship. A Reddit user shares his pain of not being trusted enough by his partner and how he decided it was time to let her go: “Essentially, she doesn’t trust or believe things that I say. I’ve noticed it in a lot of different forms, like not believing that I’m at work when I say I am, thinking that I’m talking to other girls behind her back, or thinking that I could get off work early to hang out with her, but just choosing not to, etc.”

Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips On How To Let Go Of Hurt And Betrayal

Now, lack of trust itself can stem from a lot of issues, such as:

  • Lack of regular communication
  • Sneaky behavior, such as hiding your phone from your partner
  • Blatant flirting (even of the harmless variety)
  • Past instances of cheating

3. When lies have taken over

How do you stop loving someone so abruptly? Well, a relationship survives on honesty, and when lies take over, there’s enough reason to let go of your partner. A study on the impact of lies in relationships proved that “real lies were found to be the
most serious type of lie having malicious intentions, negative consequences, be more self-serving, zero truthfulness, and considered unacceptable.” And this study took into consideration all types of lies, including white lies that didn’t have any serious impact. So, what are some such lies that may be a sign that it’s time to let go of someone? Well, they can be lies about:

  • Their job or financial status: This could be done in a bid to try and appear richer than they are
  • A health issue: There could be a terminal illness or any mental health condition that they have hidden or not told you about. This may be a lie of omission
  • Their relationship status: They may have hidden a past marriage or another partner

Related Reading: Resentment In A Relationship – Signs, Causes, And How To Let Go

4. When you’re in a draining or harmful relationship

To those confused about when to let go of a relationship, Dr. Batra says, “You know it’s time to let go of a relationship if there’s more drain than rejuvenation in it.” And we totally think she’s right. Relationships work only when they’re energizing you or supporting you, not when they’re drawing every ounce of energy that you have. So, what are some examples of draining relationships? Here are a few:

  • If you’re the one who ends up doing most of the household chores
  • If you end up being financially drained trying to cater to your partner’s luxuries and whims
  • If your partner’s manipulative ways in the relationship leave you emotionally exhausted

5. You’ve lost your self-esteem

When you have no self-esteem left in a relationship, that’s when you know it’s time to let go. It’s also one of the most prominent stages of falling out of love. So, such a scenario can arise when:

  • You are constantly abused, be it verbally, physically, or emotionally
  • You are ridiculed in front of your friends or theirs
  • Your opinion is not asked for when big decisions are made

6. Both your priorities have changed

So, are you wondering when to let go of a relationship? Here is a clear indicator to look out for — growing apart. With time, people change and so do their interests and priorities. While some people may stick to their old selves, most evolve. You know it’s time to let go of your relationship when both your priorities don’t align anymore. This can look something like the following:

  • Your partner may wish to stay back in their hometown while you wish to move abroad for work
  • You may place value on hustle – a corporate job, a luxury car, a plush apartment, etc., but your partner may wish to live a laid-back life, running a café in the hills

Related Reading: The Importance Of Letting People Go

7. Negative emotions have become a daily fare

One of the indicative stages of falling out of love is when there’s an excess of negative emotions. Dr. Batra says, “When negative emotions, like anger and jealousy, have taken over, you know it’s probably time to let go.” In such cases, there can be regular arguments in the relationship about who’s right, anger at one partner for not giving enough to the relationship, and jealousy of a partner’s success. This is one of the oft-repeated answers to the question: “How do you stop loving someone so suddenly?”

Letting Go Of Someone You Love — Why Is It So Hard?

Do you often find yourself wondering, “How can I move on from the person I once loved so dearly?” Well, this is perfectly fine and natural. Dr. Batra says, “When one gets into a romantic relationship, a lot of exchange takes place. Several barriers are
lowered and healthy boundaries are expanded to unhealthy levels. A romantic partner is the one person with whom an individual goes that extra mile. Sometimes, it’s like putting all your eggs in one basket. That is why letting go seems hard.” Here are a few reasons why letting go of someone may be hard, though necessary:

1. You’ve invested time in this person

Dr. Batra feels, “It’s extremely tough for a person to leave a relationship that they’ve invested a significant amount of time in.” And we agree. People often find it hard to split with long-term partners or even file for a divorce on legitimate grounds if they’ve
been together for 10 or 20 years. It makes you think the time you’ve spent with them will go to waste.

signs it's time to let go of someone
There will be tell-tale signs it’s time to let go of someone

2. You’ve adjusted a lot

Another reason why letting go of someone and moving forward is hard is because you may have adjusted or changed yourself a lot just to be with that person. So, you may have:

  • Left a job to turn into a homemaker for this person
  • Turned vegan from a non-vegetarian just to adjust to their lifestyle
  • Changed your religion to cater to their religious views

Related Reading: We Couldn’t End Our Relationship Nor Do We See A Future Together…

So, you may feel that your personality is not intertwined with theirs and you don’t know who you are without this relationship. The idea of leaving the person now may affect your emotional health.

3. You have mutual friends

Dr. Batra says, “You’ll find it quite difficult to let go of a partner if ⁠your friend or social circles are intersecting.” This is how it may affect you:

  • Your friends may take sides, and you may end up losing a few common friends
  • You may find it awkward to visit social events that have common friends attending
  • Your partner may end up revealing your personal issues and secrets to your common friends, often blaming you

This is why you probably ask yourself repeatedly, “How can I move on from my partner so easily?”

Related Reading: How To Get Out Of An Unhealthy Relationship: A Step-by-Step Guide

4. You’re used to them

A lot of times, we end up being used to a partner’s toxic or negative ways and means, without even realizing it. In such cases, learning to let go is difficult. Dr. Batra says, “You may find it tough to emotionally let go of a person when you’re conditioned to them. So, happy memories may hit you often. You may be reminded of vacations, anniversaries, or bringing up kids together. So, you may feel comfortable with the status quo. This may also make you wonder, “How can I move on from my love so quickly?”

Here’s what a Reddit user had to say about the same: “After you’ve been with someone for a while, it becomes comfortable. Even if it’s toxic and unhealthy, it’s still comfortable and familiar. It’s a whole lot less depressing to focus on the good things instead of the bad things.”

5. You may have FOMO (the fear of missing out)

Dr. Batra says, “In many cases, I’ve found my clients ending up with FOMO and thinking they might be wrong about their romantic partners.” In such cases, people may hold on to their toxic relationships in the hope that their partners might turn around and change their ways someday. They fear that they will be missing out on the evolved versions of their partners if they leave them. So, this is why you probably can’t make up your mind about walking away from someone you love.

letting go of someone you love — why is it so hard
Letting go of someone you love can be very hard

Therapist Shares Tips On How To Emotionally Let Go Of Someone You Love

So, now that you have a clear idea of the signs that it’s time to let go of someone and why such a decision may seem hard for you, are you looking out for some tips to get over someone? Are you always wondering, “How can I get over someone with grace and without hurting them?”

Well, you see, letting go requires detaching emotionally and making a decision based on reason rather than emotions. And though it may be tough initially and may make you wonder, “How can I move on?”, in the long run, it may turn out to be the best relationship decision you’ve ever made, as it will free you of unhealthy and unrealistic expectations and boost your self-esteem.

Dr. Batra shares 11 tips on walking away from someone you love with grace in this section. So, let’s not waste any more time and dive straight into the art of letting go and moving on. Here are the tips on how to unlove someone you love the most:

Related Reading: Causes & Signs Of An Emotionally Exhausting Relationship And How To Fix Them

1. Know why you are letting go

Dr. Batra thinks, “It’s extremely important for you to know exactly why you’re letting them go. This is for your own clarity and it will act as a reminder that you’ve made the best decision.” So, here’s how to go about it:

  • Find out the root cause or the main reasons why you feel your relationship isn’t working anymore
  • Write these reasons down in a journal, so that you remember them later
  • Stick to your decision and don’t waver

2. Make an action plan

If you’re clueless about how to move on from a relationship, well, making an action plan is necessary. In case you’ve already invested a lot, be it emotionally, physically, or financially, in the relationship, it may be a tough decision to stay apart. For instance, you may have kids to take care of or a house to manage.

Dr. Batra suggests, “Recognize the life you will have after you let go. This is absolutely necessary if you’re always asking yourself, “How can I get over someone? So, start working toward that life now.”
For instance:

  • If you need a divorce, make arrangements with a lawyer for a legitimate alimony
  • If you need financial support, start looking for a job or other avenues to earn before leaving them

Related Reading: What To Do After A Breakup To Move On? Try This 9 Step Expert-Backed Strategy

3. Be respectful

If you’re wondering how to stay away from someone you love without hurting them, the answer is: by being respectful. Dr. Batra advises, “If you’re still learning to let go, it’s very important that you maintain respect when you communicate with your partner about ending the relationship. It shows you can let go gracefully and without spite.” So, make sure:

  • You don’t gaslight them
  • There’s no abusive language used
  • You don’t ridicule them or make sarcastic comments
  • You don’t start a blame game

4. Be mindful

Being mindful is one of the most significant steps in learning to let go. Dr. Batra suggests, “Recognize what you are going to gain and lose in this process. Be mindful of what is to come and what you should expect.” So, you may gain your independence or self-respect back after letting go and moving on from a toxic partner, but you may end up losing a long-term bond, your common friends, or a plush house that you shared. You should be able to weigh the pros and cons and make a well-informed decision. This is how to emotionally let go of someone you love, in case you’re always asking yourself, “How can I get over someone?”

Related Reading: Why ‘I Need Closure’ Weighs On Our Mind After A Breakup

5. Accept that you will be hurt

The best way to deal with letting go and moving on is to accept the hurt. Dr. Batra suggests, “Accept that pain is inevitable while grieving a relationship and you will be emotional about it.” So, instead of going into denial mode, where you’re always smiling or sharing ‘be positive’ motivational quotes on social media, try and do a reality check. Own your emotions and accept that you’re sad. Only then will you find peace.

6. Reach out to others

Spending time with others is how to move on from a relationship effectively. When going through an emotional roller-coaster, it’s crucial to get in touch with your friends (or one best friend), family members, and other well-wishers, such as like-minded people in a support group. Dr. Batra says, “Reach out to those who are your support and stress busters. You need these people now more than ever, especially if you’ve been going through post-infidelity stress after being cheated on and have finally been able to let go. In any case, your other relationships shouldn’t have ever been pushed to the back burner.”

Related Reading: What To Do After A Breakup: Post-Breakup Feelings

My friend, Alice, was down in the dumps when she decided to let go of her boyfriend of 8 years after he cheated on her with a coworker. In fact, for weeks before breaking up, she wondered how to let him go without making it bitter. After she broke up, another friend and I decided to cheer her up, and we would take turns calling her up every day and checking on her. We also made sure she got out of her house and would arrange get-togethers every weekend for a couple of months, till we were sure she was over him.

7. Look for positivity

If you’re clueless about how to stay away from someone you love, try looking for positivity. Dr. Batra feels, “It’s imperative, in these times, to look at everything else in your life that’s still good and still beautiful. A positive attitude always helps.” So, if you love the cool breeze that brushes your face when you go out to jog every morning, go jogging more often. If you like the fragrance of the flowers that adorn your houseplant, water the plant more often. If you love playing the guitar or reading, do it more often. Remember that you’re still whole and beautiful by yourself.

Relationship Advice

8. Engage in charity

Dr. Batra says, “In these tough times, you can engage in something beyond yourself so that you can get your mind away from your own woes. Charity, for example, helps a lot.” So, here’s what you can do:

  • Donate some books or clothes to the needy
  • Join charitable trusts and organizations
  • Adopt a kid virtually and give them a new life
  • Spend time with the elderly at a senior care home

Related Reading: 12 Completely Valid Reasons To End A Relationship – No Matter What the World Says

9. Learn something new

Rejuvenating the brain is very important as you try to ascertain how to emotionally let go of someone you love. Dr. Batra suggests, “Indulge in learning something new if you’re grieving a breakup or the end of a relationship. Anything. It could be a hobby or something you have no idea about but always wanted to try. Such new activities stimulate new brain cells.”

So, here’s what you can do if you’re wondering how to let him go or let her go without making a mess:

  • Join a Zumba or fitness class
  • Take up a hobby you once loved, such as pottery, music, or painting
  • Learn a new activity that you’ve never tried before

10. Learn from your mistakes

Addressing the dilemma of how to emotionally let go of someone you love, Dr. Batra suggests, “Introspect and think about things that you could have done differently. And forgive yourself too.” While we agree, we would also like to state that it’s equally important not to blame yourself for the split. Remember, adjustments in a marriage or a relationship can be made from both ends. So, while it’s fine to be aware of your flaws, make sure you don’t feel guilty for ending the difficult relationship. This could be the answer to how to move on from a relationship with grace.

Related Reading: How To Let Go Of An Ex Who Has Moved On For Good

11. Seek professional help

If even after trying everything to cope with this situation, you still feel helpless, try consulting a mental health professional. Dr. Batra says, “I know you can manage and you have friends and family to guide you, but seeking professional help is always a better idea, as experts are trained to help you cope emotionally and make the process seamless. Yes, you may face some tough questions, but it will be worth it.” If you need any help, Bonobology’s counseling services are here for you.

Key Pointers

  • Some signs it’s time to let go of someone are: a draining or unhealthy relationship, lies, lack of trust, and lack of respect
  • It’s often hard to let go of someone you love because: you may have adjusted to their ways, you may have common friends, and you’re used to them
  • Wondering how to emotionally let go of someone you love? Well, to let go of someone emotionally, you can make an action plan, be respectful, reach out to others, and consult a mental health professional

So, we hope we’ve been able to resolve all your queries about emotionally letting go of someone you love. You see, relationships don’t operate on on-off switches. It’s also not as easy to forget someone as it is to suggest detaching yourself.

But if a connection has turned toxic and if all you can see is a dead end, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And there’s no point in grieving a relationship that you feel is impossible to fix. Remember, a relationship is also about you and your desires and feelings. So, you are a whole being by yourself. Now that you know how to move on from a relationship, go ahead and let go of anything that limits you as soon as you feel ready. Look for healthier connections and a new relationship! Make new memories!

Why Do Breakups Hit Guys Later? 7 Intriguing Reasons

11 Things That Make A Man Come Back After A Breakup

Divorce Is Not the End of the World but a New Beginning

Ask Our Expert


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.