Love is a powerful force. It makes your world go round. It awakens your soul. Most importantly, it makes you a better person. Love can be a beautiful feeling while it lasts but it can also bring in its wake pain and heartbreak. If you want to know how to stop loving someone but stay friends with them, chances are you already know what we’re talking about.
Your relationship may be over but perhaps you parted on a good note and have decided to stay friends. As mature as that is, falling in and out of love doesn’t happen with the push of a button. When you’re in love with someone, everything they do seems flattering and loveable.
Staying friends when you wanted more can be so difficult because you can’t stop yearning for them. You crave them like a child craves sugar. This sense of longing can be gut-wrenching but you can get past it by learning how to stop loving someone but stay friends with them. We’re here to help you do exactly that.
10 Tips To Stop Loving Someone But Stay Friends
When asked on Reddit if you can stay friends with someone you have feelings for, a user shared their experience. The user said, “I am bisexual and I had a crush on a girl that was a good friend. I asked her if she wanted to go on a date sometime. She ended up saying no but we are really good friends to this day. So look at it this way, if she is a good friend, you can continue to be friends even if she says no.”
Honestly, it’s not going to be easy but you will eventually get to a point where you can be friends with them and not have any romantic feelings toward them. There could be multiple reasons why you’re looking for ways to stop loving someone but stay friends with themselves such as:
- Unrequited love for a friend
- They are already in a relationship with someone else
- They are toxic as a partner but a good friend
- They haven’t moved on from their previous relationship
- You want different things (Example: you want commitment and they are looking for something casual)
There are all sorts of reasons why two people can’t be together. Whatever your reason is, it can be painful to stop having feelings for someone you can’t have. Below are some tips to stop loving someone but stay friends with them:
1. Acceptance is the key
This is the first step to stay friends with someone you have feelings for. It is what it is. You can’t force them to love you. You can’t force yourself to stop loving them either. You need to accept the reality. Don’t ever think that just because you couldn’t make someone fall for you means that you have failed yourself or something is lacking in you.
Letting such thoughts reside in your head will only give rise to insecurities and self-loathing. All you have to do is understand a few things:
- This isn’t the end of the world
- Your romantic relationship is over
- Life isn’t easy for anyone
- Sometimes things don’t workout
There is no life-changing explanation or reason for it. They just don’t work out. They don’t love you. Try to understand and accept things as they are. Take your time in coming to terms with this reality before you extend the olive branch of friendship to someone you love but can’t have.
Related Reading: 19 Signs He Likes You But Is Afraid Of Rejection
2. Analyze your emotions
When you love someone and they don’t love you back, a lot of emotions hit you all at once. Your heart is broken. You are frustrated. You think you aren’t deserving of their love and that’s why they don’t feel the same for you. You don’t know if you should chase this person or let them be. You feel even ashamed of having confessed your love to them.
Analyze and dig deep into your emotions and work through them. If you don’t know how to deal with unrequited love and if that is negatively affecting your mental health, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists can help you figure out how to manage your emotions healthily.
3. Give each other a little space
You can’t be lovers and then jump back to being friends. That transition can’t happen overnight. You need to deal with unresolved feelings so that you don’t go on pretending to be friends with someone you love but can build a genuine friendship with them.
Dave, a management student in his mid-30s, says, “My ex and I decided to stay friends because we still care about each other. There’s still respect, endearment, and good intentions toward one another. But it took us a while to get over the breakup and reconnect as friends. It’s better to take a break from each other before things turn negative. Focus on healing from the breakup. Once you have gotten over them, you can be friends with someone you dated.”
4. Don’t trash talk about them
Rejection can be painful. It’s as if life slapped you hard. You can’t wrap your head around it. Deal with rejection healthily. Don’t make snarky and mean comments about the other person, especially when you want to remain friends with them. When you talk bad about someone just out of spite, it shows your character more than theirs. Don’t go looking for how to get revenge on your ex and try to hurt them. Below are some of the ways you can handle rejection:
- Don’t overthink it
- Accept that rejection is a part of life
- Don’t blame yourself
- Don’t be afraid of rejection or putting yourself out there
- Focus on your positive attributes and traits
When we asked on Reddit how to stop having feelings for someone you can’t have, a user shared, “Don’t trash talk about them especially if you have the same circle of friends. Don’t bring friends into drama either. Don’t make it your friend group’s problem that you’re not going to the party if he or she is going to. Just be very boring about the whole thing and show your ex respect by not bitching about the situation.”
5. Stop daydreaming about them
This is one of the most important answers to how to stop loving someone but stay friends with them. You need to stop fantasizing about them. This is something I’ve done very often when I fell in love with my friend in college. I couldn’t stop daydreaming about us.
I thought we’ll have a house by the ocean, long walks on the beach, and I even imagined having 3 kittens after moving in together. I was shattered when he didn’t reciprocate my feelings. More than rejection, it was the loss of this fictional world that put me in so much agony. If you want to lose feelings for someone but still be friends with them, you need to stop daydreaming about them.
Related Reading: Anxiety After Breakup – Expert Recommends 8 Ways To Cope
6. Let your feelings inspire you
Dealing with the fact that you were ready to give all your love to someone but that person didn’t want it can be distressful and excruciating. When my crush didn’t reciprocate my feelings, I used them in a better way. Instead of drowning in self-hate, I turned myself toward art.
The love you have for them will drive you to do some really good things in life. Believe me, when I say this, my first poetry is the result of unrequited love. I haven’t looked back ever since. I can’t change the fact that I love him and he didn’t love me back but I have found art as one of the ways to deal with it.
7. Learn to love yourself
If you are asking how to stop loving someone but stay friends, then you need to learn how to love yourself more. Have a lot of “me” time and learn to love yourself. You need to value yourself more than anything else. You need to put your needs over others’. Below are some of the ways you can practice self-love:
- Trust yourself that you will get better
- Put yourself first
- Overcome negative thoughts
- Pursue an old hobby
- Exercise; go to the gym or workout at home
- Pamper yourself
- Maintain a journal
8. Prioritize other aspects of your life
Pretending to be friends with someone you love can be exhausting. You might mess up any moment you are with them. You might crack and confess you still have feelings for them. You might even kiss them. It’s better that at this point you look at other aspects of your life. Give more time to your family. Go meet your friends. Focus on building your career.
I asked my friend, Moira, who shares a great rapport with her ex, the secret tips to stop loving someone who doesn’t love you back but stay friends with them. She said, “I didn’t cut ties with him because we decided to stay friends. I just stopped giving all my time to him. I focused on starting my own business. Now we meet once in a while and there are no hard feelings or awkwardness. I am glad we didn’t completely terminate our friendship.”
9. Set clear boundaries
If you want to know how to stop loving someone but stay friends with them, then you need to set clear boundaries. Below are some of the boundaries you can draw when you are staying friends when you wanted more with someone:
- Avoid flirting with them
- If you don’t trust yourself, then always meet in a group setting
- Don’t hook up with them. It’s only going to make things worse for both of you
- Make new memories as friends
10. Date other people
If you are dating other people to make them jealous, then it’s a bad idea. But if you are dating because you’re ready to let someone new into your life, then it’s a great thing. It’s one of the signs you are getting over them. Don’t get jealous if they are dating someone else as well. It will be easier to be friends with them if both of you have moved on. It’s not like you can never be friends with someone you once fell in love with. You can be friends as long as there is no negativity.
Speaking of how to stop loving someone and stay friends with them, a Reddit user shared, “Move on with your love life. Date someone else. But ending a friendship with someone you really care about is entirely different and difficult unless you weren’t really friends in the first place. If you were good friends from before, then you can continue being so by accepting the situation and communicating better.”
- You can stop loving someone and stay friends with them by setting clear boundaries
- Don’t talk trash about them and learn to love yourself
- Understand that the end of one relationship doesn’t mean the end of the world
It’s going to be weird and awkward when you are pretending to be friends with someone you love. But once you completely fall out of love with them, you will be glad that you didn’t completely cut ties off with them. Let go of resentment and focus on your betterment.
Yes. You can be friends with someone you have feelings for as long as you set boundaries with them. Talk to them about the do’s and don’ts, pros and cons of being friends. If you care and don’t want to miss out on each other, then there’s no harm in being friends with someone you dated.
You may always carry that feeling in your heart. But that doesn’t mean you won’t fall in love again. If you can’t stop loving them, then you can try to deal with those feelings in a healthy and positive way.