How to Let Go of Someone You Love
Here are several ways to heal and to let go of someone you love, plus the most common mistakes people make when they’re trying to move on.
These tips are inspired by a reader who asked for help letting go of someone she loves (her husband), even though he’s not quite “gone” yet. Here’s part of her email:
“My husband of 3 years is planning to leave me without an explanation,” says Michelle (not her real name). “He is in a band and tours every now and then, but that has never been a problem till this tour… within a week of being on this tour he started distancing himself. No calls, hardly any replies to my messages on Facebook. I want to know how to let go of someone you love because I believe he will leave me. How do I start over?”
It’s shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching when your partner leaves. I think learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering your passion and identity, so I want to focus on reconnecting with the most important person in your life: you.
This is a long article! I encourage you to bookmark it, and try one tip at a time. Also, feel free to share your thoughts below. I can’t give advice, but writing how you feel is the best way to heal and feel better.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love
It’s important to remember that letting go of someone you love isn’t something you do once – and poof! You’re free, healed, and happy. Rather, letting go is a journey peppered with steps forward and steps backward, good days and bad days.
1. Accept that you did the best you could in your relationship. Don’t waste your time or energy feeling guilty or bad about the choices you made in your relationship. You did the best you could, you loved as much as you were able. No matter what you did or didn’t do in your relationship, it ended — and it probably would have ended regardless. If you want to be happy and healthy – which involves learning how to let go of someone you love – you need practice acceptance.
2. Decide what needs to change in your life. You have to actively decide you want to let go of someone you love. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to live, work, love, play, and laugh? Instead of mourning the fact that you have to start over because your relationship ended, I want you to try celebrating it. Stop focusing on your ex and the pain. Instead, focus on the excitement of a new beginning and fresh start. I know it’s easier said than done – especially if your husband left you for another woman – but it’s better for you in the long run.
If you need help letting go of someone you love, read
3. Accept your lack of control. To let go of someone you love, you need to accept that you can’t control many things in your life. You can’t control who loves you, who leaves you, who helps you, who betrays you. You can’t control your neighbourhood, the traffic, the weather, or the economy. Of all the things you want to change in your life, remember that you can’t change people. You can sometimes change circumstances, and you can change your attitude and response to events and people…but you can’t change your husband, children, coworkers, neighbours, or family members.
4. Tap into your soul – start over spiritually. The happiest people are those who are in touch with their spirits. Adding spirituality to your life not only makes you feel better emotionally, it improves your physical health. Tap into your soul by meditating, praying, taking time to really listen to your heart, reading Scripture or other soulful books, and talking to people about spiritual matters. The end of a relationship – when you’re trying to let go of someone you love – is a perfect time to start getting back into your spiritual life.
5. Get outside help on how to let go of someone you love. A life coach, counselor, financial adviser, or even a professional organizer can help you let go and move on. Whether you should hire a life coach or talk to a counsellor depends on your situation. If you’re struggling with self-identity, major life changes, fear, anxiety, depression, or your marriage – then I encourage you to talk to a counsellor. Therapists can provide objective feedback and guidance that our friends and family can’t offer. If you have money problems, financial advisers can help you become financially independent. Professional organizers can help you declutter — which can improve your physical and mental health!
Here’s another article I recently wrote on how to let go of someone you love: Starting Over After a Breakup.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Letting Go
1. Don’t think about the future. When you have to learn how to let go of someone you love, you may feel overwhelmed with depression and loneliness. Don’t let those negative thoughts get you down! Instead, pick one thing in your life to change, and break it down into reasonable, manageable steps. What matters most is that you’re taking action in one area of your life, that you’re taking a step into personal growth. Letting go of someone you love is about taking one small step at a time.
2. Don’t focus on the best parts of the relationship. When I was super focused on letting go of my sister, I kept thinking about our wonderful memories and times together. I didn’t think about how we fought, and the fact that we didn’t have too much in common. We wouldn’t have been friends if we were sisters. Knowing how to let go of someone you love in a healthy way involves being realistic about your relationship. Don’t ignore the “bad” parts of the relationship and idealize the best parts…instead, keep reminding yourself that you’re letting go of the past because holding on to it isn’t good for you.
Would you rather focus on reconnection and getting back together?
3. Don’t let your self-esteem spiral downwards. Your losses, heartbreaks, setbacks, and disappointments have made you a different person – a better, more unique, more compassionate person! Instead of beating yourself up because the relationship ended, start something new in your life. Think about what goals you should set. Volunteer, take a solo vacation, join a new gym, take a night class, join a support group, check out a new social club, quit your job – do things that prove to yourself that you are smart, successful, and ready to tackle the future.
4. Don’t stay in your old routine. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about changing your life so your focus is different. If you live in the place you used to live with your partner, consider moving. If you have the same job, think about going back to school. If you have the same friends, start making new ones. It’s a huge mistake to keep your old life when you’re trying to let go and move on.
5. Don’t give up! Keep reading books about new beginnings, starting over, and letting go of someone you love. Whenever I feel sad, lonely, or insecure I read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy. I just flip through it when I need encouragement — it’s one of my all-time favorite books. To find happiness and change your life, you need to surround yourself with books, photos, inspirational quotations, etc – whatever reminds you of your goals, of the life you want to lead.
If you’re facing the holiday season after a marriage breakup, read Surviving Your First Christmas After Divorce.
The Someone I Loved and Let Go Of
It’s such a long story, and you want to know how to let go of someone YOU love, not someone I love! And, the truth is I’m embarrassed by this – it’s not easy to share. About eight years ago, my sister told me she never wants to speak to me again. It’s awful. I think it’s more devastating than a breakup because she is my family. When people say “family is forever” or “You’re my sister, I’ll always love you”, my heart breaks.
Why doesn’t she want to talk to me anymore? She didn’t say. We’ve been through a lot in our childhood: foster homes, different dads, single schizophrenic mother, very small family, no support. She started pulling away when I moved to Africa for three years, and kept pulling away until she finally asked me to stop calling her.
One thing I know about how to let go of someone you love is that it takes a long time. It still hurts me that my sister doesn’t want me in her life, but it’s gotten a lot easier.
Help for Letting Go of Someone You Love
Read a book on letting go, comfort yourself with a cozy blanket, and nourish your body…
I hope these tips on how to let go of someone you love help. Please feel free to share your story below. It does help to write your thoughts and feelings, even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed.
If you don’t feel like you can start over, read How to Have Faith in a New Beginning.
I'd love to hear what you think!
I can't give you advice or counseling,
but writing can help you gain insight and clarity.
Wishing you peace and blessings,