It’s one of the toughest lessons we learn in life. How do you let go of another person you’ve loved, grown with, and had so many hopes and dreams wrapped into? It is a process. Here are some steps to think about as you move on, for good.
1. Recognize and remember why you are letting go. Was this person not interested in a long-term commitment? Were the two of you just too different? Did the person wrong you in some way? Don’t lose sight of the reason it ended. This is a valuable tool for the future and for anyone you decide to date next – as none of us want to repeat patterns. Working through all of this can take some time, but it is so worth it down the line.
2. If you can, cut off communication (and this includes de-friending on Facebook!). If you have children with this person, you will obviously need to maintain some sort of mature relationship. Otherwise, in 99% of cases it is best to just move on without trying to “remain friends.” It’s complicated and it just doesn’t work most of the time – unless you are completely not attracted to them anymore (nor them to you!). But the best thing you can do is to just make a clean break and avoid backsliding…and the pain that causes.
3. Fill the void. When you are used to spending most of your free moments with this person, it suddenly seems so lonely and you don’t know what to do with yourself. This too, shall pass, I promise! It just takes time. But in the meantime, start engaging and saying yes to offers from friends, family, etc. Keep busy, join a gym, do whatever – just don’t stay home feeling bad and thinking about the loss.
4. Start dating again! After you have had time to really understand why it didn’t work out, and adjusted to life on your own again, think about getting back out there (but only when you feel ready). Remember that dating doesn’t have to be all serious business – it can just be fun and a chance to meet new people. You deserve to be happy and have a good time. Plus, a new crush is a great way to continue the “letting go” process.
5. Let go of anger and appreciate what you have learned. The timing of this should coincide with the earlier steps. It doesn’t serve you to hold onto negative feelings, so forgive anyone who has wronged you, and yourself if you need to. We all make mistakes – the point is to learn and grow from them.
Have you been able to follow a similar process when letting go? What works best for you? Do you get stuck in a particular step? Would love to hear everyone’s experiences so we can all help each other!