If falling in love is the most wonderful feeling in the world, letting go of love is the most horrible feeling in the world.
There is nothing worse than the physical pain of losing a love – the pit in your stomach, the broken heart, the feelings of despair and hopelessness.
Letting go of love is not easy but it is possible. Just follow these steps and before you know it you will be able to let go of a love that is holding you back and move on with your life.
#1 – Ask yourself how determined you are to do this.
Before you begin any life changing process you must ask yourself how determined you are to actually do it. On a scale of 1-10 how close to a 10 are you? Because without steadfast determination you will not be able to accomplish something as challenging as getting past a lost love.
So are you ready to do this? Is there any part of you that is holding on to the possibility that things could work out? Do you feel like you aren’t strong enough to do this yet?
If the answer to any of these questions is a yes then perhaps you should wait a bit longer before you begin this process. Time is a great healer and with some time you will get stronger and be ready to take on this challenging task.
#2 – Cut him off.
I know that we all think that we need “closure” at the end of a relationship, that final conversation where everyone gets to say what they want to say and you understand each other and walk away as friends.
I am here to tell you that closure is a myth. What closure really is is one last chance to spend time with and talk to that person you still love. Because really, if you could have a conversation and finally understand each other why couldn’t you make it work as a couple?
So when you have decided that the relationship is over cut him off. Block him on your phone, disconnect on social media, stay away from places where you know he will be.
Why? Because what you need to do is break the addiction you have to this person, to change your habits.
Think about Oreo cookies. You know how hard it is to eat just one? It’s the same with your man. Even one point of contact can draw you back into his circle, the circle that you have decided that you are determined to break yourself out of.
So go no contact right away. It will make the process way easier!
#3- Ask yourself what it is that you need to let go of.
This is very important. What is it that you need to let go of to move on?
I have a client who was ready to let go of a man who she loved very much but who she knew wasn’t the man for her and she was struggling with it because of the love she still felt.
I asked her to look at it like an onion, an onion where feelings are layers that must be removed to get to the core. What was the top layer?
For my client it was anger. She was angry at her man for the way he had treated her and angry with herself for wasting so much time letting him do so. That was her first layer. She had to deal with the anger.
The second layer was the hopes and dreams. The hopes and dreams that she had had for their life together. It had all seemed so promising at the beginning and she was still struggling to believe that it couldn’t go back to what it was. But she knew it couldn’t and she knew that she would have to let go of those hopes and dreams in order to move on.
The third layer, the core actually, was the love that she still had for this man. And this love, we decided, wasn’t actually something that she wanted to let go of. She knew that they didn’t have a future together but their past, their experiences together, how she felt about him, was something that she wanted to hold on to. Not in a hopeful way but as something from her past that was special to her.
By examining each layer of the onion my client was able to peel back and discard one layer of emotion at a time which left her with the one piece that she wanted to hold on to, one that wouldn’t hold her back from moving on but that she would carry with her in her heart going forward.
#4 – Ask yourself what is true and what you have made up in your head.
This is such an important piece of letting go.
We all have ideas in our head about truths in our relationships but, unfortunately, often these truths are not so much – they are just hopes and dreams that we have made up over the course of the relationship.
I have a client who had hopes and dreams of a life that she wanted with her boyfriend that had absolutely no basis in reality. She wanted to move to the woods, raise sheep, have kids and grow old together. She had this idea firmly stuck in her head that this was what she wanted and if her boyfriend loved her enough he would embrace her dream too.
What she didn’t realize was that although this dream of hers was wonderful there was NO WAY she was going to have it with her boyfriend. He loved the city, hated livestock and didn’t want kids for at least another decade.
I asked her to consider these things that she knew to be true, what he didn’t want, and stack them up next to what she did want, her hopes and dreams. When she did she finally saw that the truth of the situation was different from what she had been telling herself in her head.
Armed with that knowledge she was one step closer to letting him go.
#5 – Ask yourself what it is you really want in a relationship.
The final part of letting go is getting to know what exactly it is that you want from someone in a relationship. Without knowing what you want you are going to have a hard time getting it.
So make a list. Make a list of what you want from a man in relationship with you. It doesn’t have to be long but make it comprehensive.
My list, in part: someone who makes me laugh, who knows who he is and what he wants, who loves my kids and who wants to make me a priority in his life.
So make your list and run through it with your current guy in mind. Chances are, if you are reading this article, that he won’t match up with many of the things on that list and you will finally understand because you will see it there clearly, in black and white.
And your emotions just can’t argue with black and white. He is not what you want. Time to move on.
Letting go of something that once seemed so promising is very difficult and will take some steadfast determination on your part but you can do it.
Cut off contact, peel back the onion, question your assumptions and define what you want. Before you know it you will have clarity that you are making the right decision and will be able to let go.
And that means: Step #6 – Get yourself back out there.
I know that right now you feel like you might never love again but putting yourself back out there doesn’t mean you have to fall in love. Putting yourself back out there means that you get to dress up and flirt and date and have a lot of fun. And maybe, just maybe, you will find another love but in the meantime you can enjoy yourself and the freedom you have as a single girl. Embrace it!
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I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.