The Dismal Process of Letting Go of Someone You Love

Is it time to move on? Are you having trouble giving him up? Here are the steps you must take when letting go of someone you love.

We all wish love could be eternal the way it is in the movies. I wish I could use my soul as a homing beacon to draw the love of my life directly to me.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Relationships end.

Being single is hard, but it’s nothing compared to the pain of letting go of someone you love. The end of a relationship is always heart-wrenching. That’s true even if the end of the relationship was long overdue. It still hurts.

It’s not easy letting go of him, is it? I can tell you that I still haven’t quite gotten over my last love, and it’s been a long time since I’ve even heard from him. I think that when you love someone, that person keeps a piece of your heart forever.

Maybe we grieve for the lover we lost, or maybe we grieve for the piece of ourselves that he took from us. Either way, it’s never easy to get over the heartbreak.

But it must be done. You’ve got to get over the hurt and move past it so you can get on with your life and fall in love again when the time is right.

Nothing can make the heartbreak go away overnight. But here are some steps you can take to make it faster and a bit less painful when you are letting go of someone you love.


a woman cry

You have to grieve. There’s no sense in bottling up your emotions and trying to pretend it never happened. It did happen. And you hurt because of it.

It’s okay to grieve over your broken heart. In fact, if you don’t take the time to grieve you’ll never really be able to heal.

Go ahead and eat a pint of ice-cream in front of the TV. Let yourself go for a week – just stay in your house robe. Ignore the phone. Order pizza every night. Cry. Look over his pictures and cry your eyes out.

This grieving process cannot last forever, so you need to set yourself a time limit. Allow yourself a week to be miserable. Seven days and no more. Anything more than that is just torturing yourself.

Get Angry

Once your grieving is over, you need to get mad.

It is perfectly okay to be angry about losing a lover. I, personally, am a thrower. I throw CDs against the wall. I break wineglasses. I do what I have to do to get him out of my system.

I don’t take things to extremes. There’s no use heaving the flatscreen you bought together off the balcony. But there’s nothing wrong with losing your temper when your heart aches.

Remember: There’s a difference between breaking a wineglass and destroying his car. You might be angry, but you’ve got to show some judgment.

Although I sometimes feel angry at the ex, the truth is I’m really angry at fate. I’m angry at myself for staying too long in the relationship. I’m angry at my friends for not telling me I was wasting my time. I’m angry…well, I’m angry at everyone.

Punch a pillow if you have to. Go outside and scream to the top of your lungs if you must. You’ve got to get those negative feelings out of you somehow.

Make a List

Are you calmed down? Are the grief and anger subsiding? If so, then you’re probably missing him again.

That’s right. Once you’ve released all the anger and pain, you’ll realize anew that you feel lonely without him.

The good news is that you’ll start to question that loneliness in a more realistic way. That means this is the perfect time to make a list!

I love lists. I keep lists of daily chores, grocery lists, bucket lists and lists of my ideal attributes in a man. Sure, I usually maintain these lists in my head, but they’re still there. They also really, really help me focus.

Make a list of all the reasons you and your lost loved one should not be together.

Was he a bit arrogant? Was he wishy-washy in his feelings? Was he less romantic and attentive than you want?

This list of reasons he’s not the perfect guy for you is going to be your mental reminder to move on. The hurt might still be there, but you can always look back at your list and say, “Oh, yeah, we really weren’t a good match.”

Remember the Good Times

man and woman in the sea on the beach

That’s not to say that you have to dwell on the bad stuff. It’s just as important that you remember the good times in your relationship.

When a loved one has left your life, you want to remember him for who he really was – the good along with the bad.

It’s important to remember the good things so you know what you want in future relationships. Remembering the good times can help you avoid a descent into bitterness.

Most of all, remembering the good times will help you keep an open heart. Trust me when I tell you that keeping an open heart is the best thing you can do for yourself now and always.

Think back on the good times you shared and enjoy those memories. Just don’t dwell on them or mistake your ex for being “perfect.” He wasn’t perfect. That’s why he’s your ex.

Think of All You’ve Learned

Every relationship teaches us things. Sometimes we see the lessons we learned quite clearly, and sometimes the lessons are harder to see until years later. My last lover taught me a lot, but I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m still discovering inner wisdom that comes from my time with him.

He taught me how to be a little tougher and not wear my heart on my sleeve. He taught me not to fall for just any guy. Most importantly, he taught me how to appreciate intimacy without confusing it with love.

We didn’t love each other, but we cared about each other, and for that relationship the caring was enough. I didn’t realize that until the relationship was over.

Thinking about the lessons you learned from your broken heart is what keeps you from making the same mistakes over and over in the future.

Pull Yourself Together

There comes a point when you really have to pull yourself together and get over it. I hate to get all “tough love” on you here, but you know when you’ve been moping around enough. I do it every time a relationship ends! I’m a champion moper.

Still, you have to know when enough is enough. It’s time to stop whining, time to get rid of the heartache and sadness, time to stop questioning whether he’s coming back, and simply pull yourself together.

Take a shower, for heaven’s sake. Do your hair and put on some makeup. Go out and get back into the world.

You might have only enough energy for a cup of coffee at the corner café. You might lack the willpower for anything more ambitious than a trip to the library or the video store. No matter. You have to start somewhere.

You have to go out eventually. So you might as well start now. If you have to take baby steps, then by all means take baby steps. Even a baby step is a step in the right direction.

Get a Haircut

Hairdresser trimming blond hair with scissors

Every time a relationship ends I go out and get a new haircut.

I could tell you that I need a new look in order to feel better about myself. I could tell you that I cut my hair in an act of contrition or grief. But the truth is, my memory of his fingers running through my hair as we made love is just too much for me to handle. I can’t imagine letting anyone else touch that hair. So I chop off my locks and start over.

It might sound crazy, but it works for me.

Even if you’re not plagued by the memory of his soft caresses as I am, it’s still a good idea to get a haircut. You should pamper yourself and get a facial or a manicure, too. You want to feel good, right? Indulge in some girl time.

Change Your Linens

Another thing I always do after a broken heart: I change the color of my bed linens.

It’s not enough to sleep on new linens, they have to actually be a different color. If I go from white sheets to another set of white sheets, I’m still just imagining him in my bed.

So I ditch the white sheets, or the yellow ones, or the ones with the daisies, and I buy purple ones. My bed feels brand-new. I don’t picture him there because my memory contains no images of the two of us together on purple sheets. It’s all very visual.

I’m telling you, this trick works. You have to feel like your bed belongs to you again.


There are probably memories of him in every corner of your home. You remember making love in the shower and on the couch. You remember the time he cooked for you in the kitchen when you were sick. Every inch of your place is full of those damn memories. It’s making you crazy, right?

Okay, it’s time to redecorate. I don’t always have a lot of money. At the moment, I don’t have any money at all. But that’s not the point. Redecorating doesn’t have to be expensive.

You can always redecorate in small ways to give yourself a feeling of newness.

Put different throw pillows on the couch. Buy a new shower curtain. A few small changes like these will make your home feel new. You’ll no longer be surrounded by memories.

Go Out

Party people taking selfie

Next: You’ve got to go out. You’ve moved beyond the library and the coffee shop. You’ve been cooped up long enough. It’s time to get back out there. You know what I mean.

Put on an outfit that makes you feel pretty. Do your hair and makeup. And go someplace that’s full of men who will flirt with you.

No, you don’t have to go home with anyone. You don’t even have to flirt back. You may not be ready for that, and that’s okay. But you do need to go somewhere guys can admire you and boost your ego. You need the reminder that you’re a sexy woman and there are more fish in the sea. Good-looking fish. Eligible fish. Fish who happen to adore you.

Accept Invitations

While you’re out, a fish will surely ask you on a date or or ask you to dance or offer to buy you a drink. You’re under no obligation to do anything with this guy, but it’s in your best interest to give him the opportunity to make you feel like a woman again.

Let him buy you that drink. Let him take you to dinner. You never know, he could be the one you’re meant to be with. Probably he’s just a nice dinner and a bit of awkward conversation, but you never know.

I’ve had a few of those nice dinners lately. The lack of a happily-ever-after connection hasn’t deterred me. I know the right man is out there somewhere. I’ll never find him if I turn down every offer that comes my way.

Go ahead. Have a little fun.

Do Something You’ve Always Wanted to Do

I admit, dating does tend to get old. I hate dating. I hate listening to some guy talk about himself for hours. I hate the nervousness. I hate getting dressed up as if I’m gift-wrapping myself for a stranger. And blind dates – don’t get me started!

So although I log some dating time for my own good, I also set aside some time that’s just for myself. I need that for my own emotional and mental health.

You probably need the same. In order to get over a lost love, you’ve got to focus on yourself and start to feel good about who you are.

Take that kick-boxing class. Try scuba diving. Learn to play the piano. Do something you have always wanted to do. There’s no better way of getting over a lost love than to realize how amazing you are. So invest in yourself.

You’re worth it. And the next guy to come along is sure to see that.

About the author


Just another hard working mom who loves her kid, loves to write, can’t cook, and has a thing for tentacles! When I’m not hanging out with my Spawn, I’m happily sharing my dating experiences and offering advice and trying to control the chaos that comes with being human.

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