How to Let Go of Someone You Need to Let Go Of, But Really Don’t Want To

By: Amina Elfarouk

We’ve all experienced it at some point– the pain of a lost love lingering like a subtle poison. Letting go of someone you truly love is one of the most difficult things in the world. Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s necessary. It doesn’t really matter what the circumstances were, or who was right and who was wrong; the bottom line is that it hurts and that the pain is preventing you from moving forward. Sometimes, you know what happened. Other times, you feel as though things slowly slipped away from you and you can’t quite pinpoint any one cause, but in any case, you’ve decided it’s time to let them go and move on.

Depending on whom you’re letting go of, you may never feel completely free, but you will practice letting go for the rest of your life, and there’s even freedom in this. The letting go will get a little easier each day. So buckle in and prepare for a lot of deep breathing and a few tough nights. I wish there was a fast track, but I’ve yet to find one.

When you don’t want to let go

I know what that feels like. I know that despite the crushing pain, you may not want to let go because the pain is attachment. At least there’s still something there connecting you to her. Or him to you. So, if you’re not quite there yet, think of these steps as self care. Don’t try to push yourself into letting go of more than you can right now. It’s a slow process. You’ll be ready when you’re ready. It’s a practice. A little each day.

  1. Let Go of Reaching Out 

I know, I know. Easier said than done. But hear me out.The digital landscape has changed the way we break up. It’s much harder to do it now because you can see your former partner, all their new friends or adventures, and feel like shit in the process. Regardless, you can’t stop yourself from looking. Like a train crash where you’re on the tracks.So let go of a little at a time. Start with direct contact, then move into phone conversations, text, and then social media as you feel stronger and stronger.

2. Please Let Go of the Fear of “It Didn’t Mean Anything”

If you’ve ever been worried that by not reaching out to your “loml”, they’d think you don’t care for them anymore, remind yourself that a lack of contact with that person does not mean they mean less to you. It also doesn’t mean that it wasn’t real. It was real.(in most cases at least) , so grab a bucket of ice-cream  and chill before you get to the bottom of the list. 

3. Realise That Things Come and Go,  It Was Temporary

Relationships end for many reasons. Sometimes they end when you don’t want them to. Sometimes it’s you doing the ending. And then sometimes it seems the world conspires against you and won’t let you have the person you want despite that you share mutual affection and love.

Any one of these endings deserves to be as meaningful as possible. Remind yourself of what your former lover means to you. I know this seems counter-intuitive, to be thinking well of your former partner when you’re in misery, but you’re going to think of them regardless. Doing so *positively* (yes i had to emphasise the positively) promotes letting go by allowing you to be gracious and meaningful in pain.

4. For the Love of God, Don’t Cave in at Home

Oh, no worries. Just the one thing you don’t want to do. Don’t want to go out to your old haunts. See your mutual friends. See all the happy couples who apparently didn’t exist just a little while ago, but are everywhere now.

But you need to do it, regardless.

Find good friends who can stomach you being miserable for a while and still love you. Be in public with people you trust who will hold you, make you laugh, get angry with you or cry with you. Few of us can handle heartache on our own. We need others.

5. Create Something New for Yourself

One of the best ways you can let go is by creating some new energy in your life. One of the things about being in an intimate relationship is that you share most areas of your life with this person. They become entangled in all your rituals.


So, regardless of whether you feel angry or sad about them, you need to create something new in your life that’s only yours. New health habits. New hobbies. New rituals. New experiences.

The purpose of newness in your life is to differentiate yourself. You’re creating something novel, which makes you feel discoverable again. After a hard ending, it feels like everything you have belongs to said person. It’s not true. But it feels that way. So it can be useful to jar yourself out of that belief by doing something brand new for yourself.

6. Acceptance of Letting Go

There are some people in our lives who will be with us forever. Others are more easily let go, but sometimes, we encounter a person we’ll carry around with us for the rest of our lives, like a song we’ll never forget. And with time, there’s something beautiful about that. There’s space to appreciate the laughs you shared and the future you dreamed of.But it takes work to get there. It’s a practice. It’s not an endpoint. And that’s the secret. No one lets go.


Yes, we’re all doing it regardless of whether we realise it or not. So, be gentle with yourself if it doesn’t go as quickly as you think it should. You’ll get better, stronger, more resilient. Return your heart to the present moment when it drifts too far for your own comfort. Remember where you are and with whom. Shed your tears and keep breathing. Keep moving.

You’re getting through it.

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