Letting An Ex Go: What Letting Go Of Relationships Really Looks Like
Breakups are never easy. Even if the split is amicable, no longer being in a relationship can feel sad and lonely. Some people move on from a breakup relatively quickly and bounce back. Others take quite a while to let go of the pain and may stay single for a while. Letting go of an ex is a process that you may need to work on every day. Then, one day, you'll find that you have moved on. Until you get there, try to remain patient. The hurt reminds you that you had something special. We aren't guaranteed happily ever after with everyone we meet. It's okay to be sad and grieve, but if you don't find a way to move on, you'll be stuck longing for a ghost.
Want to know what it looks like to let go of an ex? There's no step-by-step process or any particular order you need to do things. Relationships end differently, so why shouldn't moving on look differently? There are, however, some universal things you can do that will help you in your grieving process. Remember that no matter how much time has passed between the breakup and now, your feelings are valid. You can find a place of peace and happiness again. Read on to learn more about what letting go looks like and how to reach this place in your own life.
Remove Them From Your Social Media
Some people will block their exes on social media right away. As soon as the break happens, they want them off Facebook, Twitter, and their phone number is blocked. Others wait a while. Especially if they want to get back together someday, they keep their ex's number and scroll through social media daily to see how their ex is doing. Both extremes aren't necessary. Though it's a good idea to get them off your social media, you don't have to do it immediately. But, if you find that you look at old Facebook photos regularly, it might be time to pull the plug. Reminiscing on the past seems like a good idea, but it only leaves you feeling hurt and upset. Until you can learn to think of your ex and be happy for the memories but glad you've moved on, looking at photos will remind you that you are still healing.
Let Yourself Cry
Crying is cathartic. After a bad breakup, you have every right to sit down and have a good cry. A relationship has ended; that's not something you should brush off and get back to business. When you invest your time and emotions into a person, it's reasonable to grieve when that ends. Crying is a way to release all the emotions you feel whether sadness, anger, fear, loss, or anything else. There's no reason to hold all of it in. You don't have to cry in front of your ex or in front of anyone else. Find a quiet space when you're alone and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. After you've had a good cry, you can work on putting the pieces back together.
Remember Why You Broke Up
After you've been broken up a while, it might be tempting to try and get back together with your ex. Some couples that have broken up will mutually decide to get back together. That's a wonderful thought to give you hope if you are in the midst of a breakup. But before you do get back together, remind yourself why you broke up in the first place. Do you disagree on some fundamental values? Do you fight a lot? Did they cheat on you? Did you cheat on them? There was a reason the relationship ended. Before you give it a second chance, think about whether you need to. An ex will rarely realize their mistakes and come crawling back to you. That's only in the movies. Don't let yourself hope for a future that most likely won't happen. You've been given a chance to find someone so much better for you. By remembering why you broke up in the first place, you can remind yourself that getting back together probably isn't worth it.
Accept Your New Reality
After a breakup, things will start to change. Maybe you have mutual friends that you still want to see but need to figure out how to see separately. Maybe they helped you by giving you rides to work, and now you must find a new way to get there. Maybe you ate dinner together pretty much every night. There will be an adjustment period where to learn again how to live as a single. There will be some bumps and bruises as you figure out what that looks like for you, but you will get there. You must accept your reality for it to start working for you. If you reluctantly make changes but still think that your ex could come back, you do yourself a disservice because you're only halfway invested in yourself. You can make it alone. But you also don't have to be alone. Talk to friends, family relatives, coworkers. Let them help you to move on and adjust. There's no reason to pretend everything is fine when it is not. The only way forward is through.
Allow Yourself To Start Over
When you're ready, you can prove to yourself that you've moved on by starting to date again. Yes, the idea of dating and telling a new person all your secrets and letting them carry your baggage feels exhausting. You've already done it once; why do it again? Remember that there is no reward without risk. You invested into someone who didn't work out, but that doesn't mean that you now have to be alone for the rest of your life. One day, you will realize that the risk is worth taking again. This is what it looks like to move on. You shouldn't force it if you aren't ready, and don't go on a date with someone you aren't interested in. But starting over is a part of life. Hearts can break, but they can also mend. You'll know when you're ready to try again.
Asking For Professional Advice
Seeing a therapist work through your grief is a responsible thing to do. No one should have to live in grief over a breakup for too long. If you find that you can't move on, it might be time to seek professional assistance. A therapist is there to listen to how you feel and give you advice that you can use in a very practical sense. Sometimes it's very hard to navigate the emotional roller coaster you feel, and a therapist can sit on the outside and untangle the web for you. You are still doing the work, but you have the help you need to get through it.
Does that sound like something you're interested in? Or are you still hesitant because you've heard that therapy is expensive, and you don't know if you can sit in front of a live person and spill your guts? For those of you in the latter category, have you considered online therapy?
Online therapy is a convenient option and is supported by research to be equally effective as in-person therapy in helping people navigate through life’s difficult moments. If you feel as though you cannot muster either the confidence or the courage to reach out to someone you like, it may be time to speak with an online therapist or relationship expert.
That's where Regain comes in. It is an affordable and easy way to get the help you need as a platform connecting people to certified and independent therapists to talk to online. Therapy doesn't work in real-time, so if you are hesitant about speaking with someone, you can be assured that your therapist will read what you have to say at an appointed time and not while you are sitting on the other side of the computer.
The therapist will send you feedback that you can also read in your own time. Regain allows people to get the therapy they need in a very flexible environment while also offering traditional video or phone therapy sessions if it is requested. Subscriptions are offered monthly, so there's no risk of giving it a try. Get started by going to www.regain.us/start today. You don't have to suffer through a breakup alone. People are waiting to help you.
Break-ups are tough to work through. If you've been dumped, you understand that picking yourself back up is hard and takes time. If you've been the one who dumps, you know that even being the one who realizes a relationship is over is hard. Whether you've been together for two months, two years, or ten years, the hurt is real and demands to be felt. You have the power within you to work through it every time. But if you need help or just someone to talk to, there's no shame in that. If you feel like you’re having trouble letting go of your ex, or have unresolved feelings and emotions about the relationship, speak with one of our therapists today and begin your healing process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you let go of an ex you still love?
The process of letting go of an ex that you still love can be extremely difficult. However, it absolutely needs to be done for you to be able to heal and move on with your life properly. If you spend your time pining over your ex, then you will start to stagnate in other aspects of your life. This is because a part of you is constantly waiting for them to come back and is subconsciously trying to leave parts of your life open for them to reappear.
One of the most important things to remember is that you must give yourself time. Letting go of an ex that you still love isn’t an instantaneous thing. You can’t expect to feel good about it right away, and you may even feel pangs of heartache long after finally letting them go. For better or worse, they were an important piece of your life that you need to learn from.
Here are some tips if you’re having trouble letting go of your ex:
- Cut off contact. You don’t owe them anything, and your own mental health and wellbeing are more important than any guilt they may be trying to put on you.
- Don’t forget why you broke up. When we start to miss a person, it can be incredibly easy to remember the good things about them. You may start to miss them more by remembering the nice things they did or the pleasant things about them. This is when to remember what went wrong with the relationship and exactly why it didn’t work out.
- Don’t think of what could have been. If it could have been, then it would have been. A relationship built on a cloud of fantasy is never going to match up to the real thing.
- Forgive them and yourself for past mistakes and learn from them.
- Know that the pain you’re feeling isn’t permanent. Eventually, your heart will heal, and you will be better off no longer being with someone that didn’t appreciate you.
Look at the experience as one that you can learn from and grow from. Take what didn’t work in the relationship and find out what you can improve about yourself. Eventually, you will meet someone else that will be the right person for you, and you will be glad that you didn’t stay with your ex.
What does it mean if you keep going back to your ex?
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon during the process of letting go to find yourself back with your ex. There are many reasons that people go back to their exes, such as:
- Feeling of stability
- Fear of a new relationship
- Unresolved feelings
- Feelings of co-dependency
- You think that you can fix them.
Ultimately, while everyone’s reasons for going back to their ex may be different, we do it because, at some point, they make you feel good. It can be not easy finally letting go of your ex for good because people tend to remember the good things in the relationship. This makes them want to try to rekindle those feelings, although they aren’t there anymore.
While going back to an ex may work out in the long run for some people, it rarely works out for the majority. You should never return to an ex that has been physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive. If you believe that you still have feelings toward such a person, speak with a therapist that can help you work out the underlying cause of your feelings and help you heal.
Can you completely forget an ex?
It’s rare to be able to completely forget anyone, let alone someone who played such a big part in your life. Your memories of them will fade with time, however, and depending on the length of the relationship; you will generally get over them within a few weeks to 6 months. In some cases, though, it can take years to get over an ex fully.
This time period also depends on what your relationship was like toward the end. If it petered out naturally because you both lost interest or you no longer had things in common, then you will likely get over the breakup much faster. In cases such as divorce, it can take a lot longer to heal.
Is my ex really over me?
There are a lot of signs that your ex has moved on and is over you. These include:
- They’re dating someone else in a serious relationship. This doesn’t include one-night stands or flings. This is a new serious, committed relationship.
- They give you back all your things and ask for all of theirs back as well.
- They become cold, harsh, or even mean toward you. There’s no consideration for your feelings.
- You completely stop hearing from them. They’ve removed you from social media, blocked your number, etc.
While there are other signs as well, these are the big ones. If your ex has started doing or has done any of these things, then it’s time to move on as well.
How do you tell if your ex still loves you?
These signs are virtually the exact opposite of the ones above. For example, rather than avoiding you, they seem to go out of their way for a reason to talk to you or see you. They keep some of your things, and you may notice them still using or wearing them. If you haven’t seen them in a while and they’re overly glad to see you and try to prolong the conversation, then they might still have feelings for you.
They may also reach out to you during holidays or special occasions such as your birthday, and they will very likely keep some connection to your friends and family. Finally, you may notice that they seem to constantly bring up old memories or try to remind you of the good times you had together.
If they do a combination of any of these things, or if you find that they still tell you everything about their lives when you talk even though you’re no longer together, then there’s a very good chance that they still have feelings for you.
How do you know a breakup is final?
One of the biggest signs that a breakup is final is that you look back and realize that the relationship was toxic or made you more unhappy than it ever made you happy. When you can look back with clarity and see all the wrong things with the relationship, and simultaneously see all the red flags that you likely ignored, you’ll know that the relationship is over for good.
Another huge sign is that you’re both emotionally exhausted. You’ve given everything you have to try to make the relationship work, but at the end of the day, it’s still not working. Eventually, you’ll know when it’s time to call it quits for good. You must take care of yourself and your mental health and realize that not all battles are worth fighting.
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