I Don’t Love Him Anymore: Moving On From A Relationship
Updated December 02, 2019
Reviewer Karen Devlin, LPC
There are few phrases as heart-wrenching as this: "I don't love you anymore." Love fades, for some people. In some relationships, love fades gradually for both partners, and the end is an amicable split. In other relationships, love burns brightly at one end and flickers and dies on the other. In both situations, however, the "I don't love you anymore" is, by necessity, followed by the need to move on.
When Love Fades
There isn't always a reason for love to fade. There are some relationships where abuse, neglect, or differences of opinion are enormous, obvious catalysts for the loss of love, or a loss of interest. There are others, though, where time and life settle in and reveal holes in your relationship that aren't easily repaired. The precise why and how of your relationship's demise are not as important as the reality: your relationship has ended. The love is gone. And now, your task is to move on.
The first step in moving on is acknowledging to yourself that the relationship has truly ended. Even when you are the person for whom love has ended, moving on can be a difficult task. Relationships have a way of invading every aspect of your life, and moving on from a cherished relationship, even if the love is no longer there, can be frightening and lonely. Even without passion, relationships are comfortable and comforting.
The Hard Conversation
The second step in moving on is having the conversation. When you no longer love your partner, you are faced with the arduous task of telling them that your relationship is at its end. Some people hope to avoid this conversation and gradually disappear. Although this might be tempting, as these types of conversations can be difficult, embarrassing, and painful, you owe it to yourself and your former partner to take the time and effort required to have the conversation, and officially end your partnership.
When you don't feel like taking the time to have the hard conversation with your partner, remember that you owe it to yourself and to your former partner to offer closure in the form of a legitimate break-up. This is particularly important in relationships that were longer-lasting; long relationships-or at least deeply-connected ones-usually involve fusing two lives together in big, significant ways. Officially breaking up is the first joint step in moving forward, and moving on from your relationship.
Unfortunately, there is not a single, easily-defined method to move on. There are ideas, and suggestions, including the ever-popular, "It will take one month for every year you were together," but the fact remains: moving on from a relationship is a deeply personal, impossible-to-determine task, that can move in fits and spurts, and can move in a large number of directions. Moving on can mean feeling on top of the world one minute, resplendent in your newfound freedom, and sobbing into your childhood stuffed animal the next-and that's okay! Moving on from a relationship is a complicated road and not one that must occur in a simple, linear fashion.
If you are the person who has instigated the breakup, you might feel as though you are not allowed to grieve; after all, that is what you wanted, right? Remember that you should give yourself the space to grieve your relationship and its loss, even if you are the catalyst for that loss. Relationships don't work out for countless reasons, and assuming that your ability to recognize a relationship's projected trajectory renders your feelings meaningless is harmful to both you and your former partner. Honor yourself, and honor the relationship you once shared by giving yourself plenty of time and space to grieve and heal.
Tools To Heal
While there may not be a concrete series of steps to guide every single breakup toward healing and moving on, there are some steps you can take to make sure that you are healing as smoothly and effectively as possible, while avoiding many of the pitfalls that frequently occur following a breakup. These include:
- Making space for your emotions. When you feel emotion well up within you, give yourself the time and freedom to feel it truly. If you feel angry, give yourself a few minutes-or more-to feel that emotion. Let it wash over you, breathe deeply, and then allow it to leave just as suddenly as it arrived.
- Sharing your experience. Whether you share your feelings and experience with a friend, a family member, or a therapist, make sure you are taking the time to work through and truly process your feelings. Feeling your feelings is a great start, but allowing them to work out of you through verbal processing is an important step in sorting through your relationship wreckage and moving forward, too.
- Getting out and about. It may be tempting to stay cooped up in your house after a breakup, especially if you and your partner's social lives revolved around one another, but doing so could prolong your breakup blues. Try to get out with friends or loved ones when social invitations come in and create new memories with the people you trust.
- Looking to the future. Remember that you felt it was the right decision to move on from your relationship. Think about the opportunities that have opened up after your relationship ended or the reasons you decided to end the relationship in the first place. Looking to the future can make the present more bearable, and can make the temporary pain worth it.
When Healing Stalls
Occasionally, healing will stall, and the pain of a breakup will become overwhelming. This doesn't necessarily mean that you've made a mistake, or that you need to immediately go out and try to rekindle your relationship. Instead, this means you might be experiencing loneliness or discomfort with the novelty of being single. Remember that moving forward is not a linear journey. You may go months without thinking of your former partner and have a week or two where the pain of a breakup hits you like a ton of bricks. While it may feel strange, it is a normal part of the grieving process.
If, however, you notice that your grief is not resolving, that you are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, or that you've begun to lose interest in things you previously loved, there could be something more at play. Large lifestyle changes can precede conditions like anxiety and depression, and a breakup can be a truly enormous lifestyle change.
Symptoms of anxiety include feeling anxious or nervous for extended periods without a direct cause, physical symptoms such as a racing heart or accelerated breathing, and feelings of impending doom. Anxiety can be a temporary condition, but it can also extend past the temporary and change into a years-long disorder without intervention and treatment.
Depression symptoms can be more difficult to nail down because depression affects everybody differently. Mood changes are the most significant change and can include increased feelings of irritability, anger, exhaustion, or apathy. Physical changes, such as weight loss or gain, increased or decreased sleeping patterns, and chronic exhaustion can all indicate the presence of depression, as well.
If you have developed the symptoms of anxiety or depression, don't try to handle it yourself; both of these conditions require the intervention and subsequent treatment of mental health professional. Both disorders can significantly impact the quality of life, and both can prove dangerous for the overall health and longevity of someone.
While it can be frightening or unnerving when anxiety and depression develop, both conditions are, fortunately, extremely treatable. Depression and anxiety rates have continued to climb over the past decade, making treatment more readily available, and treatment methods more diverse in their delivery and approach. Therapies can include talk therapy modalities, but may also include trauma-based therapies to get to the root of both anxiety and depression.
Although the most common form of therapy is a standard in-office visit with a psychiatrist or psychologist, there are many different ways to engage the help of mental health professional. An in-office visit is an option for many people, even in small towns. Some people benefit from therapist-led group sessions, which are more akin to support groups than actual treatment sessions. Still, others seek out the help of online therapy, which allows people to pay a lower fee (in some cases), and provides therapy from the comfort of your own home, provided that you have a secure internet connection and a tablet, phone, or computer.
Moving On After A Breakup
Never let it be said that breakups are easy. Even if you are the person initiating the breakup, losing someone you previously considered a partner is difficult and can be the source of tremendous pain and change. Even in the face of these difficulties, though, there is hope for moving on and enjoying your life. For some, moving on is simply a matter of time and space, while others may require the help of a mental health professional to fully heal and process their grief.