Letting go of someone you love is probably one of the most challenging things to do–but it is not impossible.
So, how do you let go and fall out of love with someone?
When it’s real love, we never really fall out
What if we’ve limited our understanding of what falling in love is because the falling itself places our heart at nearly unbearable risk? And what if we need to believe that, when we’re falling, there will be an end to that overwhelming emotional state where we find our heart is beating right out of our chest?
Perhaps we need to believe in the possibility of “falling out of love” because, while falling, we can’t think straight, and we sometimes find ourselves barely able to function at all. What if what happens when we fall in, is that, deep down, we know that we can never, not really, ever fall out?
So, maybe the answer to the question of “How to fall out of love with someone?” is the most ironic one possible: We fall out of love with someone when we stop falling and land in real life with them (after the honeymoon, the insecurity, idealization, and obsession).
After that, the road forks:
- We experience that landing as a great crash of disappointment, devalue the person—and love itself—and try to convince ourselves that it wasn’t real love after all, or
- We accept that we’ve landed in the quotidian with an actual human being, stand up and walk into our everyday lives together.
Sure, falling out of love, on first pass, sounds like either a great disappointment (you and/or this love-thing is not going to save me after all) or a defense (my heart was at too much risk and I want/need to fall out of love with you because it is either too painful or too scary).
Either way, when it’s real love, we never really fall out.
No, we carry the life, the love, the experience that we created, sustained and shared with each other always—we don’t get over it. We get through it, though, and take it with us for the rest of our lives. And this is a very good thing. Without each and every bit of love that we’ve experienced, we would not be, could not be, ourselves. We don’t recover from love, we’re not supposed to.
We do not fall out of love. But when it’s real love we stop falling, accept the landing, stand up and walk with, in and through love together…for as long as our hearts can bear.
Dr. Eric Williams, Ph.D., LPCS, LMFT, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder, Coastal Family Services, PLLC
Consider thinking about why it’s best to fall out of love with them
Something to consider when trying to fall out of love with someone is that you don’t have to hate or be upset with them. It’s unhealthy for you to fall out of love with someone because you prefer a negative emotion to experience instead.
Consider thinking about why it’s best to fall out of love with them. Is the relationship toxic? Did they cheat on you? Are they emotionally impaired in some way that created issues for the relationship?
Now consider all the qualities you look for in a healthy relationship.
What are the qualities you look for in a partner fit for you? Vulnerability? Transparency? Security?
Make a list of these attributes and compare them to the attributes of your past partner.
Therefore, you are falling out of love with someone because you are choosing something healthier for yourself. You are choosing to live in the fullness of love as you deem healthy.
Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD
Take time to invest in yourself
Oftentimes, we feel as though we’re still in love with an ex (or a crush) because we idealize their memory (or we don’t really know them).
In many cases, you can use rational thought to help you to let go of feelings of attachment. If you’re trying to get over an ex, make a list of the ways in which they enriched your life and the ways in which they detracted from your happiness and fulfillment.
You are likely to find that the latter outweighs the former. If you have trouble recognizing the ways in which they (or the relationship) didn’t work for you, enlist a friend to help you. They can likely look at your ex’s behavior through a supportive and more rational lens.
In addition to identifying the reasons why you do not want to be with your ex, take time to invest in yourself.
Change your routine to break the habits you shared with your ex. If you used to stop at a specific coffee shop on the way to work, change it up and try a different cafe. If there was a show you were binge-watching together, pick a new program to watch on your own.
When you engage in the same routines, you can become sentimental and romanticize the past; instead, create new habits that allow for excitement or indulgence. Spend time with friends who are happy, as happiness is contagious; it can be helpful to hang out with folks who support you when you’re sad but try not to center all of your relationships on commiserating about your breakup.
Talk about it and allow yourself to be sad (those who acknowledge negative feelings are better able to reconcile them than those who ignore them), but look for other topics of conversation as well.
If you’re trying to get over a crush or someone you dated for a very short period of time, make a list of all the things you know about them, all the things you think you know and all the things you don’t know.
Take a look at the things you think you know and look for evidence to confirm what you think you know; you likely will find that the evidence doesn’t exist (you idealize them, because they’re new, exciting or attractive) and you can move these items into the “things you don’t know” column.
As you complete this list, you’ll likely find that you’re in love with the idea of someone that doesn’t exist in reality. You’ve filled in the gaps with your own ideal desires because you want to like/love them.
Author | Life Coach Certified in Counseling Skills | Content Provider and Editor Specializing in Medical Topics, e-counseling.com
Look at it without prejudice
Your friends and family members want you to dump the person taking up your time and focus while treating you poorly. You might be struggling to understand why they don’t approve of your romantic partner and feel ready to defend the troubling behaviors.
That desire to defend the person is your signal that something is amiss. Loving people don’t need defending.
Though it is a struggle, step back from the situation when you’re all alone. Pretend that you’re someone watching the overall situation. Look at it without prejudice. Practice until you achieve objectivity.
Now list the incidents that have been the source of debate. Ask yourself:
“Is this the way I like being treated?”
“Did I benefit from such and such?”
“Do I want this to happen again, especially in public?”
“Do I feel safe with X?”
“Can I trust X with my money, my privacy, my safety, and my body?”
If any of the answers are “No,” or “I’m not sure,” then you need to think longer about your need to end the relationship. It might take time to lose the sense of romance the desire to be held, the need to have someone important in your life. But the benefit of walking away from someone who undermines your well-being is priceless.
You’ll be safer for the effort, especially if the jilted person demeans you later. The anger is proof that the person was harming you and would have harmed you more. Loving people make peace, not panic.
Build your inner strengths and reserve your time for someone who treats you well. When you look forward to the shared activities, you’ll know that you’re in a beneficial situation aka romance.
Psychotherapist | Licensed Professional Counselor | Certified Trauma Counselor | Approved Critical Incident Stress Management Team Instructor
Falling out of love is a day to day proposition
I have worked with a large number of people who are trying to get past a relationship break-up where they were in love. Here are some tips:
- Disconnect all social media from the person. Staying connected will keep you connected to your pain.
- Block all incoming texts to prevent an unended break-up. I’ve noticed a growing trend toward breaking off a relationship but keeping the person dangling through ongoing texts.
- Spend some time looking at yourself and what you can do differently next time. Don’t plunge into another relationship! You may end up making the same mistakes. Plunging into another relationship can mean you are afraid to face yourself, you’d rather put your attention on someone else.
- Get quality sleep. If your sleep is interrupted for more than two weeks, get some help from a physician. It is difficult to function without sleep. A lack of sleep can feed depression.
- Put some time into exercise, yoga, meditation or church. Do a deep dive into some ongoing activities that help you to feel better.
- Accept that falling out of love is a day to day proposition done hours at a time. Your goal is simple- get through the next hour. Plan! Plan! Plan! Long periods of idle time can leave you ruminating in a dark place where you dig a psychological hole.
- Keep tabs on your appetite. A break-up can cause you to eat less or eat too much.
- Go after activities that require eye-to-hand coordination. It is very difficult to ruminate about a former love while shooting a basketball, playing tennis or hitting a ball in a batting cage.
- If you are having continued trouble (2 to 4 weeks) functioning at the workplace or as a parent, get some counseling help! This is especially true if you are thinking of harming yourself. This is even truer if you have the means (pills, handgun).
Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC
Certified Life Coach | Relationship Expert and Professional Matchmaker | Founder and Owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC
Believing that our partner’s actions (or inactions) are done with ill intent and believing that they don’t have our best interest at heart is one way to fall out of love with someone. It is tough to love a person if we truly think they are “out to get us” or even simply “don’t have our back.”
Sometimes we romanticize our partner’s behavior because we want to believe the relationship is worth saving, but if you can step out of emotion and into logic and realistically evaluate your partner’s actions and overall character, you may begin to see things more clearly and begin to fall out of love.
Refusing to settle
If you have gotten to a point in your life where you want more and you recognize that your partner is stagnant and not willing to work on personal growth, then you may find yourself falling out of love.
Outgrowing a partner happens, especially if one person is highly committed to working towards a goal (be it education, having a family, establishing a career or pursuing a dream) and the other is not. That disconnect can certainly factor into one falling out of love.
Lack of respect
Respect is a KEY factor in love. If you do not have respect for your partner, love is usually lacking as well. A lack of respect could stem from many factors including irresponsibility, immaturity, dishonesty, laziness or just plain apathy. No matter the cause of the lack of respect, you can count on that as being a component of falling out of love.
Certified Mental Health Expert and Family Care Professional, Maple Holistics
Remind yourself that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be
You may not believe in fate or greater power, but the truth is, everything happens for a reason. It’s easier to fall out of love with someone when you can accept that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Nothing good gets away.
You have to accept that things didn’t work out, and if they’re going to, eventually they will. There’s a reason that it didn’t work out which you don’t realize now. This isn’t a feeling you can feel right away, but it should help in getting over an unforgettable love. Hopefully, you’ll back at these memories and either laugh that you thought this was true love or with the confidence that you knew that this love would come back in the end.
Just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something for you to learn from the experience. One of the ways to fall out of love with someone and come out as a stronger person on the other side is by taking stock of the ways in which this relationship changed you for the better and what you have learned about yourself through the process.
Life itself is a process and falling out of love with someone is just one small step in the journey of becoming your best self. Instead of focusing on your lost relationship, use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow.