How To Forget Someone You Love When It Feels Impossible
By Abigail Boyd
Updated February 17, 2020
Reviewer Dawn Brown
The breakup of a relationship can be one of the hardest times we will ever experience. This is especially true if you deeply loved the other person. Love doesn't just turn off because you're no longer with the other person. Whether you were the initiator of the breakup or it came as a surprise, the split can feel devastating. You may feel like crawling under the covers and never coming back out.
Learning how to get over someone you love deeply is a profoundly painful experience, but you will emerge on the other side stronger, more resilient, and surer of what you want and need in a relationship.
So how do you get over someone you still love? It's a process that requires commitment and courage to face difficult, sometimes overwhelming feelings. It will test you and make you uncomfortable at times. But it's all for the better in the end. While this article mostly focuses on breakups, these tips can also apply if you were merely friends with the person you love.
How To Move On From Someone You Love
You may be looking for the perfect answer to the question of how to forget someone you love. Like any situation where you're dealing with loss, acceptance takes place in stages. These stages are not always straightforward, either-you may cycle between different places before reaching the end. The important thing is to keep urging yourself forward. The worst thing you can do is get stuck in the maybes and the what-ifs of the past. Rumination will not fix what has already been broken.
Accept That The Future Has Irrevocably Changed
A breakup can shatter your plans and goals in a unique way. If you were in a long-term relationship with the other person, it wasn't just them that you lost. It was the future that you had planned together. You need to take time to mourn that loss, and then make new plans that do not include your partner.
Purge Mementoes Of The Relationship
Is your phone full of photos of you and your ex? Do you have a collection of cards from every holiday? A sweatshirt with their scent that they lent you when you were cold? All of these items have the ability to stir strong emotional reactions from you. You won't be able to move on if you have all of these reminders around you on a regular basis.
It's a good idea once the relationship is over for good that you comb through your photos, old texts, Facebook messages, and other communications and delete those involving your ex. You should also take the time to toss any mementos that you can bear to part with.
This doesn't mean that you have to throw everything away, though. If items are valuable or you're too emotionally attached to let go of them, you can place them in a box in storage. Make sure it's as far as possible so you can resist the urge to pull it down for old time's sake before you're really ready. The important thing is to put these reminders out of sight for now.
Establish No-Contact for a While
Nowadays, with social media and cell phones, we're all connected more than ever before. This can make it hard to get the space you need to begin healing and moving on. The more regularly in contact you are with the other person, the harder it will be to get over them. While many people try to be friends with their ex, this is not advised. Being friends with an ex you still love will stunt your ability to move forward.
In some situations, such as if you work with your ex-partner, seeing them is unavoidable. You may experience an overwhelming desire to engage with them, telling yourself it's just to see how they are doing. However, it's best to avoid interacting with them any more than necessary. Even if you share children or other responsibilities, contact should be kept to a minimum.
Love Them from Afar
"Only know you love her when you let her go."
(Passenger, "Let Her Go")
One of the hardest things to accept is that you still love the other person but you can't be together. They may even love you, but you're just not right for one another. We are conditioned to believe that love should be able to overcome any obstacle, but that is often not the case.
You don't have to stop loving the other person, and, in fact, this is usually impossible right away. As much as we may wish there was, there is no magic switch that allows us to turn off our feelings. You may never completely stop loving the other person, but eventually those feelings can reach a place of acceptance where you still care about them but you're comfortable knowing that you can never be together.
This also applies if you were never in an official relationship with the person you love. Getting to an attitude of "I love you enough to let you go" can take a lot of internal work and soul-searching, but it is the healthiest path to moving on.
Lean On Your Support Network
While you may have the tendency to isolate yourself, listening to sad songs and binging on Netflix, these can quickly lead to a cycle of depression and negative thinking. It's normal to take a hit to your self-confidence when someone breaks up with you. However, don't spend too long alone.
If you can, reach out to trusted friends and family members in your circle and lean on them for support. It's not healthy to bottle your feelings up inside. This doesn't have to be in person, either. This is where social media and other forms of communication are very helpful.
Focus On Yourself
You may have never really been taught this important fact: you need to make yourself your number one priority. A lot of people search for validation through the approval and love of other people. This can cause a significant amount of devastation if you are rejected by the person you love, no matter the reason. If you've never taken the time to focus on yourself, which is common, that's crucial for getting over your breakup in a healthy way.
Building up your capacity for self-love is not only how to move on from a relationship when you are still in love, but how you find happiness and peace within yourself.
Establish New Hobbies
If you and the person you love were dating for an extended period of time, this can leave you with a lot of free time once you're not together anymore. It's crucial that you don't spend this time sitting around and ruminating, which will only make you feel worse and is not how to move on from someone you love. If you have some hobbies that you haven't engaged in for a while, pick them up again. Or if there are new activities that you've wanted to try, now is the time.
Keeping your mind busy and your attention focused outward is an important part of how to get over a breakup when you still love them. That doesn't mean avoiding your feelings altogether. You should certainly take time to grieve the loss. However, dwelling on your memories and what could have been will only hurt you in the long run. If your aim is to forget the person you were with as much as possible, then keeping your mind busy is the way to do it. You can also embark on a self-improvement plan or take on extra hours at work. The important thing is to do what works for you.
If you're struggling with feeling good about yourself or are experiencing symptoms of depression, such as persistently negative thoughts, loss of appetite, and a feeling of hopelessness, it's a good idea to reach out to a therapist. The longer that you allow these feelings to germinate, the more you'll suffer needlessly and be unable to move on.
When To Seek Help
Whether it's from a short-term but intense relationship or a divorce after many years of marriage, having to get over someone you love can plunge you into a dark place. Unfortunately, not everyone has a strong support network that they can reach out to, and even those that do often need additional support.
If you're asking how to get over the love of your life, know that you're not alone. BetterHelp offers affordable online therapy from trained, licensed professional counselors that you can access no matter where you are or what your schedule.
You may never totally forget about the person you love, but that's not a bad thing. Eventually, with time and healing, you'll be able to appreciate the good parts of the relationship without feeling pain. The fact that you still remember the good times is a sign that you deeply loved them and that is still real even if it's no longer the case. Know that however dark things may seem now, it will not last forever. Therapy can help guide you through this process to get you to the other side faster.