How To Forget Someone You Love

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The loss of an intimate interpersonal relationship may feel challenging and painful, leaving you with negative feelings. You could feel heartbroken or still love the person deeply, as love may not go away when a relationship ended. Whether you were the initiator of the breakup or it came as a surprise, the split can feel devastating, and leaving someone you love is still heartbreaking. Taking the first step towards healing may seem impossible, but with enough positive feedback from close friends, moving on could become more attainable.

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The end of a relationship can cause mental health concerns

Taking the step to move on from a person you love deeply can be a profoundly painful experience. Still, many people emerge on the other side of a breakup stronger, more resilient, and more confident of what they want and need in a relationship.

So how do you get over someone you still love? It's a process that may require commitment and courage. You might face complicated and overwhelming feelings or feel uncomfortable at times. 

Although this article will focus on romantic breakups or divorce, you may apply these tips to the end of a friendship or close platonic connection, as well. 

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. Since you are dealing with loss, grief may take place in stages.

These stages are not always the same for everyone. You may cycle between them or skip a few. Try to move forward at your own pace and avoid the "what-ifs" of the past. Rumination might not be beneficial in dealing with a relationship that has ended. 

Accept that your plans have changed

After a breakup, you may feel like your plans and goals for life and the future have been shattered. If you were in a committed relationship with someone, validate yourself by acknowledging all the aspects you're grieving. It may feel easier to try to just forget the time you spent with that person entirely, but you may find that that is nearly impossible to do. You may not just miss the person; you might also miss their pets, their family, or the plans you had together. 

Over time, consider making new plans on your own or with new connections. For example, you may be able to take a trip you wanted to take that your ex-partner didn't want to go on. You may make new friends or pick up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try. 

If you're having trouble accepting that things have ended, consider a therapeutic strategy such as radical acceptance. If you have a counselor, therapist, or licensed clinical psychologist, they may be able to support you as you get started. 

Remove reminders of the relationship from your life

Is your phone full of photos of you and your ex? Perhaps you are still wearing a sweatshirt they lent you when you were cold. These items may stir challenging emotional reactions in you and make it hard to forget someone you love. 

You don't necessarily have to throw everything away, though. If items are valuable or you don't feel ready to let go right now, you can place them in a box in storage. 

Try to put the box as far away as possible to resist an urge to pull it down and look at items before you're ready. Focus on creating new memories and returning to old ones when you're ready to deal with them. 

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Establish no-contact for a while

In modern society, social media and cell phones can allow us to relate to others throughout the day. You may still see your ex-partner's profile on social media or the people they interact with. Consider blocking, unfriending, or ignoring them for a time if you are looking for how to forget someone you love. If you need to, you might take a social media break.  

Additionally, cut off all contact temporarily (or permanently if needed). If you stay in constant contact with your ex, getting over them may be more difficult. While many try to be friends with their ex, it may not work for you. If you still love your ex or desire more with them, it could be painful not to have the same type of relationship anymore. 

In some situations, such as work, you might be unable to avoid your ex. Still, avoid interacting with them as much as necessary, and consider ways to distance yourself during events or situations. 

It may be helpful to spend time with friends and family as you move on from your ex, as your loved ones can provide you with support and distraction.

Honor your feelings

It might feel difficult to accept that you still love the other person, but you can't be together. They may love you. However, there's often a reason why breakups happen. Society may cause you to believe that love should be enough to overcome any obstacle. However, unhealthy dynamics, differences in values, and other common breakup reasons may override this feeling. 

However much you might want to let go of the love you feel, try to accept it. Suppressing your emotions may cause you to feel worse, according to studies. Your love for the other person may not disappear, but you can learn to accept that emotions and reality aren't always connected. You may get to a point where you still care about the person and feel comfortable not being their partner. 

Lean on your support network

You may feel the need to isolate after a breakup, listening to sad songs and binging Netflix reality shows. However, withdrawing from family and friends after a close relationship ends may lead to a cycle of sadness or negative thinking. 

Research indicates that social support is essential for health. Thus, consider reaching out to trusted friends and family in your circle and lean on them for support. 

Focus on yourself

Many people search for validation through the approval and love of others. If you've not taken any time to focus on yourself, consider practicing self-care. Building up your capacity for self-love may help you move on from a relationship and find peace alone. Some activities you might try could include: 

  • Exercising 
  • Going for a walk in nature
  • Journaling your emotions
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Going to therapy
  • Documenting your time alone with photos or videos
  • Trying something new in your city
  • Experiencing a life-changing event such as traveling to another country or learning a new language or culture

Establish new hobbies

If you and the person you love were dating for an extended period, you might now have a lot of free time. Try not to spend this time sitting alone or ruminating or scrolling through their social media accounts, which could make you feel worse. 

If you have ideas of hobbies that you haven't engaged in for a while, consider picking 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 can be a valuable part of getting over a breakup.

When to seek help after a breakup

Suppose you're struggling with feeling positive about yourself or experiencing symptoms of depression such as persistently negative thoughts, loss of appetite, or a feeling of hopelessness. In that case, it may be time to reach out to a licensed clinical psychologist. 

Whether from a short-term but intense relationship or a divorce after many years of marriage, getting over someone you love can plunge you into a dark place. Not everyone has deep social relationships and a strong support network of mutual friends they feel they can reach out to, and even those who have them often need additional support. Licensed clinical psychologists will likely have years of experience helping others who have been through difficult breakups, and they will likely be able to help you heal, too.

If you're wondering how to get over someone you love, know that you're not alone, and you can take steps toward healing. This article helped many people facing similar situations. You might feel withdrawn or lonely after a breakup. You may not feel like going out or getting out of bed. In this case, you might try a low-commitment type of counseling like online therapy. Spend time with new friends, pick up a new hobby, and talk about all the things you're experiencing, as bottling emotions may cause more harm.

With more people seeking mental health services online, researchers are studying its effectiveness relative to in-person therapy. This research source, featuring reader success stories and a reader approved status, suggests that internet-based counseling post-breakup can help some individuals recover their self-esteem after a relationship ends.

Getty/AnnaStills
The end of a relationship can cause mental health concerns

Takeaway

You may not completely forget about the person you love. However, you may be able to move on. Eventually, with time and healing, you could appreciate the positive parts of the relationship without feeling pain. 

Know that however dark things may seem now, the pain from a breakup may not last as long as you might think. Therapy from licensed and experienced counselors like those at BetterHelp can help guide you through the healing process.

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