What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up On Love

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated April 15, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Love is a core component of the human experience for most people, but it can be difficult to find and sustain. Whether you’re talking about friendships, relationships with family members, or romantic relationships, there’s usually a lot that goes into finding and nurturing loving connections. Some people may feel that they need to have a romantic relationship to lead a fulfilling life, while others may be happy without such a connection. If you’re feeling like giving up on love, read on for advice, inspiration, or simply a different perspective on love.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Feeling like giving up on love?

Is love important?

Of course, romantic relationships are not required for happiness. Many people lead fulfilling lives that are enriched primarily by other connections instead, such as friendships. In whatever relationship form they may take, however, most of us need love and connection in order to enjoy good health.

In fact, researchers have linked the experience of ongoing loneliness and social isolation to various physical and mental health problems. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having poor social relationships is associated with a 50% increase in risk of dementia, a 32% increase in risk of stroke, and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. These risks represent one compelling reason to avoid giving up on love altogether, even if you have no interest in romantic love. Platonic love with friends and family can also help you live happily and healthily.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 by dialing 988.

Why you might feel like giving up on love

Interpersonal relationships can be complex and confusing. Healthy, fulfilling ones can be hard to find, especially in a society where busy schedules and the rise of the internet have many people feeling more disconnected than ever. Relationships can lead to love but also come with the inherent risk of hurting others or being hurt, which can make it harder to keep at them or engage in new ones over time. Every person and every relationship is unique, so there can be a variety of reasons a person might end up feeling like giving up on love. Some of the most common reasons to start giving up on love include:

  • Low self-esteem, or having a low opinion of yourself and thus believing you’re not worthy of love, or that feeling like no one would want to be your friend or romantic partner

If you are experiencing low self-esteem and this is getting in the way of your dating life, you may benefit from taking some time to work on yourself and your self-image.

  • Past trauma, such as abuse*, loss, abandonment, a difficult divorce, divorce of parents during childhood, childhood neglect, etc. 

Trauma can be a significant barrier to future relationships, but recovery is possible, often with professional help and a healthy support network.

  • Past experiences in your love life that may not qualify as trauma but were still harmful and may influence your views on relationships now, such as a bad relationship, infidelity, or unrequited love

If you had negative experiences in past relationships, you may feel as if finding the right person is not possible. However, these feelings are usually temporary, and may be strongest after a recent breakup.

  • Trouble finding love, whether platonic or romantic 

You may be asking yourself, How do I find the right person? How do I know if the person I am dating is wrong for me? Love can sometimes take time to find, and you may become discouraged along the way.

  • Losing feelings for a current partner

Feelings may be strong at the very beginning of a relationship, but over time, you may start to lose feelings for your partner. If this happens, you may start to doubt if true love is achievable or start to resent the idea of dating in general. However, feelings can be rekindled in a relationship, or you may decide to date someone new.

While all of the above can be difficult experiences to go through, it is generally possible to heal from them and go on to cultivate a loving, fulfilling, and healthy relationship in the future. If one relationship goes wrong, you may feel like you should give up on love completely. No matter your reason for giving up on love, it may still benefit you to open your heart to finding healthy and fulfilling relationships in your life.

If you or a loved one is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

Ilona Titova/EyeEm

What you can do if you feel like giving up on love

Whatever the reason, there may be times in your life when you feel like giving up on love in one or all forms. You may be feeling discouraged after difficulties in past relationships, or perhaps you are actively seeking a romantic relationship but are having trouble finding the right person. If you are feeling lonely or are having trouble in a current relationship or past relationship, you may need additional help moving forward with your love life, whether that means taking a break from romantic relationships or trying new methods to find love. The following tips could help you on your journey of healing from any negative experiences of love in past relationships or emotional roadblocks in the present so you can soothe yourself when you feel like giving up on love and find nurturing physical connection going forward. 

Take a break

Relationships where you experienced heartbreak or harm can take time to heal from. There’s no set timeline that applies to everyone, and many factors—including how long the relationship lasted and whether you initiated its end or not—can play into how long you need before you try again with someone new. It’s okay to give yourself this time to reflect, reset, and work towards healing before you put yourself out there for new friends or romantic partners again. If you decide to wait before dating, you can use this time to focus on yourself and engage in better self-care, or perhaps spend more time on hobbies or friends and family. The feeling of giving up on love likely won’t last forever, so you might consider pausing the pursuit for a while to feel your feelings and process the experience until you're ready to try again. You may eventually find that the thought of having a special person in your life seems appealing.

Build skills for healthy relationships

Sometimes, relationships go badly, end, or are hard to form because of circumstances out of our control. While we cannot control others, we can invest our best effort into helping our relationship succeed. If you decide to invest in your relationship, you might focus on honest communication and a positive attitude. Learning skills for healthy relationships can be useful in this regard. 

For example, you could learn about love languages to empower you to ask for what you need in relationships and to learn how to show love to others effectively as well. This can help you find happiness once you do enter a relationship and find love again.

You could also consume educational content on helpful strategies for conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, boundary setting, and other useful skills. You might also look into the theory of attachment styles, which can help you understand how you tend to behave in the context of relationships—especially romantic ones. It’s easy to believe that we are always in the right in relationships, but introspection may reveal that there are areas where we can grow and improve to become good partners.

Enrich your life in other ways

It can be difficult to weather the storms that can occur within interpersonal relationships if you’re investing all of your time and energy into them and nothing else. Diversifying and enriching your life in other ways can help you create balance and find happiness on your own so that you can get through it when you experience trouble in one type of relationship in your life. 

If you feel like giving up on love in general, you might make sure you’re cultivating a sense of self-love and care, setting and working toward personal goals, and investing in hobbies and other activities that bring you joy, for example. Giving yourself time to do things you enjoy can help you grow as a person. If you decide to focus on different things in your life, you may eventually make room for real love where there was none before.

Address past trauma

There are many types of trauma people may experience in regards to relationships, and many ways in which they can interfere with connections with others going forward. Depending on the experience, a person may be left feeling emotionally shut down, afraid to be vulnerable, hesitant to trust, or unable to communicate openly after going through trauma, for instance. Since all of these can impact the potential and health of future relationships, it can be important to address any trauma you’ve experienced and process it in a healthy way so that you might go on to have satisfying, safe relationships in the future. 

Feeling like giving up on love?

Speak with a therapist

Feeling like you are giving up on love can be an isolating and confusing experience, which is why many people turn to a therapist for support in this situation. A qualified mental health care provider can offer you a safe, nonjudgmental space where you can express and process your emotions on the topic. You may rest assured that they typically practice a policy in which they won’t share what you’ve said during sessions with other people. They can help you uncover the reasons you may be feeling pessimistic, uncomfortable, uninterested in, or unable to develop loving relationships so you can work through the root causes together. 

If you feel nervous about sharing your feelings with a therapist in person, you might be more comfortable meeting with a provider online. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can connect with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of your home. Research suggests that there’s “no difference in effectiveness” between online and in-office therapy sessions in most cases, so you can typically choose the format that feels best for you. See below for client reviews of BetterHelp therapists.

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Having bad luck or bad experiences with relationships of any kind can make you feel uninterested in giving love another try, but healing is possible. Taking a break, building skills for healthy relationships, recovering from past trauma, and speaking with a therapist can all be helpful in healing so you can move forward, live happily, and form healthy connections with others.

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