Moving Forward: How Do I Stop Caring About Someone?

Medically reviewed by Nikki Ciletti
Updated February 21, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Moving forward from a former partner can be a difficult process that takes time. However, learning to stop caring excessively can reward you with a higher quality of life and the freedom to pursue other relationships. In this article, we will explore the detrimental effects of harboring feelings following a breakup, as well the tangible steps you can take to move on from someone who does not return your sentiments. 

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Can’t seem to let go of past love?

Why did they stop caring?

Most people struggle with breakups, and after someone we love no longer wants to be in a relationship with us, the aftermath can feel overwhelming. Following a breakup, many of us might find ourselves wondering why our ex doesn’t love us anymore.  In these situations, friends, family, and the people around us may remind us that it is best not to dwell or imagine what could have happened if we were still with that person. While this is generally true, it is typically much easier said than done. It can be difficult to overcome and feel acknowledged when other people’s feelings seem indifferent.

Different reasons for breakups

If you are having trouble moving on from someone who’s broken up with you, you may feel it would help you to accept the situation if you could understand why they no longer feel deeply for you. Unfortunately, this can be incredibly difficult to answer, and oftentimes the answers we receive hurt us even more. Still, understanding the reality of the situation may offer some type of closure and help you move on.

It can also help that many people end relationships for entirely personal reasons. They may feel they are struggling to meet both your needs and their own well-being, their mental health may be suffering, or other reasons that are not at all your fault. It’s important to remember that someone breaking up with you is not a reflection of your self-worth.

It is also entirely possible that someone who breaks up with you does still have feelings for you. In fact, many people end relationships because they feel it is what is best for the other person’s overall well being. While this can be incredibly confusing and painful in the present moment, it can also be a helpful point to keep in mind if worry and negative feelings arise.

Taking charge of our own lives and well-being

While it can be helpful to stop caring, it can also be helpful to first acknowledge and move through the pain that you may be feeling. After all: Our bodies can create true psychosomatic pain amidst separation from a partner. Difficult breakups in our own lives can ignite the same parts of the brain that would react to drug withdrawal. Without a doubt, breakups are a serious and difficult matter.

Psychologist Guy Winch is quoted in the linked article affirming this parallel, saying: "We would never expect an addict in the midst of withdrawal to be able to function in their job or personal life because we understand they are in a temporarily abnormal mental state. We need to think of heartbreak in the same terms and modify our expectations of ourselves and others accordingly”.

Despite current feelings of pain, revoking personal feelings from someone who has seemingly moved on can increase your overall self-esteem and happiness, possibly driving you toward achieving your personal emotional and life goals, as well as authentic inner peace. 

Slowly moving on

While it can be important to give yourself time and space, as you start caring less, you may also sense that the person who hurt you was not deserving of your love in the first place. This in itself can be enough of a benefit for many to consider moving on.

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Before you begin, it can be important to remember that the loss of a romantic partner will create grief in many. Feelings of sadness, fear, and overly critical self reflection can take time to recover from. You will likely feel overwhelmed with difficult emotions as you navigate the breakup. Acknowledging this first can help many approach the emotional shift and create healthy personal boundaries more strategically.

Though it can be challenging to force yourself into feeling a certain way, there are a few measures you can take to work toward a mentality of neutrality toward someone who has hurt you. 

Below are a few ways to improve your mental health when you still care about an ex or others’ opinions and tips to move on.

  • Do not contact them: While some separations require a certain level of contact, it may help to keep contact only when necessary. Don't check up on someone’s life through their social media. Let yourself feel, but focus on trying to improve your mental health instead of changing people’s feelings. Don’t give others the power to harm your mental health by telling them how you feel when they don’t care to support you or talk to you. Keeping your distance, emotionally and physically, will benefit you in the long run.

  • Unfollow their social media: Keeping up with an ex-partner’s social media while you continue to hold on to feelings for them can be detrimental to successfully moving on. Paying attention to what an ex-partner posts can also make you feel worse by giving you a false perspective of their experience, as they are unlikely to publicize negative or vulnerable feelings. Similar to ceasing all contact, removing yourself from their social media profiles to keep your ex “out of sight and out of mind” is often crucial for many as they practice intentionally moving on from a relationship. 

  • Focus on people who do care: While breakups can hurt, they can create an opportunity for us to spend more time with friends and loved ones. Focusing on people who do care for you may serve as a reminder that you are worthy of kindness and good mental health. Spending time with people who treat you well also possibly offers the potential for closure. Consider hanging out with a friend in your free time, as they can offer you emotional support as you navigate this tough time.

  • Focus on your personal interests and goals: Self care is an essential part of healing from a break up. It can be common for people to feel like they’ve lost a part of themselves when a relationship ends. While it may take extra time and effort in times of grief and sadness, working toward personal goals will often serve as a temporary distraction, as well as a long-term motivator. Picking up a hobby like art or music or working toward an ultimate goal like fitness or education can help move your thoughts away from excessive feelings about your ex-partner while also boosting your self-esteem. It’s important to focus your energy on your own needs, own opinions, and your own ability to look after yourself as you move on from your ex.

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Can’t seem to let go of past love?

Benefits of online therapy

Moving on from someone who has seemingly stopped caring for you can feel especially challenging to navigate alone. Certain things we deal with in life can take a bigger toll than others, and if you are having difficulty removing yourself from lingering feelings for a past partner, reaching out to an online therapist or a licensed relationship counselor may provide helpful guidance. 

Online therapy can often provide a convenient way to get supportive therapeutic intervention (such as cognitive behavioral therapy)—giving participants the ability to navigate their feelings with a therapist, from the comfort of their own home. This can be especially helpful for those who may not feel up to leaving the house due to the weight of their feelings and experiences. 

At its core, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) generally aims to reframe the unfavorable thought processes that lead to negative emotions. 

Learning these reframing tools from a licensed online therapist can often be instrumental in regard to moving on from a past partner or recent breakup. Recent studies have shown that virtual CBT is equally as effective as its in-person counterparts—offering support for a wide range of patient-reported conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, and more. 

Takeaway

If you are feeling overwhelmed as you learn to move on from a partner who no longer cares for you, it can be 

If you are feeling overwhelmed as you learn to move on from a partner who no longer cares for you, know that you are not alone and these feelings are normal in the nature of breakups. Loss and grief can affect all of us in different ways, and it is important to give yourself time to move forward. While there are many things you can do to stop caring for a past love, working with a therapist or mental health professional will likely speed up the process, and help you to move on in a healthy way. Rather than shouldering all the responsibility to get better on your own, working with a therapist allows you to get the help you need to heal and move on. BetterHelp can connect you with an online therapist in your area of need. 

If someone important to you doesn't care about you, it might be time to move on. Therapy can help you identify how to show yourself compassion in this situation and what to do next when you care for someone who doesn't care about you.

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