Are you hanging on to a relationship after it’s over? Here is how you can let go

It's time to move on and let yourself heal.

10 April, 2024
Are you hanging on to a relationship after it’s over? Here is how you can let go

Alfred Tennyson once said, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." And while you realise how true this is after you’ve healed from a breakup, while you’re still going through it, this saying doesn’t hold any meaning. Splitting up with someone you thought might’ve been the one is painful, but the aftermath is worse, and everyone deals with this differently. But whether you prefer drowning your sorrows in an endless loop of Adele songs or you have an urgent need to block them from all your social media platforms (or whatever else your thing is), there is no denying that letting go of a relationship you once prioritised is one of the most difficult tasks there can be. 

Sometimes it’s about the fear of being alone or having to start over with someone else, while other times you have hope that you will get back together. But there comes a point where you have to give up on someone and let them go. If you don’t know where to start, use the points below as a framework to help you. 

Let yourself grieve   

Our romantic relationships (especially the ones we’ve spent years building) become a part of our identity and personality. They impact every aspect of our lives. Hence, letting go of a relationship like that can often feel like a loss and lead to you experiencing the five stages of grief—denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. Of course, everyone grieves differently, but the only healthy way forward is to embrace these difficult feelings instead of bottling your sadness in. The thing is, when you lose love, it’s not as simple as a mere breakup. You need to grieve the loss of the future you've dreamed about and were building towards. And until you let yourself do that, you’ll only vibe on heartbreak songs, and letting go will seem like an impossible task. 

Take off the love goggles   

Love is a tricky little thing. It has a habit of clouding our perception and making us believe that the person we love can do no wrong, making it very difficult to hold that person fully accountable for their actions. And so, if you’re struggling to let go of a relationship, it could be because you’re looking at the other person with love goggles. You’re only reminiscing about the good, lovey-dovey parts and not seeing the big picture or the red flags that are prancing around in front of you. 

While this isn’t uncommon, to let go of a relationship, you need to be able to process the bad memories as well as the good ones. And to do that, you need to smash the love goggles to bits. You should consider talking to your best friends or close family and listening to what they have to say instead of dismissing them or making excuses for your ex-partner. They might be able to open your eyes and help you see the situation for what it is. 

Create distance  

Whether you and your ex had an amicable separation or a very nasty one, there is always some lingering hope that you will get back together. And this is one of the main reasons why most of us find it so difficult to detach and walk away. This hope holds us hostage and turns us into hamsters on wheels. Sure, you know this person, and the relationship feels familiar, but you have to remember that you broke up for a reason. And this will never happen if they are constantly walking in and out of your life. There comes a point where you have to create some distance so you aren’t constantly reminded of your loss or tempted to go back. 

Creating distance means purging your social media of all photos of you together, blocking them across social networking sites, breaking friendships with people who are closer to them, and even cleaning out all the mementos and gifts from your relationship. Okay, if you don’t want to throw them away (it might be tough, we get it), store them in a box in some dingy part of your closet—out of sight, out of mind.

Making a conscious decision to cut them off will give you some perspective, give you breathing space, and remind you of the person you were before them. After all, your wound can’t heal if you keep picking at the scab. And then, depending on the situation, in a few months, you can reevaluate if you want to open a channel for them to be able to contact you. But until then, some distance will help you to let go. 


Anger is the archnemesis of your mental peace. And chances are that you’re finding it tough to let go because of that anger. If you’re stuck in this stage of the grieving process, forgiveness might be a powerful coping mechanism. This doesn’t mean that you will go back to your ex the next time they come knocking. But at least you won’t live in fear of your intrusive thoughts winning. 

Also read: How not to let your first date turn into an interview

Also read: How to announce your breakup on social media the right way