Even when we know a relationship has an expiration date or a major dealbreaker comes up (like you want children and they don’t), letting go of any relationship—especially one in which you love the other person—can be very painful.
All change comes with loss attached. When we graduate high school, we move onto an exciting new life, but we also leave behind our home with all of its memories, routines, friends, and acquaintances. Even if when we quit a job we hate, we lose coworkers we’re familiar or even friendly with.
The same applies to relationships we know we have to let go of. Yes, you might be making the best decision given the circumstances, but you’re still losing all the good. You’re probably close with your partners’ friends. They know your routines and sensitivities. They know your favorite flowers. You almost shared a family.
These are the things you lose when you end a serious, long-term relationship. You’re losing a life partner or your most constant company.
It’s a funny paradox to grieve something you feel right about leaving, but that’s almost always how it is. Getting over a real love is about persevering through the grief to numbness then eventually to new happiness.
Here are some things you can do to aid the process:
Give yourself some time alone.
You’ll have to feel your feelings eventually, so even if you jump immediately into another relationship, those feelings are going to come up. Your new relationship won’t start out on the best footing if you’re sorting out your feelings about your ex.
Fill the void.
While you need to process the end of your relationship, you need to replace them eventually. The void they’re leaving won’t do you good. Figure out a way to fill it, whether that’s more work, working out, or socializing with friends and family. If you’re not filling the space with people, fill it with activity.
Practice positive self-awareness.
Journaling is a great tool for processing emotions. It can give context or clarity. It may help you differentiate between missing your partner and the company of any other person. It may remind you of the reasons you had to split. Meditate. Practice gratitude for the good things. Remind yourself there are many things worth living for, and you have many of them.
Whether it’s watching a funny movie or TV show, lunching with a good friend, or a night out dancing, laughter and smiling is healing. It’s okay to be bluesy and be confined to bed sometimes, but overcome it when you can. And when you do make time for fun. It’ll help in the short and long term.
Relationships are always difficult to let go of because, no matter how brief you had dreams of the future. Emotions were involved. With all change comes loss, then grief. Give yourself time, love, and, when it’s right, act. You’ll thank yourself for it later.