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How to Let Go and Move Forward from a Past Love

Woman learning how to let go
If you don’t learn how to let go of past loves, you can’t open your heart to love again.

Have you ever had an ex that was difficult to move on from?

If so, you aren’t alone. Many people find moving on from a breakup to be one of the most difficult things to do in life. And in your case, it may have been one relationship that stands out. Why is that?

Perhaps because your ex seemed to have everything you asked for and more. And because they’ve checked most, if not all of our boxes, losing them becomes extra painful.

Holding on to past relationships won’t make them come back. As much as we are tempted to cling to our past, we should all learn how to let go.

In this article, we will explore the art of letting go of a past relationship and moving on to a situation.

Why Is It Hard to Let Go?

Why do some of us cling to a past lover even though we shouldn’t? These reasons may explain why letting go is difficult for some of us:

1. The attachment’s still there

Have you wondered why some people can’t move on from their exes? Attachment is one of the main culprits of that difficulty. Although that feeling is expected, we need to let go of that investment at some point.

2. You don’t know you’re holding on

Sometimes, our minds fail us. Everyone has biases and assumptions, yes? Those two things can trick us into unknowingly clinging to toxic things, like past relationships.

3. You don’t want to be wrong

Some of us can’t help but feel the need to be correct all the time. Whether it’s through societal expectations or strict upbringing, those people believe they can’t afford to be wrong.

Unfortunately, this belief can influence the way we view our past relationships. Some prefer holding on to the past because they don’t want to feel like they made a mistake.

4. You’re hanging on to a pretense

You may not know how to let go of your ex because you’re holding on to what you thought was a good thing. You’re also probably putting on a facade and making everyone believe you’re fine.

Sad girl in a restaurant
Holding on to the past does more harm than good. Let it go!

5. You’re scared of the unknown

You are afraid of the uncertainty the future may bring. Maybe you don’t want to let go of your ex because you don’t want to be single and alone. Perhaps you don’t want people to see you without a plus-one and pity you.

6. You're caught in the grip of the sunk-cost fallacy

For those unaware, the sunk-cost fallacy is a phenomenon that has a person continuing on the wrong path because they’ve invested so much in it. This belief can apply to exes. Some don’t want to move on from their exes because they’ve put much of their time and effort into them.

The Power of Letting Go

Some things don’t need to linger past their expiration dates. Past relationships are among those things. There’s a reason they’re in your past!

We know it’s tempting to hope for a second shot. Some of you may even be thinking of plans to get back with your ex as you’re reading this!

However, here’s something you should hear: sometimes, holding on hurts more than the thought of moving forward. You may want to consider your breakup as a sign telling you that a second chance isn’t worth pursuing.

We’re not going to deny it: letting go of someone you loved is easier said than done. No fancy words will make your situation any better. But if there’s any consolation, it’s this: you’ll feel sweet relief when you finally let go of your former love. You feel you’ve gained freedom from a prison you didn’t know you were in.

Essential Steps to Finally Letting Go

If the previous sections talked about the need to let go, this segment discusses the “how” of letting go of someone. There’s no rulebook anyone should follow here, but our tips come from general observations and experiences that many may relate to.

Without further ado, we’ll teach you how to let go of the past and be happy as you move forward:

1. Accept your reality.

Woman enjoying the beach
Acceptance and letting go of someone are the beginning of the healing process.

Acceptance and letting go begins when you recognize it’s time to do so. Is it difficult? Yes. However, moving forward doesn’t happen without this first step. If your partner brings more pain than happiness, it’s time to move on.

2. Spot the things holding you back.

Learning how to let go of someone means removing limiting beliefs. Get rid of the “I can’t do this” and the “It’s just impossible” thoughts and turn them into optimistic ones. You will bounce back from your setback.

3. Don’t point fingers.

Blaming someone for your situation isn’t the best coping mechanism. It won’t make your heartbreak any better.

Take your breakup as it is and use your takeaways for better future relationships. Moving on with a grudge isn’t the same as moving forward with a clear head.

4. Embrace forgiveness.

If you truly want to let your ex go, you should forgive them and yourself. You don’t need to be a bitter ex and wish them misfortune, and you should also stop blaming yourself for feeling heartbroken.

5. Regulate your emotions.

You’re well within your right to feel sad and angry as you process your split. However, don’t let your feelings consume you. Rage isn’t the best motivator, and it will get tiring eventually.

6. Get rid of every trace of your ex.

Seeing constant reminders of your ex can make letting go extra difficult. Even something as simple as their name can be enough to trigger you!

And with that, you may want to start deleting every digital trace you have of your ex. Unfriend them on your social media accounts, delete whatever picture you have of them, or go on a temporary digital hiatus.

7. Center on self-care.

Letting go of the past and moving forward requires you to take care of yourself. This is no time to go on a pity party!

Do activities that encourage self-love. Book a massage you’ve been postponing for a while. Go to a city that’s long been on your bucket list. Whatever you plan to do, make sure it’s fulfilling.

Some romances aren’t meant to last longer than they did. If you don’t know how to let go of them, moving forward will be impossible for you.

This entry should hopefully encourage you to move on from people holding you back. Your life doesn’t need excess baggage.

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