Letting Go of A Past Relationship


10 Steps To Moving On From A Past Relationship

Moving on from a relationship often means moving on from a future you had planned. While the future will be different it need not be full of regrets and fear.The 10 steps are as follows:


1. Practice releasing regrets

When a relationship ends, it is tempting to dwell on what you did wrong or what you could have done differently. Although this might seem productive, all dwelling does is cause you to suffer. Instead focus on the good things in your current situation: the friends who are there for you and the lessons you've learnt that will help you with future relationships.

2. Work on forgiving yourself

You might be tempted to blame yourself, and if you did things differently, you wouldn't be in pain right now. Don't 'go down that road - there's nothing good down there. Instead, keep reminding yourself that you are human. You're entitled to make mistakes; everyone does. And you will learn from them and use those lessons to improve your life.

3. Don't think about any time as lost

If you look at that lost relationship, you'll undermine all the amazing things you did in that time. If you've been clinging to the past for a while and now feel you've missed out, shift the focus to everything you've gained. Maybe you've built up great friendships or made progress in your career. When you focus on the positive, it's easier to move on because you feel stronger and not victimized. Whatever happened in the past, it prepared you for now - and now is full of opportunities.

4. Remember the bad as well as the good.

Apparently 20% of us suffer from 'complicated grief' - a persistent sense of longing for someone we lost with romanticized memories of the relationship. If your ex broke up with you, it may be even more tempting to imagine he or she was perfect and you weren't. In reality, you both have strengths and weaknesses and you both made mistakes.

5. Reconnect with who you are outside a relationship

Unless you hop from one relationship to another, odds are you lived a fulfilling single life once. You were strong, satisfied, and happy. Remember that person now. If you can't remember who you are, get to know yourself now. What do you love about life?

6. Create separation

Hope can be a terrible thing if it keeps you stuck in the past. If you have children together it is impossible to end all contact with that person. However you can start seeing that other person as a business partner - that we have a child or children to bring up and how can we make it work across two households. If you don't have children, breaking off the friendship might feel like ruining your chances at knowing love again. You will find love again. In one way or another, you will meet all kinds of people and create all possibilities for relationships - if you allow yourself, that is.

7. Let yourself feel

Losing a relationship can feel like a mini-death, complete with a grieving process. After the shock, denial, hurt, guilt and anger, you will eventually start accepting what happened and shift your focus from the past to the future. You have to go through the feelings as they come, but you can help yourself get through them faster. For example, if you're dwelling in guilt , make forgiving yourself a daily practice. Read books on it, or write about it in a journal.

8. Remember the benefits of moving on

When you're holding onto something, you're less open to giving and receiving anything else. Everything about holding on is torturous. You regret, you feel ashamed and guilty, you rehash, you obsess - it's all an exercise in suffering. Letting go opens you up to new possibilities. 

9. Recognize and replace fearful thoughts

When you're holding onto a relationship, it's usually more about attachment than love. Love wants for the other person's happiness. Fear wants to hold onto whatever appears to make you happy so you don't have to feel the alternative. Some examples include:I'll never feel loved again. I'll always feel lonely. I am completely powerless. Replace those thoughts with All pain passes eventually. I can't always control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it.

10. Embrace impermanence

Nothing in life lasts forever. Every experience and relationship changes and some eventually runs its course. The best way to embrace impermanence is to translate it into action. Take each day as it comes and appreciate the people in front of you. When you feel like clinging to experiences or people, remind yourself the unknown can be a curse or an adventure. It's up to you whether or not you're strong and positive enough to see it as the latter. 

An excerpt from Tiny Buddha