How to Let Go after a Breakup

I’m in a Breakup Support group on Facebook, and one of the most common questions people have is “How can I let go of my EX after a breakup?”

This question doesn’t just come from people who’ve just experienced a breakup in the last few days, it also comes from those who have been broken up for awhile, sometimes months and even years later.

Letting go after a breakup is a journey that takes time, but mostly it takes intentional healing. Intentional healing is the act of putting effort into processing your grief, understanding your emotions and working on becoming your best self.

However, if I’m being totally honest, letting go hurts like hell. It’s not an instant process. It requires you to walk through it step-by-step.

Your emotions will feel out of control. Sometimes they will feel unbearable. You may even feel like you just want to escape, but I want to assure you there’s a way out.

The best way to get through this situation is to follow someone who’s been there (like me), who’s learned how to navigate the process of letting go.

Here are some of the things that have helped me let go after a breakup.

Carry out no contact 

No contact is all about you betting on yourself and giving yourself the space to think clearly out of the fog of the relationship and to heal. Although it can be one of the hardest things you have to do, it is one of the most effective in helping you heal and let go of an old relationship.

Establish new routines

One of the best ways to put yourself in the position to heal after your breakup is to establish new routines and to try new things. One of the reasons you may be struggling to let your EX go is because you’re doing the same things, visiting the same places and having the same experiences you would have had with your EX. The only thing that has changed is that your EX isn’t there.

Your brain is made to adapt, learn and grow and try new things. Doing so creates new experiences can create new neural pathways in your brain.

By trying new things, you will be able to find a way to disassociate yourself from your EX and develop routines and rhythms in your life that don’t include your EX.

Make new memories

While it may be hard to consider making new memories at this time, it can be helpful for your healing.

One of the things that’s preventing you from letting go is the false belief that there’s no value in a life lived without your EX. You may even be struggling to imagine life without him.

By creating new experiences and making new memories, you will begin to envision a future without your EX, and this will give you permission to let go.

Give yourself the environment and space to heal

Just as a plant grows or a cut heals or a child grows taller each year, processes in life require time. There’s nothing you can do to rush healing, but there are things you can do to encourage it.  

One of the most important things is to create a healing environment.

This means holding the space for your heart to heal by being kind to yourself, being intentional in your healing and getting help from your support system in the healing journey.

Give yourself the gift of time

One of the most important parts of letting go is giving yourself the gift of time.

You won’t feel better right away, and you should give yourself the grace to know that. If you expect that the first few days and weeks will feel chaotic and that you’ll struggle to keep your emotions in check, you’ll have a more realistic idea about how to navigate the healing process.

While time alone doesn’t heal all wounds, time is a necessary part of the letting go process. Give yourself grace in the early days and weeks after the breakup to allow your heart to mend and for your emotions to settle.

Give yourself permission to let go

One of the hardest things you’ll face after the breakup will be the negotiations you have with yourself.

On the one hand, you’ll want to feel better and move forward with your life. But on the other hand, you will feel compelled to hang on to the relationship, even if it’s in an indirect way.

Allowing yourself to let go of the relationship will mean cutting the ties you have to the relationship, and this is a scary thought. In fact, some people hang on to anger, guilt, jealousy, sadness and a host of other emotions just to maintain a tie to the relationship.

It’s scary to give yourself permission to let go because then, what’s attaching you to the relationship. This inner negotiation is an important part of the process of releasing the relationship and letting yourself move forward and heal.

Take the first step towards healing

As you find yourself in these first few moments after your breakup, wondering how to begin your journey of healing, I would recommend you create a Breakup Survival Plan. This is a way to create the environment for your heart to heal holistically. You will identify the resources you need and the support that you have and you will give yourself permission to access them when you need to.

If you’d like to learn more about what a Breakup Survival Plan is, you can check out this article: How a Breakup Survival Plan Can Help You Heal after a Breakup.