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How to Let Go of a Relationship: 17 Things to Do to Walk Away Unhurt

At times, a relationship can do more harm than good for you. Recognize the signs and understand how to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you.

let go of a relationship

Relationships are such a happy and beautiful experience. It can be the most magical feeling you can experience – until it’s not. This is the moment when a beautiful relationship can shatter your world and replace it with complications and pain.

While it’s easy to assume that you can instantly walk away from a bad relationship, that isn’t always the case. Most likely, you won’t be able to tell you’re in a bad relationship – not until it’s too late. In order to learn how to let go of a relationship, you must master the courage to walk away. 

Are you in a relationship where you’re not experiencing the happiness you think you deserve? If this question affects you, the answer is likely yes. 

[Read: How to stop thinking about someone you still like]

How to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you

The funny thing about relationships is that it’s all in your head. Given that it’s easier said than done to walk away from a bad relationship, in the end, you have control of which actions and steps to make. A relationship is over only when you think it’s over.

If you’re not as happy as you think you should be in a relationship, you should let go, no matter how much you love them. You’re not being selfish or cold-hearted, but it’s simply not the right relationship for the both of you. After all, you’ll never be able to find the right person when you’re stuck in the wrong one, right? 

[Read: How to have a good relationship that gets better with each passing day]

17 steps to let go of love that does nothing but hurt you

Let’s take a look at the different things you must know on how to let go of a relationship. It’s one of the most heartbreaking things you’re ever going to experience, but it’s necessary to find the relationship you’ll grow and thrive in. 

1. Ask yourself why it should end

Do you really know why your relationship should end? There are several reasons why you should walk away from them right this second and they’re not always reasons that are easy to understand. No matter what anyone else says, the final decision still lies on you.

Do they treat you right? Do they constantly cross your boundaries? Is the relationship mutual? Do they show any significant red flags? Are they toxic to be around? These are just some of the difficult questions you should ask yourself to decide why it should end. [Read: The 15 types of toxic relationships you should always watch out for]

2. Ask yourself if it can be fixed

Are you giving it your all to make the relationship work? If you find that you’re all-in, but you’re the only one fighting to make the relationship work, then that isn’t fair, is it?

You need to ask yourself whether your issues can be fixed or not. If you’ve been having the same fights for months now, and they keep promising to change but haven’t, then it might be time to let go and find someone better.

Actions will always speak louder than words. If you are willing to take a chance, give your relationship one last chance to fix it. However, if it’s no longer something you can salvage, letting go is your best option. [Read: How to fix a relationship that’s falling apart and rebuild it again]

3. Don’t force love

Don’t try too hard to bring the old romance back – it’s just not worth it. Love should be effortless and mutual, and even if you try to force it, it’ll just slip away again, causing you more pain. The more you force your relationship to work, the more you’ll suffer unnecessary pain you could’ve preventing by walking away.

Yes, letting go hurts but holding on to the wrong relationship can inflict more damage. Remember that while relationships take hard work, they should feel easy and natural rather than forced.

4. Don’t hold on out of fear

Why are you holding on to a relationship where you see no future in it? If you’re staying for the fear of being alone, there are much worse things in a relationship than being single.

Do you really love them like you say you do, or are you just afraid of starting over? There’s a big difference between both of these. If you want to learn how to let go of a relationship, you can start by not allowing your fear of being alone from holding you back. [Read: Are you afraid of being alone? How to let go of that fear and find peace]

5. Work your courage

As we’ve mentioned, learning the ways on how to let go of a relationship is all about having the courage and bravery to do so. Breaking up is not easy and it takes courage to make a decision that can impact your life forever.

We all crave stability and familiarity, which is why letting go of a relationship is so difficult and frustrating. We’d rather settle for the wrong person as long as we’re not alone – which is the wrong mindset to have. Just because you’re getting used to a certain routine doesn’t mean it’s good for you. 

6. Brace yourself

Prepare yourself for the pain and the loneliness that comes after letting go of a relationship, especially if you still have a soft corner for this person. It’s going to hurt a lot and even if that pain could feel like the end of the world, it’s really not.

Taking a chance to face loneliness is one of the hardest things you can do, but you’ll never really know what life has in store for you unless you take that step in the dark.

You know what they say – you’re just one decision away from the happiness you’re looking for. 

7. Accept your decision completely

Unless you’re convinced about your decision, it’ll only leave you confused and sad. Even then, you’ll be tempted to take back your decision repeatedly. In this case, it’s helpful to write a list of reasons on a piece of paper to remind yourself why you’re choosing to walk away.

Learning how to let go of a decision isn’t just about what to do, but it’s about your conviction to stick through your decision. Even when you miss them and even when your heartbreak becomes too hard to bear, you need to come to terms that the relationship isn’t what’s good for you. [Read: Dumpers regret – The timeline and stages of regret when you dump someone]

8. Realize there’s no easy out

No matter how you break up with them, there’s no easy way to let go of a relationship. It will leave you with that gut-wrenching pain of living a life without them and possibly going back to strangers after everything you’ve been through.

If you’re certain with this difficult decision, you need to learn to face the end. This means no self-sabotaging tactics like getting drunk or isolating yourself just to escape the impending breakup. 

9. Take off your love goggles

If we’re not careful, we tend to see our relationship as la vie en rose – a French phrase for ‘life in pink.’ It’s so easy to focus on the perfect and beautiful moments and while this optimism can be a good thing, it often damages your ability to be in relationships you truly deserve.

This kind of blind optimism is also what encourages people to stay in toxic relationships longer than they should.

Stop seeing your partner for their perfect traits and start observing the red flags they’ve been showing you right from the beginning. Letting go of a relationship can seem very difficult when you look your partner in the eye for that final conversation, but as soon as you speak up and walk away from your new ex, you’ll feel a heavy burden lift itself off your chest. [Read: 17 relationship red flags that most people completely ignore]

10. Confront the issues

Do they constantly invalidate your feelings? Do they refuse to listen to you? Do you feel like your gut has been telling you to walk away for a long time now?

Avoiding confrontation won’t get you anywhere in the relationship. Only in confronting your issues can you get yourself one step closer in dealing with how to let go of a relationship. Confrontation might be challenging especially since there’s no turning back, but it’s necessary. 

11. Create space from them

You won’t be able to think clearly if you’re constantly around them. You need to be able to think logically and rationally, which is impossible if they’re always influencing you with their opinions and thoughts.

In letting go of a relationship, you need to practice being your own person, especially as you’re about to break it off. If you live together, spend at least a week somewhere else where you can think pragmatically. [Read: How taking a break in a relationship works and why you need to do this]

12. Stop falling for potential 

This is something you see often in bad relationships – the tendency to see someone for what they could be, instead of what they actually are. You need to realize it was never your responsibility to save, fix, or change them into someone more fitted for you.

Unless they’re willing to make that change for themselves, it’s not going to happen. You shouldn’t be with someone for their potential to be better, but someone who you already love as they are. [Read: How to change for your partner without compromising or losing YOU]

13. Learn the necessary lessons

Every person you date before meeting the right one for you will provide you with painful lessons you have to learn. In letting go of a relationship, you must learn the necessary lessons that come with it, and only then will you be capable of moving forward.

Whether it’s not letting someone disrespect your boundaries or learning never to settle for less, the lessons you learn can help you muster the courage to walk away. 

14. Forgive them and yourself

A relationship that fails is caused not just by one person, but by both parties. In order to learn how to let go of a relationship, you must practice forgiveness, especially as you don’t want to hold a grudge on them for a significant period.

You’ll have a hard time letting go if you still dwell on feelings of resentment and anger on the relationship and why it didn’t work the way you wanted it to.

Whatever what-ifs you have about your relationship, let it all go and simply focus on the bright future ahead of you. [Read: How to forgive someone – 15 positive ways to unburden your mind]

15. Rewrite your story

As painful as a breakup feels, it doesn’t have to define where your story ends. Your identity isn’t defined by your failed relationship and you need to realize that this is just the first step in finding the right person for you.

No matter how much you loved them, they never defined who you are and what you’re worth – the only person that defines this is yourself. 

16. End the relationship

The best way to learn how to let go of a relationship is to just get it over with and end it. Stop delaying the inevitable and realize you’re not a bad person for wanting an out. They might not realize it now, but it can nudge them towards the right person for them – and that also goes for you. 

Once you’re sure you have the strength to let go of the relationship, learn to end it the right way using this guide on how to end a relationship on good terms.

17. Cut off contact

After you’ve done the breakup, you can’t keep being indecisive about this and call them whenever you miss them. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you broke up with them and why the relationship is no longer something you can salvage.

Learning how to let go of a relationship is all about shutting off all contact, given that you’re no longer together. This also means that no, you shouldn’t be friends with an ex *at least for several months*, no matter how convinced you are that this is something you can do. You’ll never be able to move on if this is the case. [Read: How to find closure with yourself after a relationship]

When should you let go of a relationship?

There are several reasons to let go of a relationship and walk away, which we’ll be listing in the following. It’s not always easy to know the timing of when to call it quits so the following points should guide you enough in your relationship.

1.  You have a complicated relationship. [Read: Tips to deal with a complicated relationship]

2. You’re convinced you’ll never be happy.

3. You think you’re way better than your partner and deserve someone who treats you better.

4.  You don’t respect your partner or your partner doesn’t respect you.

5.  Your partner constantly cheats on you, even after getting caught.

6.  You’re being taken for granted.

7.  There’s no focus on your needs and wants in the relationship.

8.  You’re not ready for the commitment the relationship requires.

9.  You don’t trust your partner anymore.

10.  You’re constantly frustrated and you don’t know why.

11. They bring out your worst and they’re toxic to your mental health. 

12. They constantly invalidate your feelings.

[Read: Why relationships fail – 25 reasons why love can fall apart completely]

After letting go of the one you love

Prepare yourself for what could happen after you let go of the relationship as different scenarios can play out.

You could end up finding the true love of your life with someone who treats you better than you ever thought was possible. [Read: The right steps to love again after being hurt]

On the other hand, your ex might find someone else, who ends up stalking you and being threatened by you. Think of possible future scenarios and work your own solutions about how you would want to handle them.

It’s always better to be prepared for anything the world throws at you after you let go of the relationship. [Read: I miss him but he doesn’t miss me anymore]

The good news is that you got the hard part over, which is letting go and walking away from a relationship that no longer serves your growth and worth. The moment you learn to walk away, you’ll find that the rest of your life will sort itself out. [Read: Signs your ex is thinking of you]

Should you date your partner again after breaking up once?

Letting go of a relationship all comes down to acceptance and courage. You can’t break it off if you keep falling for potential and thinking they’ll change someday. It’s not your job to wait for the day they become better for you and the time you spend waiting is the time you could’ve spent finding the right person for you. 

This means absolutely no going back to your ex, especially when you know nothing’s going to change the second time around. It might work if you both give yourselves time to work on being better individually but until then, it’s best to stay far away from each other.

Remind yourself of the reasons for breaking up and ask yourself if you’re ready to face those same frustrations all over again.

[Read: Should you date an ex again?]

If you feel like ending a relationship because it’s exhausting and draining the energy out of you, remember these tips on how to let go of a relationship. They will help you get back on your feet and eventually, into the arms of the person who truly deserves you. 

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...