October 22, 2021

Letting Go of the Person we Love but Can’t be With.


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After a breakup, one of the most challenging things we have to deal with is finding a way to move on when we are still in love with that person.

Maybe the breakup was mutual, or perhaps it wasn’t. Either way, there is often love that remains on one or both sides.

Finding ourselves in this situation can bring weeks, months, or years of painful emotions and grief that can seem endless. This type of grieving can be more difficult because, unlike grieving the death of a lost loved one, this person is still alive; they are just no longer in our life in the way they were before.

We no longer hear their voice after a long day. They are no longer there to hold our hand or hug us when we have a sh*tty day. We no longer get a text from them to make sure we made it home okay. We no longer get to touch them and feel them touch us. We no longer get to tell them we love them.

They are just gone. Yet, they are still here.

We find ourselves struggling to move on from the loss of this person. We know this is what we need to do, what our head is telling us to do. But our heart doesn’t want to move on. It tells us that if we hold on, maybe they will come back and love us again.

This leaves us stuck in the cycle of grief and hope, like a merry-go-round that we can’t get off. We go up, and we come down; this is what hope and grief do to us. The ride doesn’t stop long enough for us to get off of. It keeps going around and around in circles, never slowing down, never stopping.

So, how do we get off the merry-go-round? How do we stop this grief and hope cycle that keeps us feeling stuck?

I wish I had the answers, as I can’t seem to get off of this ride either. I know it takes time and a conscious effort to change the cycle we sometimes repeat with this person. But just as I start to grieve and work through my pain and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel—a life without them—this person reaches out, and I am right back on this endless merry-go-round.

I jump right back on the ride because I want there to be a chance. I want to think that he sees in us what I see. I want to believe he loves me and wants me to. My head tells me it’s not true, but my heart still wants to believe it is.

Maybe someday, I will have answers for other people if I can finally navigate this process. But right now, I cannot get myself out of this cycle, so I have no answers for myself, let alone anyone else.

I’m just trying to make it through each day. Maybe today, I am just not ready to get off the merry-go-round. But maybe next week, I will be.

It’s a process, and I know that eventually, I will find a way to deal with this grief and come out on the other side.


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