The Pain of Letting Go

letting go of old relationshipsFinding the right person to spend your lifeย with requires that you let go of many other people you meet along the way. Some dating coaches say dating is all a numbers game. You date enough people, and eventually you will find a mutually satisfying click. There is certainly some truth to this concept. The problem is, our emotions do not let go of people as easily as our logical reasoning does.

The plain truth of the matter is this. Letting go hurts. I’m not telling you to hang on to a man who’s not right for you. I’m just acknowledging the truth. It takes something out of you each time you have to release the attachment you feel toward another human being, even if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with that person.

As a relationship consultant and dating coach, I spend a good amount of time motivating my clients to get out there and take action on the dating scene. As you can imagine, my clients are not always raring to go right after letting go of a person. I have carefully observed the mindsets that seem to allow some people to let go more quickly (and with less pain) compared with others.

Here’s what I have discovered.

There is less pain when a woman focuses her mind on survival. Now allow me to explain that by defining the opposite approach. The opposite of focusing on survival is focusing on what is lost or what could have been.

It’s a terrible thing, but poachers in some parts of Africa use a special kind of trap to capture monkeys. They attach a jar to a heavy stone and bury the stone so only the jar shows on the surface of the ground. Inside the jar they put a piece of banana or other fruit. Then they stand back at a distance that makes the monkeys comfortable enough to climb down from the tree to retrieve the fruit.

As the monkey closes its fist around the fruit, the hunter charges forward with his spear. The monkey attempts a quick getaway, but the closed fist is unable to emerge from the jar. Only an open hand can fit through the narrow opening at the top of the jar. Refusing to let go of its prize, the monkey hesitates just long enough to allow the hunter to gain the proximity needed for a quick thrust of his spear.

Don’t be like the monkey. Do not be afraid to let go of the prize you have found in a man’s heart. Holding on too long gets in the way of survival mode.

letting go of old relationshipsFocusing on survival means doing what you know you have to do, rather than looking back and lamenting what you have lost. It results in a quicker turnaround for one specific reason. In survival mode, people put one foot in front of the other even if emotions do not drive those actions. Taking action brings her face to face with new people, real people with real needs, real hopes, and a real desire to get to know her. The unfolding demands of real human interaction capture the attention of the mind, allowing the focus of thought to grow toward life, toward new relationships.

In contrast, rumination about what could have been feels right, but takes much longer. Your instincts tell you to spend some time mourning the loss of the good things from the previous relationship. Your instincts may even tell you to socially isolate yourself for a while. Don’t do it. Don’t hold on to the fruit at the bottom of the jar when you know it is healthier to move on toward a forest with fruit hanging from the trees. It’s this forward-looking quality of thought that seems to bring the best outcomes with the least amount of pain.

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63 thoughts on “The Pain of Letting Go

  1. Nancy said:

    This is true, James. You always give good advice and cogent insight. I would add, that before moving on, a woman (and probably a man, as well) needs to acknowledge the “loss,” whatever its nature, to herself, and allow herself to feel the pain. Not unlike the grieving process. It seems to me the “hanging on” is akin to the denial that is common right after the death of a spouse, child or other dear person. In the case of dating, if the attachment is to a man who is simply not right or unavailable, the loss may be understanding that the beloved is not truly what she imagined him to be. This, of course, is autobiographical. Thanks for your blog. I read it first thing when a new post comes.

    • Lulu said:

      Wise, thanks! Indeed it is about tings not oing e way we pictured it or what we expected. ๐Ÿ™‚ feel te loss, learn an grow from it, im doing so ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Carole said:

        Absolutely, hear, hear, Nancy and Lulu…beautifully said.:)

        • Vicky said:

          I liked this post and am happy that Nancy added her part about allowing and really feeling the pain of the loss. There is a grieving process, which can involve several stages. I was involved with a true soulmate for 8 years and could not have asked for more. In the end, he just couldn’t make himself fully available to me. It has definitely been the biggest heartbreak of both of our lives. One thing that has helped me is to fully accept the loss. It is easier to distract and do other things to postpone the grieving process so I have to work on this. It also helped to think through a spiritual teacher, Adyashanti’s words about suffering. There are 3 things that lead to suffering: thinking we can control things, not accepting the “what is” and wanting/demanding that things be different. I do all of these things but having this knowledge helps me work on suffering less.
          And, finally, back to allowing . . . we need to allow our hearts to open again . . . it is not easy, but once I did, a man “appeared” and I am dating him. My challenge now is to accept him completely for who he is and not compare him to my soulmate . . . one more lesson along this incredible journey. Love and light to all of you.

          • Whitney said:

            Thank you Vicky !!! I use to struggle with control/suffering. One day I am ok the next it feels as if I fell back into the same pit. Thanks to your great advice I will immediately snap out of it from now on ! God bless you for sharing !

    • Reynell Gray said:

      Thank you for this article….I was married for 13 years to my ex-husband/preacher….the level of emotional abuse, mind games, and infidelity he committed broke me down… I forgave….covered…. and enabled him believing that God didn’t want him to work …he worked hard at keeping me distant from women who could help me as well as his family…I was his 4th wife….and he divorced me secretly, indigent on the county….I had no clue…until I saw on social media he remarried 48 hours after he divorced me. Now I am free its hard letting go…its been a year now….I do not desire to be with him but letting go is weird….again thank you

    • Rebecca said:

      Thanks James. This is my favourite piece of advice so far. I’ve spent far too much time dwelling on closed doors so to consider the analogy of an abundant forest really brings to light a different perspective on dwelling over the scrap trap fruit. Moving foreword. Thanks?

  2. Ayne said:

    Hello Jeams
    I found your articles so helpful. Specially this one. I really do need your expert advise on this on. I was in a relationship with a guy almost for a year. We knew each other as friends for more than 5 yrs. while we were friends he had trouble marriage. He was desperate to get out of it. While he was going throgh that he was attracted to me but I didn’t know. Once he told me, we took things to fast. He told me, he never felt this way before & wants to spent z rest of his life with me. Now because of z divorce & kids knowing that he is upset & he wants me to give him space. I said ok. Now it’s been more than 2 months since I heard from him. I dont want to contact him. I want to respect his wishes & boundaries. Is this means am I hanging on to something already has no hope & wasting my time? Or should I wait him until he get back to if he does? Normally he is z kind of guy who has strict principles & stands by his words.
    Please help.
    Ayne

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi, Ayne. If you think he is a man who sticks by his word, then asking for space means he hopes things can continue between the two of you in the future. What it means time-wise is something you have a right to ask. If he wants you to wait for him while he gets things settled in his life, then he should tell you what kind of rough timeframe he has in mind or what circumstances would need to come to pass for him to feel ready to pursue things with you again.

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        This is indeed a sad situation. Of course, he will be going through a lot of difficulty, heartache and anguish due to the divorce. And depending on the situation, it could go on for some time, as mine did (four years) – getting everything sorted out and agreed upon. There is not always an overnight solution. I can see no reason at all why you should not contact him and ask him (genuinely, as you would of any friend) how things are going and how he is. He will need a lot of support now, and may find it useful to have you there to talk to. Something else to bear in mind, is that he may not want his wife and her lawyers to know he has another love interest, as this could jeapordize his situation legally. Also, it is not an easy situation with his children. He will not want to upset them and risk their wrath. They will probably blame you for the break-up of the family. Be prepared for that. Then there are the parents and in-laws and his friends, as well, who will all have their own opinions. There are a whole lot of other things going on throughout a divorce. Ripples upon ripples, once things get started. It is not an easy situation, by any means. And it will only get harder until it is all over. Even then there may still be difficulties. You need to take the softly-softly approach now, and be very patient.
        I agree with James. He should give you an idea of what he has in mind. And if he wants you to wait, make it clear that you will wait (if that is what you want to do), but you will not put your life on hold for him, and if you get a chance of dates, etc. you will take them. It doesn’t mean you have to fall into a new relationship, just don’t sit around moping for him while you wait. I hope it all turns out the way you want it to. They say, if it is meant to happen, it will. Just keep on hanging on in there. If it is worth having, it is worth fighting for. Life is never easy, but we can sometimes make it easier by being sensible, level-headed, not letting our pride (ego) get in the way, and listening to what James has to say!! He always has very wise words to say, and has helped me enormously. Good luck!! LaLa

    • Pat said:

      I was married 30 years. I would not say we had a “troubled” marriage but we did have some troubles we could have worked through. He developed a “friendship” with a woman I thought was my friend as well. I found out too late that they were seen together a lot. Then he divorced me and left me alone and in financial ruin and recently married her. I don’t know what this guy told you but there are always 2 sides to every story and it’s easier to be a girlfriend than a wife. My ex seems like the most honest and upright guy ever. I believed it for almost 30 years and then found out he had had at least one full-fledged affair and another where the woman backed out before sex and there were emotional affairs. Funny, but he told me a few months after his new marriage that she turned out to be a “piece of work”. I’m in survival mode cuz he left me financially ruined. I’m sorry if I’m going against the grain here but beware of anyone who begins a deep emotional attachment with someone else while married. They are giving away the energy and love that should go to their spouse to someone else and I don’t believe either person is blameless. The grass always looks better on the other side of the street but when you get there you see the dry patches. He told me before he remarried that the reason he was trading me in for her was she accepted everything about him with no expectations. Lol. Easy to do as a girlfriend. Bet she has some expectations now though. I don’t mean to be harsh. I’m sure you’re hurting but the pain involved in a trashed marriage far exceeds anything I’ve felt losing other romantic interests. If he’s married when he starts a relationship with someone else he’s not the right one. Sorry.

  3. doreen said:

    James
    I am now having to move on,,but getting through the pain , by focusing on moving forward, I had no dought that he loved me,,but I blew it,,,cant go into details,,,,but does not stop me from loving him,,,,doreen

    • Sharon Larimore said:

      I’m in the same boat, really messed up by losing patience thru text. He had hurt me so bad though! Anyway, it sucks when they have that hold on you and it takes forever to move on! I didn’t want to move on!! He knows I’m here wanting him all in the meantime and I’m not a prize anymore. I put up w too much of his crap for too long. Now he just wants to use me and mess around. It’s just toxic…..plain and simple. If it takes him that long to recognize how good you are, you don’t need him!! But honey, do what u feel is best for you

  4. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    I don’t know if it will help in these cases to think of the happiness of the one you have lost. If you love someone deeply, you only want their happiness, and if their happiness means that the relationship with you has to end, for whatever reason, if might help you to think that they will be happier in the future without you or the complications surrounding your relationship, and maybe with someone else. Just a thought, it may make things feel a little easier.
    I know from experience just how much it can hurt to have to give up on a relationship – you think the pain is unbearable and will never end. I am in that situation now myself. But, I am told that it will get easier. Moving on to a new love can help ease the pain, if you are lucky enough to find one, and certainly keeping in touch with old friends and getting out and about does, too. LaLa

    .

    • Sharon Larimore said:

      Love this advice! I know, it’s hard…

  5. Judy said:

    I dated a guy for two years and he told me that he has fallen out of Love. I do believe that he loved me for awhile. That was 5 months ago and yes, I am still hanging on. He is in a new relationship that he says he loves her and is thinking about getting married. He asked me to marry him after 4 months also. Is this something he always does? Do I have a chance in ____ of getting him back?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Judy. The short history you provided about this man suggests he has not yet learned the difference between the choice to love someone and the initial feelings of infatuation. If he does come back to you after the inevitable cooling off period with the new woman, just be sure to have several long conversations about what lasting love requires. The feeling of love is never enough. You must actively choose to love someone for a long-term relationship to work.

      • Sharon Larimore said:

        Thank you for that advice

  6. Kathleen said:

    James,
    This email from you could not come at a better time for me…I am the one who felt the relationship was not moving forward…I have not seen my boyfriend for 7 weeks now nor have we talked…I am not sure if we will continue. In any case this has helped me…do you feel I should go out and date at this time? It seems you do feel that way based on what I read. Keep up the good work you do. Best, Kathleen

    • James Bauer said:

      Yeah, I do think you will heal faster by spending time building new relationships and tending to existing friendships as well. Sorry to hear of the difficult place you find yourself at the moment, Kathleen. Be courageous!

      • sandra said:

        James, I have been reading your advice for a year or so now and want to thank you for reaching out to so many of us-your genuine concern and advice is priceless. I am 65 and recently met a man who is 71-we both have been divorced over 10 years. We have been dating for 5 weeks now and I feel like we are bonding and developing a solid foundation for something permanent. However, he has told me that he has been hurt very deeply in the past from a relationship that he thought was going “wonderfully” and then was suddenly “dumped”. He said it has taken him a long time to get over it and so with me, even though he wants to pursue a serious relationship, he said he is being very cautious. The one thing that bothers me is that on occasion he has kissed me and put his arms around me, but otherwise there is no physical contact. Yet he does so much to please me by his actions. I am confused-is this relationship something I should give time or cut and run before I get hurt. Thank you.

        • James Bauer said:

          Sandra, I’d say it is a relationship you should communicate about openly (more openly than normal). Because he has been hurt, and he is not fully meeting your needs, you owe it to him and yourself to tell him what you need more of in the relationship to feel completely fulfilled. Tell him you are open to hearing more about what boundaries he has, but you wanted to start by sharing some of your own needs.

          • sandra said:

            James,
            Thank you very much for your insight. I didn’t know if only after 5 weeks, it was too early in a relationship to discuss topics such as intimacy. We both have agreed to date exclusively and I did broach the topic that at some point in the future, we would, I hope, enter into an intimate relationship and how did he feel about that. That is when he told me he does have the same thoughts but because he had been “burned” previously, he wanted to be cautious and see how things progressed with us before taking that step as he felt that was a big step to take in a relationship. I just didn’t know how long I should give it but in every other way, he is bending over backwards with various ways to show me he cares; it just isn’t in a physical sense, yet.

  7. nk said:

    I was in a relationship with a guy I love so much who leter went back to his ex and we parted and he was going to marry her but she died and now single and I still love him but is not ready for me cus he said he is busy and down its bin 8 months that she died.do I realy hav hope?

    • James Bauer said:

      I don’t want to sound calloused or flippant, but I believe you always have hope if you choose hope. It is something that comes from within you. If you embrace hope, your mindset and actions will change in positive ways regardless of what ultimately unfolds in your relationship with this grieving man.

  8. madeleine said:

    Hi James am sure that was for me. Woke up with searing heart, actually hurt and with 2 children no time to deal with it. Read yr article pain considerably lessened. I am in my warm nest with fledglings and birds can freely come and chat but only the best will stay. I have let go.Thank you a million James. Yr writing well above other articles read. Thanks and carry on please you are making a difference

    • James Bauer said:

      I really appreciate your positive feedback. It means a lot to me.

  9. Eni grace said:

    Am in a long distance relationship, and my man is too demanding, I have send all maner of differnt pix, he ask for, and now all he keep saying is that I must go for a virgina test to prove that ve not sleep with any one for the period of ten yrs, or Else we will seperate, and truly I ve not sleep wit any one for that period, yet he couldn’t belive, he want a prove, what do I do sir.

    • James Bauer said:

      If I understand your situation correctly, you are with a man who has a jealously problem. The fact that you are asking this question (rather than dumping him) suggests he must have some qualities that make the relationship worth it to you. However, I would caution you against pursuing a relationship with someone who does not want to believe your word and trust you. It tends to go poorly with such men because of his insecurities and demanding narcissism.

      • Susan Wood said:

        So what test proves your physical commitment over 10 years?!!!
        I have never heard of it. This man has major control issues, insecurity issues that mask as jealousy but I believe is it much deeper and more dangerous. Get out !!!!!

    • pam said:

      Can he prove the same to you? Or is he holding you at a higher standard?

  10. Ellie said:

    I truly look forward to receiving these posts because of the insight you bring. As a deeply spiritual person, your message runs very honest and deep. You really have helped me tremendously and for that I am very grateful. I wholeheartedly recommend my single and coupled friends to sign up for your emails and forward your articles all the time. Please know that you are helping people find clarity and guidance through something we really receive so little education on. Kudos on the excellent work always.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you very much, Ellie. Your kindness warms my heart.

  11. Thank you so much for this article James. Its been a year since my ex of 5 years broke up with me but I still have not let go ๐Ÿ™ I’m living life and doing new activities etc but I have just not met any men at all.

    I have a genetic disorder called Marfan’s and I am aging before my time (muscle tone and skin) and keep thinking who would want to be with me and considering I’m 35 already. Maybe my ex was the last person to ever want and love me ๐Ÿ™

    My ex is part of my group of friends so I have constant contact with him online and when we all meet up as a group (I’m seeing him tonight) so i’m not sure if that’s making it more difficult to let go or making it easier I’m not sure. I just know every time I know I”m going to see him I get anxious and then I’m usually pretty down afterwards.

    I wish I could just forget about him and see him as a friend as that is how he already saw me when we broke up.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Janine. I have known some beautiful people with Marfan’s disorder, people who are older than you. The way it may elongate your fingers and other features can be quite elegant in a woman (in my opinion).

      I am sad to hear that your ex still have such a grip on your heart.

      I recommend you shift the way you think of him. As much is possible, take him off the pedestal and consider him an obstacle to living fully and joyously. Try to see his flaws.

      Basically, try to do the opposite of the types of things our mind does when we fall in love with someone. Easier said than done, I know.

  12. Hi James. Thanks for saying that, I always thought of my fingers to look like witches fingers lol.

    I know I need to do that, I know that I need to take him off the pedestal. He admitted when we broke up that he was a lazy bf and didnt put in the effort like other guys. The last year of our relationship we were both miserable but I still hang on because I didnt want to let him go and I asked him if we could try again the first time he broke up with me.

    I know all those things that I mentioned but I remember the good times and feelings more. But yes I do need to concentrate on his flaws more because he is an obstacle to me being happy.

    I guess its something that I need to teach myself. Thanks for the reply.

  13. Angie said:

    Hi James,

    I recently broke up with my boyfriend (I initiated things but it blew up to where he mutually broke up with me) and I want him back, but he refuses to talk to me.

    There were many flags that said we didn’t need to be together that can only be attributed to him having deep character flaws (he wasn’t really affectionate, never did simple gestures/gave any type of gifts, wouldn’t communicate much even though we were long distance, he wasn’t considerate (never asked how I was doing even when going through tough situations), & the list goes on) OR he was seeing someone else.

    He is going through a divorce so i am not sure if these quirks are character flaws or have something to do with his situation but from my perspective it seemed as though someone else was in the picture. I had been suspicious for months but not living near him i couldn’t really tell other than he was always finding time to interact with another girl online, but he wouldn’t call or video chat or barely even initiate texts.

    I went to visit and I discovered that our love languages didn’t match and he hated lots of touching or even the smallest display of affection, but when I was obviously upset about the way he treated me or would talk to me he’d try to apologize or make it up to me. He’d basically be hot & cold with me. I already suspected things going on with that girl online and he removed me without telling me because I sent her a friend request. He never explained who she was but I found out during my visit that she is either an ex or someone he had been currently seeing, and drawing the later conclusion due to his actions and inability to keep his story straight or come clean about who she was, I left.

    He said I had it all wrong and tried multiple times to explain but danced around the details and I wouldn’t listen to more, so he mutually ended things because I wouldn’t listen and said goodbye.

    I’ve been reassessing everything and I feel as though I could have let him explain before just leaving his place abruptly. I found a picture of him and the girl in a frame hidden in his room (I feel bad for snooping but I had that feeling).

    Even though he could very well have been cheating, there’s a possibility that I overreacted and didn’t give him the chance to finish his explanation.

    I’ve been trying to reach out to him to no avail and wonder if I should just let it go?

    We were together almost a year but have known each other for 8 years and have a history together ( were together briefly way in the past but things ended and over the years he reached out and finally asked to be back together when his marriage ended.

    Our history makes me feel he was the love if my life and we were supposed to be back together, but he was taking me for granted. I want him back. Is it too late or should I learn to let go? It’s only 3 days post break up.

    Thanks

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Angie. It sounds like you put a lot of value on shared history. I understand that, but the description you gave here leaves me wondering why anyone would want to be with this guy. It sounds like your heart is invested in the idea of being with a person who is not worthy of your time.

      • Angie said:

        I’m wondering if he has trouble with communicating and expressing himself? I don’t know what all transpired that lead to his marriage ending but judging from a few books he had from their therapy sessions, a lot of stuff he wasn’t doing with me were highlighted in the readings as though these are areas he knows he needs to work on. I really feel as though he was trying but the fact that he was flipping on and off like a light switch let’s me know things won’t be easy but him changing is possible.

        I was highly emotional when I left and regret not properly discussing or working through what I found with him.

        He won’t talk to me now and idk what to do. I think it’s worth a shot to try again recognizing there’s a lot to work through but how if he won’t talk when I reach out?

        Should I just let it go? I’ve tried all week to no avail except when he answered my call from another phone, but even then he didn’t really want to talk but said we would later. He didn’t tell me to stop contacting him so I feel that door is still open for us at some point.

        This whole thing has me sick and really down. I’m more upset now than I was during our relationship low points that made me want out in the first place.

        • Amy said:

          Angie–Reading your post reminded me a lot of a long distance relationship I had with an old college flame. He resurfaced in my life as we were both going through divorces. There was a lot of interest on his part in the beginning, but he became hot and cold, not responding to emails and abruptly canceling our plans to see one another. I chalked it up to the hard times he was experiencing adjusting to his divorce and hoped things would be better after he healed. Things went on like this, however, for over two years. Despite sharing my story with friends who were objective and could read through his fishy behavior, I was unwilling to take their advice to move on with my life. I clung to false hope. Somehow I began releasing him….but then he re-surfaced once again. He asked to come see me, saying he missed me. We set up a date to visit and I felt like perhaps he finally had his act together and truly loved me. Then I got an email from an unknown woman who described herself as my guy’s serious girlfriend. I was totally in shock to learn from her that not only had he been dating her for 9 months, but while with me had dated another woman and had an email “relationship” with yet another college flame!! Talk about feeling duped! I compared notes with this woman, encouraged her to seriously weigh his terribly flawed character and then I permanently moved forward. I was very hurt to realize I was apparently just a play thing to this man, but I mostly realized what a massive bullet I dodged! To help me move forward I did finally start dating others. I also read a lot of books and blogs on relationships. I took the time to reflect on why I didn’t value myself and took whatever crumb of a man happened to pay attention to me. It took a while, but I finally realized I deserved a man who would honor and cherish me. I was a valuable woman and I deserved so much better! I finally met a man who moved mountains to be with me and loves me deeply. We’ve been married two years now! I continue to learn and grow in my relationship skills by reading what James writes. I would encourage you to take his advice to release the grip this former boyfriend has on you, meditate a little in what’s causing you to be okay with this treatment, and then climb back on the dating saddle. Don’t waste any more precious time or energy on a man who is not whole, healthy and pursuing you! Wait expectantly for the right man to come across your path, and meanwhile, enjoy friends and fun activities. I struggled to believe this would ever happen in my life, but it did! I wish you the best as you heal and wholeheartedly move forward!

          -Amy

          • Lorna (LaLa) said:

            What a beautiful response. It also resonates with my situation at the moment – and I have to take it on board and move forward with my life. Don’t accept crumbs, just because, basically, I am desperate (not an easy thing to admit to – but being honest with oneself is really necessary). It is so lovely to hear that you are now happily married. Long may it last!! I wish you much joy. LaLa

  14. LP said:

    This advice could not have come at a better time. Thank you.

  15. Jewels said:

    I had been dating a man since April, in whom I became quickly emotionally attached to. Shared a lot in common from religous beliefs to common goals in life. The problem is he moved from PA to NJ due to money issues. We continued to date until sometime mid July when I had the same problems as him. He became very distant and nonsupportive. Then one day he just didn’t respond to my text messages. Its been about a month since I heard from him no text and no calls. Now I realize he just no longer wanted to see me anymore. It hurt me to my heart, but being evicted and having to live with my sister really kicked in my survival skills. I had to let go after a month of agonizing over him. I need to get my life not just the way I had it but better. I finally text him this am wishing him well and thanking him for our short sweet time. Letting him know that our experience is now leading me to other exciting opportunities.(just maybe he’ll respond, but I’m not holding my breath) Going through this ordeal I realized who are my true friends and who isn’t. He now doesn’t appear to be the man I fell in love with and the reality that I must move on is now one of the greatest opportunities in my life. Even though I wish he cared in a way he didn’t bother to show, I’m glad to have learned these painful lessons and I’m glad I know WHO I AM in this……I almost lost myself!

  16. Amina Mohammed said:

    hi,I was dating a man for 8months we had issues and at every of our issues I say stuff like I want a break up,but I never meant it and he was always begging me not break up.On faithful time we had a fight and I said I wanted a break up,unfortunately for me he didn’t come back to beg. we have been apart for 9months now .for a while we never spoke to each other, we just recently started saying hi,I still love him so much and get seem to let go.He has moved on from what I see. ..I don’t know what do anymore, few months after the break up I went to beg and he said he was betrayed at my leaving. How can I move on?I don’t think he ever wants to come back me

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Amina. I tried to summarize some of my thoughts on the very issue you raise, but I understand there is a lot to getting your heart to let go so you can move on. Feel free to reach out to our professional relationship coaches if you want personal advice, but just realize this is something that time will heal so long as you have an attitude that you are willing to release this guy. It also helps to embrace hope, hope for the endless possibilities for life to bring you to something even more wonderful.

      James

  17. Whitney said:

    Hi James ! I really enjoyed reading this message ; it was very helpful to my situation ! I have a question.. Is it healthy to actually want to be alone and unbothered with relationships ? My breakup was hurtful.. Ive had other hurtful detachment throughout life but this one was more awakening than any other.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Whitney. Not everyone thrives best in the context of a committed relationship. But here’s my caution. Falling off a horse is not a reason to give up horse riding. If that’s why you want to give up, then get back on the horse, learn what you can, and master the important skill. But if it’s not the pain of a painful breakup that is driving you away, but rather a realization that you really want something else, then pursue your heart’s true desire.

  18. Kate said:

    Hi James! First of all, thank you so much for all the great advice; you are such a light in the darkness. This advice in particular could not have come at a better time. But, for what I read, you recommend to date someone new to help to move on, if this is correct, what do I do if I feel guilty about it? I feel that I’m not as involved with the new guy as he is because I haven’t let the last one go and a part of me thinks it’s unfair for the new guy. What do I do?
    Thanks for all.

    • James Bauer said:

      Wow, I really like that question, Kate. I like it mostly because it reflects the kind of woman you are (apparently a fantastic woman with deep empathy and a lot of intelligence). But I also like it because it is a challenging question.

      Emotions tell us something. We should listen. In this case, the feeling of guilt is telling you not to carry the burden of potentially harming someone else. So how do you release that burden? You release it by giving him the choice.

      Just be honest with him. Tell him you find him very attractive, yet you are presently in a position of trying to get your heart to let go of someone else. Tell him you would very much like to continue dating him because you know you need to move on, but you want him to have the choice so you do not decide for him whether he wants to spend his time and energy with a person who is still in the process of healing.

      James

  19. Deborah said:

    “It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.” ~Albus Dumbledore

  20. Penelope said:

    Hi James,

    This article could not have been more timely. I have been dating a man whom I care about deeply but who is wrong for me on so many levels. I knew this after the first week, but kept persevering in the hopes that things would change. He has a severe addiction problem that he refuses to deal with in any way and exhibits classic Jekyll and Hyde symptoms in our relationship. in not letting go I have let him hurt me many times. And the b***h of it all is I’m still hanging on and hoping because he throws me these little tidbits of hope. Meanwhile, I have passed by other men who were interested in me – good men. I’m trying to find the strength to let go, but I don’t know if I ever can or will.

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Please see my response below Mona’s entry below, which I messed up. Sorry. Hope it is still relevant and wishing you every good wish for the future. LaLa

  21. Phalena said:

    Dear James
    My boyfriend of 16 months just broke up with me over text and will not talk to me .
    I feel confused, hurt and angry. He’s blaming the break up on my lack of trust but the truth is my insecurities came because he was a very inconsistent partner . Somedays he was loving and kind other days he was cold and distant and I always found myself in a state of confusion. I’m struggling with the break up as I’m confused why you would stay together for many months and then part ways with no contact

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m very sad to hear that, Phalena. I agree that it’s a lousy way to break up and you deserve more consideration and an opportunity to speak with him about the sudden change in his relationship with you. Maybe he will calm down in a few days and realize it would be better to talk some things over with you.

      In the meantime, resist the temptation to make him the focus of all your thoughts. You are going through a very hard time right now and it is very important that you keep your mind anchored to some of the good, steady things that have not changed in your life. That means spending time with friends or family who care about you, exercising if that’s your routine, reading a good book if that’s something you enjoy. Do things to remove your focus from the emotional pain. Give yourself permission to feel sad, let out your feelings, and journal about it for short periods of time once or twice per day instead of going through marathon of grieving.

  22. Phalena said:

    Thank you that’s great advice !!

  23. Mona said:

    I and my ex We had long distance relationship. We were so perfect together. We had a serious relationship. We both met our parents. But then he told me he had no longer do long distance relationship. As a woman, i have nothing to say when my man said something kinda he doesn’t see me in his future..
    It’s been 6 months since last time we had met. He is dating a new girl right after we broke up. But they seem not getting serious (Compared from the way he teases her).
    What should i do to get over him?
    Like i told you, we were perfect together. I’ve never had a good relationship like this.
    We are trying to keep in touch and be friends. But it is difficult to make a conversation for now.
    I can’t move on yet and I don’t know what to do.

    Please help.
    Mona

  24. Lorna (LaLa) said:

    This is such a difficult situation, and quite different to most. I hope my comments are not too late, as this is an old article. I can relate to it, as I am in a similar one, and most people who are not will not be able to relate to it and give advice. I would say, make it clear to him that you expect him to get help for his addiction as a condition of keeping on seeing him. I did this and my man agreed to go to a re-hab clinic after two years of madness together. I could not walk away, as I felt so guilty when we had disagreements from time to time and I felt I should leave him. I was miserable without him, feeling that I had abandoned him. Much more so than the misery of being with him. I decided that I would help until I felt I had “come to the end of the road”. Your “end of the road” will be different to mine, but I think that is a good guideline, and you will know when you have reached it. When you feel you have done EVERYTHING within your power and your ability and your strength to help but you are still getting nowhere. It is not easy and takes a lot of effort, strength and courage from you. There will be times when your strength fails and you feel you are going crazy – but then you will rest, recover and be ready to start in again. He needs all the help and support you can give him. But the starting point HAS to be his admitting his addiction and getting help. Even if that help is only talking to you and reading books, etc. Understanding. It is a starting point. Maybe you should put all your energy at the moment into finding out what help is available, reading books, accessing forums, etc. There is a lot of information out there if you have the time to look for it. One excellent book is “How to Quit without feeling S**t” by Patrick Holford and another “Right Recovery for You” by Marilyn Bradford. She also does online information. One important thing I have learnt from her is that the addiction, in itself, is not the real problem. There is ALWAYS an underlying problem that causes these people to become addicts. Abuse or trauma in the past, anxiety disorder, depression, bi-polar or mental health problems of some sort. See if you can tackle that problem. TALK to him about it. Otherwise, we as people on the outside, are advised to “withdraw with love”. Continue to give him your love and support as a friend, but do not invest in a relationship with him. Take care of yourself. Get out and find another life for yourself. My heart bleeds for you. I wish and hope that things improve, and hope this has helped. And maybe be of some help to others, too. This is a huge problem that needs to be acknowledged and addressed. With love and best wishes to you. LaLa

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Sorry. I messed this reply up, as my computer went doolally in the middle of typing. It was meant to be in response to Penelope above. LaLa

  25. Korey said:

    It’s currently 6am and I can’t sleep. I just left from the guy that I’ve been dealing with for almost a year now. I’m in a very difficult situation in my life right now where I have lost a lot of my financial ability to move and have kind of been stuck. The guy that I’ve been seeing is more than financially stable (ex NFL) but because of terrible past relationships of which he has been out of for about 3years now, he is afraid of committing to me because I fit the mold of the women in his past because of my financial complications. He takes care of his entire family, especially his parents, which really makes me admire him more. He has beer. Out of the league for about 3yrs but went back to school and graduated in April, and now is working on real estate. He started off by saying that he isn’t ready for a relationship because he wants to get things in order, but he tells me how much he loves my company and has the best chemistry of anyone he has ever been with. We laugh, joke, and have an amazing time with each other while
    we are together, but I am the one who initiates us getting together, and the reaching out, etc. the We started off great he would call and text and spend time with each other, however, his phone calls or texts don’t come as often anymore, but we still keep in contact. He tells me he is now becoming more open to a relationship now that he has reached his goal, but I notice that he doesn’t put forth effort with me anymore. It seems more sexual now, but our energy is crazy good. Better than I’ve ever experienced in my life. When together we talk a lot and very open, never judgemental. I can tell by the way he holds me, and kisses me that the feelings are definitely mutual, but something is holding him back. I know I should be focusing on getting myself together, but I have never been so sure of my feelings before. I have been getting myself together and beat some of my obstacles, but when I ask him if he is seriously thinking about moving to the next level, and his reply was “get yourself together” and that’s all I got. What do I do with that? Because of my situation should I not even think about love? Should I move on from this situation because of my lack of things he deems necessary, or should I be patient, continue working on me and hope that he doesn’t choose another woman by the time I get myself together.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey, Korey. Given the nature of your situation, it would be best to make this a private discussion with one of our relationship coaches via email.
      You can access that service here if you like.

  26. Aurea said:

    My situation is a little similar to Korey and I was hoping you would reply. I met John (a pseudonym) on online dating almost a year ago. He lived in Florida and I live in New York. He told me he got divorce two years ago and that he was being cautious because he didnt want to get hurt. I understood, i was going through something similar. He used to text me all day long for the first couple of months, but would hardly text after 4:00pm. I asked him why and he would tell me because of work, overtime or school. When we finally became intimate, it was the most beautiful experience I had had, something very special really transpired between us. He has never been a person who likes to talk on the phone, so our communication was mostly through texts. He has never been with a hispanic woman before. We are very passionate, loving, and when we fall in love, we love deep and hard and we like to show it. His texts messages started coming very seldomly. He told me that I was becoming too overbearing and he didn’t know how to handle me. Something told me it was more. He was waiting on a transfer to work in New York and I was so excited because we were going to be closer. He did get the transfer not to New York but to Canada instead. We have only seen each other a few times, text every other or every few weeks. He doesnt open up or tell me what he feels, but when we see each other, is wonderful and the chemistry is exceptional. He’s only an hour and a half away, but will only come to see me every two months. Every time I feel I’m moving on, he shows up back in my life and I’m back to square one. He finally invited me to his place but at this moment and for the next couple of months I won’t be able to go to Canada. I told him that but he doesn’t want to come to the US. I love this man, but I don’t know if I want a part time lover or someone that can not compromise in some type of way. I’m tired of giving, giving and getting nothing in return.

    • James Bauer said:

      Aurea, do you want to give him one more chance to go after you?

      If so, you need to find a gentle way to tell him the story you just relayed here. Otherwise, he doesn’t know he’s about to lose you. And therefore, he may miss his last opportunity to build something more significant with you.

      I’ll be honest, it sounds like the two of you want different things right now. So it probably won’t work. But if you’re going to lose him anyway, you might as well give him one last chance. This way, you can be sure it was the right decision to leave him.

      Be very specific with him about what he would need to do if he wants to keep you in his life.

      James

  27. Marea said:

    I blew it up by dating a married man. things were going well when we started but now he has started to ignore me, after reading all the comments I feel its time to let go and start all over again, Thank you.

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