How to let go of a relationship when you don’t want to

by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries on June 29, 2012 · 87 comments

in Articles, Break-ups and Divorce, Heartbreak, Singles

freedomRecently I have been working with two individual clients who are having a hard time letting go of their exes. In both cases, the ex-partners are done with the relationship, but my clients do not want to let go.

To make matters worse, they are in pain over not wanting to let go and keep trying to hold on. One of the clients constantly contacts her ex-partner, wanting to connect with him. His responses range from anger at her for reaching out, to compassion and asking her to be strong and move on with her life.

The other client does not contact his ex, but responds when she reaches out to him. She never reaches out to revive the relationship, just to touch base on the phone, by text or email. They haven’t seen each other in many months.

These clients are stuck. They are holding onto the hope that their relationship can still be revived somehow, although they have received no indication from their ex’s that this is possible.

What do I mean by this? If a person is considering getting back together with you, or trying again, they will let you know. They will call and say, “I have been thinking about you,” or, “I miss you.” They will schedule a time to see you and talk to you. They will try to sort through the issues that led to the breakup. There will be clear indications that they want to try to reconcile.

This is not the case in the situations my clients are in. There are no indications that their partners want reconciliation.

I have been thinking about how to help my clients and others in the same “I don’t want to let go” situation. I asked my clients a series of questions to try to discover where the stuck point is for each of them. Answering the questions helped them unhook. I will share the questions here, hoping that if you are in a similar situation, they will help you unhook as well:

  1. What good parts about the relationship do you want back?
  2. What bad parts about the relationship do you never want to experience again?
  3. Are you aware that you have to take the bad with the good, that your ex is a package deal, with both of these?
  4. Do you know that if you and your ex are together again, you will experience the worst of the bad, and the best of the good, over and over?
  5. Do you think you can get the relationship and your ex back?
  6. What specific, concrete evidence do you have that you can get your ex back?
  7. If your ex is contacting you, instead of trying to reconcile, could he or she just want to stay in touch with you in order to feel good about him or herself?
  8. Given that reconciliation is unlikely, is there anything that your ex could say to you that would make letting go easier?

Answered in this order, these questions helped unhook my clients.

The last question in particular unearthed the desire for an apology for the pain caused by the ex-partner during the relationships and the breakups. Each client also found they needed to know that they had been truly loved in their relationship.

In neither case could the ex give an apology, or acknowledge the love. Using a variety of coaching techniques, I worked with both clients (without their exes) to help fulfill their needs for these.

Both feel better, are fixated less on the past and focused more on the future, and the possibility of creating relationships they really want.

If you are having a hard time letting go of a relationship, work with the questions above. Write down your answers, as answering in your head will not have the same impact as typing or writing your thoughts and feelings. Also be sure to answer the questions in the order given. There’s a reason for the order; it’s a specific way of unhooking you from a stuck emotional place.

If you would like help in letting go of a past relationship, work with me as your coach in a 30-minute Get Clarity Coaching Session. Go here too find out more and to register for the session.

 

{ 86 comments }

TAMIKA August 26, 2012 at 7:53 pm

I live with a man and I he gives me mix signals. He say we are not togther but we act differently. We have seperate bedrooms. I try and face reality that I need to move out because whats the purpose of me staying. He says he will never marry. I now he talks and meet other women and wants to go out at night after I am sleep. He treats me good as a provider and has my back in that area, maybe thats why I stay. I just need the couage to leave.

Nic July 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

What good parts about the relationship do you want back?

All of it. I miss making her laugh. I miss her making me laugh (although I still can laugh on my own). I miss her silly behavior. I miss being a part of her and her family and friends. I miss doing things with her.

What bad parts about the relationship do you never want to experience again?

The part where she leaves me because “we’re changing as different people.” Although, I think I can handle it.

Are you aware that you have to take the bad with the good, that your ex is a package deal, with both of these?

I was aware from the beginning. I supported her through tough times of awful anxiety, day in and day out, even when I had to go to work early, I would stay awake with her when anxiety made her sick in the middle of the night and she trembled.

Do you know that if you and your ex are together again, you will experience the worst of the bad, and the best of the good, over and over?

That’s what I want.

Do you think you can get the relationship and your ex back?

It’s up to her, so I see no way to answer that. If she has changed as a person and does not love me anymore, it’s nothing I can do anything about.

What specific, concrete evidence do you have that you can get your ex back?

I don’t, really. It was a sudden change and made no sense.

If your ex is contacting you, instead of trying to reconcile, could he or she just want to stay in touch with you in order to feel good about him or herself?

She was occasionally contacting me via facebook, but I’ve decided to remove her so that I don’t see her picture so much. I don’t think she’s the shallow type to do things just to feel good about herself, but what do I really know?

Given that reconciliation is unlikely, is there anything that your ex could say to you that would make letting go easier?

I can’t think of a single thing she could say to make letting go any easier…

Is there anything else I could do to help let go? I’m ready to. I am comfortable living my life without her and even falling in love with someone else. I am happy in spite of her leaving me. I even see the good in it all.

But I can’t stop wanting her to come back to me. Please help?

Denise December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

GB,

Reading your message just made me sad and I wanted to reach out to you and try to talk to you and help you if I can. Life is very hard and i’m also learning that the hard way. All you can do is try to be there for your child if your ex allows it. You have to be strong for your daughter because she will grow up and want to know about her daddy and when that day comes you have to be ready to be there for her. As for your ex I know its the most hardest thing to do but you have to let her go for now boy am I learning that. I to am in love with a man that I had to walk away from since he would not change his ways and its killing me every day but I try to stay strong for my children that we have together.

Stay strong
Denise

GB November 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I am in a very bad place. I love my ex with all my heart we have a child together. We were together for seven years when she left it hurt deeply I feel that pain every second of the day. I lost everything all at once we started counseling but she just quit. Her and our child are my life my joy without them i am lost. I am now fighting depperssion and suicidal thoughts. Everyday is a burden I am stuck in a nightmare and think it would be better if I were dead. I miss them both so much I live with alot of pain and regret I have not been outside in sixteen months it hurt so much the world looks and feels so different. The holidays are the worst for me I can’t look anyone in the face it reminds me of what I don’t have any more. I don’t know where to go from here do I want to die or live like I have been I have not seen my daughter in five months It hurts when she asks me to come home with her cause that is all I want . I can’t sleep most nights this has caused so much unrest for me. Life has no meaning for me anymore I lost everything I love, every second is a thought just to end my suffering no more gas left in my tank no more love for life. What is really left but unhappiness

Lenny September 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

Hi, I just had gone through this and I was that person that didn’t want to let go. I can honestly say I wanted to stay for the kids first and my wife second, but ultimately wanted the family together. I did not want to fall into the norm of “if things don’t work out bail out” what so many couples will do. I was embarrassed to tell my co-workers and only told 3 to 4 very close friends about my wife leaving me, I felt like a failure accepting. I accepted half if not more of the blame for her wanting to leave me. I had asked if she was interested in going to counseling, she agreed but told me it wasn’t to get back together, it was for her own well being. On our third visit at 150.00 and hour I heard her say for the third time “I’m not going back” even though I wasn’t asking her to. I think she just wanted to make it clear, which really hurt me, at the same time it woke me up to I get it. At that time I told the counselor “I’m done” he looked at me and asked me if I was giving up after only a few sessions, that I’m suppose to be the leader and the strong one. I had apologized for giving up and said that I would continue to work on the relationship. We were going every two weeks so on our forth visit I was feeling good about myself and mentioned that I did a lot of thinking and praying about this and I decided to stop going to counseling and accepting the fact that my wife wants to move on. Now I felt good about this but I also felt “what did I just do” at the same time. Afterwards my ex-wife and I walked out to the parking lot and started to feel desperate and that this is it, so I talked to her for about a half hour trying one last time to see if we could work things out in any way. To me this was my last desperate attempt to save the marriage and in my mind I was set on accepting this if it didn’t work. I should of seen the writing on the wall sooner but I was in denial. It was now time for me to accept this fact that she wasn’t coming back. She drove away and I drove away at this time and this was the beginning of my healing, the fact that she was telling me it was over, over and over finally hit me hard enough to understand it. I guess everyone has a different threshold on when to let it go. Had I realized this sooner I would of started the healing sooner than later. The fact that I held on may or may not of been a good thing for myself but it is what it is. Reading what you mentioned about “if they want you back they’ll let you know” is so simple and so so true. Most of the time we let our emotions over rule our rationality, when if we would just stop and really think it over we would understand it much better and with a more logical response to our problem. I am now feeling really good about myself and in fact I feel sorry for her at times. One of the things I did was as you had mentioned, and I agree with you again was about forgiving the other person. I had forgiven her for anything she did to me, but before I did that I had to forgive myself first. I felt if I hadn’t forgiven myself first, it would have been very difficult to forgive her. I also had forgiven friends even if it was something small and not related to my relationship with my wife. I wanted to feel better about myself and when my apologizes were accepted with open arms and I can truly say that the people I had apologized to have so much more respect for me now. Those relationships are much stronger as well. Sometimes we feel that it is a weakness to say we’re sorry, it isn’t, in fact its a sign of strength in your character. My life is almost better than before, now that I’ve learn some very valuable learning experiences through this hard time in my life. I only see my kids half the time as when we are a couple and that was harder to accept but I must accept it because life is what it is. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone open to receive it would be to accept everybody and everything as they are or as it is. We all have a choice which nobody else can take away from us. Your choice would be to accept everything with love and kindness or take it personal and get angry. We are powerless over other people and circumstances in our lives, so its up to you to simples relax and smile when someone does something to you that you don’t like. Allow thought go in your head that you don’t like, but don’t take it as a personal attack Think about how you can respond in a kind and loving way and you will start to notice how people respond in a much different way. If you get angry or defensive they will to, if you take the high road and respond in a kind way they can no longer argue or say angry things to you. Its up to you to make a difference. You will have a much more inner peace and you will be more relaxed, resulting in a more fulfilling life for yourself and the ones around you. We teach what we want to learn……..I hope that I reached out and helped someone in need, I know how it feels and I would do anything to help anyone anytime, God Bless……

aliba jackie felicia September 15, 2011 at 1:38 am

i love your concern about our we feel in life when you stress to love someone and at the end you leap nothing. i always cry , complain and feel low in my relationship.he drops the calls , calls at his convenient time and he expects u to pick up, he does not meet appointments. am kind of tired

princess September 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

Im a 20 year old female i have a 2 year old babygirl..im so in love with her father. We been together for almost five years…im startin to feel like he dont love me well if he ever did.. somebody please let me know how i can and should leave dis relationship..im tired of hurting and crying he dont seem to care either way..and i kinda feels he has another relationship possible another family..

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