Over 50 life

What It Really Means to Let Go of Past Love

Updated October 30, 2023

What does it really mean to let go of past love and move on?

Heard the song, “All My Exes Live in Texas” by George Strait? Well for some of us that’s a little too close to the truth, ha ha.

Oh there are exes strewn about several states, but Texas was residence to two pivotal relationships in my midlife. Relationships which affected who I am today. Happy to say that I’ve moved on from.

So how do we let go of past love? How can we release our heart from feelings and partners we’ve put our heart and soul into? What makes it so hard to move on and start over?

Moving On From This Kind of Relationship Is Hard

♥ 1. Some broken relationships create a painful dynamic –  either through infidelity, money issues or lack of trust – that’s difficult to shake after breaking up. Kind of like an emotional hangover. You try to figure out what really happened so you can get closure but you can’t.

The other person isn’t capable of giving it to you closure. Just as they weren’t able to be a faithful/trustworthy partner.

♥ 2. Often a really painful breakup is triggered as much by our childhood expectations as our adult ones. If you didn’t experience a loving home growing up you’ll search for it as an adult. You’ll look for that person who will love you unconditionally and make you feel safe. Unfortunately the person you chose wasn’t willing or able to fill that role.

Now you feel twice the pain and betrayal when the relationship crashes and burns. It can be hard to move on from those old deep wounds.

♥ 3. We often choose partners who mirror us in some way. They either complement us or represent some missing need we haven’t been able to fulfill. Incomplete attracts incomplete. Both partners are looking for completion without realizing they’re seeking it from someone who can’t give it.

This kind of love is especially painful when it falls apart.

♥ 4. Convinced we’ve found the ideal partner, we choose to be blind to lack of compatibility or stability. Have you honestly ever found a relationship based on sex to be emotionally satisfying? Focusing on superficial compatibility leaves you vulnerable. Feelings are created for someone that aren’t based on a firm foundation.

Ouch. Your heart feels like it’s on a roulette wheel instead of a sure thing.

♥ 5. Sometimes we just don’t want to admit our affair was never going anywhere in the first place. We knew it wasn’t lasting but we pretended to ourselves it was. The more energy you expend on this affair, the more you try to convince yourself it’s worth it.

Love is a little like Vegas. Doesn’t matter how many chips you put down, you need to walk away when you’re losing. Our ego is good at masking our true feelings. It doesn’t want to let go even when we know it’s time.

♥ 6. Letting go of a past love you were convinced was dazzlingly perfect is the hardest. You tell yourself if they only knew what they were missing, they would come back. You contemplate plastic surgery or losing weight because then you’d be irresistible. They may even have hinted about these “minor alterations”. Deep down you know this isn’t true love. But you’ve convinced yourself it’ll be worth it.

This my love, is the hardest scenario to move on from. Because unfortunately, they already have. Especially if they’re a narcissist.

How to Let Go of Past Love and Survive a Breakup

  • Pain is a teacher. Avoiding recreating similar painful situations is the lesson. If your breakup felt devastating and unexpected, like a blow to your heart; it’s likely it recreated a painful feeling from your past.
  • The person who left you brought you a lesson. When you learn what it is, you can let go. If you felt abandoned as a child and your partner left you, the lesson is; don’t make someone else responsible for how you feel. If you can take responsibility for your feelings, you’re less likely to get hurt.
  • Once you learn how to be a source of love to yourself, no one will ever be able to take it away. This is how you let go of that lover who let you down, who didn’t give you the love you deserve. You realize they weren’t able to love you the way you needed and you let them go.
  • You begin to realize that as long as you hold energy and space open for someone who can’t be there for you, there’s no room for someone who can. So you let that bad energy go and open your heart to the good.
  • You remember the good in your past lover and forgive them for not being the one you needed. They gave you a gift by leaving.
  • You allow yourself to be happy with where you are now. Let go of judgement and refocus your thoughts on positive anticipation. Not expectation but anticipation.
  • You visualize yourself as lovable, capable of love and being loved.
  • Instead of dwelling on where they are, you’re fully present in your own life. You take the time to nurture yourself with healthy food, habits and thoughts.

You let go of past loves by knowing and believing you’re worthy of a good new love.

This journey of self discovery is always worth it, even when it’s painful. It’s tempting to avoid ever getting hurt again. But real love is waiting for us when we know ourselves better and only give out heart to those who deserve it.

Could a journal help you discover your true feelings?


About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.