What It Really Means to Let Go of Past Love

let go of past love

What does it really mean to let go of past love and move on? You’ve 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. 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 but ones I’ve now completely let go of.

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?

Why Aren’t We Ready to Move On?
  • Some broken relationships create a painful dynamic –  through infidelity, money issues or lack of trust – that’s difficult to shake. 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. Just as they weren’t able to be a faithful partner.
  • 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’s hard to move on from deep wounds.
  • 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.
  • 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 to creating feelings for someone that aren’t returned. Ouch. You put your heart on a roulette wheel instead of a sure thing.
  • 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 still have to walk away when you’re losing. Our ego sometimes makes it hard to move on too.
  • Letting go of a past love that seemed dazzlingly perfect is the hardest. You convince 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 these “minor alterations” would make you more lovable. You don’t mind waiting as long as it takes, because you know it’ll be worth it. This my love, is the hardest scenario to move on from. Because unfortunately, they already have.
This is How to Let Go of Past Love
  • Pain is a teacher. When we learn from it we can avoid recreating similar painful situations. If your breakup felt devastating and unexpected, like a blow to your heart; it’s 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. You have to take responsibility for that yourself.
  • 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. You realize they didn’t have the ability to care for you the way you deserve and so you let them go.
  • You realize 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.
  • 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. Judgement or grief isn’t given much space in your head. You refocus your thoughts on positive anticipation. Not expectation but anticipation.
  • Instead of dwelling on where they are, you’re fully present in your own life. Not busy for the sake of busy, but taking 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. Everything you’ve learned about yourself prepares you for it. You know you’ll recognize it when it arrives and when it does, it was worth the wait. In the meantime you’re doing just fine.



I created Hip Over Fifty for women who want to stay hip and relevant in their fifties and on. Staying connected and encouraging each other is what inspires me. Want more? Visit my Work With Me page.

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