Letting go of someone you love deeply is a very hard fucking thing to do. Grieving over someone who’s alive feels strange. He’s not dead, but it’s easier to behave as if he is, because thats the best route to take when moving forward.
It’s even harder to let go when the decision to do so feels forced due to circumstance. I loved someone in a way I never thought was possible and not only was he emotionally unavailable, but dabbled with cocaine a little too frequently. (that’s a nice understatement )
For over a year I tried to help, which of course, pushed him away. He showed interest in changing but actions remained the same and yet I persisted.
In retrospect, attempting to change someone who’s not willing is selfish. Of course, I cared and wanted to see him be his best self, but more importantly, I was so blinded by love, I never considered that I was sick of feeling heartbroken.
If he improved then maybe I’d stop hurting or he’d be “normal,” and treat me the way I deserve to be treated. Sadly, I ended the relationship. We didn’t date very long but that didn’t stop me from seeing him in hope he’d eventually realize what he lost, deciding it’s time to change.
It never happened and I can’t say I believed it ever would. Despite having a constant taste of reality in my mouth, I didn’t give up, and he broke my heart several times- each time progressively worse.
Letting go of someone who’s incapable of authentic love really sucks when you’re committed to fight for it, but in reality- it’s not going to happen. I’m not saying it never will, but the decision isn’t yours to make.
You’re not giving up on love because you’re tired of setting yourself on fire and burning for someone while he looks the other way.
I’m still in the midst of healing and I won’t lie and say it’s been easy or devoid of relapses, but I’d like to share a few tips that really help the process.
1. Acceptance & Honesty:
Holding on to someone who makes you feel lost, anxious, and upset is wasted energy. You’re doing yourself a disservice when you could be directing that energy inward to eventually crawl out of the darkness. The first step must be acceptance. It is what it is. You cannot change someone who doesn’t want to be changed. It’s not fair to you or him. Accept him for who he currently is. How does he fit into your life? Chances are he doesn’t. Be honest about the situation. Acknowledge the damage it ensues within your life and take action. Letting go is an act of self love and respect.
Its not enough to merely accept the situation and decide to let go. You must commit to that acceptance. From here on out, you dedicate yourself to the journey, making healthy actions that guide you forward rather than keep you stuck.
3. Ride the waves:
You also must understand there will be moments of emotional turbulence. We often backtrack any progress made when reacting to heightened emotions, instead of riding that wave. It comes and goes. You won’t feel that way forever. Once you successfully ride a few waves, they lose their momentum- occurring less frequently and won’t pull you all the way under.
Remain compassionate and self comfort during dark moments. You’re the only one who can truly make YOU feel better. It won’t be him.
You have all the tools necessary to let go and move forward, you just have to use them.
-Jessica Bruno LMHC