Can you ever stop loving someone you truly loved?
Every heartbroken person has asked themselves this question at least once. The agony of recurring feelings leaves us wondering if they will ever go away or if we’ll just get used to them.
It’s true that some people never stop loving while others have an easier time moving on. How long the period of loving lasts depends on our coping mechanisms and how we deal with the grief of losing someone. Coping with a loss is different for everyone.
To ease the pain of not having the one you love and healing your heart, you must distance yourself from the situation and put things into perspective.
Putting things into perspective means understanding the role your relationship had in your life by treating it as a piece of a puzzle in the greater scheme of life.
One of the most soul-crushing moments in a relationship and life happens when you realize the person you love the most no longer feels the same way about you.
They no longer love you in the way you need them to and they don’t need the love you can give them.
To love someone means to open up and be vulnerable. When you’re vulnerable you allow another person to enter your heart, you allow someone to enter the most intimate parts of yourself.
That’s why love can be the most wonderful and the most terrifying experience in the world.
On the one hand, love allows one to enter the almost cathartic and magical feeling of acceptance, security, and deep appreciation and affection.
On the other hand, by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable we risk being rejected, and feeling unappreciated and insufficient.
That’s also why love is probably the most talked-about feeling ever. Everybody talks about love but nobody can really define what it is.
People experience it differently, yet it is still universal.
Unfortunately, not all people we love are meant to stay with us. We’ve all heard beautiful stories about long-lasting relationships, yet many of us happen to run into a great love only to lose it soon after.
Losing something that we thought was true love changes one’s attitude towards relationships and love. Disappointment that follows the loss of a loved one can be detrimental to the rest of one’s life.
There’s no verified way one can heal. Everything is individual and up to the person who’s experiencing the heartbreak.
It’s true that our bodies respond to many subconscious cues that determine whether we are attracted to the person or not and that is out of our control.
We don’t choose who we love. We can’t control our subconscious mind.
It’s also true that love isn’t only about the physical aspect and that there are some things we can control. We can, for example, control how much time and effort is invested in a relationship.
Investment in a relationship can create a strong bond and eventually become stronger than the initial infatuation.
However, the initial spark that makes us love somebody isn’t something we can dodge. Once we start truly loving someone it’s unstoppable.
Feelings of love are stubborn and irrational. They are strong and they can make us do things we wouldn’t normally do, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible for our actions.
Our ability to move on and overcome the feelings that follow a heartbreak depends on many factors, including our past experiences, family culture, and sometimes our previous mental health history.
For example, if a person experienced some kind of threatening situation or the loss of a parent at a young age, they may be more prone to certain kinds of behavior – like holding on to something due to experiencing fear or loss as a child.
This, of course, is just an example and doesn’t apply to everyone.
The other way around might be repressing feelings due to growing up in a family which didn’t welcome openly expressed emotions.
If heartbreak is processed the right way, one can learn that feeling love, even after getting your heart broken, can produce even more love within oneself.
The most painful times in our life (and they are almost always connected to love and loss) are often the biggest triggers for personal growth.
It’s no coincidence that our ability to love without resentment when we’re not loved back teaches us a lot about human nature and life’s purpose.
It almost feels like our nature is telling us we’re far more than just a mix of hormones and having an urge to reproduce. Loving unconditionally is the first and maybe only proof that human spirit exists beyond tangible things.
Still, while we’re struggling with the acceptance of this situation it’s useful to know the factors that influence the intensity of loving and heartache, as well as the process of healing.
That’s why I’ve written about some of the most common reasons people can’t move on from a previous relationship and be content in their life.
Why can’t you stop loving someone?
You still believe your ex was the one
“Sometimes the person you want most is the person you’re best without.” – TheloveBits
Do you think your ex was the one who got away? Their memory is still in the back of your mind and you can’t let it go… but have you ever thought that the memory of your past love is actually the memory of your loving self?
Maybe the person we loved sparked something in us that made us realize we are able to feel deeply and see things in a new way.
It’s possible that we miss someone because we believe they are the reason we could unlock the part of ourselves we liked so much, but the truth is – that part of ourselves is still ours.
How we feel when we’re around someone we love still depends on our ability to love.
When we drop the belief that we need someone else to feel complete, that’s when we will be able to access the part of ourselves that made us feel so content and fulfilled.
Resurfacing of old trauma
“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing creates changes you do choose.” – Michele Rosenthal
Heartache, or any other type of situation where strong feelings are present, can cause a resurfacing of our past traumas.
It’s especially frequent when we experience heartbreak because the intimate relationship is the most intense of all relationships and therefore often mimics patterns of behaviors we struggle with.
There’s a phenomenon called repetition compulsion that relates to a person repeating traumatic experiences again and putting themselves into situations where the event will likely happen again.
There’s still no clear explanation of why this happens, but it’s most likely because people tend to seek what’s familiar to them and subconsciously want to resolve experienced trauma with a different ending.
You were completely immersed in the relationship
“The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it.” – Unknown
Sometimes people just get completely lost in one person and their love life turns into their whole life. Many make the mistake of introducing their partner to every single part of their life way too early.
It’s not unusual for people in love to stop hanging out with their friends or just neglect some part of life they cared about while they were single. They immerse themselves completely in their partner and search for the meaning of life in them.
That’s why the end of the relationship hits them hard. We should never put our purpose into another person, no matter how much we love them.
The meaning of life should be something that’s only ours. There’s no happy life without a healthy relationship with ourself.
In order to be happy with someone, we should first be happy in our own skin and our own life.
You believe it was your fault
“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know until you lived through it. Honor your path. Trust your journey. Learn, grow, evolve, become.” – Creig Crippen
Relationships end due to various reasons. Sometimes it’s clearly someone’s fault but most of the time both sides have done something that leads to the end of the relationship.
However, if you’re having a hard time forgiving yourself for what you think has caused the separation, you should first work on acknowledging and processing your emotions.
Acknowledging our mistakes out loud is the first step on the healing journey. The next step is accepting your mistake as a part of your life journey and experience, and the step after that is being aware of your inner self-critic and sorting it out.
You let your past define your future
“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” – TheloveBits
Asking yourself if you can ever stop loving someone is probably one of the things that keeps you so connected to your past. The truth is you can’t change your past but you can allow it to change you.
It’s hard to turn your back at everything that has happened to you and shaped you as a person but there’s no point in looking back on what’s already been said and done.
In order to clear the way for a normal life and a potential new relationship, you need to leave the past behind.
It’s easier said than done but don’t underestimate the power of determination.
You’re still in contact with his family and friends
“Sometimes you need to burn bridges to stop yourself from crossing them again.“ – Toby McKeehan
If you still have contact with his family, it’s likely that they will remind you of your ex. Maybe they will want you to reconcile even when you know that’s not possible.
Having close communication with his family and friends won’t help you stop loving him – in fact, it will make everything even more complicated.
If you want to start over you need to limit the time you spend with them or avoid it completely.
Now we’ve been through the common causes of a stubborn heartache, here are some things that can help you heal faster and open you up to new experiences and views on life.
What can you do to help yourself deal with a breakup or loss?
Avoid seeing the person you love
The journey of forgetting someone starts with simple steps. First, you should avoid seeing the person you love as much as possible.
Avoiding the person you love while your heart longs to be with them is extremely hard, but necessary if you really want to get over them.
Unfollow them on social media
One of the must-dos is unfollowing, unfriending, and if necessary blocking them on social media accounts. Don’t skip this step!
People are sensitive to visual and other kinds of stimuli and in order to avoid making rash decisions, we need to remove ourselves from the situation beforehand.
Avoid places that were special for you
The constant reliving of the relationship through reminders such as places you visited together is a big no. Don’t make things more difficult by letting your heart fool you.
Places are big emotional triggers because they remind us of the experiences we had with our ex. Don’t fall into that trap.
Take a break and go on a trip
Self-care is very important in the healing journey. Going on a trip is a great way to get your mind off of your ex and gain new experiences and memories that might initiate the start of something new in your life.
There are numerous reasons why traveling after a breakup is a good idea. Feeling excited and planning a trip is a healthy distraction and seeing new places and meeting new people is a way to gain a fresh perspective.
Overall, going on a trip can give us a sense of a new beginning and a fresh start.
Get rid of things that remind you of them
This one should be a no brainer. Get rid of their stuff as soon as possible. I’ve already mentioned why reliving old memories through physical places and things aren’t good for your healing journey.
Getting rid of the things you associate with your ex is potentially painful but overall it’s a freeing experience.
Explore your interests and find a hobby
Well-being stems from having purpose and satisfaction in everyday life. One of the great ways to find those things is through interests and hobbies.
They are an important aspect of our life because they allow us to express ourselves creatively and occupy our mind, thus reducing overthinking and stress.
Change your lifestyle
Changing your lifestyle for the better is a great way to help with self-esteem and give a feeling of a fresh start.
You can do things as small as changing your hair or as big as moving house. It’s up to you. You can try doing things out of your comfort zone and explore the limitations you put on yourself.
Making small and attainable goals is also a great way of committing to change.
It’s important to pay attention to making decisions that last. That includes planning and changing one behavior at the time. It’s also a good idea to involve your friends so you can support each other on your journey.
Don’t fight your feelings
If you feel hurt, then it’s okay to feel hurt. It’s okay to express your feelings fully, otherwise, you may only do more damage.
Healing needs time and you need to respect your own tempo and readiness to continue living your life as you know it. Suppressing or fighting your emotions will only lead to feeling more lost and emotionally exhausted.
It’s okay to hurt because, after all, relationships are the foundation of human life. It’s vital to live out our negative emotions rather than bottling them up.
If you’re sad, be sad; if you’re mad then be mad. Don’t hold onto negative emotions because they will eventually just prolong the pain.
Stay socially active
Hang out with your best friends more! There’s no one who knows us better than our best friends. What we need in situations like this is someone who accepts us as we are and gives us support.
Having someone to support you through hard times is priceless. Other than that, friends are the ones who know how to distract you and remind you of other things in life.
They’re there to remind you there’s love outside of the romantic relationship and that you should treasure all the other kinds of love in your life.
Take care of your mental health
If you feel like none of the things I’ve mentioned can help you and you’re becoming depressed, maybe it’s best to seek professional help to get you through this tough time in your life.
If the problems in your life are stopping you from being productive and functioning well, professional help can make a huge difference.
If you’re confused about getting help, know that you don’t have to be in a crisis to seek help. Psychotherapy is beneficial for everyone.
To wrap this all up we can say that the answer to “can you ever stop loving someone?” is too complex to be put in a simple sentence. You can’t just stop loving, the same as someone can’t just stop loving you.
What you can do is work on yourself and start seeing life as something bigger than just one experience. There are so many opportunities that could change your life in a moment.
Nothing ever happens without action and action is prevented by letting ourselves live in the past. The truth is you can never stop loving the person you loved and still move on with your life.
You can accept undying love as a virtue instead of a burden.
The ability to love is an admirable trait. The ability to love someone in spite of them not feeling the same way is an even more admiring trait.
Every relationship is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and test our limits in various aspects of life. One of them is loving without gain or interest because, in love, that’s possible.
Love, like many great things in life, will always partly remain a mystery.