If you’re finding it hard to forget about someone, you’re not alone.
Many of us have gone through a breakup and tried our best to move on, only to feel the person still lingering in our hearts and minds long after the relationship ended.
Breakups can leave a lasting impact, whether by romantic partners or friends. It’s not always the breakup that lingers, but the hundreds if not thousands of little memories about that person, the what-ifs, and the what-could-have-been.
Still, even though it’s hard to forget about someone, it’s undeniably essential to move on and live your life, to get out of your head and back into the center of your life.
Some of us spend months, even years, upset over a former lover or friend and fail to see how life is knocking on our door every day to be present, to release the past, and engage with life in the here and now.
Constantly thinking about how to forget someone you’ve parted ways with leads to thought loops and may spiral into a depression if left unresolved. When we learn to let go of the past, we prime our hearts and minds to live here and now.
That person who has left is now part of your past, so don’t let them rob you of your present moment joy. Only in the present can we cultivate new relationships, make new memories, and, most importantly, strengthen our relationship with ourselves.
Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll explore ways to help yourself leave that person in the past, and finally move on with your life.
How to forget someone
Forgetting someone and moving on isn’t supposed to be easy. Still, we can make it easier by implementing the helpful tips below.
Remember that everyone recovers from relationships at their own pace, so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel it’s taking you a long time to move on.
The tips below are gentle reminders to move on and live your life fully – something we often forget when dealing with an emotional loss.
1. Try to accept the situation
The most fundamental aspect of forgetting about someone and moving on is acceptance of the situation at hand. We cannot begin the relationship recovery process if we don’t accept that this person is no longer in our lives like they were before.
You may not fully understand why you have parted ways, which is fine. Sometimes it takes months or even years to understand why a relationship didn’t work out finally.
In the meantime, don’t torture yourself by ruminating and obsessing over the fact. Try your best to accept this person is gone, as hard as that may seem.
Even though it hurts, acceptance is the first step to healing.
2. Forgive yourself for holding on
It’s too easy to turn your anger, disappointment, and sense of loss inward.
You may blame yourself for the loss of this person, or you may be harsh on yourself lately for not having gotten over them yet.
Go easy on yourself. You’re human, and any complex or confusing emotion you have has been experienced before.
Self-forgiveness is just one of several critical aspects of a healthy, self-loving relationship with yourself.
Practicing self-forgiveness will help you move on from this person in particular but will also help you release other emotions and clingings that no longer serve you.
3. Let go of strong reminders
It’s tough to forget about someone if reminders of them surround us.
Sometimes these reminders, like an item of clothing, a photograph together, or a blanket, help us feel like this person is still around, but ultimately offer short-term soothing followed by the onset of emotional pain.
It’s wise to help yourself move on by ridding yourself of strong reminders of this person. It may seem rude or inconsiderate to throw things away, but your priority should be your health and well-being, not sentiment.
4. Spend time with loved ones
While you’re trying to practice acceptance and self-forgiveness and helping yourself move on by ridding yourself of reminders, help yourself even further by remembering other important and meaningful relationships in your life.
Regarding romantic relationships, we can get so consumed by that partner that we forget about close friends and family members. Seek out those you love and trust and spend quality time with them.
One of the best things about spending time with close friends and family after a breakup or the end of a friendship is that these people know you the best and so can often tell when you’re feeling ‘off.’
Being around trusted loved ones helps you talk about your feelings in a way that gets them off your chest, which goes a long way in helping you move on.
These people can also offer you enough positive feedback so that you can remember that you are loved and worthy, something we often forget when we miss someone.
5. Create new memories
Find fun, exciting things to do with friends so that you can create memories instead of replaying old ones. A new hobby, something that excites or interests you, may be precisely what you need to move on.
The important thing is that you get moving, open yourself up to new experiences, and try to be active.
Try new hobbies, go on a few dates, or get out in nature as much as possible.
Given that the end of relationships may bring on depressive symptoms, give yourself the best chance of staying above water by staying active and engaged with your life.
In this age of information, it can be hard to forget about someone. If you follow this person on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social platform, you probably get regular updates about their life.
How are you supposed to forget about and move on from this person if you always see their posts?
Be honest, and ask yourself if you want to forget about them. If your answer is yes, then consider unfollowing their socials.
That idea may seem daunting at first, but it’s likely to bring you peace in the long term.
The same applies to your friend group.
Of course, you shouldn’t throw away a friendship just because they are mutual friends with an ex-partner or friend, but cultivate friendships that have nothing to do with that relationship if you want to give yourself an easier time moving on.
7. Purge your emotions
Sometimes it’s hard to forget about someone because we have a host of complicated emotions and feelings about them that we haven’t fully explored or expressed. As such, it can help to carry out an emotional purge.
This may be sharing our feelings with trusted friends and family members, but others may not always be there or be able to listen when we need them.
Fortunately, we can help ourselves process and release our emotions on our own, too. Journaling is a scientifically proven method of increasing our awareness of our emotions and ultimately releasing them to keep our mental and emotional health in check.
How to use journaling to move on
To begin journaling, find a notebook and pen and set aside five to twenty minutes where you won’t be disturbed. Set a timer and commit to writing for that time.
Start writing by putting pen to paper and free writing about whatever comes to mind, oriented around the difficult or confusing feelings you have about the person in question.
Don’t hold back on your thoughts. Free writing can bring up daunting and complex emotions and realizations, but this is the time to explore.
Don’t worry about sounding ‘crazy’ or ‘dramatic.’ Any feeling that comes up is your right to feel and is not something you need to deny or suppress. Remember that this journaling exercise aims to help you release those nagging thoughts affecting you and finally release them.
When time is up, stop writing, pause, and take a moment to check in with yourself. Breathe, acknowledge your brave self-exploration, and check in with how you feel. You can re-read what you wrote if you like, but you don’t have to.
The next step is to perform a ‘letting-go’ ritual, which can easily be achieved by burning the piece of paper on which you wrote.
Find a nonflammable area, such as your garden or anywhere concrete, and set the paper alight. Acknowledge the purging of your emotions and the symbolism behind the burning of the paper.
How to unlove someone
Is it ever possible to stop loving someone? Sometimes when we have to move on from a person we once were madly in love with, we wish with all our heart that we could just stop loving them.
The problem is that it’s tough to change those loving feelings. However, it’s possible to reframe your perspective on what love means so that you no longer suffer from it.
It may take time, patience, and plenty of trial and error with the advice outlined above, but it’s possible.
So, if you want to ‘unlove’ someone, focus instead on loving yourself more. Love yourself more so that even if you have loving feelings toward this person, you still put yourself first.
That means you take care of yourself, prioritize your needs, and value your time.
When you genuinely love yourself, you don’t waste your precious time ruminating on negative feelings, obsessing, and yearning for someone who isn’t for you.
If you notice yourself doing these things, you will seek out opportunities to distract yourself, talk about your feelings with loved ones, journal and reflect, exercise, meditate, or do anything else that helps you feel grounded and present.
It’s completely normal to feel stuck on someone, to think about them all the time and wish for them to come back into your life.
However, taking care of yourself and your mental and emotional health is essential so that you can show up for yourself and those who love you.
Holding on tightly to someone no longer in your life distracts you from what’s happening in the here and now. The longer we hold on, the less likely we are to see all the other wonderful, inspiring, and life-affirming things that are abundant in our lives.