“In all the wild world, there is no more desperate a creature, than a human-being on the verge of losing love.”
Falling in love is easy. And, why wouldn’t it be? Who doesn’t love the intoxicating allure of a dopamine high? Falling out of love on the other hand? Ooh…Atticus had it right. Feeling love as it slips through your fingers will send even the steadiest of humans into a tailspin; clawing at whatever they can in a desperate attempt to keep hold of the love they managed to capture in this big, lonely world.
Whether love snuck up on you or crept up over the course of a long and intentional friendship, nothing feels better than being in love. The devastation you feel when it slips away is equally, if not more intense than when you fell, to begin with. It’s difficult to imagine not feeling the way you feel toward your Person… it’s familiar. It feels like home.
Love isn’t a switch that can be turned on and off at will. Falling out of it, or as I like to say… intentionally walking out of it and closing the door behind you… takes conscious effort.
So, how do we intentionally fall out of love? Here are my 9 tried and true ways to fall out of love intentionally:
1.) CEASE ALL CONTACT
This is the Golden Rule of breakups. If you are intentionally walking out of love, you CANNOT be in contact with your ex. Maybe one day you’ll make your way back to friendship, but today is not that day. Tomorrow isn’t that day either. In fact, I’m going to say for the next 60-90 days, it will not be that day. Love is an addiction, and you have to give yourself time to detox. Nobody got sober by continuing to take hits of heroin every day to ease the pain and discomfort of withdrawal. You’ll know you’re ready for contact/friendship when you are able to see them in another relationship, and not be sent into a fit of anxiety, sadness, and/or rage.
2.) Sell it, Box it, Smudge it Out
Rid your daily space of any and all reminders of your life together. This includes photos from around the house, from social media, from your phone, etc. If you have a bunch of relics all over your home of your life together, get rid of/sell what you can. Store the rest somewhere out of sight for now.
If it’s furniture or larger items you can’t get rid of, go to your local crystal shop, or go online and order a sage kit. Smudge everything and everyone left in your space. When I did this, I smudged every nook and cranny of my apartment and finished by smudging myself, and the cat. What a relief. Whether you believe in cleansing stagnant energy from your home or not, it’s a great ritual, and rituals are powerful. Make sure you crack your windows while smudging, otherwise all that negative energy is just going to circulate around your closed house.
3.) Write “The List”
Make a list of all the reasons your ex was wrong for you. I recommend doing this in a note on your phone for easy access. That way, if you’re having a moment of missing them, you can easily pull up the note and remind yourself of all the reasons you’re not together anymore. If you’re having trouble thinking of why they weren't right for you…think harder. You’re not together for a reason.
4.) Forgive Yourself
If your poor decision making was the main cause of the breakup, sit down with your journal, and explore why you did what you did. Forget about the fact that they left you because of it, that isn’t what is most important here.
• Write down what happened.
• What were you feeling?
• Why do you think it happened?
• What did you learn?
• What will you do differently going forward?
We all do regrettable things. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being human. Sometimes the person (other than you) who is most impacted by your mistakes, isn’t going to want you back in their life after they’ve forgiven you (if they’ve forgiven you). But here’s the thing… whether they ever choose to forgive you… is none of your business. It isn’t a reflection of how much you can or cannot grow from what happened. You have to forgive yourself. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to close the door on this chapter of love and be ready for the next one.
5.) Assessment Cleanse
If the breakup was mutual, or you initiated it, sit down with your journal and answer these questions.
• Why did you break up?
• How did your relationship come to this point?
• What felt like it was missing from your relationship?
• What have you learned?
• What will you pay more attention to next time?
• What will you do differently?
Taking the time to sit down and think/write about what happened will allow you the space to truly process. Going over it again and again in your mind isn’t going to do anything but give you a headache. Additionally, rehashing it with your friends a thousand times isn’t productive either. They will get tired of hearing about it, and likely won’t have a lot of useful advice for you.
Process quietly. If you’re going to talk to someone about it, choose your confidant wisely. People like to project and villainizing your ex isn’t going to help you get over her faster. Trust me, I’ve been there. Maybe they are a monster, but that isn’t your problem anymore.
6.) Identify and Break Routines
Go do things your ex never wanted to do with you. Take up a new hobby. Find new places to hang out if you run the risk of running into your ex at the old ones. Pick apart your daily routine and see where you can start changing things up. Little shifts can make a big difference. Your ex was likely the biggest part of your daily life. If you lived together, you undoubtedly had a rhythm. Be intentional about identifying what those little day-to-day habits were and start changing them.
Maybe it’s where/when you drink your coffee, or how you prepare your breakfast. Maybe it’s what side of the bed you slept on (hello, middle-of-the-bed sleeping!). If you didn’t live together, and you were used to starting your day with a good morning text, find something else to do rather than grabbing your phone the second you crack open that sleep crusted eye.
Have a meditation ready and waiting on your home screen for when you switch your phone on. Watch a funny or motivational YouTube video instead. Or, bypass your phone altogether. The second you turn off your alarm, put your phone back down and write something in your journal, or get up right away and start your morning routine sans text/social media scroll... I know, it's almost barbaric.
7.) Social Media Cleanse
Speaking of social media… it’s time to block your ex from all platforms. Again, this doesn’t need to mean permanently. If the two of you are on relatively good terms, give them a heads up that you need to create this level of separation for a while until you’ve healed from everything. It's not vindictive, it's survival. Again, it doesn’t matter who did what, or whose idea it was to break up. You have to be intentional about creating the space to heal.
8.) Identify Codependency
It's a must to recognize if codependency was at play in your relationship. If the break up has caused you to completely spiral out emotionally, and you’re being impacted physically (anxiety, deep depression, no appetite, insomnia, etc), you might’ve been in a codependent relationship. It’s okay to admit this. I’ve been there too. If you don’t know a lot about codependency, here’s an article to help you assess whether or not this is what happened. If you’re well aware the two of you were codependent, good for you. The first step to breaking the cycle is knowing it exists. Take out your journal again and dig into why.
• If the main source of your happiness was them why?
• What is keeping you from being happy without them?
• What scares you the most about being apart from them?
• If you’re worried more about the impact all of this is having on them, why?
• What is really keeping you from focusing on yourself?
• What are you avoiding?
• Codependency is fear-based. What are you afraid of?
• What do you fear most?
Completely remove your ex from the equation, because you can’t control them. In doing so, answer the question… What would make me the happiest version of myself? Intentionally walking out of love takes a strong shift of focus from your ex back onto yourself.
9.) Stop Looking for Closure. It's a Myth.
Let’s talk closure. When was the last time you went searching for closure from another person and got it? Try to remember a time that someone said some magic words and miraculously, you felt totally at peace with the relationship falling apart. Having trouble remembering? That’s because it likely never happened.
You are the only one who can provide yourself with closure. If significant amounts of time have passed since your breakup and you’re still angry at your ex, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s got nothing to do with your ex anymore.
Your ex isn’t responsible for your healing. You are the only one capable of shifting things around in your heart and mind. They can’t provide you with closure, or any answers you think might help. Trust me. More often than not, answers to all those questions you’ve got bouncing around in your brain are only going to lead to more questions.
Whatever forgiveness needs to happen… you’ve got to provide it for yourself. After all, the terrible things my ex did came to light, and I realized most of our relationship was a lie, I got an “I’m sorry.” I even got some tears and something that closely resembled genuine emotion. But, I didn’t feel even a tiny bit better. “I’m sorry” doesn’t fix what happened. Somethings cannot be undone. The faster you’re able to reach acceptance, the faster you’ll be able to move on with your life.
Every single thing, good and bad, that has happened in your life, can be utilized for your benefit if you allow it. You cannot control everything that happens, but you can control your reaction. You can control what you choose to take away from each painful event.
I hope you’ve realized by now, that the key to falling out of love, is being intentional. You can’t simply wake up with a hope and a prayer that today is going to be better than yesterday. It’s time to start handling all of this heartbreak purposefully. If you choose transformation, this time in your life can be the catalyst to epic amounts of positive and powerful change.