Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Attention: The information provided in this forum is intended for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
How To Stop Loving Someone
avatar
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
You can't stop thinking about him or her. They don't return your phone calls or texts; or they are outright mean to you - but you still love them. The relationship is bad for you, but you can't quite let go.


If this describes you and you want to end the relationship - but are not quite ready to do it - here are some tips that you might find helpful:


  • Remind yourself often of the problems.
  • Remind yourself of what you can gain by leaving.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and be compassionate toward them - much as you would do for a friend who was going through the same thing.
  • Enlist the help of friends to support your decision; people you can rely on when you are feeling weak.
  • Find ways to fill your time with supportive friends and meaningful activities.
  • Give it time; with time and nurturing you will heal and move on (hopefully to a healthier relationship).


This all sounds straight forward, but matters of the heart never are. It always takes time, effort, and a willingness to work through the complications of your particular situation.


If you have struggled with a broken heart and have tried even just parts of this approach, how have they worked for you? Have other things helped you let go? What would you tell a friend going through your very same dilemma?
Reply
FirstPrevious12NextLast
 
avatar
gd9900 responded:
Leslie - I was about to start a discussion regarding this very topic. I'm struggling to let go, to stop loving him. Married 11 years, together 14. It's just not that easy...as you alluded to. It is much harder knowing he doesn't want to be married, yet he's dragging his feet to file or move in that direction. I don't want to be the one to do it...not what I want after all. I know it sounds silly, I'm just not convinced it's over between us.

I do see the benefits of letting go and moving on, I'm not ready to do that. I get the feeling he isn't either - I guess that's why I'm having a hard time letting go. In the meantime I am practicing compassion with myself, and reaching out to ppl. Although it's been kinda rough because I don't have any close friends who have experienced a divorce. But my friends are supportive just the same. I come here and other blog sites to gain perspective on divorce...it does help to know what others have gone through and handled things. I'm starting to participate in more activities for myself and with others. I'm starting to cook again and enjoy it - which feels great! But most nights I am lonely, I miss him, and its a hard void to fill. Not easy to sidetrack those thoughts or feel comfortable sitting with them.
 
avatar
Asynchrony replied to gd9900's response:
@gd9900 When reading this article, my mind never once applied it to married couples. Perhaps it may be because I am still unmarried, but deeper than that, I believe that the things above should apply only to "singles" who are in a relationship. I mean, no one should stay in a relationship that is physically/emotionally damaging, and sometimes people just do the WRONG things in a marriage that should not be tolerated.... but I believe that if two people got married on a foundation of mutual love and respect for one another, and they exchanged vows that tied them together for life, then they should work it out when times get rough! I don't believe that anyone should struggle to STOP loving his/her spouse... but rather, that a married couple should struggle to KEEP their love ALIVE! No marriage should end because "he ignores your text messages..."
For an unmarried person, however, "holding on" as described in the article above can just lead to an unhealthy relationship, which probably won't be a good foundation to lay for any future marriage...
I don't know if I've made much sense... but on a more personal level, I'm happy that you've found some joy in everyday life, like with cooking!
I pray that God helps you through your struggle...
 
avatar
gd9900 replied to Asynchrony's response:
Hi Asynchony - Thank you for your response and kind words. I appreciate the perspective you shared after reading what OP said, as well as with my response.

My husband and I did marry out of mutual love & respect for one another. We had a solid friendship that grew into a loving relationship over a 3 year period and we married with the belief we could get through anything together. Our marriage isn't in question over an ignored text message or phone call - but understand we've been separated almost a year now, and ironically the issue of miscommunications through texting and significantly less communication between us had come into play a few times.

Maybe my response would be more meaningful with some background. http://exchanges.webmd.com/relationships-and-coping-community/groupstory/14399123 if you follow this link you will find a discussion entitled "sad, sad, sunday..." that may give you an idea of where I was coming from.

I will never stop loving him...he is deep in my heart until the day I leave this earth. For my own well being I need to let go of and stop loving him as a husband because of where we are at now. That's where I struggle...I mean as silly as this sounds, we are still married. Even if we don't act it, neither of us wants to end it - and we both have very strong beliefs about being faithful to each other in our marriage. Neither of us wants out because of an external relationship. If you read the above mentioned blog hopefully you can see he is struggling with deep-seated issues that are causing unhappiness in his life. This wasn't an easy choice for him to make anymore than it has been an easy thing for me to accept. Because of those things it may be a while before we move in a direction of resolve - I believe this is "our" way of working through the rough times. Where we will finally end up is still yet to be seen.
 
avatar
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to gd9900's response:
gd9900, I can see how my blog entry both applies and does not apply to your situation. My perspective on this, which I think matches yours, is that you may need to find a way to let go of your marriage, though not necessarily stop loving him. I can totally understand how that would be difficult to accomplish, though a healthy (and do-able) goal.
 
avatar
Glysomed responded:
I think reading books on how to recover helps
 
avatar
Glysomed replied to Asynchrony's response:
that's a gd reply!
 
avatar
martini917k responded:
25 yrs ago I met a girl. We were extremely passionate. We were asked to leave parties because we couldn't keep our hands off each other. 3 yrs ago we found each other on facebook. We are both divorced. We met. The passion was even stronger than when we were young. We dated torridly for almost 2 yrs. We love each other. I ended it badly about 1-1/2 yrs ago. I have tried to forget & move on. For the last 6 mos I have been unable to clear her from my mind, it has prevented me from acting on a "sure thing". I recently found she was spending time w/ an acquaintance(also from 25 yrs ago) & it sent me into a spiral. I have had to return a picture she gave to me. I want her back(I think)(I at least want to talk about it). I think of us growing old together. There is a D/S component to our relationship. This makes it even more stressful, almost addictive. I sent her the picture & enclosed 2 short notes expressing my love. She has said she will reply via e-mail. I am afraid of the e-mail(possible rejection). I am alternating between drinking myself unconscious & loading up on Atavan to get through life. We do have some issues that could become larger w/ time, one of the reasons I broke it off. I spend hours contemplating my decision & come up stalemate. What next?
 
avatar
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to martini917k's response:
Hard as it will be to do, you need to find a way to sit with your feelings and NOT self-medicate. If she does not want to get back together, you will need to do this to move forward in a healthy way (and not self-destruct). If she wants to give the relationship a try, you will have some difficult issues to work through, and this can only be done effectively if you are sober.

That said, there are many things that can help. Talking with friends, doing activities you enjoy and are meaningful, keeping busy socially, and most of all allowing yourself to have the feelings and seeing that they won't kill you (after doing this a bit, then redirect your focus to one of the other things so that you don't wallow in your misery). If all of this fails, you might try therapy to help you learn to handle your feelings in a healthy way-- in fact, if you know that you are unlikely to be able to work this through on your own, you would do best to start with therapy.

As far as what the next steps are for how to proceed with her, her response will obviously be a big guide in this.
 
avatar
scooterw3k replied to Asynchrony's response:
asynchrony my wife and i have been married 9 yrs. and 4 months. latley we have hit a rough patch that i cant overcome. we have been through some hard times but this tops it for me. i feel so insecure unattractive and just a bad person all around. my wife got really distant after her father passed away. we both took it hard at first but i looked to her for comfort and she looked to friends and our 3 daughters to distract herself so she didnt have to think of itm
i have tried still 15 months later and she is cold distant and pushes me away... only she nor any one else can see itm she acts happy and is nice at times. but she tlks so cold and heartless to me now not caring how she says things. i try to be intimate at least once a month and will plan it out before if i have to. because she is not attracted to me n e more i feel. but she says thats not true. but she always has a reason not to get close.
dont know what to do anymore to fix us. she is my world and i think i am greiving harder for her dad than she is and she was close... im so confused. she gives mixed signals too... help...
 
avatar
scooterw3k replied to martini917k's response:
martin i have to say i self medicate at times too. but its a fix for a minute but the pain is still there. we are still married but i dont know what else to try. i understand how ur coping tho...
 
avatar
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to scooterw3k's response:
When people get overwhelmed by certain feelings, they often do things to reduce those feelings. That's okay in the sense that it can get you out of the paralysis for the moment. The problem is when you do something that makes you less able to truly cope, that causes its own problems, or when you just remain avoidant. The key is to find a way to feel better for the moment and then approach the situation and your feelings in a more gradual or manageable way. So, for instance, some people use jogging or exercise as a way to reduce stress or manage feelings. When they do this for chronic problems or crises that need to be addressed, this is only really effective in the long term when they find more effective ways to approach the problem after reducing the intensity of their feelings.
 
avatar
Asynchrony replied to scooterw3k's response:
Hello Scooterw3k,

I think that what Dr. Becker-Phelps is saying is very true. It could be that your wife is feeling overwhelmed and just finding her own way to reduce those feelings. The problem might not be that she doesn't care, but maybe that she just doesn't know how to fully express herself right now. I believe that the best way to truly manage your problems is to realize that they are not your own, and to just turn them over to God in prayer. Now, I realize I use the word "just," but I know it's not always that easy, and in fact, this can be one of the hardest things to do. I feel like it is human nature to want to get a handle on things that we cannot always control on our own. Sometimes though, as we wonder longer and longer what we can do on our to fix things, we start feeling more and more desolate as no "quick solution" appears. I don't think that we are made to be filled with sorrow, but to be filled with happiness and joy through good times and in bad. I will leave you with some advice from Romans 12:9-12 that I hope will be encouraging for both you and your wife as well, should you decide to share this with her: "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer."
 
avatar
Prof1954 replied to gd9900's response:
gd9900- My wife and I are in the same boat as you and your husband. We have been together 30 years, married 26, love each other tremendously but I lost interest in sex a decade or so ago. I thought I had ED and even tho my urologists couldnt find anything wrong with me, they were happy to give me the little blue pills. My first urologist, head of the department and elderly, told me that sometimes after 20 years or so of folding each others underwear people just arent excited by their by-then so familiar spouse. I was so outraged that I stormed out of his office....but it turns out I think he was right. I told my wife that if she had to get a lover or something that I would understand, but after thinking about it a few days she said she loved me too much and didn't want to have sex with anyone else, and that she would "deal" with it and live without. We moved into different rooms, things were great for 10 years or so, at least from my perspective, as she is a lovely hostess, great cook, great taste in all things domestic (think Martha Stewart), we have the same tastes and values, etc. Then something hit me out of the blue....I was at a reunion and sparks flew with an old girlfriend, and we had a 3 years long distance, but torrid affair (my wife travels around the world a lot on business, away for 6 months of the year). When we were together, sex 2, 3 sometimes 5 times a day, with no blue pills. You can imagine how I felt like a virule man again after thinking I had lost it, but this opened up a whole new can of worms. I loved my wife like I my sister or mother I guess, and the thought of leaving he just seems wrong. My old girlfriend didn't want me to leave my wife just for her, but thought no sex was a pretty good reason. Anyway, I am still dilly dallying about leaving, and how to do it on good terms, but the thought of my wife crying kills me; but then again, the thought of not being with the girl I can have both love AND intimacy with kills me as well. My shrink has been working with me how to get up the courage to leave (my wife knows about the other woman, I told her...her words? "My God, you have finally met your soulmate.") Even so, I know from 30 years with her that her worst fear from her childhood is abandonment. Bottom line, I have tried all the things that Dr Phelps recommends to forget the GF, but I dream of her at night, wake up wondering what she is doing, think of her when I see art of hear music, anything and everything reminds me of her. The only thing that doesnt is NPR , so I do have some respite several hours a day. This all seems so silly, love that is, as I am 57 years old and never experienced it before. Part of me wishes I had never experienced it, but the other part of me thinks I should spend the few last years of my life relishing it.
 
avatar
Jeremy3456 replied to Prof1954's response:
Prof1954, your story is interesting because it confirms the notion that having a new partner, or at least new forms of sex, is a huge sexual stimulation. It's true in the animal world as well. Just when you thought late middle age might be catching up with you, you feel like a young man again simply by having a new partner. It sounds like you have some natural chemistry with this other woman too, which undoubtedly helps a lot.

That brings up the question, maybe your wife and you didn't have great natural chemistry to begin with? But that's water under the bridge now.

Reading your story from our armchairs (or desk chairs), I'm sure many people will be rooting for you to leave your wife on as good terms as possible and then enjoy a lively, lustful sex life with your new flame. But these things are easier said than done. My first concern would be the possibility that the thrill of having an affair, of enjoying your new partner without all the mundane responsibilities and familiarity of her being a marriage partner, is what keeps the lustful thrill going. If you left your wife and married this woman then maybe your mutual lust would also die down within a couple of years. I don't know if this definitely would happen or not; it's just something to think about. Maybe she would be a better partner because of that chemistry. Maybe marriages just wear out. I don't know.

Another thing that comes to my mind from your story is your wife's seemingly accepting reaction to this other woman. Is it possible your wife is also having an affair during her business travels? No one likes to think they're being deceived, but deception by definition means just that. Even if you have been vigilant, is it possible your wife has really been concealing her own affair(s) during her business travels for six months of the year? I would find it hard to believe that she would not have an occasional opportunity dumped in her lap.

Instead of looking at your situation in the all-or-nothing American model of marriage, cheating, divorce, etc., you should look at the French model. From what I understand, in France on-going affairs are common and are tolerated. It's not because the people there are reckless or promiscuous. It's because they understand the condition of marriages and sexuality just like your condition: familiarity and sameness has its comfort and practicality and is conducive to family life, and mistresses (or lovers) satisfy sexual needs that are temporary or at least compartmentalized. And it's not just France; most Mediterranean societies are like that to one degree or another. (In anthropology, monogamy increases the farther away you get from the equator and there are various reasons for this). And it's the compartmentalization of these mistresses and lovers that makes them so satisfying to enjoy, and so tolerable by spouses. In fact I wouldn't even call them "extramarital" lovers because in a way they are part of the marriage, even if the spouse has never met the other lover.

Bear in mind these relationships are done discreetly and the spouses don't have to know of the existence of a mistress/lover, although they often do. I always thought there's a mature, sophisticated style to these arrangements and they keep a certain moral balance between shame, respect, thrill, tolerance and discretion. You could probably look up the unwritten "rules" of such relationships somewhere.

These types of relationships have their variations: "swinging" in the US, harems in the Arab world; and wanton random sex in some other ethnic groups.

For whatever reason your wife seems open to you continuing with this other woman. Perhaps marriages like yours are able to split non-sexual love and sexual love between two women. (or in your wife's case, two men?) It's noble of your wife to tolerate this (if that's what she's doing---maybe we need more information). I hope she's not doing it out of fear of abandonment.


Featuring Experts

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a well-respected psychologist, who is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotio...More

Helpful Tips

criticism hurts
In all that you do, please be careful when you criticize. Inconsiderate criticism is the Number 1 reason why couples split ... More
Was this Helpful?
0 of 4 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.