Break Up and Divorce Are You Letting Go Or Just Giving Up? Rules Of Disengagement

Are You Letting Go Or Just Giving Up? Rules Of Disengagement

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” – C. JoyBell C.

After weeks and months of struggling, fighting through the pain and riding the emotional roller-coaster, you finally have to face that one moment that changes it all – the disengagement from your Ex.

You have done an arduous climb towards the top of the mountain called breakup recovery, and you face this final significant obstacle.

But there is a danger here, a small fork in the road. You have to choose between giving up and letting go.

The Advantages Of Letting Go Your Ex

When I say “letting go,” I mean the particular phase in your recovery, and not the actual, literal process.

Letting go is total acceptance, an internal process of consciously acknowledging that you CAN make it alone and that you do NOT need your Ex to survive emotionally and physically.

You say “good-bye,” turn around and walk away.


That's the ultimate climax of your recovery, (there are still a few steps missing, but from now on, you are pretty much fine).

Still thinking about your Ex? Click here to take the test to learn how long it takes to heal... and how you can speed up the process.

The benefits of “letting go” are evident:

  1. You release the anger towards your Ex and forgive them and yourself for everything that happened
  2. You have a clear idea why the relationship failed, and how to avoid that mistake in the future
  3. You know for sure that you will survive alone, (especially emotionally)
  4. You can think about the future in a positive way for the first time

Sounds good, doesn't it?

But there is danger ahead.

Many people going through a break-up think that they let go of their Ex at some point when in fact they do NOT.

What they really do is just GIVE UP.

What is the difference? I’ll come to that in a minute.

The Actual Process Of Letting Go

The process of disengagement from your Ex usually doesn’t happen automatically. You cannot decide to do so two days after your break-up and expect it to happen.

It doesn’t work this way.

You have to have all of the recovery phases behind you to make that step successfully. It is a linear process, the end of the detachment.

In other words, you will learn everything you need to make it happen while going through the painful phases.

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut.

And at this point, when you have nearly reached the top of that metaphorical mountain, you must convince yourself that you are ready, and make a conscious effort to release your Ex.

Because if you do not, you are in danger of avoiding this crucial step and taking the easy way out … which is giving up.

This is when we leap into a new relationship before we are ready to do so, or we make the decision that we will always love them secretly, that no one else could ever come even near our Ex.

It’s kneeling in front of the pedestal we’ve put our Ex on.

Many of us make this mistake, and it’s the #1 reason that people suffer way longer than they really should.

“Giving up” means, in fact, to stagnate out of fear, as opposed to having a little courage and freeing yourself from the chains of your Ex.

It’s avoiding having to face the ultimate solution and taking measures of avoidance instead.

Let Your Ex Go – Here’s How

“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a
part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.” – Steve Maraboli

Letting go will prepare you for the next step, which is finding someone new or simply living the life you want, being emotionally free:

Letting go will bring you freedom you haven't dreamed of. Click to Tweet

It will give you confidence and strength to endure the rest of the journey. You reclaim your self-esteem and identity.

There are many ways to start the process of letting your Ex go, but coaching since 2005 have taught me a few secret ways that are most effective, (I teach them in the “home-study version” of my coaching).

One of them is the “farewell ceremony.”

Here’s what you do.

You write a letter to your Ex that you do NOT send.

You address in this letter why the relationship was important to you, maybe how you miss them, how you realize that it’s finally over, how you forgive them and yourself, and how you’ve learned that to survive you must let go of them.

Make it personal, emotional, but let it have one sole purpose – to thank them for the good times and to say goodbye.

Now take this letter along with an item that you love and which is connected to your Ex, (a gift, a photo, something emotional). Take these and go to a nearby river.

Position yourself in the middle of a bridge, (look for a place where there’s no one around), read the letter you wrote out loud and say “goodbye [name], I’m letting you go!” .

After you do that, throw that item into the river and burn the letter.

Ok, I know how this sounds … a little ridiculous and melodramatic. But don’t judge it before you try it. I can almost guarantee you that it will help you.

It has helped thousands before you, so what is the harm in trying?

As in many times during your recovery – don’t analyze it, just do it.

How To Know When You are Ready To Let Go

It is almost impossible to give a precise time-frame as to the when you are ready for this step.

It depends on many factors. Mainly on the work, you have done throughout the previous phases.

It could be after two months, or after a year.

You are probably ready to let go of your Ex when you:

  • have successfully completed the 60 days of No-Contact
  • no more feel the urge to contact your Ex
  • no more feel the need to resolve things with your Ex
  • have an idea what went wrong in your relationship
  • feel that the fear of bumping into them is much less
  • can handle alone time much better, being alone doesn’t feel awkward anymore
  • have learned to control an upcoming negative thinking process
  • feel that the pain is more or less manageable

When all of the above applies to you, then you’ve done A LOT, and you’ve come very far.

Now would be the time to do the letting-go work, to prepare yourself for the last step, “The Re-Opening,” a leap into a new life, as I call it in my coaching.


“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday's gone. There's nothing you can do
to bring it back. You can't ‘should've’ done something. You can only
DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new
day!” – Steve Maraboli

There is a point in your recovery – a critical point – where you need to consciously let go of your ex-partner.

You have to finalize your recovery by resolving everything that needs resolving.

Forgive them, forgive yourself, be thankful for the times you’ve had, understand what you have learned about the relationship and yourself, say goodbye and RELEASE them.

Disengage yourself from your Ex, and free the path for a new and bright life with all that comes with it.

Then you will stand at the top of that huge mountain, look back at the arduous path you’ve taken feeling pride and confidence from what you’ve accomplished.

At this moment, you will realize that all the suffering, all the tough times, had their purpose. It made you stronger, wiser and closer to the person you really are.

For that, you will be thankful … and so proud.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

  • My Ex is a Good Person says:

    So I called my ex this weekend to tell him I needed to block him on social media and other online channels. I cannot stop thinking about him and keep checking up on him. I also told him that although we agreed upon becoming friends one day, I would have to let that go too. It seems as if the only way to not give up but let go is to cut all strings. Even future made up strings.

    But its hard, its so hard. Although he broke it off he stills holds on to the thought that we will be in each others lives. He is very monogomous, not just physically but emotionally as well. To him I am still the only one he told me. We love each other dearly but we make each other lose ourselves. We have hurt one another very badly and 5 months after the break up (4,5 years togheter) we are still picking up pieces. Its hard to hear ho badly we have broken each other, its hard to tell someone that friendship is off the tables when it gives them hope. And it gives me hope too. It makes me happy to think about us staying close. I just know that way I wont get anywhere. I dont know why I’m writing all this. I just need to tell some people I guess. I find it hard to read comments about exes that were bad people for others. My ex is not a bad person. He is a troubled and difficult guy but how can you be angry when someone has tried but just cant? (Not that I havent been angry-Ive had my “fuck you asshole” month as well). Same for myself Ive tried, but I am just not capable of some things. We are both imperfect people and even more imperfect for each other. I wish him all the best though. I really want him to have a good life. I just don’t want to lose myself for him anymore. Its so much better to be alone than lonely with someone else. Now I will do at least 60 days NC or longer until I no longer feel the need to have him in my life.

    I think there’s just one question I have. If we belong in each others lives I can trust that we will meet again right? If it really has to be that way it wouldnt be a problem to let go because without trying or fighting it will happen? I guess Im scared to truly let go.

  • Riverways says:

    This made me laugh (while still crying). I’m a river advocate. I can burn the letter but I cannot throw crap into a river.

    How about instead throwing it into a trash can, recycle bin, or even GO physically to your local landfill and chuck it into their crusher machine?

    Please don’t litter in your river, especially that crap from your ex.

  • Can anybody tell me what to do? I want to die.I cannot handle this pain. I loved her so much.I did everything she asked me to do I swear I was always there for her. Not once did I let her down. She used to tell me please never change and never leave me and I promised her I would always be there for her and I was. Then suddenly she started talking less to me.Late night phone calls which lasted a good 3-4 hours changed into 10-15 minute texts per day. I didn’t know what to do. She said she had some problems but I told her I was there for her..yet she kept pushing me away. I cannot explain how much that hurt and how much I used to cry. Once I asked her if she loved me even a little so she said No not yet..but if I spend time with you obviously I will eventually love instead of giving up I stayed with her and gave her everything I had..every single day. Now 2 days ago we talked after almost a week and I felt really good..I told her my mood was much better and everything felt good again. She told me not to be dependent so much on her and not to prioritise her. But she didn’t understand that she was always my only priority. I asked her why she was saying all this and then she told me that she liked me as a human..that I was a really good man..but she didn’t love me..she didn’t feel anything for me. I mean how could she? The times we spent together for 5 months..we used to talk about marrying each other all the time..I mean we’re still only 20..but I was committed to her. Then she tells me this. I cannot explain how I felt. I asked her how could she play with my feelings like this..she said that I was the one who took things the wrong way..there was nothing like this between us. I cry everyday and everynight..I am over and over reminded of all the things she used to say and then what she just said..I don’t know what to do I just want to die..And the greatest pain I’m feeling is that I cannot be away from her because we are in the same class in the same I cannot avoid her. I don’t know what to do.. If I ever saw her ..I would not be able to stop crying ..let alone if I saw her talking to boys. Can someone please help me..please 🙁

  • illuminating says:

    How to vent out emotionally without contacting him? write letters to some fake email ID? or?

  • It’s time to letting her go for good…I’ll write the letter, there’s so much i wanted to say, almost ten years of pointless suffer, thank you. You helped me a lot.

  • This is going to sound absolutely insain but,…I was in a longterm relationship where this person I had fell in love with, I ended up putting my heart & soul into loving this person and basically made a promise to myself that id never give up loving this person no matter how hard things got and that they were my drive of my entire life. All I am & all that made me who I am, came from me loving this person as much as I have. Its been now about 3years me & this guy havent been together, but we still keep in contact & are still close. We both made mistakes in finding other people & then realized it wasnt what we wanted. We still talk about the past to eachother & how we used to be. Im not sure how my story is going to end…but I know deep inside my heart, if two people havent let go & its already been years they havent been together & they still are thinking about it, then maybe they are meant to be. Maybe breaking up & forgetting the person isnt really the way to go. Maybe the right way to go is to just follow your heart instead of ignoring it. I hope the day comes where im happy & I end up with him. I cant let him go & I dont think hes ready to let me go either. Maybe this is my happy ending. Im not going to give up on my heart or the one true person I love, I cant imagine it, that is why I cant do this.

  • Trustedbestfriend says:

    Hey, I’m here to help everyone here who is in dire situation of a break-up withdrawal syndrome. A living dead life.
    My bf broke up with me a few days ago and during the first 2 day, I tried to contact him again to mend the relationship but to no avail. I deleted all the photos and put aside all the gifts he gave to forget him.
    It was really the toughest days and I know most of you will agree the feeling of loss and regret. I tried to think and think, and came out with a conclusion.

    Dependence of others for happiness is the cause of hurt and loss.

    Many of us, in a relationship, depends on your other side to be there for you, encouraging you and give you happiness. You tend to rely on them so much that you feel so dark and lost after the break-up. You’ll want to go back to where that light has shone for you.

    I was still confused and dark yesterday and start to chant, going online to search the meaning of that chant but came across another chant that my ex taught me before. Heartache, I can’t bring myself to forget him because he’s always the one who light my path and lift me up when I’m down. Since that chant reminded me of him, I remembered the poem I read written from Lang Leav: Angel.

    It says that some point of your life you meet an angel who lights your path but warning- do not fall in love with him for he’s there not to save you but to teach you to save yourself. The halo and angel will leave him and you’re all by yourself, becoming the light for others who are as desperate as you were. It’s dark surrounding you now especially when you just broke up, but remember: it’s dark because the light is in you, you can’t see it but others can.

    I’ve come to acknowledge the fact that the angel left him and he’ll be a total stranger to me. However, the angel legacy will still be in me, just not in the future. I think this is called letting go. Now, I’m more comfortable with seeing his gifts because those were the PAST angel’s gift to let me learn to be independent.

    This also made me learn one thing about love, don’t mistaken love with dependence. There’s a quote saying about authentic love: “I’m 100% fine without you, but 100% better with you.” Try to say this and you’ll get better.

    Feel free to reply me. Thank you, I hope I helped.

    • How are you doing now?
      Great post. Thanks.

  • Jessica Valencia says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I felt some type of peace of mind on reading it. I didn’t want to believe in the betrayal, but I guess its true what everyone has told me. I should have never played with fire. I will do as it said here and let go… It will be a process but I will forgive him and myself for allowing it to happen. I should have known better.

  • i went thru the same phase . all on- off relationship and got myself hurt very badly . he wud say he will be friends only to understand each other better so to make a fulfiiling relationship but i realized that the problems in the relationships were overloooked, i was just continuing to fill my sorrow and loneliness , i have taken recovery phase seriously and determined to make myself happy 🙂 thanku eddie

  • Ooooh girl, how badly I wished she comes back. She even kept me in that loop of hoping by saying certain things about friendship and keeping her doors open that maybe one day we will get back together.

    After few weeks and some shit talking on both sides she started hating me so much that she was not even able to say hi and I was the reason she hated all the men.
    I wanted to make everyhing better but the more a tried the more messed up it all became. I wish I had the will to just shut up and let it flow and then go. I would have save myself a lot of pain. You cannot make anyone like or love you.

    If you really love someone you should be able to let go. Love is not an ownership.
    It took me quite a while to accept the fact that she is not coming back. You cannot un-love in matter of days. It takes time but it is possible.

    I said to myself that this is the way it is. I accepted that I cannot change it. That it happened for a reason although I did not know that reason at the time but in due time I will get to know. It would happen anyway and if we are going to be back together again it will happen but I cannot speed that up. I started to focus more on myself on what I want and did not get in that releationship. Start learning how to love yourself more cuz I did hate myself at that time. Step by step, day after day, the intensity of the feelings will lower.

    Just realize that you do not have to lose that person completely forever. That was what worried me the most at the time. I did not want to lose her forever. She is quite a nice person and a friend now. Though I do not love her anymore I am glad that she is still around can talk to her but just not in the way I used to when we dated. She no longer hates me and I bet that she realizes now as well that I am not such an asshole as she used to think cuz of the bad break up.

    However, keep the no contact. It is about you right now, it is about you getting better. It does not mean that you will not see him or talk to him ever again. Give yourself enough time to get over it. Trust me, in due time you will start seeing things differently. I cried like a baby the first week after the realization that we are not getting back toghether anytime soon. Guess what? It helped a lot.

    I promised to myself that I was going to get over it no matter how long it was gonna take or how hard it was going to be. I made a challenge out of it just for myself. My personal goal. I knew I was gonna feel like shit and that there were going to be bad and good days but at the end I will prevail. It was not my first break up. I realized that after each break up no matter how bad I felt at that time someone new came by who was more loving, who adored me and wanted to be with me. Why should it be different this time? All I had to do was let go off the love for her and discover love for myself. The very same love that I will be able to give and share with someone new.

    • Wow thank you so much for that:)

      It really helps when someone puts things into perspective. I pretty much only stopped crying all the time about 2 months after the breakup. I was pretty devestated. I haven’t cried in about 2 weeks.

      I think I just finally said to myself, ok enough is enough. I have to get my shit together. I have to push myself to be pro active in this whole moving on thing.

      I think that’s a big thing I struggled with at the start like you said was that I was losing this amazing person in my life. I have no anger towards him but I know right now I’m not strong enough to see him or know what he is doing etc. I need to avoid it. I dont think we could ever be friends because I could never be ok seeing him with another girl.

      Anyway, thank you. Im glad you are in a better space too:)

  • Hi Nina,

    my ex-girlfriend name is Nina. Funny huh? 1,5 month is not that long of a time to start recovering. I can feel your pain. I could not stop thinking about my ex for a couple of months. It’s been more than 2 years and I do still think of her from time to time. However I no longer think of her in a way I used to after the break up. It is this made up image of our exes that feeds the pain. I can now see that my ex is not the same person as she was before. Sometimes I feel like a never get to know her for real during those 5 years. I do still like her but theres no love anymore. I used to love that made up image of her which is not real. There was little compatibility between us which I did not want to see for a long time but I do now. Life brings funny situations. This Friday I met my high school ex Katrin who I used to date for 2 years and I had a blast. For real. She was funny as hell, caring and just being cool to me which I did not expect at all. She is now engaged living her life with a cool dude, teaching elementary school kids. I was happy for her because she no longer lives with her abusive alcoholic father and she seemed to be happy finally. Then it hit me. I realized that my last ex Nina and I were never that compatible as I used to be with Katrin. I never had such great time laughing with Nina as I had for just one evening with Katrin. I know we got drunk and talked about the old times which I thought would never ever happen and yet it did.

    What I wanted to say is that you too will get that moment when you realize that your ex who dumped you was not worth it and you too were not that compatible as you thought.
    No contact is for you and nobody else. It is not easy. It’s freaking hard I know. I suffered for more than a year but you do not have to. Time will heal anything. You can extend the no contact for as long as you feel like it. Since you probably have more free time now find something that you like doing and keep doing it be it exercise (this one is great one, I lost weight, gained some muscles and my figure is the best I ever had) or any other hobby.

    You will think of your ex even when enjoying your activities but as the time progresses you will find that you think of him less and less. Just remember that there always is someone who likes you and would be happy to spend time with you. Even though after more than two years I do not date anyone I am starting to see that other girls do look at me and like me which I could not see at all after the break up. I do not feel like dating anyone yet but that might change real fast when I met someone who will attract me with her charisma. I do no longer go only after the looks. I want someone who can make me laugh and thats whats important to me.

    My ex Nina actually could not made me laugh at all. When I look back I can see now that we were incompatible as hell. I used to feed that dream of my perfect ex which never was true. There are so many interesting people out there that I wonder how I was able to date her for 5 years.

    There is nothing that you can know or hear of your ex that would make you better or happier at this stage. So keep the no contact for as long as you feel like. It will get better on its own. Just try to distract yourself from thinking about your ex. You have the right to feel miserable it is part of the process just do not let it overcome you. There are better days ahead.

    I thought I was never gonna be able to speak to my last ex but now I do meet her like every other Friday cuz she and I were never gonna give up our favorite venue just because of the break up and it really was an ugly one. I stopped going there right after the break up during my no contact just because I did not want to see her which always brought up all the feeling I did not want to feel but know I do no longer care. I can talk to her and so she can and I actually am thanks full that we are able to talk to each other.

    I wish her well even though she dumped me at the time I needed support and I hated her for that. Sounds weird eeh?? Whats important is the fact that when I meet her I do not feel nothing at all. I no longer love her and I think I never could lover her again. I am not attracted to her anymore even though she is very good looking. I do not know why though. There isnt that spark anymore.

    I struggled with the fact that she no longer is coming back as you do now but trust me you too will accept it one day and there will come a day when you will not be able to imagine him coming back because you will not want to. There is nothing wrong with you. Being dumped hurts as hell but it is still better than being with someone who does not love you and cannot see the future with you. It would be like dead by thousand cuts. You dont want that. While the pain is intense after the break up it will get better and there still is a future for you but not with the dude that dumped you which is way better than no future at all.

    This is your chance to change, to become a better more loving person. To grab the life by the balls. You’ll emerge stronger. Let the time work for you.

    • Thankyou so much for your reply.

      Everybody keeps telling me pretty much everything you just said so I’m holding onto that.

      I think I just struggle with the most that he doesn’t see me the way he used to anymore and he will never again. He will never say he loves me or look at me the way he used to.

      Breaks my heart.

      We were best friends before we got together too.

      I think you’re right about the avoiding knowing about what he is doing. I think it would drag the process backwards. Especially if I found out he was with someone else.

      How did you get rid of that hope that your ex might come back? I feel thats whats holding me back.

      Anyway thank you for your reply again:)

    • Stanley,

      Your posts has given me hope it is so thought worthy and insightful. What you write has so much truth and meaning to it. I am 2 months into my break with the girl I was with for 6 years….im having ups and downs but slowly I am starting to rebuild myself up and feel confident about myself. It is still very early days for me of course and I have had no contact for 2 months apart from a letter she sent me and a text on xmas day. The hardest part is not knowing what she is doing, but then again im telling myself not to focus on her but to focus on me and what makes me happy and not to be someone that im not.

  • Im 1 and a half months into no contact. He broke up with me after 3 years together and told me he couldn’t see a future with me. I was heart broken, I still am.

    Do you think its ok I extend the time frame on no contact or should I be doing something else aswell?

    Im not feeling any happier. Im seeing a therapist and she thinks because I’m avoiding knowing absolutely nothing about my ex, that it might be harming my recovery. She thinks it keeps me sort of in denial so I dont have to know or hear the real truth and so it m4akez me think of all these worst case scenarios about what he is doing.

    I still have him on this pedestal and I dont know how to drag him down. I struggle not knowing what he is up to.

    I dont really know what to believe. I do avoid hearing nothing about my ex, I’ve told all my friends to not tell me anything because they still have him on facebook etc. Because they are sort of still half friends. It makes me sick to think he has kissed or been with someone else, even though I have no idea if he has.

    I don’t think I’ve learned to accept he isnt coming back and I dont know how to. I dont know how to let go.

    I thought no contact would help me, but I’m just miserable. I know I wont contact him again. I know that much. But I just am struggling without him in my life. I think about him all day everyday. Its exhausting.

    I love him.

    Can someone help me with any tips?

  • Hi Eddie,

    I wish i found your site 1,5 years ago when i was suffering the most. It hurt like a bitch but did not have to if i had not done it so hard on me myself. Its been two years since she dumped me but its way better now. I still like her as a person but dont love her anymore.

    Today i did the ritual and it felt like a huge stone left my shoulders. I really feel free now in spirit. It feels great. Though i now iwill still like her cuz she is not that bad of a person i no longer feel attached in any way. I know i can love again. Love my single life, my free time, my dreams and the future which i can now see in a totally different-free way. Thank you for that.

    To the rest of all you sufferers. It is doable! You can dettach. You can unlove yor ex. It takes time but it is so worth it! You will be able to let go for real. You will be able to love not just yourself no matter how much you hurt someone, no matter how much you regret, but youll be able to love your life, your options, your new future waiting just for you and you only!

    Time is a great healer let it work for you. You all are unique and there always is that special someone who will be greatfull that he she met just you.

    Dont give up and know that you too will be able to let go and let life and love come back to you 🙂

    • Arun Kumar says:

      Hi Stanley,

      Thanks for the inspiring comment. Keep it up.

  • I am recently going through a break up within the past couple of days. I was with this man for two years and we have had a very rocky relationship. When I first met him he was living in very bad living situation, very disgusting living place and his parents were not accepting of his coming out as gay and me being his first boyfriend. He had never been sexual with another man. We moved in together very quickly within five months and everything seemed good then we realized differences about each other that we didn’t know but we loved each other so it was something we both assumed that we would just work through. As time went on he told me that he didn’t feel like I was the one for him and that he has never been with other people (sexually & dating wise) to go out and experience life and find out who he was as a person. I asked him to try and work things out for months and he did and finally he told me that he didn’t want to be together with me anymore because it wasn’t fair to me that I was giving 100% and he couldn’t give that to me! We ended up fighting and tears and heartache for the last 5 horrible months of our relationship then we finally parted ways and literally within days he had already slept with another person and after reading this article it has given me the strength to post this and just let it out. He doesn’t wanna see me anymore and I get that because he doesn’t think i’m the on for him so I am doing all I can as a person to let him go and its hard. This site has been extremely helpful. Thanks for the Help.

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