How to let go of someone you Love

Allow me a moment to share an analogy I recently constructed for a recent relationship’s end, so that I may better address the question of how best to let go of someone you love:

It has been my experience that there are varying degrees of love and the vast majority are like the sands of the ocean they ebb and flow with the various cross currents throughout a wide range of depths but have no real lasting impact in our lives. These types of love the infatuations, the casual pairings of convenience, the relationships based on sex these sorts of emotions change on a dime and wash away with little to no resistance as quickly as they arrived.

Then there are the types of love that are more like archipelago like small but relatively substantial islands born from unpredictable internal conditions resulting in unique and individual environments. These types of love the irresistible tawdry romps, the heart-pounding whirlwind romances, the illicit love affairs these sorts of emotions, whether anyone likes it or not, experience volatile changes on a regular basis that almost always bring extreme modification to the entire substructure (no matter how many cycles of growth and renewal they endure) until eventually the internal fires burn themselves out.

And then there are the rarest kinds of love, the ones that are like continents. These kinds of love the selfless caring of the gentle altruistic relationships, the deep passion and commitment of the best-friend partnerships, the mutual enlightenment of the uplifting edification relationships these sorts of emotions are as epic as the annals of history and as the cradle of civilizations. They experience both incredibly slow and unbelievably abrupt changes that are always profound no matter how they occur. The slow changes come through the weathering of seasons, through the miracle of evolution, and the movement of elements across the surface of the deep; while the abrupt changes occur through convulsive earthquakes suddenly rearranging land masses, through painful eruptions destroying everything in the their paths, and through devastating storms that sweep across the skies sowing nightmarish destruction until the winds finally dissipate. But through it all every movement, every minuscule impact, every monumental upheaval is a single step in a continuing series of steps that make up the larger circle of renewal.

These are the best ways I can explain the various types of love a person can experience in life. The first set is the most common type of love, and almost always is the first type we experience. It is fleeting, unimportant, and because it is so common far too many people spend far too much of their lives believing it is the only kind of love there is, never having any idea that the other types they hear of are not extensions of what they know; but are completely different experiences. That is, until they finally experience the difference for themselves and come to understand why their previous relationships just never seemed to work out no matter how serious they were about them and no matter how much emotion, effort, and devotion they put into them. These are the experiences encompassed by most people’s advice on dating and relationships.

The second set is the sort of love we tend to experience less frequently than the first set and always with perpetually higher levels of the same superficial emotions as the more common relationships, which makes us believe we have a much more significant love than what we experienced so often prior to this. If these relationships last long enough we might begin to develop some amount of profound emotions but in doing so we build our hopes and expectations upon a volatile and unpredictable foundation. When the tumultuous thrill ride comes to its end we lament the loss of such a great love as if we never could have anticipated there ever would have been an end. If we’re not too attentive we will seek these sorts of relationships on a regular basis supplementing them with the more common kind during dry spells, because we let ourselves believe that the constant high intensity emotion is what makes for true love.

The third set is the sort of love we dream of our entire lives. It is what we see in an elderly couple who still goes out on dates. It is what we hope our own parents had for all, or at least most, of their marriage. It is what we want every serious relationship we ever have to potentially end up being whether we want to admit it or not. It is the sort of emotion that you cannot manufacture, you cannot quell, and you cannot ignore. It is rarely convenient and always overwhelming. It is a universal harmonic that touches us at the most fundamental levels of our being and changes us in the most profound of ways. These are the emotions that are rarely detrimental though they are ever-changing at speeds as varied and complicated as Nature itself.

Just when we think the eruption that destroyed everything is proof we are at our end we look around and see the cycle of rebirth providing a healthier undergrowth and more well-balanced environment. Just when we think the jarring displacement of our world crashing in around us has left us lost in unfamiliar territory, we look at the strange new landscape before us and realize how long it has been since we joined hands and explored new horizons together. Just when we think the storms of emotional upheaval will blow away all that we had built, we find we should have been building from a different location anyway and end up so much stronger because of it.

This kind of love, when things seem the darkest, is really when it ends up shining the brightest if we can have courage to wait for it and the willingness to look for it together. When we are at our lowest these are the emotions that inspire us. When we are at are weakest these are what give us strength. This is the deep and abiding love that never falters though we may stumble if we forget to hold on to the rails or to watch out for the occasional bump in the road. The emotions are not always the same; they may seem to wither in one phase only to suddenly gloriously emerge from the cocoon you didn’t even know existed.

These emotions…these don’t turn on a dime. These don’t burn themselves out. These never fail.

I have had two continental loves in my life. What I learned with the loss of the first one is that if you have loved someone – and I mean truly loved, then the easiest part of the relationship’s end is letting go of your partner. I learned that true love has as its highest priority the other person’s happiness, so if by moving on your partner has found a better happiness; your heart will know it and will not be able to want anything less for him/her. What I learned with the loss of the second one is that the hardest part of the relationship’s end is in coming to terms with the pain rather than just dealing with it.

So the better question here is how to let go of your own pain. I believe the answer is that you don’t. You can only wait until the slow march of evolution transforms it. You see, the love never really disappears. Continental love stays with you the rest of your days, and one morning when you think of that person – instead of feeling the familiar grip of that overwhelming soul-wrenching despair, all you feel is a kind of a bittersweet lingering peace.

If you are ending a love, ask yourself which kind it is. If it an oceanic-sand type of love, know that you have not lost what you will not have again with another in due time. If it is the archipelagic kind, know that the intensity of what you had could never have lasted. If it is a continental love, however, my suggestion for coming to terms with that initial pain is that you should put into writing all the things you wish you could still convey to your loved one – then read it periodically until tears no longer form. At that point you well be on your way to the acceptance which evolution must have as its catalyst.