: 02 December 2013

How to Let Go of Your Ex (Finally!)

A lovely woman recently got in contact with me with a question that I’d like to address on a larger scale.
She asked, “Shelly, why am I painfully going back-and-forth with my ex-boyfriend? Why can’t I just move on!? My heart aches when I think about the life I’m missing out on because I’m holding onto something that doesn’t make me happy. Please help me understand why I just can’t let go.”

Wow. This is a big question. Ladies, you probably know what she’s talking about. Many of us have been there before…

If you’ve ever had the experience of not being able to leave a relationship (even though you know it’s the right thing to do), then this article is for you. In it I’ll discuss why it can be so difficult to leave certain partners, how to actually let go and make it through to the other side so you can attract a relationship that’s much better for you.

To begin, we have to understand the heart.

The simple and complicated truth is this: Once your heart deeply connects with another person, it can be very difficult to let him go. 

So difficult, in fact, that even if you know he’s not the right person for you, you still hang on because the connection is that strong.

This connection may only be felt in moments. Or perhaps it was felt years ago and hasn’t surfaced in awhile.

Regardless, just the fact that this heart-connection existed, makes it very hard to say goodbye.

Women remain attached to the person they’ve experienced the deepest love with so far. We accept this love, even if it comes with a ton hardship. We accept it, even if the person doesn’t feel like good fit.

I personally don’t like to pathologize this process; I don’t think it’s a simple self-esteem issue. Yes, of course, when you love yourself you won’t tolerate being treated less-than magnificently. But I also know that it’s more complicated than that…

I think in most cases this scenario exemplifies the strength and conviction of the heart.

We all have the capacity to feel deep love. When we exchange deep love with others, we see them in an incredible light. This is called unconditional love.

If you’ve shared a moment of unconditional love with another person, then you know how powerful the bond is. Unconditional love allows you to overlook human flaws, which is part of the magnificence of the experience.

That perfect moment is bliss! And… this perfection is not the whole story of the relationship.

The other stuff – the flaws, the humanity, the reality of whether or not the actually relationship works – are important details, too. One’s that get overshadowed by moments of pure, deep love.

Yes, you may have loved your ex unconditionally.
Yes, you saw him at his best!
Yes, those moments were damn, f-ing good!

And, yes, it’s true, he might not be the right man for you.

This is one of the most difficult learning experiences in relationships. Luckily, there’s a way through to the other side. Follow these steps to finally let him go:

1) Find love within yourself. 

You’ll hear me say this over and over again – it’s the foundation of everything I teach: the love within you is the answer.

Self-love will be your rock as you begin to separate from the love you felt outside of yourself, in him.

You will have moments of wanting to go back to you ex. In these moments you must call upon your strength within. Without it, it’ll be very difficult to say goodbye.

2) Grieve. 

I know you don’t want to, but there’s no skipping this step. Saying goodbye to someone you love is sad. It is. So cry. Cry a lot.

Luckily, if you feel unconditional love for your ex, that feeling never goes away. While the form of your relationship will change, your care for him will not. Remember that.

3) You have to know (it’s called faith, sister) that you can feel a deeper connection with another man (and eventually… you will).

You can love again! You can go further and deeper than you’ve ever been before. You just have to let go first, then the new love can come in.

I know you’re scared that you may never feel that connected again. But trust me, you can and you will. Faith will take you a long way. Do not lose sight of what you want.

4) Feel your next man before he arrives. 

It’s much easier to leave a relationship when you have something better to look forward to (it sounds awful, but it’s true). While I think rebounds can be dangerous (because you don’t want to avoid the grieving process), I also think there’s a way to usher yourself out of a relationship that no longer serves you. And that’s by imagining your next man before he arrives.

Ask yourself, “What type of man do I want to be with? What does he feel like? How is the relationship different than this?”

Then, when you get a clear picture of him, feel that new relationship in the depth of your being!

What you put your energy on, grows. By taking your energy off your ex and focusing on how good your next relationship will be, you will be guided out of your old situation and into the new one. The imaginary next man helps us leave relationships that no longer serve us. 

I know how hard this predicament is; I know you’ve struggled and you’re ready to let go. Trust me, you can.

You deserve to be in a relationship that is right for you.

If you’ve outgrown your relationship, I highly recommend practicing self-love, allowing yourself to grieve, strengthening your faith and imagining your next man before he arrives. These steps will help you say goodbye to the man that you once loved, and say hello to the next love of your life.

If you’re currently struggling or have ever struggled with leaving an ex, please leave a comment below telling us how you made it through the process. Let’s all support one another in finding the love that we truly want. xo


  1. Mary on January 5, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Am in the same situation trying to let go of someone who seems no longer interested in me

    • ggt on February 16, 2016 at 2:33 am

      Such a great article thank you Shelly! I have been through a year of grieving and have done a lot of imagining how truly satisfying it will be with the right guy, thanks for your encouragement!!!

      • Shelly Bullard on February 17, 2016 at 3:07 pm

        You’re welcome! xo

  2. Shelly Bullard on January 6, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Hi Monica,I’m sorry you are so devastated. I would be happy to help you, but we will have to schedule a session for that. Please let me know if you would like to do so.

    Sending love,

  3. Jenn on January 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Hello Shelly,So lost….. Hurting and shattered to pieces. I will take what you have shared and will give it my all and apply it to my life.
    Some days are better then others.
    I moved back to a place I believe was the biggest mistake of my life and now just don’t know what to do.
    Feeling so lonely…..

    • Shelly Bullard on January 9, 2014 at 6:06 am

      I’m sorry you’re hurting. Good luck to you and reach out for support. xo

  4. Lili on March 10, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you for this post. Ive been dealing with trying to get over someone for the past 5years. It is hard, there are days i wake up feeling great and then in an instance i can be overwhelmed by feelings of missing/wanting him. I dont think he is a bad guy its just like you said “he isnt the one for me.” The most difficult thing can be waiting for the next love to arrive but i do agree practicing self love and getting out and enjoying life helps a lot.

    • Shelly Bullard on March 10, 2014 at 11:59 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, love yourself and envision what you want for your next relationship. That will help a lot. xo

  5. Elizabeth on March 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Loved this, thank you so much. I was engaged to a man who left me at Christmas (on Christmas Eve… left me sobbing in front of my family.) I had to cancel my wedding, every last thing. It was only a couple months away. I lost a lot of money on it, too. And he’s played head games with me for the past few months coming in and out of my life, alternating between wanting me desperately and being incomprehensibly cruel. I finally gathered the courage to pull the plug. I’m grieving, big time, but holding onto all the light and love that is in my life. And holding onto the belief that love is real and I will experience it again, only better!
    Posts like this are so helpful. Thank you for what you do!

    • Shelly Bullard on March 16, 2014 at 12:02 am

      You’re so welcome. Lots of love to you. xo

  6. Hannah on March 17, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I really like the idea of fantasizing about your next relationship, thanks for that idea. I’ve been successfully dealing with a lot of past father abandonment issues that have, unfortunately, carried over into my current and past relationships. My guy is an amazing person and because he’s so amazing, I’m scared to let him go. I’m scared that it’s my past abandonment issues that makes me incapable of truly loving him or if, in reality, he’s just not the man for me. I’m working on self love and I’m wondering if I just need to be on my own and learning to love myself as opposed to looking for someone else to fulfill this unhappiness in me. But thanks for the articles, I love reading them!

  7. Christina P on March 21, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Good post. I will need this in the weeks to come.
    I love my boyfriend, but he’s just not right for me. For the past 2 years I haven’t been strong enough to officially say its not working, instead I’ve come up with several ways to make it last longer- even if its only miniscule better. But enough- its not getting better and I need to be strong for myself, and get back to being me. I will be reading your blog a lot and putting your advice to the test.

    Thank you.

    • Shelly Bullard on March 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Christina. Good luck and lots of love to you. xo

  8. Mickey on March 28, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Dear Shelly,
    Thank you. I met my ex at 14 and we both had this instant intuition that once we were officially together, that would be it, forever. We dated other people throughout Jr. High and HS and then his Senior year and my Junior, we made it official. By the end of my senior year, he was in the Navy, we got married, and I got pregnant on our wedding night. I truly loved that man with every fiber of my being. By the time I was 22, he had had a baby with someone else. A supposed one night stand. As I was his first, we were young, it was a one night stand, I grew up with out a father (and didn’t want this child to go through that. I decided we could make her the luckiest girl in the world by giving her more than just one parent that loved her, she could have 3 or four) and how much I still loved him, we tried to work it out. Just before Valentine’s Day the next year, we split. It was a hate filled (on his end) and fear driven (on my part) dispute over something irrelevant to this post. We stayed friends. He got a girlfriend. I became friends with her. By November, she got pregnant. He left. Her friends came after him. I was rebuilding my life 100 miles away, and he wanted to come be my roommate until he figured things out. I did put down ground rules, but I let him come stay. By Valentine’s Day, we were back together, officially. Sense a divorce hadn’t been done, it was a non-issue. That was 2005. Skip ahead to 2010. I’m out of college, and I am working. He gets fired from his job. He loses it or gives up, because in May we were fine, in June he took off for his parents’ place to work for them, back home. A hundred miles away. Says he will come home on weekends, doesn’t. All the signs were there. I just still had my “we can get through this long distance thing. We have done it before. Everything’s great!” blinders on. Just after our 11 year wedding anniversary, he made it super clear. He allowed me to “fight for our marriage” and said he would too, but (unsurprisingly he didn’t). I spent time I wasn’t working or driving 100 miles to see him, grieving. When a scary event happened on Dec. 12, I was alone. He didn’t care, or didn’t care the way I needed him to, but most likely both. By December 15 I was saved from the scary situation by a male friend and co-worker. Once I had grieved and gave my self closure, the right guy came along. He might as well have been on a white horse.

    Unfortunately there are still days when I think things like “I miss _______” (fill in the blank with something your S.O. does) and realize the ex was the one who did that. I used to almost break my heart all over again. Now, the only thing that really makes me cry over him or get heart broken over him is when I think about the initial betrayal, the “one night stand”. Now I just remind myself that it was the action in that blank above that I miss, not really him. Another person can do those same actions if we are open to them.

    Anyway, that is the “short” version of my story. I thank you for this article because you reminded me that it is not my “fault” , a bad thing, nor does it make me a bad person to have those moments. It just makes me normal.

  9. Lisa on April 12, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Thank you for this! Really great and encouraging advice and good tips that can be put into practice. I’m going through a very recent breakup, which is very much for the best, but have been beating myself up wondering why I stuck around for so long. It was amazing some of the time (loving, caring, kind) and horrible (abusive) at other times. There was no question that it had to end, but even given the circumstances, it was hard to leave. What you said about unconditional love makes so much sense! That we overlook the bad (even when we really shouldn’t).
    I do know that once we’ve experienced loving someone with our whole heart, we now know that we are capable of that, and will be able to do so again! 🙂 It’s a very encouraging feeling, and is something to look forward to! With the right person. And in a healthy mutually-fulfilling way.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 13, 2014 at 10:08 pm

      I’m glad this message felt encouraging to you. With love, Shelly

  10. Denise Mathews on April 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Shelly,
    I am in my late forties and have had a number of relationships and a failed marriage. I met a man three years ago and it seemed different. For the first time in my life I believed that this was forever. At the end of last year he told me that he didn’t think he was in love and didn’t want to be in a relationship. We ended up breaking up in February and in counselling he stated I was his best friend but he couldn’t see us being in a romantic relationship in the future.

    I finally accepted it and began the process of grieving. About six weeks later he has come back to tell me he has made a huge mistake. He has done a lot of soul searching and believes that he is still carrying issues from his past that he needs to resolve. He agrees that we cannot be together as a couple right now but wants me to agree to commit to working on our own issues for a year or however long it takes and then seeing if we both want to be together.

    I am committed to learning to love myself and building my own self esteem. I am not sure if I will be able to move forward with this arrangement. Your article has made me rethink the agreement I made with him. Do I believe he is the man for me or am I afraid of letting go? Thank you for allowing me to gain some perspective before making such a serious decision. Your article couldn’t have come still so better time.

    • Kristy on October 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Denise, This is a good one, that i relate too. I’m finding that many of us, men and women, have issues that arise in relationships that create all different issues. It’s a matter if they can ( or should be ) be worked out together or individually……….???

  11. Gabrielle on June 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I am currently going through a breakup. What I have realized over the past week since our breakup is that in many ways, this relationship masked the fact that I have not been excited about anything else in my life for about a year. I realize this is a lot of pressure to put on a relationship, and very dangerous for myself. In having this realization, I feel as though I’ve gone into a bit of a one-third life crisis (I’m 30). I have realized that I need to make some major changes in order to move forward, but I have no idea what these changes should be. I’m in a well-paid job that I hate, with more qualifications than I need (what my mother calls the golden handcuffs) and I have been considering the cliche self-discovery trip to Asia. I’m not sure that this is part of the solution, but I’m not sure that it isn’t either.

    I guess I would like to know what other women have done in similar situations that have really dramartically transformed their lives.

    Secondly, I’m still not convinced that my ex is not the right person for me. I think that as soon as we have clarity that a certain man is not the right one for us, we can start making the bite-size actions needed towards healing (grieving, practicing self-love, etc.). But how do I know if I have made a huge mistake by ending it with the right one?

    • Shelly Bullard on June 16, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      I would love for other women to comment too – how have you changed you lives?
      I took the cliched trip to Asia, but because my soul told me to go. So, that’s what you have to do – get in contact with your soul. That spark within you. You do this by listening to yourself. Asking big questions like: who am I and what do I love? Connecting to yourself.

      As far as the guy, until you get to place of feeling good, you don’t know what you want. It’s likely that the discomfort of being separated right now is telling you that he might be the one for you (but really, it’s just uncomfortable because you’re not connected to you). If there’s any chance for you and him, you have to let go now, get back to yourself, and then when you feel good, make a decision from there.

      If you want more help on what to do, check out my coaching packages here: http://shellybullard.com/work-with-me/ I’d be happy to work with you. xo

  12. Liz on July 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I recently had to let go of someone who I loved, but was not the right person for me. This whole process has been a major learning experience & the relationship opened me up to a lot of the harmful patterns that I can now work to let go of. None of friends have gone through anything similar, so for awhile it felt like I was the only one. This article re-assures me that someone gets it! 🙂

    • Shelly Bullard on July 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I’m so glad this was helpful for you, Liz. You are definitely not alone. 🙂 xo

  13. Lizzie on August 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you for this post. It truly is hard leaving someone you love and care about, but so confusing when something still doesn’t feel right or like I’m fully satisfied in the relationship. I think a good post for you to write is advice on leaving someone who is great and that you love without completely hurting them and leaving them feeling devasted for the loss of the relationship. Especially when you live with the person. Thank you for your advice.

  14. Mindy on September 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    *sigh*I’m still hurting from someone I broke up with over 5 years ago. He got married last year and I was completely devastated. It still hurts when his profile comes up on one of my friends post (we have mutual friends but are not FB friends). I desperately want to let go of this feeling. He didn’t seem to have a problem letting go of me and moving on so I really, really want to do the same. I avoid going to certain places where I think he may be but I don’t want to live my life like this. I want to go where ever I want with confidence and have no fear. What if the man I’m meant to be with is or has been at an event that I fear he may be at? I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I want to move on. Please help.


  15. Alef on November 2, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Dear Shelly, i’m a 32 yo man struggling with a let go. I knkw its weird to see a man in sucha situation feeling sad and checking for emotional rescue sites but also men need help in these csses. I heartly recommend you to write your sensational articles addressing the write to both genders. Not just women as also men have an emotional side, i promise 🙂 its weird how its full of sites that are woman to woman mutual help. I recon its time to do a quantic leap and talk in a general way as it limits the importance of the words we speak and address in these cases. We’re global and so are emotions and emotional traumas, from here, we can start treating each matter with the jnderstanding that we are all one. Execpt for sexual differences as your women have mestrual periods and we have other thingys. Thanks for your clear articles, you’re the first i read about fear to be overwelmed, opposite of fear of loss. I find your way of writing deep and simply clear. Like an big opwn window on the emotional world. Thank you so much for being yourself as you are right now. Ps i’m not english born and bread so i guess my writing can be funny. Ciao

    • Shelly Bullard on November 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Most of my articles are gender-neutral. Please search around to see if what you’re looking for is here. With love, xo Shelly

    • Maggie on December 18, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I am sorry you are going through this. I just wrote my own version of this because my husbandI of 29 years is going through what you are.It is breaking my heart and I wish he would seek help as you are.
      He won’t even try to get any kind of help but says all he wants is me and our life back.
      I understand this because we have shared everything in this marriage. He is without me, our home, my family that he sees as our family.
      He is living with his sister and he hates it.
      I don’t know why I am even writing this, but I have so it is what it is.
      I pray you get peace in all of this.

      • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        I’m not currently going through this (I wrote this post a year ago but wanted to share it again).

  16. Kendra on December 18, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Do you have any tips if you see your ex everyday?

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      No tips for that. It makes it incredibly hard to move on.

  17. Maggie on December 18, 2014 at 12:49 am

    I have been married for 29 years. Throughout this time my husband has been in chronic pain and I have stuck by him in all things and loved him. He has always ‘held back” something from me…. I never felt his full acceptance.I am not perfect but I did give unconditionally but now I have lost all attraction and romantic love for him and I asked him to move out which he did.
    He begs me everyday to let him come home.
    I am heartbroken at this as I care for him in many ways just not in the right way.
    Would you or someone who has been though this please help me by offering me any advice?
    My main problem is believing that I am responsible to “fix” him. I feel so responsible for his problems. I have given my life to him and it has just made me unhappy and now I want a better life.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      It’s definitely not your job to fix him. You should never “give your life” to another person – it always leads to unhappiness. Sounds like he also needs to learn to live for himself, too.

  18. Deb on December 18, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I am in a relationship with a friend from college. He called me after decades. He is a caregiver and I am as well. We live 90 miles apart and I have visited him. He has come to see me but is always unannounced when he is with the boys. I find him loving and supportive, but he seems to have entrapment issues. I am a relationship lady. He says he loves me but then becomes distant. I am having trouble letting go for I live him too.

  19. mini on December 18, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I’m trying to let go too but not a man who was wrong fit me but someone who lived me back just as deeply…. The pain is unbearable..

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Let yourself love that person from afar. You have a new relationship – a relationship of spirit. Let your heart continue to love that person purely (not from a place of trying to get anything from him) AND love yourself. That might help.

  20. Bronwyn on December 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Hi Shelly,I can certainly say that I had ave been in the same push-pull emotional state over an ex for 4 years. In the last 6 months, I have been in a very different place, focusing on only what my heart truly desires. As you say “Feel your next man before he arrives” ~ mine has not yet arrived, but I just know he will.
    I had to work on my inner me first so as not to attract the same kind of man again – and for this I am so grateful for the time of being single. I made a long list of the character traits I wanted from my new man and the relationship we would share together, and slowly started one by one to address that what I wanted from a relationship I was giving to myself. When I started this process, that was not the case, however, now I can proudly say it is.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      That’s great! I’m happy that you’ve come so far! xo

  21. Paige on December 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    This is great, Shelly. I struggled with this too and I would get so mad at myself for behaving in a way that wasn’t good for me – holding on to something that was over, begging someone to love me the way I needed (when I knew that he was incapable of giving that to me) and assuming that it was all about my limitations. One day I said to myself “why can’t I let go? why am I so attached?”. I really examined that question. I realized it was about me – only me. I was attached. That isn’t love. Love is freeing – not limiting. I was trying to hold on too tightly to him and I wanted him to hold tightly to me. I read every book about attachment and fear that I could get. I realized then that the power of that question was “I”. If it is about me, I can understand it and change. It took a while but I finally let go of him with love. I feel so much better about it. I still have feelings for him but they are deep inside of me and I know they are about a painful piece of me – not healthy love. I can’t say I will never hold that tightly to a painful experience again. I hope not. But, if I do, I will know its about me and my pain and fear – not about the other person. And I can choose not to believe the unkind things I say to myself – that he would love me if I were better, thinner, etc. And now I know that intensity isn’t love -its drama. Since those two things seldom occur together, I need to choose which I want. I won’t know till the next time which I will choose but I now know I can look inside of myself when things don’t feel right and remember that I have the power to choose and I have the ability to change. Thank you.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Love this. Thank you so much for sharing. xo

  22. Leida on December 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for this Shelly!It arrived at the perfect time for me. I broke up with my boyfriend of three years a month ago and I am still not over him. I am practicing self love and right when I think that grieving is over, I feel the pain and longing again, like today. We were happy together, head over heals in love with each other. He had issues with our age difference and me being divorced (we had discussed these early in the relationship) and he never got over them. I don’t reach out for him, but when he does reach out for me, even to make sure that I am OK it feels that the entire grieving starts over again. I need to cut all contact but it’s so hard when you still love someone so deeply.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Without cutting off contact, it will be hard to let you. You have to believe that there’s a better reality available to you on the other side, and you actually have to feel that reality before it comes to you. Good luck! xo

  23. Margarita on December 18, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Dear Shelly! You are absolutely right in everything you are saying. I just got out from the most parasitic, life force draining relationship that I ever had. Yes, I was madly in love with him, but he was not a good fit for me taking in consideration that he was emotionally unavailable, immature and selfish. We have been together for 4 years, it started great but with time I became more of the mommy to him than a lover. So I got out. Finally!!!!! But once I got out I felt like the world had ended. My love towards him became stronger and I was in a lot of pain. It happened only a week ago. But.. I knew why I am doing it and that I have to stay strong. I have created an imaginary lover for myself at the time when we were still together. Now it feels like my imaginary lover gains more strength by showing up in my dreams and taking care of me. I believe he will materialize next year.thank you, dear, for this article. I follow you and I think you know precisely what you are talking about.

    • Maria on December 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      Somehow I have the same problem. My husband has all along suffered from undiagnosed personality disorder (he doesn’t believe in doctors). We have been married for almost 38 years. I was so frustrated and lonely for a very long time, so I threatened to divorce him several times, hoping he will wake up and do something. Now, he sought comfort from a childhood friend who had a crush on him and who is also having marital problem with her husband. Now, he wants divorce but wants me to file and pay for it. Part of me wants to do it, part of me wants to hang on. Right now, I don’t know what to do. I try to imagine my life without him and the things I would be able to do without asking permission/approval from him. I am 63 years old. Instead of imagining a prospective lover, I am imagining the life of freedom. So confused… It is difficult to let go. He is the only man I have loved. My children can’t understand why it is difficult to let go.

  24. Amber on December 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I married my high school sweetheart and we have been married for 6 months now. It has taken me this long to realize he abuses me mentally and emotionaly every day. I’m so afraid of being without him that I keep staying… I have no self love.

  25. Kerry on December 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I have been through so many failed relationships and for so long I blamed myself. I would always hold on to my exes. I would always take everything so personally. I even let them all back in only to be disappointed. Each and every one of them I had felt like it wasn’t right. I just never listened to the voice or the feeling in my stomach. I had some past issues that I hadn’t resolved and I felt they were the reason I was single. For a very long time I thought that if I didn’t have a boyfriend that it meant something about me. I realized it was only me putting these pressures on me. The ones closest to me never judged or thought anything of it. I think many of us at times have felt like this and have negative feelings about ourselves because of it. Over the past year I have decided to give myself time. I decided it was time to get me back and that I didn’t need anyone’s help with it. I had relied on the affection of guys to make me whole and in the end I was left not whole or even close. I have finally found me again after a year of soul searching. I have casually dated guys to see what I want. None of these relationships had formed into anything and that was great. I learned from each one of them. I learned more about me and I no longer blamed myself for them not working. I finally saw these relationships for what they were and I knew after that I was still an amazing person but we just weren’t right. I think its become easier now because I have found myself. I have listened to that little voice that says that its not right. I also started to realize that I am just fine on my own and that I can still have a very great life. I found different hobbies that I liked and people I enjoyed being around. I want to give you each the peace of mind that you can get to the other side if you just start doing something for yourself. Just find the things you enjoy and love and focus on you. Its the best part of being single. You don’t have to think for anyone or do anything for anyone else. As woman it’s very hard to do that but once you do, its very freeing. One of my best guy friends said to me that if you have friends that care about you then there is no reason to ever feel lonely. I hope you all find love, peace and happiness. Remember you aren’t alone. All of these responses make that very clear!

  26. Heather on December 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Shelly,I am currently struggling with this like so many others. My ex was my team mate and my best friend. We broke up in April over issues that had nothing to do with our compatibility and more to do with not being where we wanted to be in life personally. He has managed to move on with someone else, but we still speak weekly and I still value his opinion and encouragement. Everything is great until I’m reminded that he’s with someone else and then I feel sick to my stomach. I’ve discussed this with him because we’re always completely honest, but although he still tells me that I’m one of the most important people in his life, I continually hit a wall with him and he can’t seem to overcome his own issues. From what he’s saying, I feel like he’s trying to protect me from himself and I am so frustrated that the decision is out of my hands. This article offered some great advice on getting over my ex, but can you offer any advice on getting over an ex when he’s also your best friend? I’m just not sure I can grieve the loss of both at the same time.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      You’re not going to get over an ex who is still your best friend. Sorry to be blunt but it’s true. Perhaps you can be best friends in the future, but not now if you really want to move on.

  27. Lei on December 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    From age 15-28 I was on and off with my first love. I played the wife role to someone who was never home. After deciding to call it off for good I didn’t grieve I partied. I felt so happy and excited to be free. A few years forward I met the man I thought for sure was the one and we were on and off for a few years too until now where I am finally accepting that we aren’t a good fit for each other. We have an amazing child together and I believe I have the best of my ex through our daughter and we are actually developing a good friendship focused on our girl. He broke my heart and it took 2 years to grieve and go within. I look at myself and sometimes I think why did I waste so much of my youth on unavailable guys but the wisdom and experience I’ve obtained is helping me address why I attracted these partners to begin with. I’m loving myself more then ever, I no longer feel a need to find a guy to complete me and I am so much more present in the now without all the heavy baggage weighing me down anymore. When it hurts the most be especially kind to yourself. Go into nature and let the universe full you up with truth, dignity and grace. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I love you”. Treat yourself the way you want your partner to treat you and teach yourself to love, honor and respect your needs and wants and allow a man that will respect you into your life. I believe more now then ever that I am a worthy woman. I have faith that my partner is seeking the exact woman that I am and when it’s meant to be we will be together…and imagining him in all his glory…well that’s just a lot of fun! Thanks Shelley!

  28. Robin on December 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I’m going through this right now. It’s been going on for almost 3 years. Says he “loves me”, but his actions say otherwise. Emotionally unavailable, so, so, so, self centered, self reliant, self sufficient. Has no idea how to be part of a couple, yet wants the benefits and loyalty of a relationship. I have stayed out of attachment, attraction and love for him, but am seeing that it’s probably addiction and habit that keep me somewhere that only leaves me frustrated, unfulfilled and in tears, most days. Every comment here, and in the article, resonated with me. Thank you. All of you.

  29. Sheryl on December 18, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Hi everyone. I’m currently in a relationship with a younger man, after grieving my marriage breakdown, for over thirteen years, I had met and dated other men, but this guy captured my heart. In saying that, he also breaks it. It swings from sweet and fulfilling, to utter heartbreak, and I fear I’m making all the same mistakes.I remained friends with one ex, who I dated until he got posted away, it’s periodic contact, but my now partner, loathes it..so I broke that contact. Only to find out that he’s still in contact with his ex of twelve months. She calls him when she’s feeling low, to hear a familiar voice, and on occasion, tells him she still loves him, and wants him back, despite knowing he’s with me, and despite the fact that she’s in a relationship of eighteen months. He kept this contact from me, and I find it eats away at my trust and self esteem. I’m not sure of what’s what, but loving myself more than him, may just be the right answer

    • Shelly Bullard on December 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      You both are being half-way in a relationship. Until you fully grieve and are ready to show up completely for another person, you will probably experience your partners doing some version of the same thing. Remember, they mirror us. Good luck!

  30. Erica on December 19, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Shelly,This is powerful! I see the difference in how I cope vs how others cope. And your so right the idea of the next man has helped me greatly in moving on and not staying stuck in this pattern with my ex. I believe in a love so great because love truly is and I think if I could love the wrong person so dear imagine how I could love the right person for me. I couldn’t put this onto words before thank you for spreading the love and healing.

    • Shelly Bullard on December 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

      You’re welcome, Erica! Thanks for your comment! xo

      • Easter on February 9, 2016 at 8:05 pm

        Most help articles on the web are inaccurate or inntoerech. Not this!

  31. Valentina on December 20, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Hello shelly… I’ve read your website for a while… I love it…January 14th 2013 was a dfficult month to me, I broke up with the love of my life… The man that changed my life in many senses. Because of him I learned a new language I changed my religion, I forgot my familiy and my country… after that… all the thing I do just remember me how much did I love him, thats painful, almost 2 years after I am still in contact with him and every word we share is so painful… so much… I haven’t had another big opportunity to love someone else, or at least, I haven’t seen it yet. I hope this new year I can find someone really special who let me show him the love the way I am… But I know it’ll never happen if it dont forget the past ghosts, another extra tip for me?

    Love…. from Colombia

    • Shelly Bullard on December 21, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      What comes to mind immediately is my eCourse will help you tremendously. It will help you move on and will guide you to your next love. You are still very focused on this last love, which keeps you stuck in that reality, and does not allow you to move on. The info for my eCourse is here: http://www.manifesthim.com Good luck! xo

  32. Tina on December 24, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I am struggling with feelings of loss … I gave up everything even my home and country and I’ve been back in USA 3 months sometimes it feels like lifetime I really miss him now for holidays us it really him? The relating? The sense of belonging ? I miss and how will I pull out of this ?? Will I meet someone when? Do I even want it? I even feel I sabataged the relationship plus I was physically abused and it wasn’t perfect but I miss him ughhhh how am I going to pull out if this ?

    • Shelly Bullard on December 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      You have to find love within you, love. Wishing you well. xo

  33. Alicja on December 31, 2014 at 4:51 am

    I feel like I have to read again loud UR post Shelly. I’m almost 8 years in a toxucratjondhip, we have two children which I love very much. & our connection (mine & my partner) lost for an over a year. We’re not even fight anymore, there no yelling or jumping with words. We just or WOW we lost connection. We both know that we should let go. & we’re still together. We both know, well at least I believe there’s something better for me. Or something what I miss & I feel I’m hungry for. BUT I don’t know how let this not healthy relationship go. I’m scare of being alone & single mother. Which literally IM.

    • Andrea on December 31, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      I have learned through a lost marriage that I have some tendencies towards codependency. I never knew this about myself, and have read some books that don’t seem to take hold. I would like serious answers and am willing to take serious steps. I feel like I try to control the relationship so much to avoid getting hurt, but it doesn’t work and my partners get tired and I am told I over analyze things way too much.. It seems like I expect too much ‘ability to communicate’ from the men I chose. What should I do?

      • Shelly Bullard on December 31, 2014 at 11:44 pm

        You are trying to control because you are in fear. That’s what we do when we’re scared – we try to manipulate the situation because it gives us a false sense of control. The problem is this – you are creating your world from the inside-out. If you are codependent, you are stuck in fear. The solution is this: you must go within yourself (reflection, meditation, getting to know oneself very well), get honest with yourself about the fears you have in relationships, and connect to the larger reality (the spiritual reality) in which these beliefs are not true. (For example: I’m noticing my anxiety in relationship… the way I deal with that anxiety is I’m trying to get him to act a way I want….What is the root of this anxiety (curiosity)? The root is that I’m scared I’m always going to be left behind. Knowing this, can I contact the greater reality within me – my spirit, my divine self, love – that knows I will never be left behind…) The way you’re trying to feel safe now is by manipulating the outside; to overcome this, you need to find a way to feel safe on the inside. When you do, the pattern will break (I know, I’ve broken this pattern myself). The book to start with is: A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson. It doesn’t use the word “codependency” but that’s what this book is talking about – living your life in reaction to fear, or choosing to live a life based on the belief in love. Thanks for your comment. xo

  34. Carrie on January 28, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for this. My “ex” is someone I cannot be with. We are both in other relationship, we live long distance and we both need to move on. We have a deep soul connection that draws us to communicating and feeling that connection. I never felt this way about anyone–my whole body lights up when I hear from him. He touches my soul.But I cannot have him so I need to move on. I’m hoping it’s possible to take my energy away from this so I can find deep love right in front of me with myself and my partner. I don’t want to feel haunted or obsessed with this person anymore.

    Please tell me it’s possible. 🙂

    • Shelly Bullard on January 29, 2015 at 1:45 am

      Yes, of course it’s possible. You just have to want something else more than you want him.

  35. Linda on February 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Thank you Shelly and angels for this timely article! I use the affirmations “I love and approve of myself” and “I bless him, release him and let him go”. Both of these from beloved Louise Hay. It means I brainwash myself. I also use tips from a course I attended a while back which detailed different times of the day and methods to practice gratitude. I am so grateful to the angels who surround me and teach me. AND, I take responsibility for the lessons I needed to learn from this experience. This is a biggie because I keep going back to what I needed to learn, i.e. that I was not myself available, that I went in with a casual attitude knowing it was short term. Unfortunately the Universe decided it was time for me to shape up my relationship attitude, hence the whammy that this one brought. Now focussing now on implementing those lessons once the grieving is over!

  36. Catherine on February 4, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Wow! This article is speaking directly to me. I ended a relationship 8 months ago and am struggling with emotionally let him go. That relationship was not what was best for me, but we had a deep connection, just as you speak of and it is in the way of me starting over. I’m digging deep to find my strength within. Thank you Shelly for the article.

  37. Lorelei on February 8, 2016 at 5:51 am

    Hi Shelly! Thank you so much for writing about this topic! For a little over a year I have been tormented by this very thing. My partner & I officially broke up about 2yrs ago after a long tumultous 3yrs together. In the beginning all was wonderful..(or @ least I thought)I guess that was the “honeymoon “stage. About a year into the relationship she began telling me things like, “If only you were better at”, or things like “I gave up all my friends for you & U need to do this for me”…Always giving me something (B.S.) she wanted me to do, very unrealistic, unobtainable things, things she knew I would desperately work on bcuz I truly love her & wanted it to work. Only to find she was seeing others on the side, friends of ours that we spent lots of holidays, bbq’s, etc..All along it was right there, right b4 my very eyes & I was so blind in love, in hope that we could work thru things..To make a long story short by the time I said NO MORE, my self-esteem was crap, as well as my confidence & my attitude. I did really well limiting any contact with her, to be brutally honest I was heartbroken terribly. There seems to be a “cycle”..When I really practice minimal contact she then comes around promising all those things we were gonna work on, it really lures me in, makes me hopeful, thinking maybe she’ll really try this time.It takes me 2-3 days to recover mentally from these B.S. promises. I continually tell her “she doesn’t want me but she doesn’t want anyone else to have me either. Often times when this happens & I’m hopeful, it’s bcuz I remember the good times & the fact that I really do love her..She’s very toxic..Please help me get off this merry go round..

  38. Vera Pena on April 6, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Shelly, you are right on the money I was married to the wrong man for 28 years and I knew it I just loved him with all my heart and soul I would have give my life for him God works in mysterious ways I was able to walk away with a broken heart but I continued to come back because I loved him so much I didn’t care what he did or was doing I just wanted him back I didn’t want him with anyone else as I begin to look at myself and how cold he was I started to change and things started changing for me I do love him still but not like before we are more like friends now but I have been able to distance myself I allowed him to keep hurting me and that was the best thing cause it was the easiest way to stop wanting him and easier for me to let go I know it’s weird but it worked for me I love myself more then he could ever love me so yes I am waiting for my next love. Thank You

  39. Kathleen on July 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    So incredible that this article showed up this morning as I just last night ended for the third? fourth? time a relationship with a man I love like I’ve never loved another. A heart connection(which is such the perfect description) so strong and deep, but we just can’t make it work. He just isn’t able to meet me. Its been a year and a half of me waiting for him to be in the right place and I just finally realized, he’s never going to be and I could no longer hope or wish or love that into happening. I’ve struggled and am struggling so- honestly, this is what kept me going for so long- with the why, the why of if you love someone and they love you, where that disconnect comes in…. so to hear you say it, as simple as it seems to read it, that even though you may have this amazing deep heart connection- still they may not be right for you… as heartbreaking as that truth may be I really needed to hear that. So thank you for this timely piece of writing. I only hope I am able to put into practice your advice.

Before you dive any deeper...

Hi, I’m Shelly!

I’m a relationship coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, wife, girl mom, world traveler and… a damn good manifesting teacher.

On any random Saturday, you could find me hiking in the Redwoods with my family during the day AND relaxing to all songs on 🎶the foggy jazz🎶 station on Spotify in the evening with my man…

I’ve helped 125,000+ expansive, beautiful humans manifest their desires through my YouTube channel.

Over the last decade, I transformed my love life… I went from feeling terrified that I may never find love or have a family of my own to manifesting marriage, my baby, our dream home, and so much more. Now, I want to help you do the same.

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