“If you love something, let it go.”
This quote involves the greatest debate of all time.
Can you truly love someone, yet be willing to let them go? Can you even let go of someone because you love them?
If you’re thinking about these questions, you’re in the right place. This post will cover:
- What does “If you love something, let it go” mean?
- Is it possible to love someone but let go?
- Should you fight for love or let it go?
- Does letting go mean giving up?
- How do you let go of someone you love?
- Is it true if you let someone go they will come back?
Whether you’re dating or in a relationship, this post will give you the clarity you need to double down on that person, or let them go.
What Does “If You Love Something, Let It Go” Mean?
The quote “if you love something, let it go” means to let a dating situation or relationship end, even if you love the other person.
This often comes up when you love someone, but you’re going through challenges that make you reconsider being with that person.
This could be because:
- You don’t share core values
- You’re not being prioritized in the way you’d like to be
- You don’t feel valued or respected
- You’re heading down different life paths
- You don’t feel the other person truly loves you
- Or any number of reasons
In any case, letting the dating situation or relationship go means to stop trying to force things.
It means detaching yourself from the romantic situation. It means accepting that things aren’t meant to be — at this point in time, or ever.
Is It Possible to Love Someone But Let Go?
Can you truly love someone, yet let go of them?
As someone who has been “let go of” before, I’ve wrestled with this one. But after many, many months of reflection, I came to this conclusion:
It is possible to love someone but let go.
If you can’t give the person you love what they need to feel truly happy and fulfilled, it’s only with the utmost love that you’d be able to let that person go.
Because it means putting their needs before yours. It means giving up your person so they can potentially become someone else’s person. And it means living without that person while you still love them.
For example, let’s say someone struggles with monogamy. They’ve been unfaithful in the past, and they intimately understand the destruction infidelity can cause. That said, they don’t feel they’d be able to stay monogamous in a decades-long marriage.
Then they fall in love with someone who needs monogamy to feel fulfilled in a lifelong relationship.
That love would make it incredibly difficult to let the monogamy-minded person go. But it’s that same love that would make letting go possible.
Because true love means wanting the very best for the person you love, even if you cannot give them that.
Should You Fight for Love or Let It Go?
Even the best kind of love isn’t easy.
Loving someone means putting your faith into someone else. It means trusting they have your best interests at heart. It means trusting they’ll be your advocate. It means trusting they’ll be loyal, kind, honest, and appreciative of you.
All of that is easier said than done! In relationships, trust might be broken. You’ll get in fights. You may even doubt each other.
But that doesn’t mean a relationship isn’t worth fighting for.
Relationships go through ebbs and flows. And that’s no surprise, when relationships can last decades! People change. The goal is to change as individuals — and as a couple — in ways that make you stronger.
So how do you know whether your relationship is the right relationship? The relationship worth fighting for?
Look at consistency. Do your partner’s words match up with their actions? And are their actions consistent over time?
When two people start dating each other, they’re on their best behavior. This makes sense! We want the other person to be attracted to us, and vice versa. Dating someone new is exciting. And it’s easy to get preoccupied with potential.
But sometimes, as a relationship develops and becomes long-term, things change. You may find the person you dated is not the same person you’re in a relationship with. And if that “new” version isn’t at all compatible with you, it’s not worth fighting for.
Other dating situations or relationships that aren’t worth fighting for involve:
- Someone who doesn’t value you as much as you value you
- A lack of mutual respect
- Someone who puts you down due to insecurities, jealousy, etc.
- Abuse of any kind
That said, sometimes relationships involve gray areas. Maybe there aren’t any glaring problems, and you both are healthy, kind people!
Maybe, instead, you realize you don’t want the same things out of life. Maybe you disagree on things like whether you want children, how much you want to prioritize your careers, where you want to live…the list goes on.
If you disagree on these things, and you can’t make peace with said differences, this may be the kind of love you should let go of.
Does Letting Go Mean Giving Up?
If you let someone go after getting in your first fight, that’s giving up.
If you let someone go because of a minor disappointment, that’s giving up.
If you’re with a compatible partner whom you love, and who loves you too, but you let them go at the first sign of hardship, that’s giving up.
But if you’re in a relationship that leaves either or both of you unhappy or unfulfilled, and you’ve tried your best to work through any issues, letting go does not mean giving up.
You do not need to stay in a relationship solely due to guilt, or fear of hurting the other person.
Letting go of an unfulfilling relationship means giving you and the other person a chance to find lasting happiness with someone else.
It also means giving yourself the freedom to reflect on what you truly need out of a partner.
Past relationships allow you to reflect on what you bring to a partnership, and what you need to work on. We’ve all got things to offer and work on!
That reflection will ultimately bring you to the best partner for you — whether that’s someone new, or someone you’ve been in a relationship with before.
Which brings us to the final question: “If you love someone and let them go, will they come back?”
How Do You Let Go of Someone You Love?
It’s one thing to say, “If you love something, let it go,” but it’s another thing entirely to do it.
Letting go of someone you love isn’t easy. But with some patience, determination, and self-love, you can do it!
To let go of someone you love, take the time to share your perspective with them. Be gentle. Explain that while you truly love them, you don’t feel the two of you can give each other what you both need to feel happy and fulfilled in a long-term relationship.
Patiently answer the other person’s questions. And be as compassionate as possible, as they may have strong emotions to share.
They may be confused, hurt, angry, or even depressed about your decision. And it may take quite some time for that person to absorb your decision.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll both end on good terms, but there are plenty of relationships that do.
In fact, I’ve let go of love more than once in my life, and I’m so thankful that those relationships ended on good terms. In fact, I’ve kept in touch with a few of those people throughout my life.
I’ve also been on the receiving end. I recall one now-ex saying to me when he broke up with me, “Sam, down the road, you’re going to be so happy that I did this. There is someone so much better for you out there.”
He was right.
Remember that your decision to let go will get you both where you need to be — whether that means finding each other again one day, or finding a new love that makes you redefine everything you believed about love.
After sharing your decision with the one you love, try your best to cut off contact with that person. It may be hard at first, and I personally believe it’s okay to send a check-in text every so often over the next month or so.
But ultimately, it’s best for both parties to cut off contact for a long enough time to heal.
This allows you both to truly experience life without the other. That period is needed to best decide the next steps you’d like to take in life.
This time may be tough, so lean on friends and family if needed. Take care of yourself. Be patient with yourself when some days are harder than others.
And remind yourself of why you made the decision you did.
Is It True If You Let Someone Go They Will Come Back?
Here’s the full quote most of us have heard:
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”
There’s truth to this.
In fact, letting go can cause some relationships to be stronger than they ever were.
Sometimes in relationships, we fight too hard. We may expect things from our partners that they can’t deliver. We may try to mold our partners into who we feel they’re meant to be. We may see a core incompatibility and try to “fight through the fights.”
We have such high hopes for our relationships, and we don’t want to feel like we’ve given up when things get tough!
But sometimes, it’s by letting go that we fight for our relationship in an entirely new way. Letting go can be the ultimate statement.
Letting go is saying to the other person, “I accept who you are. I accept what you want out of life. I accept we have our differences. And I want to give you the opportunity to be truly happy and fulfilled, even if that means being with someone else.”
If the other person comes back to you down the road — provided it’s not due to loneliness, boredom, the need for an ego boost, or something similar — you may have a better shot at a happy relationship than you did before.
Because you gave that person a renewed freedom to choose. You gave them a chance to reflect on your relationship and how it impacted their life. And you valued yourself enough to stand on your own two feet, and reflect on what you want out of life.
Letting go is a courageous move.
It may result in love coming back to you. And if it does, the relationship will be different.
If you dated others while apart, knowledge of that will be a challenge to overcome.
That said, you’ll likely have a renewed appreciation for each other. Either or both of you may also have adjusted your expectations, rearranged priorities, and made new compromises.
And these changes can make a relationship work in a way that it didn’t work before. Relationships after breakups can last.
Alternatively, letting go may result in finding a new love. And that’s entirely okay. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you never shared love with the first person.
People grow and change, and sometimes we discover new loves that better match who we are at that point in time.
Whether you rediscover past love or find a new one, you’ve won.
“If You Love Something, Let It Go” When You Have More to Gain Than Lose
At the end of the day, if you love something, let it go when you have more to gain than lose.
If you have a relationship that makes you feel happy, fulfilled, and in love, but you’re going through some tough challenges, do everything you can to keep it.
In other words, you have a lot, so you may have more to lose by letting go.
But if you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t appreciate or value you, or who wants very different things out of life than you do, consider letting this love go.
Sometimes, letting go can cause you both to reconsider your values, what you want out of life, and more. And that can sometimes lead to that love coming back to you.
If it doesn’t, that’s okay! The reflections we take with us after dating and relationships will help us no matter where we go. And if they don’t lead us to a past love, they’ll lead us to a future one.
Love is in the cards for all of us. Let go of the wrong things, make room for the right ones, and love will find you.