How A 'Letting Go Ritual' Can Get You Out Of Denial & Back Into LIFE

It's tough to accept your feelings after a breakup, but this will help...

How Do You Know When You're In Love Or In Denial Post Breakup? Unsplash

When you marry someone in our culture, you promise to love that person “til death do you part.” So what happens to this real love if you divorce, and what does hanging onto to this love do to a person? How do you know when you're in love ... or in denial?

My husband and I have been married for 18 years. Do I still love my husband? Yes, I do. But it is a very different kind of love than that love we had when we first got married.


Our love has gone through the journey of raising a son, gaining a daughter-in-law, and caring for my father-in-law as he was dying from dementia. We are a family. And if my husband died, I would grieve his loss deeply.

But I also know he would want me to enjoy the rest of the life I have to live — because he loves me and wants me to be happy.

Sometimes, we have no choice but to move on.

When someone you love leaves you — for any reason — you can remember your love of them, but you can’t actively love them any more.

You can’t take care of them when they are ill. You can’t cook them holiday meals. And you can’t make love with them passionately.


And when someone leaves you, they can no longer behave lovingly to you.

Your ex isn’t out shopping for your special Christmas gift. He isn't making plans for your future together.

Love as an action is not happening anymore.

Your memory of love may still exist, but you do not honor yourself when you hang on to the feeling of love once someone has left.

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • Your ex calls you for the first time in 6 months to borrow money. You give it to them and don’t hear from them again.
  • Your ex found a new lover and they have had a baby together,  but he still wants to come around to "be with you" once in a while.
  • Your ex cheated on you while you were together and left you for that other person.

Loving a person who treats you in any of these ways is being disrespectful to yourself — and it means you are in denial about the truth because these are not the actions of love.


To break out of denial and move forward, try taking this relationship inventory to explore whether you truly have love here any longer.

You may be in denial because you don’t want to deal with the inevitable grief. Fear, pain, or panic may be keeping you frozen in time.

When we break up with someone, we tend to put all the good parts in one container and all the bad parts in another container. It is easier to focus on the good parts. A relationship inventory helps you assess the truth of what both containers produce for you as a whole.

To know if you have real love or not, answer the following questions:

1. What parts of the relationship did you enjoy? 


2. What are all of the positive aspects of your ex?  

3. Write down the five best things about the relationship. What are those very special moments you had together?

4. What were the negative parts of the relationship? It may be frightening to think of the negative, but it's important. 

5. What are all of the negative qualities of your ex?

6. Write down the five most hurtful moments of the relationship. When did your heart break?

7. Make a list of things you feel you did wrong. This step takes some soul-searching.

Once you've finished, set your inventory aside for one week. Then go back and read your lists again.

Now you are ready to write a letter to your ex, one that will never be shared.


Express every thought in this letter that you want to share with your ex. Also, forgive your ex. Forgiveness can be the most difficult part of writing this letter, but it is a crucial part of the process of letting go.

When you're finished, you can have a "letting go ritual."

The ritual I like most is this:


Read the letter out loud to yourself. Burn the letter (safely, please!). And walk away.

The ritual is not the end of your grief, but it is the beginning of an important step forward.

It is symbolic of you moving forward with your life. 

Deb Eastwood is a powerful and loving Divorce Recovery Coach who works directly with women who are ready to create a new life. You can dream of the life you want, and she can help you achieve it through tools with which her clients begin to see changes immediately. Click here now to schedule a 25-minute complimentary coaching call.