Do you want to learn how to let things go in a relationship? How to stop being upset by the little things that aren’t worth tainting your relationship over? Because that’s the thing…
If you can’t learn how to let things go in a relationship, it starts to build resentment in a relationship.
Resentment in a relationship is incredibly damaging and (if it’s not worked through properly) it can ultimately end up causing your relationship to break down. (Yikes.)
For this reason – learning how to let things go in a relationship is vitally important.
What Kind Of Things Do You Want To Let Go?
Now it’s worth noting that this process is for how to let things go in a relationship if you know they’re not worth dwelling on.
They’re the smaller things… The smaller things that can still be important and shouldn’t necessarily be COMPLETELY overlooked. But they’re not the “serious stuff.”
For example, if your partner cheats on you or betrays your trust in a big way, you may not necessarily want to completely let that go and let that go straight away.
Your partner will need to do far more ground-work and you will need to further evaluation to ensure that staying is even the right thing.
Likewise, if something happened to make you feel unsafe, physically hurt, manipulated, mistreated – or anything along those lines – these aren’t the times to simply learn how to let go of things.
In fact, you can’t overlook this at all. You see the difference?
How To Let Things Go In a Relationship
So here’s the step by step process for how to let things go in a relationship. To work through this properly and completely, grab a piece of paper and write at the top:
“What I’m Struggling To Let Go Of.”
This is the root cause or situation. Write this first – as a one-line summary. Then below this, jot a few notes down about what in particular upset / hurt / annoyed you about that.
Get it all out on paper as this initial step in itself can help with releasing it all.
Once you’ve done this, we can then work you through the fundamental 7 step process for how to let things go in a relationship.
This, my friends, goes a little like this…
1) Identify How You Feel
So once you’re clear on what you want to let go of, I want you to get into it further by jotting down, how it makes you feel.
Now, don’t just write your initial reaction.
E.G. I was – and still am – flaming well annoyed about this!
Explore it all further.
After all, if you’re struggling to let go of something in a relationship, the chances are it stirred up a few intense emotions, and different emotions too.
So let’s really look at what they are…
Really feel your emotions (and feel your emotions PROPERLY), then release them (even just a little bit!) by getting them all out on paper.
You want to not only identify the emotion itself. (E.G. Anger) But also any additional feelings that come with it. (E.G. I felt like I was worthless.)
2) Get Clear On WHY You Feel That Way
Next up – if you’re clear on the situation and how you feel about it, look at WHY you feel the way you do, and with such intensity that you’re struggling to let it go.
- Has this struck a nerve for other reasons?
- Did something similar happen in the past and so it brings all of this back?
- Has this triggered additional worries for you?
- Why does this make you feel this way?
- Has it built on a deeply embedded limiting belief that you already have in your relationship? (E.G. “Our relationship is one-sided, or they don’t appreciate me or love me as much as I love them.”)
- Have things been building up and up, which then put more strength on this particular situation?
- Have your thoughts started to escalate around it all, and so you’re not just feeling the situation that happened itself, but everything else that comes into it?
- Are you now struggling to trust in the relationship? Recognising the signs you can’t trust him, and don’t know what to do from here?
- Or maybe you’re working through other doubts / concerns about the relationship as well? And everything seems to be compiling on top of everything, which is why this (potentially small thing) feels like such a big deal?
See, as you’ll probably realise, you think you need to let go of one particular thing, but you’ve probably been adding “more oil to the flame” by all the other thoughts that have been going into it and playing their part on building it up and up.
3) Pull It Back To The FACTS
The next fundamental step when it comes to how to let things go in a relationship, is tackle one thing at a time.
So in step 2, you should now have highlighted a number of different and related issues or concerns which have built the core situation up.
We’re not discounting everything else that comes into it and we won’t be forgetting about them either. We will tackle each of those, one by one, as well.
But for now, to make it less overwhelming, I want you to pull it back to the core situation at hand.
So pull out a fresh piece of paper and at the top – write the one sentence summary of what it is, specifically, that you’re trying to get over. Then write:
- What is actually true about this situation?
- What assumptions are you making here?
- Are you making any unfair (although understandable) statements?
- And what could / couldn’t be true, but isn’t actually related to this? (Instead, it’s just adding weight to the situation, which is making it harder for you to let this one thing go.)
Use three separate columns to process your thoughts and understand what is ACTUALLY true and what is potentially related, but not specific about the situation itself, or what is just your feeling(s).
Remember – your feelings are still valid, but they’re not always necessarily 100% the TRUTH, which is why we want to bring it back to the FACTS.
A fact may be: My boyfriend / husband often doesn’t tidy up after himself.
(NOTE: Every time you write a fact, just check – is this strictly true? Or do I need to re-phrase it? E.G. You may have initially wrote, “my boyfriend / husband never tidies up after himself”, then realised that that’s not the most accurate statement… So write, evaluate and adjust if you need.
The assumption may be: He’s taking me for granted. He doesn’t appreciate everything I do.
An unfair statement may be: He doesn’t do ANYTHING around here. It’s all on me.
(These are things that aren’t STRICTLY true. You know they’re not strictly true. But you still notice them popping up in your head.)
And what could be adding weight may be: Perhaps you don’t spend enough quality time together at the moment. You feel like he’s rarely home as he’s got lots going on. You miss him. And so all the smaller things are building up.
Why This Is Important
Breaking all of this down is arguably one of the most important steps when it comes to how to let things go in a relationship.
It enables you to process all of your thoughts, feeling and emotions properly – but take a step back to see them more clearly; and understand them better too.
See, many of the things you wrote in step 2, will now be separated into the columns below.
Everything you think / feel will still be valid and understandable – to a degree – but you now be able to identify what TYPE of thoughts / feelings they are.
This gives you tremendous power and progress towards letting go of the core issue / situation that you’re struggling with, as you realise it’s not actually about that and that alone.
4) Challenge Your Assumptions
As you identify the assumptions and unfair statements that you’re making, start to challenge each one – one by one – looking at:
- What evidence do I have that this is actually true?
- What things suggest otherwise?
Think of it a little like a court case (fighting for your partner and your relationship as you know, this is actually – partly – an internal battle going on here!)
I mean, gouge back to the example above to demonstrate this further, you may ask yourself:
“Well, maybe I feel put on about this situation, but how does he show me he appreciates me? What things has he done to make me feel this way?”
“Why might he be not pulling his weight around the house? Is he too used to me doing it?
Is he oblivious that it’s becoming too much? Maybe he’s not aware of “mess” as much as I am?
Or maybe he’s just so tired after work, he does get a little “lazier” at home, but perhaps that is understandable?”
You can even go further with it. For example, with the same situation, you may say:
“Okay, sure – maybe he does take me for granted a little, but does that mean he doesn’t love and appreciate me, as a whole?
Haven’t there been times where he probably doesn’t feel appreciated, for different reasons, too? Should I perhaps cut him some slack here?”
All of these questions should help to give you answers – answers that encourage you to see the situation you’re struggling to let go of, in a different light, so that it’s then easier to release.
But always look at FACTS and EVIDENCE, as then it becomes less of a “pep talk” for yourself and feels more concrete and valid.
5) Put It Into Perspective
As time goes on, and couples become more comfortable, it can be easy to pick up on the flaws and give too much focus to these, whilst forgetting to fully see and appreciate the relationship as a whole. (And remember why you love your partner so much and want to be with them!)
For this reason, another step you don’t want to miss when it comes to letting things go in a relationship, is putting things back into perspective.
So ask yourself:
- How severe is this one situation and this one situation alone? (Focus solely on the situation / specific issue in hand, for now. You can then follow the same process as a whole, for anything else you want to work through.)
- Should this one thing, really have so much influence?
- Am I forgetting other things that I DO like, or AM happy with, or DO appreciate?
- Is there a chance that I could be blowing this up?
- Or do I need to consider if he’s the right person for me?
- Is it worth building up resentment over this? I mean – what would that resentment even achieve, vs. what negative affect do these feelings have?
- Why would I be better to let this go now? And why should I?
- What do I want out of this relationship? And is me holding onto this thing, taking me closer of further away from having / keeping that?
Remember, if you’re looking to let this go, the chances are, you think it’s WORTH letting go.
As mentioned at the start – you’re not following this process to allow or forget about, “the big stuff.”
You’re just doing this to be able to stop sweating the small stuff, that really isn’t worth tainting your relationship over. (Or potentially destroying it because of it.)
No-one is perfect. And no relationship is either. But you choose what you focus on and what you then focus on, directs the way you feel.
So decide why you MUST let this go then use perspective to make it easier.
Build On This Further…
Now, perspective is a powerful thing, but – in most cases – you can’t just gain perspective on a situation and wallah, just like that, you are magically able to completely let it go.
No, unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.
So once you’ve gained perspective and have been able to take away the power that the situation has (and how much it affects you), you then have to be able to remind yourself of this shift of perspective, when your emotions around it all come back.
To help with this – write down on a new notes tab in your phone now:
“What I Need To Remember”
This should then include all of your evaluations when gaining perspective, in short snappy notes that you can quickly and easily read in your moments of need.
This then leads us onto our next step to let go of things in a relationship…
6) Acknowledge, Feel, But Remember
Once you’ve worked through these first 5 fundamental steps for how to let things go in a relationship, you’ve done most of the groundwork… (Great stuff!)
But the process will then continue as: Acknowledge, Feel & Remember.
So when you’re getting stirred up by the things that upset / hurt / angered you:
First – Acknowledge
Acknowledge your emotions around what has happened or what is going on.
Know that – to a degree – the way you feel about it is perfectly natural, normal and valid.
Don’t simply try to push your thoughts / feelings away or try to kid yourself or beat yourself up about it, saying things like you’re “just being stupid”.
You’re not. We get where you’re coming from and what has triggered this reaction…
But that doesn’t mean that these initial emotions are the ones you want to run with, as you know they’re not helpful for you now. So…
Second – Feel It
Feel what you have to feel in the moments that the emotions come to you. You don’t want to repress your emotions. But then choose to shift the way you feel by…
Third – Remembering
From there, you can re-visit your “Remember List” around what happened to re-embed the things you do want to remember in this situation…
The things that bring it back to the facts and challenge all of the other thoughts that are making you hold onto it around it.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat…
This may be an ongoing cycle initially. (I mean, how often have you done something and it’s created instant change, straight away, without you having to do anything else?!)
Every time you think of whatever you’re struggling to let go of, and it triggers everything that comes with it, you’ll need to acknowledge it, feel it, but then push thing back into perspective… Again and again.
But when you keep doing this, eventually you’ll start to train your mind to keep pulling it back.
You’re essentially becoming your own best friend – making you rational and reasonable so that you no longer keep feeling the things / ways you don’t want to feel.
Just understand that it may take time, and repetition… And that’s okay.
As long as you stick with the process, as eventually, the thoughts you DON’T want to have, will start to fade and the power they once had, will begin to diminish too.
7) Talk It Out If You Need
The 7th and final step for how to let things go in a relationship, is to talk it out.
Up until now, everything has been about what YOU can do, because we want to put YOU in control of how you feel and behave.
However, you and your partner are still a team, and you don’t have to keep everything to yourself. In fact, it’s not good to!
Yes, you don’t want it to be like you’re constantly moaning, nagging or chipping away at your partner.
But if there’s things that you’re not happy about and which are perfectly valid – talk them out. Get it off your chest. Bring these things into awareness. And see what your partner can do to help or change it.
So going back to the example above, of feeling under appreciated and put on, you would:
- Not have a go at your partner. But instead – wait until you’re sat down together that evening and have a cool, calm, non-accusing conversation, explaining the situation from your side.
- You’d also want to acknowledge how you can see things from their side, or understand that this may not be a big deal to them or they may not have been aware of it. (This shows care and understanding for them, and that you are a team, you just want a little compromise.)
- Your partner should then listen and acknowledge how you feel, and may even suggest a way forward themselves.
- If they don’t, calmly share what you want or need from them, in order to make this better moving forward.
- But by having a plan in place, and taking positive action around whatever’s on your mind, this too, in turn helps you to let things go in a relationship – both faster and easier.
How To Let Things Go In a Relationship
So that’s the step by step process for how to let things go in a relationship.
This works for almost any situation. Just remember – as we touched on above – it’s not ALWAYS an instant thing.
Some things DO take time – depending on what’s happened and what your character is. (How hard you feel things and how big they hit you.)
So be patient… Recognise any progress you do make towards feeling better about the situation and being able to let it go, and understand that any progress is positive… It’s another step forward…
Then as the days go on and you repeat the cycle, you will gradually reach the point where you can confidently say you’ve let go of it and it no longer affects how you feel.
Got a question? Be sure to drop it in the comments box below, or grab some relationship coaching sessions to master skills like this further.
In the meantime – good luck. I hope this has helped. And by the way, you should feel super proud of the fact that you are swatting up to become better at things like this… As it makes a real difference!
Sending all my love and support,