Love can be a real tricky business. You meet someone, fall in love, and then for whatever reason, you eventually break up. That’s just how it goes: you either end up together forever or things eventually end. In the relationships that don’t end up in an until-death-do-us-part type situation, does the love ever really go away? Can you ever truly stop loving someone? That really depends.
Love vs. lust: which is it? Love is an unconditional thing. Think about the way your parents or siblings love you. It’s an unbreakable bond between two people. Now transfer that into a romantic relationship. For many, their feelings of love—the chemical reactions that go along with being attracted to someone—are nothing but mere lust. Because lust fades, lust dies, and eventually, it’s like it was never there at all. Love doesn’t dissipate.
Being in love isn’t the same either. You can love a lot of people and even things, but you’re not in love with them. You love your pets, you love your shoe or book collection, you love a sunset after a long day at the beach. None of those things have the ability to turn your world upside down, though. Only love can do that, and those feelings are stored deep down in your psyche for the rest of your life whether you like it or not.
Time doesn’t change things. We all have those friends that we can go months or even years without seeing, and when you’re back together again, it’s like nothing had ever changed. Being in love with someone is sort of like that. The emotional intimacy that you shared with that person will always be there connecting the two of you. If there isn’t a strong bond from heavy emotional intimacy, it’s likely you never really loved them at all.
It’s more than just chemical reactions. Many researchers have chalked love up to a mere chemical reaction in the brain caused by surges of feel-good chemicals. This might be true, but it makes more sense to see that as chemically-induced infatuation. Going years without seeing your former lover but still feeling the love when you think of them means that it wasn’t just a biological thing. It was more and it probably won’t ever go away.
It’s too spiritual to disappear. It might sound new-agey, but being in love with someone is a serious spiritual experience. You and your former flame created energy together. There was a whole new life force in existence because you fell in love. That can’t be destroyed—not even by time.
It stays with you because it’s real. Many people say they’ve fallen out of love but put them in a room with their one “big ex” and all of a sudden the feelings come rushing back. This isn’t because they have unresolved issues from the relationship. It’s because when true love hits, it stays. There’s really no way around it.
There are different types of love but only one reigns true. Being in love with someone is parallel with lust. It’s head-over-heels, intense, and passionate, and tends to slowly boil down. But when you love someone—really love them–you’ll always want the best for them and for them to be happy, no matter what went down between you.
Pain is no match for love. No matter how much a person hurts or betrays you, it’s likely that you’ll love them anyway if it was true love. It’s a little different in the case of lust or infatuation. When someone you’re infatuated with hurts you, it’s like a shot to your ego. You’re furious because you trusted them and because of what you think it says about you. When someone you love hurts you—you’ll do anything in your power to forgive.
Death proves that love is lasting. To put all types of love into the same box, death is the one constant that proves when you truly love someone, that love never dies. If you lose a loved one—parent, friend, spouse, grandparent—you still love that person for the rest of your life. It doesn’t go away because they’re no longer around. Love sticks.
It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Can you ever truly stop loving someone you were once in love with? It’s doubtful. But that doesn’t mean it has to put a hold on your life. Being able to love someone so much it stays with you forever is a gift many people aren’t given in this life. It’s best to hold onto it, use it, and marvel in it. Someone once said that love is, after all, the most powerful force in the universe.
How to stop loving someone if you’re struggling
Acknowledge the truth: it’s never going to happen. Part of the reason it’s so hard to walk away from someone who doesn’t feel the same way we do is that there’s always a small little part of our brains holding out “just in case.” I mean, what if he suddenly realizes how amazing you are and wants to give a real relationship with you a shot? That constant nagging “what if” thought will keep you on the hook until you confront the truth, which is that it’s really never going to happen. Until you make that vital step, you’ll never be able to move on.
Unfriend, unfollow, delete. The fact that “can you stop loving someone?” is such a heavily Googled question shows just how hard it is to do so. What makes it worse is that we can never really get away from the object of our affection thanks to the internet and social media. Once you’ve admitted that it’s never going to happen, the next important step to take is to delete the guy from all your social media accounts. Then block them so you’re not tempted to stalk him when you get bored/lonely. Also, delete his number from your phone and remove all traces of him so that you don’t hold yourself back.
Give yourself time to grieve what never was. There’s nothing corny about admitting you were invested in a guy who ended up not feeling the same. You loved him and hoped to build a future with him and now that future will never come. There’s nothing wrong with mourning the loss of those dreams and the death of the feelings you once had for him. It’s a normal, healthy part of the process of moving on.
Think about what you need. There’s nothing worse than a relationship in which you don’t feel fulfilled and end up chasing someone who’s not giving you what you want and need. To move forward, you need to establish what it is you want and need in a relationship and from a partner. Identifying those things will go a long way in helping you get them in the future. Not only that, but it will also make you realize that this guy wasn’t the one for you because he never could have given you what you deserve.
Build a plan for the future. Think about all the things in your life that you want to do and the people you want to meet. Then get excited about it. So, this guy didn’t work out. So what? There are plenty of other guys out there and there will be one that is right for you. When that happens, that’s great – but your future will be bright regardless. Can you stop loving someone? Yep, and that’s just what you’re going to do.