The Difference Between Letting Go of Someone and Giving Up

I can’t tell you how many of my clients tell me that letting go of someone is impossible because they don’t want to give up. They believe that if they can just keep trying, the person they love will finally be the person they want them to be and they will live happily ever after. […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients tell me that letting go of someone is impossible because they don’t want to give up.

They believe that if they can just keep trying, the person they love will finally be the person they want them to be and they will live happily ever after.

From a young age, we are told to never give up and, to a degree, this is good advice. BUT when it comes to relationships it is not necessarily so.


#1 – You are not the only one involved.

When you are set on finding a job, or finishing a race or losing ten pounds, the person in charge of the outcome is you and only you. It is up to you to set a goal to and reach it no matter what obstacles get in your way.

When you are in a relationship that is troubled, there are two people there. And, while you can absolutely be in charge of your actions and your reactions, you can’t control those of your partner.

Perhaps you decide to take special care to look nice and be kind but your person still treats you like you are ugly and says horrible things to you. Or perhaps you decide that you will be supportive of him no matter how bad his decisions are and still his bad decisions affect your life every day.

OR, perhaps your person is trying to change his behavior but the change that he is making isn’t working for you or perhaps it’s not what you want. As a result, the relationship isn’t getting any healthier.

So, remember, when you are chiding yourself for ‘giving up,’ don’t! There are two of you in this relationship and both of you need to try to make it work.

#2 – You aren’t a superhero.

Yes, we have been told that we must never give up. But sometimes, it’s time to do just that.

For many of my clients, their relationships have gotten so bad that their physical and mental health are being affected. They are doing everything that they can do to save their relationship but their efforts are failing and the relationship is doomed.

In spite of their Herculean efforts, they just can’t make it work.

Recognize this about yourself.  Have you done everything conceivable to try to save your relationship but are you still hitting a brick wall? If so, recognize that there are some things that you just can’t change, no matter how hard you try.

Letting go of someone might be exactly what you need to do!

3 – Is it just an excuse?

I ask this of many of my clients – ‘Are you telling me that you don’t want to give up because you just don’t want let go?’

Letting go of someone is a very difficult thing to do. We are scared of the pain that we know we will feel when we break up and we are scared that we will never be loved again. As a result, we make every excuse in the world, including one that makes us sound strong, to stay in the relationship.

So, ask yourself – are you really worried about ‘giving up’ or is it a reason to stay, even if you aren’t happy? Letting go of someone is hard but not impossible.

4 – Would it be so bad?

Ok, so think about climbing a mountain.

You can see the top, and you are dying to get there, but a mile or so back you twisted your ankle and it’s getting more and more swollen. The pain is awful and you aren’t sure you can go another step.

What do you do? Do you keep going even though you know if you do you might not be able to hike down? Or do you turn back, knowing that it’s the best thing for your mental and physical health?

It’s the same with relationships. If your relationship is causing you mental and physical harm, perhaps it’s just time to let go. Let go so that you can be healthy and happy and functional in the world.

Sometimes, letting go of someone, ‘giving up,’ is the healthiest, strongest choice you can make!

Letting go of someone you love is one of the hardest things to do in the world to do.

The fear of the pain that you might feel is just too much to bear.

But letting go is not the same as giving up.

Remember, there are two of you in this relationship, you can’t fix everything yourself, you might be using ‘giving up’ as an excuse and, really, at the end of the day, would ‘giving up’ be so bad? If you have someone who you need to let go of, do so.

Giving up someone who is causing you pain is a sign of strength, not of weakness!

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Courtesy of GoodStudio/Shutterstock

    If You Have Trouble Saying No, These Tips Will Help

    by Jonathan Alpert

    Why You Should Consider Letting Go Of Someone You Love For Their Own Good

    by Mitzi Bockmann
    'Queer Eye' culture guru Karamo Brown with T-Mobile's Callie Field at the company's Talking with Trailblazers guest-speaker series.

    Karamo Brown of ‘Queer Eye’ Shares His 9 Tips for Living a Successful Life

    by T-Mobile Stories

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.