Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Is It True That If You Love Someone, You Let Them Go?

This is practically a philosophical question, but human nature can explain why it is true that if we love someone, we will let them go. And believe me: it’s in your favor.

A man and a woman are sitting next to each other and breaking up

Yes and no.

Long story short: If someone wants to leave us – we assess that it’s good for us (a natural need arises in us to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves) – we let that person go and are grateful to them for it, so we practically love them – because they worked in our favor.

A longer explanation of how this works:

The hypothesis is that we love someone so much that we’ll let them go. This implies that we prioritize their needs over our own.

Psychologically, this is almost impossible, except in parent-child relationships.

Humans are simple-complex selfish beings, and selfishness is not inherently bad, as it’s often perceived. Taking from others, exploiting them, and lacking empathy and consideration are negative traits indicating a problematic superego. However, prioritizing oneself is natural.

Man and woman are walking; if you love someone, let them go

This natural impulse originated in ancient times, when taking more for oneself meant survival.

Being “selfish” means taking care of oneself and putting oneself first. And this need, as mentioned, emerged long ago; even innocent beings like babies have it, and it’s perfectly natural.

So, the paradigm is this: We want that person to be happy so that we can be happy. If we let that person go, we’re practically depriving ourselves of a chance at happiness and agreeing that they should be happier than us.

Unfortunately, this falls into unnatural behaviors that are possible only if we are:

  • Extremely empathetic
  • Extremely neurotic
  • Extremely altruistic
  • Extremely mature

Let’s analyze each of these behaviors separately.

Being incredibly empathetic

A beautiful woman

It means empathizing with the other person to the extent of understanding why they don’t want us but want something else. To achieve this, we must overcome our ego that constantly says: but you are the best. How can that person not want you??!

Overcoming the ego is tricky because we usually employ many mechanisms precisely to prevent it from being defeated. But hypothetically, we can defeat our ego and make the other person more important than us. This leads us to


Increased neuroses make it easier for people to “defeat” their ego (technically, neuroses drive us to use certain mechanisms to adapt, in this case, to the fact that we are less important).

Neuroses mean that we are afraid to fight for ourselves. Since we are so scared, we rationalize that it’s okay for the other person to leave us. However, even though this thought is unbearable to us, this is how we find a way to justify ourselves and find peace with it.

  • I’m afraid to stand up for myself. – I rationalize to myself that it’s okay for them not to want me, so it’s easier for me – I let them go.

In any case, if they are nurtured – they grow. Neuroses can go so far and develop into other conditions (masochism, for example). We can begin to enjoy the fact that this person has hurt us or abandoned us. We may even triumph over that person’s victories. We can think that it is good for them that they left us. Oh yeah…it’s amazing how far we humans can go.


Altruistic people

There’s a whole line of thought where psychologists wonder if there is true altruism or if every act of altruism is just a way for us to feel good about doing something good. So, once again, it comes back to us feeling good. It’s not about others. Read more about it here.

But if we stick to this topic, we can practically say that we want to let someone go – to feel good about ourselves. We want to be more noble, better person, resilient, kinder, and libidinous than others. We want to have power over our ego, etc… which ultimately leads us to narcissism.

Because doesn’t this remind you of something? Doesn’t the tendency of narcissists to be better than others resonate with this?

Practically, it turns out that we are a little narcissistic if we want someone else to be better off than us, because we want to be a higher being than everyone (complex loop, but you are smart, you understand me 😉).

But no matter how interesting and philosophical this topic is, today’s question is whether it’s true that if you love someone, let them go.

And finally, we come to maturity.

Man and woman

This is what people talk about when they ask: Is it true that if you love someone, let them go?

Maturity is the only way to be well when letting someone go from our lives.

It implies that we understand what’s happening in front of us. We understand that the person doesn’t want us and their reasons, whether related to us or to them. We understand that someone not wanting us doesn’t damage our ego or say anything negative about us.

Maturity is such that we’re okay with it, even if someone wants to leave us. We’re not damaged, and we don’t have illusions about such a person. But above all, we don’t think we’re less worthy because of it. We don’t think poorly of ourselves because someone doesn’t want us.

And precisely because of that, we can let that person go and wish them well. Because we know their leaving has nothing to do with us, it won’t harm us in the future or affect us.

And because we are not emotionally agitated, but are calm and stable, we can see that person for who they really are. And we can continue to love those qualities of theirs. She or he left us, but they are still, let’s say, good people. Or intelligent. Or something else. And we can love all of that.

When we’re mature, it’s clear that it’s good for us when people leave. We know that staying would be much more cumbersome and ugly than leaving, and that their departure frees us.

Practically, maturity says: You’re doing me a favor by leaving, so thank you. I wish you all the best because you didn’t hold me back and destroy other opportunities for me. You are a good person.

Therefore, when we let someone go and do it out of maturity, we love them for being fair to us.

And that brings us back to the title of this text.

A man and a woman are sitting next to each other

If we truly love someone, we’ll let them go. But that doesn’t mean we love them as a partner and in a romantic sense—but in a human, friendly sense. In fact, we love what they’ve done for us—liberated us. And that finally brings us to the completely natural need I mentioned at the beginning of the text—the need to take more for ourselves (or “selfishness” 😁).

And now everything finally fits together.

So, if someone wants to leave us – we assess that it’s good for us – a natural need arises in us to take care of ourselves and protect ourselves – we let that person go and are grateful to them for it, so we practically love them – because they worked in our favor.

So, the conclusion is both yes and no.

If we truly love someone and let them go but do it for the wrong reasons – then it’s neither good nor true love.

But if we love someone and let them go for the right reasons – then we can say that’s the ultimate love… but only if we understand that process well.

  • We can say we understand it well if we feel it’s okay and it doesn’t disturb us.
A beautiful proud woman

I love you because you freed me, because I understand we’re not meant for each other, and because I want to nurture positive feelings (they’re much better for me than negative ones). I let you go because I see who you are, because you’re not right for me, and because you freed me to find my happiness, it’s okay for me to free you to find yours.

I let you go primarily for myself because I love myself… and it seems you love me enough not to keep me in something that isn’t good for me. Practically, I love that you love me enough to set me free.

So yes, if you love someone, you’ll let them go. But for yourself, not for them. Towards them, you’ll feel gratitude.

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