When you know deep down you cannot be with someone, because they are bad for you, or because they are bad to you, it is a very difficult choice to have to let them go. Perhaps one of the hardest parts is releasing the pain of letting them go, so you can move forward.

To do this, several steps must be taken. And it won’t be easy, but it will be far easier than keeping them in your life and allowing them to destroy you. It’s one thing to have someone walk away from you because that takes away all of your options. But, when you let go of someone else until you cope with the loss, you will always have that sneaking thought telling you to go back to ease your pain quickly.

To do so, to take the easy route is not a good option. I promise you that. Instead, listen to your gut, and that feeling that is pulling you away from them, and take the following steps after cutting ties.

1. Completely cut contact.

When you let go, you need to cut off all contact. Get everything you own from them, give them their belongings, say your goodbyes and block them. Do not try to call them, or text them, or be their friend. It will not work. You have to cut off contact and walk away.

2. Get real with yourself.

Be honest with yourself about the situation. Don’t fool yourself into believing that the situation can change, or that maybe they are good and you are reading the situation wrong. To let go, you have to accept reality.

3. Spend time with friends and family.

During the time afterward, be sure to spend as much time as possible with your friends and family. If you can, go stay with family or friends for a little while, so you have a support system close by.

4. Venture out of your comfort zone and connect with new people.

Reach out of your comfort zone, and try to find new friends and people to connect with. Go to new places, meet new people and try new things. Get your mind off of your situation.

5. Remember, there is no rush to heal.

There is no set time in which you have to heal. Don’t hold expectations for a certain day, month, or year in which you will be healed. Hold no expectations and take your time.

6. Take care of yourself.

In the meantime, do things that feed your soul. Read a good book that makes you happy, or snuggle up to your favorite feel-good movie. Take lots of comforting bubble baths, sip some wine and enjoy good food. Above all be easy on yourself.

7. Vent, vent, vent, and then let it go.

Vent your feelings to people you trust. Tell them everything and talk it out. Then, when you have said your piece, allow yourself to let go.

8. Rewrite the story.

Think about what happened in your mind. You likely had a fantasy about what the relationship was that kept you holding on, and now it is time to rewrite it as the reality of what it was.

9. Forgive them, for the right reasons.

When it feels right, forgive them. Not for them, and not so you can go back and try to make it work again. Forgive them for yourself.

10. Take inventory of their bad habits.

Don’t allow time to erase the bad things that happened. Just because you forgive them doesn’t mean you need to forget all of the bad.

11. Accept the fact that you love them, while also accepting reality.

Do not try to tell yourself “I never loved them anyways,” instead, be honest with yourself and allow yourself to accept the fact that you did love them. But, just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should have stayed and allowed them to destroy you.

12. Give it time.

Give yourself time. And then more time, and then maybe some more. Do not rush this process.

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