How To Let Go?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I was recently ‘dating’ a guy that I met online. We talked online for about a month and moved on to the phone. It seemed like we had so much in common with one another and he made me feel really special. During the course of one of our conversations, he let it slip that he loved me. I was ecstatic! I had the same feelings for him, as well.

We talked on the phone several times a day, every day, for an extensive period of time. It seemed like everything was going great. We made plans to meet one another and to spend a weekend together. The weekend was very nice and we got along wonderfully. I felt like I had finally found someone that I could be with for a long time. I was sadly mistaken.

He broke things off with me the day after he had left from our weekend together. He said that I was too controlling, too needy, and that he couldn’t handle someone like that. I was completely devastated. Here this man was telling me that he loved me and yet, leaves me 2 weeks into the relationship. What happened? Even though I haven’t known him for that long and we didn’t date very long, he has touched my heart and I can’t seem to be able to let it go. He really hurt me and left me with no real explanation as to why. I have sat and cried for the past 4 days over this man. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat.

My question is- How can I let go of him and the pain that he has caused?

A. I am sorry you are having a difficult time. Wanting to be in a relationship is normal and healthy. Most people desire to be in one and if you find a relationship that is good it would be an asset to your life.

Online dating is a good place to meet people. I would highly recommend it. Some people meet others at work or social functions but those are chance meetings and are relatively rare opportunities. With online dating you have a greater potential to meet individuals who you are compatible with. Lots of people marry through online dating services.

When it comes to online dating there is a “progression of compatibility” that occurs. Generally the first step is exchanging e-mails. Through e-mail exchanges you share information and learn about one another. Usually, if the e-mail communication goes well (i.e. you find that you’re compatible) then you advance to telephone conversations. At this stage you learn a little more about each other. If you find that you’re well-matched after exchanging phone calls then generally the next step is an in-person meeting and then steady dating. Each step indicates a greater degree of compatibility. The next step would be living together and if after a year or so the couple is still compatible then generally marriage is recommended. With each step in the progression you learn more about one another and whether you’re compatible.

You and he were compatible seemingly through e-mail and phone conversations but once you and he met in person he decided to end it. From his perspective you and he were no longer compatible. It only takes one person to veto the relationship. He said that he thought you were needy and too controlling. We do not know whether he was telling the truth and you were acting in this manner. It is possible that you were not acting “yourself” in his presence and were acting needy and controlling. Maybe you were nervous and it changed the way you’d normally behave. It’s possible that he was accurate in his perception of you. Conversely, the opposite may be true. He might have been wrong in his perception of you and just said you were needy and controlling because he did not like your looks or had a fear of commitment. There are many possible reasons why he ended the relationship.

I can understand your disappointment. You thought you may have found someone to have a relationship with but it did not work out. It’s important not to overreact to this situation. You should continue online dating. Don’t stop your search for a relationship. It is important to move on. Lastly, analyze whether you did act in a needy or controlling manner because if so it’s something you’ll have to work to change. If you have any more questions please feel free to write back. Good luck on your search.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Feb 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). How To Let Go?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/02/17/how-to-let-go/