It’s not always easy to let things go in a relationship, especially when emotions are running high.
Maybe your partner just snapped at you for no reason, or your daughter slammed her bedroom door again. No matter what kind of relationship you have, there are bound to be times when non-violent communication goes flying out the window.
This article will give you nine tips to help you let things go. Because forgiving each other’s imperfections is a vital component in a mature relationship!
9 Ways To Let Things Go In A Relationship
1. Give it some time
The most important (and most difficult!) part of letting things go in a relationship is to hold your tongue in the moment of conflict.
When our feelings are hurt or we feel attacked, it’s normal to want to defend ourselves or demand an apology. But, in my experience, staying calm is one of the most powerful responses you can have.
If you can learn to walk away from the situation and calm down, it’s amazing how quickly your perception can change. Suddenly your “mean and unreasonable husband” transforms into an “over-stressed and over-worked guy, just doing his best.”
That distance makes it much easier to have compassion for your loved ones, even if they acted in a way that you found difficult.
2. Make space For yourself
It’s totally normal to feel less forgiving when you spend 100% of your time together. Those cute little quirks soon feel infuriating, and your tolerance takes a nose dive!
So try to make some space to be alone sometimes. Try going for a daily walk or snuggling in bed with a good book while your partner is downstairs watching TV.
It’s incredible how much more understanding we can feel once we have a bit of breathing space.
3. Recognize your emotions
Suppressing your emotions might seem like a good way to let things go. But in my experience, repressing emotions isn’t very healthy. In fact, suppressed anger has been consistently linked to health issues.
These suppressed emotions aren’t going to go anywhere. They are just going to get more intense and explosive later down the line. So if you really want to let things go (and not just start paving the way to a volcanic eruption), you need to be in touch with your emotions.
A simple practice that can help is to connect deeply with your body.
4. Take care of your emotions!
Now that you’ve recognized your emotions, you can take care of them.
Welcome your anger or hurt into your body and smile to it. You can sit down quietly and allow your body to feel whatever it feels. Cry if you need to, that’s okay. Just be with your emotions for a while and take care of them.
Once your emotions have been listened to and processed, it will be easier to let things go.
(Or you might realize that you do want to talk about what happened. But that conversation won’t be very easy if adrenaline is still coursing around your body!)
5. Create a culture of forgiveness
If you can create a culture of forgiveness, then trust will follow. And when you have trust in your relationship, it is so much easier to let things go. Instead of feeling personally attacked, you understand that your partner is just having a rough day.
I have found that taking responsibility and sincerely apologizing is a great place to start with this. It takes courage to back down from a fight and admit we were wrong, but it is a powerful decision to make.
For example, you could say:
“I just started blaming you for something that wasn’t really about you. In fact, I am not feeling good because I had a terrible day. I truly apologize, and I’m going to go take a walk to calm down.”
6. Stop trying to change people
Once you stop trying to change people, it becomes so much easier to just go with the flow! Of course, you can work on improving communication and building a healthy relationship.
But when you try and force somebody to be something that they are not, it will not end well. So stop comparing your partner to the version of them you created in your mind and start seeing them for their true self.
It’s not easy, but you may find that a lot of frustration and disappointment melts away. And you will both be happier for it!
7. Don’t write the script
A few years ago, I talked to a friend about some difficulties I’d been having in a relationship.
She said: “Honey. Just take one day at a time, and don’t write the script.”
I found this advice extremely powerful. Since I’ve let go of controlling my relationship, it’s so much easier to accept and grow with any challenges as they arise. Try not to get carried away with ideas about the future, and just arrive in your relationship here and now.
8. Practice mindfulness
I used to think that some people were born capable of letting things go, and I was just naturally less forgiving. But compassion doesn’t just happen by chance. It’s a muscle that needs regular exercise.
Since I have been meditating and doing yoga, I am more understanding of people in my life.
Instead of getting angry when people do something that feels hurtful, I naturally feel love and understanding surfacing. (Most of the time. Sometimes I still get mad, and that’s ok!)
For example, instead of thinking: “I can’t BELIEVE she just said that!”
I think: “I guess she is having a tough time right now.”
9. Have compassion for yourself
Compassion isn’t just for other people. You deserve compassion too, and who better to understand you than yourself?!
It’s lovely that you are making an effort to read this article and learn to let things go. But it isn’t going to happen all at once.
It may take many months of gradual growth before you feel a shift in your heart. Just remember, all flowers flourish at different rates. We don’t get mad with the sunflowers because they come later than the snowdrops.
So don’t be hard on yourself if some things take you a little longer.
When is it okay to let things go?
It is natural for us to lose our temper sometimes. So expecting our partner to communicate perfectly isn’t realistic. And if we aren’t able to forgive people for their minor mistakes, then our relationships probably aren’t going to last for very long!
In my experience, here are the times when it’s ok to let things go:
- External circumstances are putting a lot of strain on my partner.
- The unpleasant situation was not physically dangerous, and it isn’t a pattern.
- My partner comes to recognize his behavior or apologize in time (but it’s ok if he needs some days to process whatever he is going through first!).
But, there’s a catch. By letting things go too often, you might not be happy or safe in your relationships. So, sometimes you need to take your feelings seriously and set firm boundaries.
The following are situations when you should never let go in your relationship.
When not to let things go?
Times when you need to think more carefully about what happened:
- You felt afraid or unsafe (physically or emotionally).
- You were physically hurt, pushed, or restrained.
- You feel like your trust was betrayed.
- A pattern of unpleasant behavior is forming (frequently followed by a grand gesture of apology).
- You have a sinking feeling in your gut that you are being mistreated or manipulated (trust your body, it’s wiser than you could imagine!).
- The situation is causing you prolonged distress.
I’m not saying that you have to end your relationship when these things happen. Only you can decide the next steps for you.
But if whatever happened is making you feel uneasy in the longer term, it’s essential to address this in a safe environment.
Letting things go is an essential part of a healthy relationship, but not at the expense of your physical and emotional wellbeing.
As somebody who has come through emotional and physical abuse, I know that it can very confusing when you’re in the midst of it all. You might be questioning whether things are really that bad because it’s hard to believe that someone you love could actually be hurting you.
In this situation, letting things go is only keeping you in a situation that you don’t deserve to be in. (That’s right, everyone deserves respect, safety, and happiness. You included!)
Of course, people can indeed change and develop. But change doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes a conscious effort and commitment. So you must find a balance between compassionate understanding for your partner and setting healthy boundaries to protect yourself from harm.
It isn’t always easy, and it’s going to take some practice. But I hope this article has given you some helpful pointers to get you started!