In this article, I am going to share my thoughts, experiences and observations on how to stop loving someone but stay friends. It’s not easy and there may be a period of extreme discomfort, sadness, confusion, anxiety and suffering.
But, if it’s something that you are committed to doing, then it’s possible and this is how you can do it.
To love and to remain attached to someone requires action. These are active emotions or states of being.
Thus, to break free from love and attachment, you must eliminate all actions that feed those active emotions.
In other words, all habits and routines that involve loving or remaining attached to someone must come to an end.
But, with the end of any active habit or routine, there is a period of withdrawal which includes feelings of suffering and pain.
Even though you want to remain friends, it is imperative that you prepare yourself for a period of hardship and doubt.
Your mind will play tricks on you at times and there will be a short period of time, especially when you are alone or sense that the other person is growing distant, that you will have a surge of emotions.
It is during those moments when you must exercise emotional self-control to stop yourself from taking action that is counterproductive to your goal.
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What Is Emotional Self-Control?
It is a misconception that we are innately and uncontrollably ruled by our emotions. I used to believe this to be true when I was much younger.
I continuously acted on my emotions and claimed to wear my heart on my sleeve.
Living like this enabled me to be lazy, demotivated, cowardly, unhealthy and unfit.
It was only until I had a few light bulb moments that I started to pursue emotional self-control.
Believe it or not, getting sick pushed me to alter my behavior in spite of how I felt.
Rather than sit around and eat whatever I wanted when these regular cravings hit me, I disciplined myself by choosing to exercise and eat healthy every single day.
In time, my body improved and I attained good health again.
Except, I didn’t want to return to my old ways of living.
I realized that I was able to control myself in spite of the emotions that kept influencing me throughout my life.
This bled into other areas of my life and instead of being someone who continued to accept mediocrity in my professional and love life, I started to demand more. Contrary to my insecure and self-limiting emotions, I chose to act in a manner that ultimately got me the things and people I wanted in my life.
So, emotional self-control is to simply recognize what you are feeling, measure it against your purpose or goals and make a decision on whether to act in congruence with your emotions or with your purpose and goals.
Sometimes, your goals and your feelings will align and this will be the perfect storm.
Other times, they will be in conflict and you will have to decide which takes precedence over the other.
If we apply this to our topic on how to stop loving someone but stay friends, you would have to choose not to act on any emotions that encourage you to overstep the line of friendship.
So, if you have the desire to be romantic, to be intimate or to engage with your feelings of love, you have to consciously make a choice not to engage those emotions and to do something else.
In time, this behavior will become ingrained and you’ll establish control over your emotions.
To control your emotions does not mean that you should be able to change how you feel whenever you want.
It is to control your actions despite being emotional.
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Tips On How To Stop Loving Someone
Typically, I would advise you to initiate no contact for a while so that you can break all romantic attachment to this person and learn how to live without them.
However, since you want to stay friends and may not feel like using no contact, here’s a list of things you should do to get over your feelings for them.
The idea is to be consistent and to use these tips in conjunction with each other.
Expect to feel some resistance for some time and to suffer emotionally at first. You’ll try to convince yourself to hold onto hope but if you are truly committed to letting go of your romantic feelings, then you must adhere to these tips as much as you possibly can.
It does get easier the longer you practice them and as your feelings start to diminish.
- Limit the time you spend with them.
- Do not act on emotions of desire and intimacy.
- Do not be physically intimate with them.
- Stop calling and texting them whenever you feel alone or afraid of losing them.
- Take some time to get over them.
- Only meet them for friendly activities or during group hangouts until you stop loving them.
- Start dating other people.
- Stop partaking in romantic gestures from or towards this person
If none of this works for you, then I’m afraid that you will have to postpone your plans on staying friends with this person.
It may be necessary for you to part ways until you stop loving them because ongoing distance and separation eventually break attachment and gives you the space to let go of those feelings of love.
Even if you’ll always love this person to some degree, it can change to such an extent that you are able to live with the idea of never being romantically involved with them.
Your love for them may evolve into something more familial or platonic and at that point, you will be able to be friends again.
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Draw Up Some Ground Rules
If you have been rejected by this person or it’s an ex who you want to stay friends with, then it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with each other.
It will be so much easier to stop loving someone if they support you by not crossing any lines or leading you on.
The best thing to do in this situation is to establish some ground rules.
Have a discussion on what behavior is off-limits for the two of you and make sure that there’s an agreement to abide by these rules.
If one of you oversteps, the other needs to remind you of these rules.
Trust me, I know that a conversation like this may be uncomfortable but two mature adults should be able to communicate healthy boundaries with each other if there’s a genuine intent to stay friends.
The most important thing to do is respect these rules and each other.
If you are honest and open, it will be easy for you to identify what behavior leads to your feelings being strengthened or nurtured.
Once you are aware of these behaviors, it’s important to stay away from them for as long as humanly possible.
In time, both of you will adjust to this and it will be a lot easier to stay friends.
Let Go Of The Image You Have In Your Mind
It’s hard enough to let go of someone we love but it’s even harder to contend with when you also have an image of them and a future with them in your mind.
We fall in love with people and a version of a dream life we could have had with them.
When we are forced to stop loving them, we also have to let go of this loving imaginary future with them.
This can be difficult but I want you to try to remove the person from the image in your mind.
In other words, let the dream life you have remain the same or slightly alter it while removing this person from the dream.
By doing this, you can use this dream in your mind to motivate you to move forward and find someone else who will fit into this dream.
While we’re on the topic of the mind, I want you to let go of this perception you have of this person.
They are not perfect, despite how perfect they seem to you.
Take them off the pedestal and humanize them.
In doing so, it’s easier to stop loving them.
I want you to remember this. If they were truly the perfect person for you, then there would be no need to stop loving them because they would be with you right now and the two of you would not have to be friends.
The fact that you’re reading this article and presumably dealing with a rejection, breakup or friendzone automatically means that this person isn’t actually perfect for you.
Give Each Other Space
As I have mentioned earlier, space is crucial because it assists in deconstructing attachment.
It is true, however, that space and distance can initially cause the heart to grow fonder.
During that time, you will be tempted to do many things that do not help you to stop loving someone.
However, by practicing emotional self-control and by continuing to maintain space, the distance will actually start to diminish your feelings.
You have to get through that spike in desire and weather the storm until it dips because it will most certainly dip.
Stay away from their social media during this time, avoid texting continuously or calling often, don’t hang out alone for a while and give yourself the time needed to be alone or away from this person.
Letting go of someone you love sucks. It hurts to your core and it feels like a betrayal of your feelings.
But, remaining in love and attached to someone you can’t be with is a betrayal of your dreams, time and heart.
This is not a time for you to become overly critical of yourself nor is it a time for you to be judgmental of your actions.
Instead, practice self-love and care.
Be kind and thoughtful to yourself.
When that negative voice starts whispering self-defeating things to you, counter it with a loving and caring voice.
Sometimes, I go so far as to talk to myself as if I’m a friend to myself.
I think about what I would tell my best friend if they were going through something like this and I’ll say it to myself.
Be a friend to yourself during this time.
You also have all this unrequited love in your heart. Don’t waste it. Channel it towards yourself and towards the people in your life who actually love you.
You’d be amazed at how fulfilling it is to be of service to others and to be helpful.
As you learn more about yourself and grow, it’s probable that you would also outgrow these feelings you have for this person.
Believe me when I tell you that most of us are going through the same thing that you are experiencing right now.
Trust me, what you’re giving up will be rewarded with something much more meaningful and fulfilling in the future.
You deserve to love someone who loves you back in the way and manner that you deserve.
Until you find that, do not settle for anything less.
With that being said, I hope you found this article on how to stop loving someone but stay friends to be a source of comfort and to be useful. If you have any questions or thoughts that you would like to share with me, go ahead and leave a comment down below.