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How to let go of a relationship and move on

Nine years ago my heart was in a million little pieces that formed the basis for a million regrets.

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Ending a relationship can be incredibly difficult no matter how toxic it is. Part of this is for simple biological reasons, as some scientific studies have shown that being in love activates the same areas of the brain as being high on cocaine. Brain scans of lovers and people experiencing cocaine addiction both display increased activity in the pleasure centers of the brain most notably the dopamine centers and decreased activity in the frontal lobe, which is the area responsible for cognition. This means that while falling in love can make us feel good, it can also profoundly affect our judgment. It is for this reason that love can sometimes be compared to an addiction. In love, much like addiction, there may be negative side effects such as abuse or gaslighting.

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In fact, the feelings caused by romantic love can be so strong, they can convince people to stay in relationships that are unhealthy, unfulfilling and ultimately unhappy — whether they realize it or not. For example, when people looked at photos of their romantic partners, dopamine — a chemical associated with reward that makes people feel good — was released in their brains, a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found.

How to know when it's time to let go of someone you love

The way these chemicals make people feel can make them overlook logical decisions like leaving an unsatisfying relationship, says Julie Wadley, founder and CEO of matchmaking and coaching service Eli Simone. Here, experts explain some of the s that indicate it may be time to let go:. These needs can be emotional, like wanting quality time with your partner, or functional, like requiring them to competently manage money.

It may seem like if they leave the relationship, they may never find something better. In a fulfilling, healthy relationship, the answer to those questions should be your partner, according to Wadley. But Wadley says open lines of communication are essential to lasting, healthy partnerships.

Instead of speaking up, they suppress how they feel, continue on with their dissatisfaction and feign contentment out of fear of feeling like a burden. And the argument that ensues can wind up being more damaging to the relationship than it would have been if you had addressed it sooner.

Hiding your true feelings about how your partner is treating you likely prolongs the unfulfilling relationship, rather than saves it, according to Wadley.

7 ways to let go of a past love

Lindsay Chrisler, a New York-based dating and relationships coach says you should take stock of how your trusted family members and friends feel about your relationship. Of course, when two people are in love and have spent years together or have started a family together, there is a stronger incentive to work out the problems, says Chrisler.

But she caveats that you should set a time limit of one year. The key, she says, is to listen to the logical part of your brain, instead of submitting to the euphoric chemical reactions that love can cause.

10 ways of letting go of a past relationship peacefully and moving on

One in four women and one in 10 men have been victims of intimate partner violence, according to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. at letters time. By Carly Breit. Get our Health Newsletter. up to receive the latest health and science news, plus answers to wellness questions and expert tips. Please enter a valid address.

15 tips for letting go of a relationship that is not healthy

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How to let go of someone (because sometimes that’s what’s best)

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10 ways to let go of someone you love

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