When Moving On Feels Unbearable

Your heart doesn’t just stop loving someone after a breakup or a loss. These comforting tips on how to move on when it hurts will help you heal.

Several readers commented on my blog post How Do You Let Go of Someone You Love? Many men and women struggle with moving on after loss, and I don’t blame them. I’m in the same boat. We feel powerless to let go of love. Some people, in fact, don’t even want to let go of the past. Their love is part of who they are, and moving on is unbearable because it means losing a piece of themselves.

Here’s what Tony says:

“My heart is broken into a million pieces. No matter how much I tell myself that I deserve better and remember that she cheated on me, lied to me, and made me feel bad about myself, I still feel a horrible ache from missing her. I try to tell myself that one day I will meet someone right for me but this was my second marriage and I’m 72 years old. My thoughts constantly go back to her. It feels impossible to move on because I love her.”

Yes, I hear that. I am touched by the fact that this gentleman is 72 years old and still has the loving heart of an 18 year old. Love really is ageless, timeless, lace and fineness. We are powerless in the grip of love, and there isn’t much we can do when moving on feels unbearable.

When Moving On Feels Unbearable

These reasons why moving on feels unbearable after breaking up with someone you love will loosen the grip of pain. You’ll still feel heartache, longing and loss because you are a loving person. You are love. You were created in love, and you were made to spread love around.

Take a deep breath, and open your mind to the idea that moving on isn’t just unbearable. It’s impossible.

Your heart has a mind of its own

Have you noticed that no matter how many reasons have to move on, you just can’t convince your heart? You might have a list of a thousand things your ex-wife or ex-husband did to hurt you. You have a thousand reasons to move on, yet you just can’t seem to forget the past or heal your heart.

That’s because your heart has reasons that reason cannot know. You and your lover were united in spirit and soul, even if your marriage wasn’t perfect or your relationship was short. You can search for a million reasons and read a thousand books on how to move on, but it won’t help. It feels unbearable to keep pushing yourself to get past the pain of a broken relationship because your heart doesn’t care what your brain thinks. Your heart doesn’t even care what you want.

You’re trying to control how you feel

You can’t control who you love, how long you’re in love, or if your lover will stay or leave. You can’t control if your loved one will live or die. If you’re in love with someone who is older and struggling with dementia or other cognitive conditions, you can’t control if they’ll even remember your face or name.

Moving on feels unbearable when you try to control how you feel. The truth is that you’re powerless to do anything about how much you love and miss your person. You’re helpless in the face of love, and trying to control how you feel only prolongs the pain. You feel like you can’t bear to move on because you’re trying to push yourself to feel what you don’t feel. You’re denying the love you feel, and your heart knows the truth. 

You suppress the flow of love and longing

I’m helping my 86 year old neighbor pack up his home and move into an independent senior community. His 89 year old wife moved to an extended care facility almost a year ago. He and his wife have been married for over 40 years, and never had children. Every time this man talks about his wife, his eyes well up with tears and he gets choked up. He loves her so much, and packing up all the belongings he and his wife collected over decades of marriage is the hardest thing he’s ever done. 

At first I felt uncomfortable when he talked about his wife and started to cry. Now, however, I understand that this is how he’s moving through the loss. It’s not unbearable for him because he doesn’t suppress the love and sorrow he feels. He allows his feelings to pass through him—and they do! His feelings rise and fall, come and go.

If you can’t bear to move on after a breakup, have you tried allowing the flow of love and longing to pass through you? Just let the sensation rise and fall. Love swells up in your body, longing squeezes your heart, and then both feelings fall away and disappear.

Emotional Healing from a Broken Engagement

You equate “moving on” with being happy

Finding pockets of happiness, peace and hope for the future is possible even if you don’t think you’ve moved on after a breakup. Life—and love—is a container that holds every possibility. One minute you notice you’re moving on; the next minute you’re consumed with sorrow and longing. This is how your heart heals. 

For the rest of your life your heart may be filled with feelings of love, loss and longing. This doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. It just means your happiness is sprinkled with the unbearable lightness of having been in love.

You think you know what you need

My final tip for moving on after a breakup is to tap into your innocence or childlike faith. What if everything is happening for a reason? People make decisions, bodies grow old, relationships form and end, planets align and the moon controls the tides….what if the disappointments you’ve experienced in your life are part of the whole? And maybe the whole is perfect.

Your heart may have reasons of its own for not healing, but this doesn’t mean reasons don’t exist. And even if there is no discernible reason for your relationship ending or your soulmate dying, there is still the possibility that life has reasons of its own. Your brain can’t fathom why your life is unfolding as it is, but that doesn’t mean that what happened was wrong or “bad.” It just means it hurts—and perhaps even feels unbearable—to move on.

Trust that you don’t necessarily know what’s best for you or your future. I know it’s hard to move on after a breakup or any type of loss, but what choice do we have? 

If you’re struggling with the loss of your wedding and marriage dreams, read Broken Engagements: How to Start Healing Emotionally.

Your thoughts and experiences are welcome below. How do you cope when moving on feels unbearable?

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  1. I recently found out the guy i love cheated on me in the past. I cried that day and the next day i found out hes still dating another girl… i never cried that much before and then i asked him to choose and he chose her. I left him and wished him well of finding the girl he deserves.. i even found out he kissed and frenched other girls behind my back. It was hard to leave someone I loved and move on but after i left him i never felt more free than this. but it still breaks me knowing he cheated on me with 2 girls and slept over at her hous for 3 days straight when i tought he was at work… i learned through ur article that everything happens with a reson 🙂 so i hope i find the guy i deserve and that cleary wasnt him. Tnx for midlife blossoms article i still feel broken but like u said time will heal.

  2. My childs father/boyfriend of 8 yrs left me saying that i was stuck and basically not on his level and our relationship was going in a continuous circle… It astounds me to think that after all this time i was so clueless to our problems. I was left heart broken and i just couldn’t accept it… how to move on when it’s unbearable is what I search for every day…I found myself begging him to come back trying to convince him he was making a mistake… Its been over a year that we just have been roommates due to the fact that we have a child together and we just are not ready to break up the family life for our child. We said that we would try and work on ourselves and come back to work ot out but then i found myself playing his games doing everything he said to make myself better … When in all i just found myself being the fool.

    I still love this man with all my heart i cant and honestly i think i refuse to let hom go because besides our issues i know deep down tjat this man is my soul mate, all though he has hurt me hes been the only consistent person in my life has held me down when no one else would and loved me through it all… He recently told me that a friend of his tried ro hook him up witha girl and hes been having conversations with on the phone but has never met her… It broke my heart because he says although hes not looking for anything but a friendship feom her she tells him shes been thinking of him all day and that she waits on his calls… I dont know what ive gotten myself into …

    Maybe i should let him go and if its real he’ll come back??? But i dont want someone who left me at my worse to go off and be with another woman and come back when it suits him… I dont want to be that girl but i dont want to be the girl without him either… But for now i give him my blessings and try to worry about our son and getting my life back on track without him for one day soon it just might be that.

    1. It is always hard to take NO as an option when you truly need a YES. You just let the bird fly and if it was really yours it will still find it’s way back to you. Begging for him to come back lowers your self esteem, you become judgemental and cruel to your self. Your life shatters and you do not realize anything good from the universe. Accepting and moving on is the most devastating thing but trust with time it all comes to pass. Just be in love with yourself, take good care of yourself and date yourself to discover your true worth. The worst thing that you will ever do is to lie to yourself,it may seem appealing to the mind but may have life shattering effects in future.

      Believe in love again and trust that in the universe like attracts like. Sooner than you may think you gonna meet someone whom your heart and soul will resonate with. I hope love finds you and all the best.

  3. Thank you for this post.
    I’m in the same boat, struggling with the loss of both – my love of 17 years and the best friend of over a decade. We used to call each other soul sisters. We no longer speak with each other. I have no one else in my life and I’m almost 60, and sometimes I just don’t want to wake up. Religion didn’t help. I’ve been involved with Christianity and even Buddhism. Walked out from both.

    Somehow I stumbled upon this podcast called the Next Level Soul where it’s been discussed by so many who went through the near death experience that there’s a soul contract and a plan, a blueprint that we, apparently, had drafted and agreed with.

    At first, I was totally, absolutely in rejection and denial re the idea of conscious choices and a blueprint for what I’m living. But, eventually, by listening to these many sharings, it made me feel mentally a bit more comfortable as, let’s face it, these guest speakers have no reasons to lie! From that perspective, we apparently choose a character to play – for the sake of a personal growth and to learn what we have to learn. And one day, we will all go home and will be surrounded and healed by absolute Love. Hmmm….

  4. What do you do when its your first love and you can’t bear to move on? We had not spoken in 16years until I wanted to apologize to him for being angry at him all this time. I cheated on him 1st and he cheated on me next. After we broke up we contined to see each other for a 1year. I met a guy decided to get married. He asked me not to but I still did.

    I eventually left my 1st husband for him ended up pregnant and he started going out with other people. I miscarried and we saw each other 2 times sfter that. He tried on numerous occasions to get me to see him but I would not. He was on drugs during this time. Two years ago I fond ot that he was sick with cancer so i decide that maybe it’s time to forgive. So I sent word to him that I wanted to talk to him and I did. Bad mistake because I am confused I love him and always have but we both go hot then cold. He is no longer on drugs and his health has improved. I am very afraid of how he makes me feel. He told me that he loved me to pieces. I can’t ever get him to tell me how he truly feels. If we cannot talk on an emotional level is there anything there? I feel the love when we are together. It’s like I know him as well as he knows hisself.

    I just had my 2nd scare with cancer. I am getting too old for this. I am married now and have been a long time and have children. I really just want to try to do the right thing. But I can’t seem to move on because it really is unbearable.

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