Senior couple holding hands

When you’ve gone through any type of relationship ending, doesn’t have to be romantic, it could be the loss of a loved one or losing a friend due to distance, you’re always bombarded with the same type of advice from those around you: “You’ll move on, just give it some time”, ” It’s best to just let go and get on with your life”, “Just forget about them, there’s a reason they’re not in your life anymore”.

But you know what I think? I think it’s perfectly fine not to let go of someone you loved, in fact it’s expected that if you truly loved someone they will always stay with you. In my opinion, that’s actually how you know whether or not you truly genuinely loved someone. That person once meant the world to you; you gave them a piece of you and they gave you a piece of themselves in return. This piece remains with you forever; it becomes a part of who you’ve become.

Even if you don’t speak to that person whatsoever and haven’t followed their news for a long time, it’s okay to still catch yourself thinking about them every now and then. It’s okay to still remember how they made you feel. It’s okay to still recall the memories you’ve had together and can’t help but smile. You’re only human and those you loved will stay with you forever.

I’m not saying we should live in the past or obsessively keep holding onto the people who left or hurt us. You DO need to move on with your life, but I mean that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it if you catch yourself thinking about them every once in a while or feel like a part of you still loves him. That only means you have a genuine heart who is capable of unconditional selfless love, a very rare trait nowadays. This person did shape you into the person you are today, whether it ended badly or ended well, so it makes perfect sense to feel like you haven’t completely and fully let go of them.

We need to get rid of this obsession with moving on and these cliches about letting go. There is no black and white when it comes to love and loss. It leads us in some cases to be in self-denial and forces us to show others that we’ve completely forgotten that person when they’re constantly in the back of our minds. I really think that if you truly loved someone, they will stay with you forever.

“The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularity of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?” — Jeanette Winterson