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If You Love Someone Should You Set Them Free?

David Wilson
December 28, 2023

Well, it depends. There are myriad reasons behind each answer, and while each relationship is unique, there are still some commonalities as to why we choose to let go of someone we love or why we choose to stay with them and stick together through difficult times.

Having to decide to let go or not is already difficult in itself, but let’s face it, it isn’t the yes or no that makes it hard, but the why. Why do you have to set the one you love free?

A few scenarios may come to mind, but while there are commonalities in each relationship, the ultimate decision of whether or not to set them free varies greatly from person to person. Probing deeper into this life-altering decision, a few questions must be answered.

Who or What are you setting free?

You meet a new person, you get to know them better slowly, and then you decide that you both want to be in a relationship. You dive into it because you like (or love) who you see. You liked how they made you feel and think you could get used to this. Slowly, over time, the person starts to show a different side to them that you don’t know if you can deal with, let alone live with. The cracks in the fortress you built are starting to show, and you think of stepping away before it all crumbles. 

When the relationship started, it was all rainbows and butterflies; it felt light, breezy, and all the whimsical adjectives you could only dream of using to describe your love life. A few months pass, and a new career opportunity comes that would require you to work away from your partner, and they are not as supportive as you hoped.

Or imagine being proud of a recognition you received, and they couldn’t be less interested. What once started as a giddy, happy-happy-yeah-yeah kind of relationship now just feels like a lump in the throat, like someone turned off the lights, and everything is now dark and murky. All you can think of is getting to the light at the end of the tunnel and being done with the dark. 

As individuals, we expect to evolve, picking up lessons to enrich our lives with every experience we stumble upon. It means that the person you fell in love with internally changes as your relationship progresses.

Also, your circumstances will change during your partnership, leading to a rollercoaster of emotions as each day goes on. It is with this mindset that it is crucial to ask yourself whether the grievances you are feeling right now towards your partner or your situation are for good or just for now. Is it such a deal breaker that you have to set them free for you to feel free? Are your difficulties hurdles or shackles?

Why do you have to set them free?

Has the relationship been like a rock tied to your feet that you feel you’ll continue to sink if you stay in it? Did your partner turn out to be full of red flags? Do you feel like you’ve already lost the person you fell in love with, and there’s no way of getting them back? 

Everyone has their ideals when looking for a life partner and hopes to find that person in the right place at the right time. Some people get lucky and find the personification of their ideal partner, while some are fortunate enough to find someone who may not be perfect but can deal with compromises.

Research tells us that feeling that your needs are not reasonably met is one of the reasons people arrive at the junction of deciding whether to stay or let go of a relationship. In a few situations, you may take your time before you make a decision, but in some extreme cases, you may need to take drastic measures. 

Do you need more space to grow as an individual? Do you feel your partner is weighing you down and keeping you from fulfilling the potential you know you have? Do you need to set your partner free so they can also realize the potential they have?

Will it benefit you to set them free in the long run? Is there doubt in your mind that you will regret making this decision for the rest of your life? Will you be open to reconciling in the future?

A study suggests that love may be better the second time around for almost 50% of couples. You need to address these questions truthfully, and while there is no 100% sure answer, being able to think through your decision will make the risk less significant.

How do you set them free?

Even though the decision to set your partner free may seem easy, you will not be spared of the pain, the longing, the guilt, or the hurt. Of course, this was once a precious relationship for you, and you put everything you have to make it work.

Many people think that it comes easy for the one who pulled the trigger, but as they say, it takes two to tango. The immediate response to escape these negative feelings is to cut off contact completely.

However, this is easier said than done. Having a stable support system will be vital in helping you navigate through these feelings and avoid any untoward circumstances, like maybe taking your decision back or engaging in a rebound relationship. 

‘It takes two to tango’ being said, you must also remember to set yourself free. If one of the reasons you decide to let go of your relationship is to maximize your potential and achieve a career goal, then by all means, go for the stars. Make sure to love yourself in the healing process instead of sulking and blaming yourself for what happened. Take on a new hobby, surround yourself with positive people, and focus on yourself and your growth.


Set your partner free and set yourself free to evolve, learn, mature, and grow. Don’t rush the healing, but don’t dwell in it as well. Find a healthy balance to allow yourself to heal properly. With all the friends and family to support you through this ordeal, remember that time is also on your side. Do what it does, and just keep moving through your journey.

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David Wilson

David Wilson

David Wilson is a skilled clinical psychologist dedicated to enhancing lives through healing and growth. Specializing in empowering clients to overcome challenges, he offers personalized therapy that fosters emotional well-being and resilience. With a compassionate approach, David guides individuals on their journey to discover self-awareness, develop coping strategies, and find lasting happiness. Trusted and revered, he is committed to making a positive impact and nurturing positive change in every life he touches.

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