How to Handle a Breakup When You Still Love Each Other

Love doesn't equal compatibility.
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While it may seem counterintuitive to break up when you still love one another, the reality is that love doesn't always make two people compatible. Breaking up under these circumstances can be especially tough, even if you know there's no future. Hold on to your feelings, and be firm as you make the effort to move past this stage of your life into the next.

1 Change Your Perspective

Having to break up with someone you genuinely care about is a heartbreaking experience. Look at the experience as something that is doing both of you a favor, recommends dating expert Christie Hartman on her website. While the two of you are with each other, you're not allowing one another to find the person who is the right one. Moving on, while initially painful, is ultimately the most loving act when two people aren't a good match.

2 Don't Overanalyze

If it didn't work out, it didn't work out. Remember that moving on is the goal, according to the article "Coping with a Breakup or Divorce" on Spending emotional energy bemoaning what could have been is an exercise in futility and will merely prolong the agony. It's fully possible to love another person and be incompatible with one another. That's simply how life is. Don't beat yourself up because you couldn't make the relationship work.

3 Continue to Love

A person doesn't have to be part of your life for you to continue to love him. Whenever you think about the person you're breaking up with, take a moment to send him feelings of goodwill. While he may not ever know that you still think about him with affection, doing so will help to keep your heart from hardening. You needn't file your relationship away in the "evil ex" file to get over it. Accepting your feelings -- love, sadness, confusion -- will help you to get over the breakup faster than if you fight them.

4 Set Limits

If you're serious about ending the relationship, resist the urge to call or hang out with your ex. If you don't, the mere sound of her voice may trigger feelings of longing that can override your decision to leave the relationship. Make an agreement with one another that you'll only text to convey critical information and will otherwise avoid unnecessary contact for a while. Trying to be friends will only prevent you from accepting the finality of the breakup and delay healing, says psychotherapist Michael Vincent Miller in the "Oprah" magazine article "Can't We Be Friends?"

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.