General Question

Sophief's avatar

Why do people say 'if you love someone, let them go'?

Asked by Sophief (6611 points ) May 3rd, 2010

What exactly does it mean? When should it be used?

Is it true? Do people just say it because they don’t know what else to say in certain situations?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

66 Answers

Silhouette's avatar

Love is not ownership and if the person you love doesn’t love you back set them free, don’t keep trying to make them love you.

rebbel's avatar

No, they don’t just say that.
Well, i didn’t, when me and my ex broke up.
My heart told me that i still wanted to be with her, but then, i knew with my logic that it was for the better.
So then, i said to myself “If you love her, let her go.”
I did, and we are still very good friends.

Blackberry's avatar

If someone doesn’t like you, be mature and stop being a psycho clingy person lol.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Sometimes, being with you is not in the person’s best interests. No matter how much you want them to be with you, if you truly love them, then you will let them move on.

Or, what @Blackberry just said. Don’t be a psycho clingy person, and let them move on.

Sophief's avatar

But what if two people are in love and want to be together? I was watching a t.v programme last night and two people were so in love, but then her friend said, if you love each other, you need to let each other go. I thought wtf. I don’t really understand the meaning of it.

slick44's avatar

Or like when my fater was going to die, he kept fighting to breath and stay alive, Untill we told him it was ok, and we would we alright. That he could let go now, and then he died. We love him and didn’t want him to suffer anymore, so we had to let him go.

Sophief's avatar

@slick44 That is a nice answer, thank you. I can understand that.

slick44's avatar

Just because you love someone it dosn’t mean its in the best interest to be together. So by that you let them go.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@slick44 That wasn’t what I expected, but it was incredibly moving. GA

slick44's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe… Ya it made me cry just typing it. thanks

Sophief's avatar

@slick44 Just asked my boyfriend if I should let him go, he sighed and said “Are you on Fluther again!” he doesn’t like this site, at all

nebule's avatar

Loving someone is about loving them for who they are not what they can bring to you as a possession

slick44's avatar

@Sophief… lol thats funny, thanks i needed that. Sorry my keypad is not working correctly. it keeps skipping letters

Snorkledorf's avatar

But it’s not just about breaking up. “Letting them go” in an ongoing relationship is that you allow your partner the freedom they need to live their own life, rather than trying to manipulate them to stay with you. The idea is that by allowing them their freedom, they’re that much more likely to return to you of their own free will, rather than just because they “have to.” You’re showing them your love by not putting them in a cage.

stratman37's avatar

“If you love something, set it free. If it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and kill it!”

Trillian's avatar

Because you cannot put restrictions or chains on love. Loving someone does not guarantee that they will love you back. If your SO wanted to go, would you try to chain him to you?

sleepdoc's avatar

My understanding is that if you really love someone you want the best for them. That means that your wants or needs should not overshadow theirs. If what they really need in their life is you, they should make that choice and not have to wonder what if.

Sophief's avatar

@Trillian No, I wouldn’t, I would want him to go if he wasn’t happy with me.

CMaz's avatar

It becomes a mater of respect.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I have this terribly bad response running around in my head that is the extreme opposite of the correct answer. Fuck em, chain them up in the basement and rip off a piece whenever you want.
I believe my ass is now cooked.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I believe the full saying is “If you love someone, let them go. If they love you, they will return.” While I don’t see the value of the saying, the intended meaning is that love should be mutual and giving someone freedom from yourself is a way to prove that it is mutual.

IBERnineD's avatar

I would use it in the sense of, at some point you have to trust the person you love. Relax and be, if they love you, you don’t need to “chain them up in a basement” ala @Adirondackwannabe ;) If they don’t love you back, then you need to let them go, because you don’t need to hold on to a love like that.

Trillian's avatar

Sigh, the full saying is;
If you love something, let it go free.
If it doesn’t return, it was never meant to be yours.
If it returns, love it forever.

Stupid saying, really. I think it was one of stoned out 70’s things.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@IBERnineD That was pretty bad on my part. I was just thinking that kind of thought process drives me crazy. Who would take that into a relationship and call it love?

Sophief's avatar

After being on Fluther, it always makes me think of questions I need to ask my boyfriend. He really hates me using this site. But if we don’t ask, we don’t know.

jfos's avatar

I always thought this was advice to an SO concerning strip clubs, i.e., if you love him, let him go [to a strip club]

In addition to a break-up suggestion, I think it also applies to current relationships. Let your love go, so that you may be two individuals mutually remaining together rather than one entity.

wonderingwhy's avatar

If you truly love someone you have to let them be themselves, accept them for who they are, and allow them to follow their own path – even when it doesn’t go the way you want it to. Support them, don’t smother them.

liminal's avatar

@Sophief why does he hate it?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Sometimes you’re not the best partner for your love and you need to recognize the possibility. If they find someone who is better for them than you, you should let them go.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That just ripped my heart out and threw it on the sidewalk.

Sophief's avatar

@liminal He just doesn’t see the point of me being on it. It’s all sites like this, not just this one. Think they are a waste of time. He says that you can’t get proper advice on anything because no one knows each other. What could be good for someone may not be good for someone else.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Sophief He’s just threatened of the unknown. Lots of partners who don’t know fluther feel that way

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir To be able to say to the love of your life go ahead, there’s someone better suited to you?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Yea, probably the hardest thing to do.

Sophief's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I can’t remember what is was exactly, but when I first started on here I asked a question about something and it made me think that he didn’t want me and he wanted us over. I self harmed pretty bad that day, and asked him about it when he came home. He just said “why don’t you ask me, instead of asking a computer”. I guess he is right to a degree, but I’m a little addicted now.

liminal's avatar

This question makes me think of the song: Where I stood

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Sophief Well, to a degree, he’s right.

john65pennington's avatar

Do not kid yourself. you may tell these words to your brain, but your heart knows different. that “special person” will always be there, no matter how hard a person attempts to convince themselves otherwise.

Words are just words. remember Achy Breaky Heart, the song?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Is anyone else just shaking their head and trying to get their heads around the incredible strength it would take to tell someone you love go to someone else?

liminal's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I think people who do such would say ”... the incredible love…” it takes

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@liminal Thanks for the upgrade. My mind is blown.

Sophief's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I have said that to my boyfriend, I always tell him that if he wants someone else or will be happier without me then I will leave. I only want him to be happy, with or without me.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I am sure my husband would be able to do it.

jfos's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe It’s hard, that’s unarguable. “We are but our most difficult choices.” -Me

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Son of a bitch, click on a simple question and get this.

ruprup22's avatar

This statement is mostly circumstantial. it pertains to situations such as when someone you love must move away to never be seen again. now you could carry on a long distance relationship, although this sort of relationship is never good since it breeds mistrust and unfaithulness. in the end it’s better to let the one you love go so that both of you can end the relationship with good feelings towards each other instead of wanting kill one another. But keep in mind this statement is circumstantial.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is a way for the hurt person to feel better about a sad and difficult situation.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Is anyone else just shaking their head and trying to get their heads around the incredible strength it would take to tell someone you love go to someone else?

It’s amazingly hard, no doubt, but it gets a whole lot easier once you realize that it’s their happiness that matters most to you, not that you must be the one to provide it. Letting them find their own path and choosing to walk it with them can be an wonderful thing.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Sometimes it means pretty much the same as, “Women: you can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t kill ‘em.”

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Sophief, please, please, PLEASE stop obsessing about your relationship. Stop this at once. That’s why your bf “hates” this site, because you use it to obsess about your relationship, and mainly, your expectation of it ending. You have to be cool, OK? You have to tend to other parts of your life. And before you object and say that you do, your questions and interactions here lead me to believe that your relationship is the only thing on your mind, and that’s not healthy! Also, that means you have nothing to bring back to your relationship. A relationship is two emotionally whole people coming together to share their lives, not emotionally needy people looking to validate themselves through being with someone. After a while, it’s a pain in the arse to validate someone’s worthiness all the time.

To answer your question, “if you love someone, let them go” isn’t for when you’re both together and actively relating. It’s for when the other person shows signs that it’s time to move on. If you love someone and they’re going, either because they’re dying or they met someone else, or a better life circumstance has come for them that doesn’t include you, etc., then if you do love them, you’ll let them go, mourn a little and then move forward. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing lasts forever. This is OK. This is the natural order of things, and this phrase is to help people accept that reality.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

So that you don’t break their feelings?

gailcalled's avatar

Repeating myself; By William Blake:

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy
But he who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.

partyparty's avatar

@gailcalled That is so beautiful :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@partyparty: And he said it in 25 words.

wundayatta's avatar

When we become very attached to someone emotionally, most of us want to hold on to that person, to try to keep them from disappearing. In fact, you can place the burden of your life and happiness on the other person. Who would want to let that go?

But people want to be free. If you hold onto them when they seek to go away for a little while, they can feel like you don’t trust them. They can feel like you are too clingy; too enmeshed, and the more you hold onto them, the more they want to break free.

So, counter-intuitively, the best way to keep someone bound to you is to unbind them. Let them go where they will and they will return. Keep them tight, and they will pull away.

It reminds me of something Sun-Tzu said: keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. By this, I think he means that you always want to know what your enemies are doing, in case you need to take action. You trust friends, so you don’t need to keep such an eagle eye on them.

Love is freedom. Hatred is prison. If you love someone, you will let them go. You only keep your enemies held tight.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Silhouette ummmm…you mean, we are free to go…dang! loll…good answer!

Silhouette's avatar

@BoBo1946 Thanks and good morning. :o)

Sophief's avatar

@aprilsimnel What was that all about? It was just an observational question. I not letting my boyfriend go and he’s not letting me go. It was about me, I just didn’t understand what the statement meant or why people say it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I should’ve done this in PM. So that’s where I’ll put my reply to you.

le_inferno's avatar

Everyone pretty much covered it. Don’t let someone go if you’re in a happy, stable relationship. Let them go if you know he/she could be happier with someone else, because love is not about being selfish, it’s about caring for the other person.

I was in a relationship with someone very needy who refused to let me go. He would convince me repeatedly that the relationship could work, claiming he needed me and thus guilting me into staying with him. It was very unhealthy for the both of us. You have to realize when something just isn’t meant to be, no matter how hard it is to admit.

heart_breaker's avatar

i think its more for the people who like someone but the person doesn’t like them

Snorkledorf's avatar

By clinging to someone, you can wind up driving them away, even if otherwise you both would have been compatible. “I want you” > “I need you.”

giweigel's avatar

I kind of agree with the saying, but sometimes it seems like such a quote is used with extreme prejudice.

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