You can find happiness if you are strong enough to walk away from a relationship that isn’t serving you. I am living proof and you can be too!

After a devastating break-up or divorce with someone you may still love but who makes you unhappy, the next step is learning how to let go of them and how to be happy without them.

Are you thinking about getting out of a relationship that isn’t serving you, right now? Are you wondering if you can let them go and still find happiness?

It’s a scary thing – letting go of someone you love. You’ve invested so much time, emotion and energy into the relationship and breaking up and letting go feels like quitting. There is the intense fear that you will never find love again and the prospect of being alone is petrifying.

But I am here to tell you that you can let go of love, move on, and still find happiness.

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I did.

Eight years ago, I got divorced. I was 46 and had been married for 18 years. I was so scared of my unknown future and wondered if I could find happiness.

I survived and here is my story.

Here are five reasons why you need to let go of someone you love after a break-up, so you can be happy again:

1. No more thousand little cuts

One of the first things I discovered after my husband moved out was how much happier I was on a daily basis.

Every day of my marriage involved some kind of misery. Whether it was him having his third drink after dinner and becoming crabby, or me jumping on him for leaving his clothes on the floor again, we were making each other miserable every single day.

Once I was living alone, that stopped happening. I would wake up in the morning and go through a day  without a thousand little cuts. When I crawled into bed, I wasn’t angry and bitter but content with how my day had gone. And, I would get a good night’s sleep because no one was next to me, snoring.

So, at the very least, know that your daily life will improve if you are no longer in a relationship that makes you unhappy.

2. No more being a pretzel

When I was in my miserable relationship, I twisted myself into someone who I wasn’t, hoping to make us happier and keep us married. These contortions made me feel inauthentic and damaged my self-esteem.

Have you ever found yourself putting up with behaviour that is not okay, just to keep the peace? Do you bend over backwards to do things that will make him happy? Have you given up friends in an attempt to save your relationship?

Twisting ourselves into a pretzel for someone else is not a healthy thing. In order to maintain our sense of self-worth, it is important that we do things that make us feel good about ourselves and our place in the world.

With my husband gone, I was free to truly be myself and, man oh man, did that make me happy!

After my divorce, I finally had the freedom to do everything that I had always wanted to do

3. Living an authentic life

When I was married, I was a wife and a mother. Every day was filled with mundane tasks like keeping the house clean and making dinner. I defined myself as such and it kept me from living my own life.

After the divorce, I finally had the freedom to do everything that I had always wanted to do.

I got certified as a life coach and I started my own life coaching business, making a difference in the world. I volunteered at the National Alliance of Mental Illness, I worked at a food bank, and volunteered at a hospital.

Every day, I woke up and my day was what I wanted it to be. As a result, I started feeling really good about myself. No longer was I subject to the daily pain and struggle of not being myself. My self-esteem went through the roof and I started to realise that I could do whatever I set my mind to be.

How good would it feel to have your life be what you want it to be every day?

4. Having grand adventures

One of the best parts of being alone, for me, was the opportunity to enjoy new life experiences, ones very different from those I had had while married.

I climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine and hiked for 15 days in Peru. I take my kids to the Caribbean every year for Christmas and have five glorious, cell phone-free days with them.

I started dating and had amazing non-marriage sex and met a bunch of great guys, with many of whom I am still friends.

I sold my big house in Vermont and moved into a small apartment in NYC where every day was an adventure.

I was 46 and authentically living my life again. I felt truly alive and was getting to know myself in a way that I never had before. What a gift!

5. Finding true love

I spent six years dating after the divorce. I enjoyed almost every date (but did walk out on one!) and had many amazing boyfriends.

One took me hiking in Moab. I road-tripped with one to Telluride, and with another to help hurricane victims in Louisiana. I capsized a sailboat with one of my favourite guys on Lake Champlain, and later test drove $80,000 Audis just for fun.

But, the best guy I met on Match.com become one of my closest friends and the person who introduced me to the love of my life.

I was brutally unhappy in my marriage but determined to stick it out because I didn’t want to divorce and, when it ended, I was devastated.

But, if it hadn’t ended, I wouldn’t be living the glorious life that I am with a man who loves and values me, who doesn’t cause me little bits of pain every day, who laughs and has adventures with me, who knows who he is and loves who we are.

I want to assure you that, if you can let go of a love that isn’t serving you, you will find love again. I can also promise you that, if you stay with the person who is making you miserable, you definitely won’t.

I hope that my story has answered your question on whether you can learn how to let go of someone you love and still find happiness.

There’s a little game I play when standing in line at the grocery store. I look at the faces of the women in line and try to judge by their facial expression who is in an unhappy relationship and who isn’t.

It’s very easy to tell, believe me, especially now that I look in the mirror every day and know what a happy woman looks like.

So, getting over someone is possible. You can find happiness if you are strong enough to walk away from a relationship that isn’t serving you. I am living proof and you can be too!

Go for it!

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin.