A Field Guide to Leaving the Person You Love
How the fuck do you leave the person you love?
I realize that I’m assuming that you may actually want to leave the person that you love.
But if you’re in a relationship and struggling that freaking much (you know who you are), then you absolutely should leave.
Let’s start by getting all the reasons that you shouldn’t leave out on the table so that we can have an honest conversation, shall we?
1.If you’re living together, it’s a freaking PAIN IN THE ASS to move! Deciding who gets what. Moving unexpectedly. Dealing with the mortgage or a lease that’s not up yet. Ughhhh.
2.You’re comfortable being in a relationship. Your life is grounded, balanced and predictable. And you like it that way! Sure, there are problems. Late-night yelling matches, the absence of any real sex life, growing apart, boredom, etc. But as long as you have other good things going on in your life, why rock a decent boat? Things aren’t great, but they’re fine. Besides. What relationship doesn’t have issues, right?
3.They won’t be ok. You think things like, if I leave, this person will be devastated and end up living under a bridge somewhere; and I love them too much to let that happen.
4.You really do love your partner. For real. Yes, they drive you batshit crazy, but you fell in love with them and chose them. Besides, you think, what’s the alternative? Go back to online dating? Oh… HELL, NO! This may be my last hurrah at finding love. My time has passed. I’m not gambling everything on a child’s fantasy.
Now, let’s see if we can break down these reasons for staying:
1.If you’re already living together, it’s a freaking PAIN IN THE ASS to move! Neale D. Walsch, a best-selling author (Conversations with God), said, tell your truth as soon as you know it. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s an unbelievably confronting idea.
Why? Because it’s almost never a good time to tell your truth to somebody that you’re in a relationship with. It’s like poking a hole in your boat and wondering why you’re sinking. It creates a big ol’ mess that you’re now gonna have to deal with–perhaps for a long time.
However, the fact that it’s so confronting tells us that we’re on the right track; delivering the truth to our partner even when it hurts–especially when it hurts–creates a bond that is much stronger than before the truth-telling; it also creates a space for both partners to get what they want, even if that means breaking up to get it.
2.You’re comfortable being in a relationship. But comfort isn’t good enough for you. I want you take a few moments and imagine something: You wake up next to your partner 10 years from now, and s/he hasn’t changed at all. The problems that you had are the exact same problems that you are dealing with now (in the future). Would you be ok with that? Seriously. Would you be ok with that? If the answer is yes, then stay. But if the answer is no… you’ve got to go!
3.They won’t be ok. It’s arrogant as shit and ultimately a bullshit excuse. Could your partner harm his or her self if you left in desperation? Yes, but that’s the exception–not the rule–and your relationship is probably not the exception. More likely than not, you’re using this justification as an excuse not to take the difficult action that you know you should take. Stop that.
4.You really do love your partner. Of course, you do. But let’s examine that love a little. In the courting stage of the relationship, there were probably some red flags that you missed. The problem is that you were so hard-up to be in a relationship, you either ignored them completely or didn’t even see them. It’s hard to fault ourselves for doing this. We don’t know what we don’t know. One of the most satisfying and liberating results of breaking up with someone is that you become hyper-aware of what characteristics you don’t want and won’t accept in your next partner.
If you don’t leave, however, you’re like a dog sitting on a nail–howling day and night in pain. Your life, like the dog’s ability to get up off the nail, is completely in your control. And that dull pain that you experience–the pain of continuously selling yourself out–that’s in your control, too.
Ultimately, life is like the gameshow, Let’s Make a Deal. Except, instead of three doors to choose from, you only get two: Door #1 and Door #2.
Tell them what they’ve won, Johnny!
Door #1: You choose to live in the fear that you’ll never find someone better and enjoy a long life of quiet desperation.
Door #2: You choose to get brave, grab your favorite body part and leap into the abyss, screaming “COWABUNGAAAAAA!!!” as loudly as you possibly can. You will feel a liberation the likes of which you’ve never felt before. You may stay single for a little while as you come back to yourself, but one day you will most likely meet someone who lights your up your soul. And just perhaps, one day years from now you might get a call from someone who wants to thank you for unlocking their chain, too. By living your truth, you’ve helped to liberate two souls in the process.
“Jump–the chasm is not as wide as you think.”