How many of us have been in a relationship, well past its expiration date, but can’t quite see the way out? Probably a lot. If you’ve been a friend of someone in this situation, it’s always super easy to see that your friend should escape while they can, and you are often perplexed as to why they are still hanging out and won’t run for the hills, as you so fervently advise.
Being inside of the turmoil holds a totally different view. So what are the big why’s that go on:
- Your schedule and their schedule and/or financial arrangement work perfectly for your shared responsibilities (children, pets, etc) and without this support, you don’t know how you would function
- You are feeling like you are not at your best and “who’s going to want someone like me” kicks in, freezing you in fear and keeping you from moving forward
- You are very family oriented and don’t want to disappoint your family members of friends who think you “finally made it” in a stable relationship or think your partner is the best thing for you
- You and your partner are honestly friends and who wants to be a part of hurting their friend
- You ultimately feel selfish/guilty/ashamed for putting your needs before someone else and this does not seem to align with your values
So your friend might have some more empathy now and can see why it’s so hard for you to stay. That said, they can support you in a more non pressure giving way, but this doesn’t mean it’s still healthy for you to hang around in a toxic or unfulfilling relationship. If you are still on the fence, let’s review a reality check of when and where you are is no longer where you should be.
- You find it hard to tap into memories of when you were really happy together, but your mind constantly focuses on what’s wrong
- When you are alone with your partner, you no longer have anything to talk or laugh about
- You find yourself thinking about how good things would be if they were no longer around
- You notice you are always extending yourself to make sure your partners needs are met, but when you sit and think about it, you don’t know the last time they met your needs
- Your partner is emotionally/physically abusive and has made no attempt to get help or change their behavior
So we know why we stay and we know why we should go, but all the knowledge in the world is worth very little without action. What’s the right move? Believe it or not, deciding to stay and stick it out is as much a move as walking away, both holding consequences of their own. At the end of the day no one around you can live your life for you therefore the choice is yours and yours alone.
I’m speaking here not to sway you one way or another, but encourage authenticity and self-honesty in everything you do. Whichever path we take in life that does NOT align with our true values will leave us depleted, unhappy, feeling suffocated and even angry. You choose the best life for you; you remain aware and accountable for gaining your joy wherever that may be.