“I tried for months. I really did. He knows how deeply it upsets me that I don’t feel like I’m a priority. Yet, he still shows up 12 minutes after the already-sold-out movie started with no tickets in hand. Then he alienates me at dinner while speaking to the chef and maître d’ in a language I don’t speak for another 10 minutes. To add insult to injury, he orders an appetizer he knows I’m allergic to. It’s as if I don’t even exist in his world,” says my new client.
“This is someone you are in a relationship with?” I ask.
“Yes. Well… so he says,” she replies.
“And how’s that working out for you?” I ask.
“It’s not. I know I’m not getting my needs met. I am just not sure I want to walk away,” she replies.
The worst feeling in the world isn’t being abandoned; it’s being trapped in a relationship that’s not meeting your needs.
Heartache isn’t as bad as being trapped in a relationship that’s hurting you. When your heart gets broken, you can move on. But staying in the wrong relationship will traumatize you every day for the rest of your life.
Why do we stay in relationships that make us unhappy? Why do we continue to give to someone who doesn’t know how to give? And why do we justify bad behavior?
Love makes us stupid.
Love shuts down our common sense faculties and dials up our idealism. It makes us believe in who we know someone can be rather than who they are. Love blinds us to the things we don’t want to see. It buries our head in the sand while our partner is sunbathing on the beach with the girl next door.
But at some point, fighting for love gets you battered, bruised, and beaten to the ground. At what point do you say, “I can’t do this anymore”? How do you know when it’s time to walk away?
Here are 9 truth bombs that can help you to decide whether or not it’s time to go:
1. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they are right for you.
Committing to the wrong person can be disastrous. They might be great on paper, but do you share the same ideals, visions, dreams and ethics? Will you grow together or are your lifestyles pulling you apart? If you are not on the same path, the relationship will suffer down the road. Know who you are and what you need. If it isn’t standing right in front of you, it’s time to move on.
2. If they can’t meet you on the dance floor, they can’t dance with you.
Partnership is everything. Can they meet you half way? Can they do the work necessary to be in a relationship with you? If they cannot partner with you, then why are they there? Loving someone isn’t enough If they are making your life more difficult, walk away. How can you dance with someone who won’t get on the dance floor with you?
3. If you need them to be different in order to love them, walk away.
Let people be who they are and if who they are doesn’t work for you, make your next move accordingly. But be honest with yourself. You can’t change other people; you can only change yourself. If you want someone to change, you don’t love them. You want them to be someone else. Love them enough to let them be who they are and walk away.
4. If you have lost yourself to the relationship, walk away.
If you no longer know who you are separate from the relationship, walk away. Your identity is not born out of the relationship. If the mere thought of being alone is so frightening that it keeps you unhappily rooted in an unsatisfactory relationship, walk away. You need to learn how to be happy before you can be happy in a relationship. Give yourself space to remember who you are.
5. If staying makes things worse, walk away.
If the frustrations and arguments only escalate, you are running the relationship into the ground. Give your partner a chance to hear what you have already been saying. Demanding that someone hear you will only shut them down. Take a time out. Diffuse the negative feelings so the situation can heal itself.
6. If you are trying to get what you need from them instead of allowing them to give you what they can, walk away.
Demanding will never get your needs met. If you are unsatisfied with what they give, walk away. You cannot make people give you what they cannot give you. All you can do is tell them what you need and then step back. If they can give it, they will, and if they don’t, walk away.
7. If you are becoming needy, walk away.
If you need the situation to be different in order to be happy, walk away. When you stay in a place that doesn’t feel good, you become needy. It never works. That neediness is creating barriers to getting what you need. Stop giving your power over to your partner. Start giving yourself what you need. Take a break from the relationship to remember that you’re the only one you ever need.
8. When you keep talking but nothing changes, walk away.
If someone’s words don’t line up to their actions, walk away. When they continually tell you one thing and do something else, what they are telling you is not truthful. Give them time and space to line up with their intentions. In the interim, take yourself out of the equation by walking away.
9. When it just doesn’t feel good anymore, walk away.
When who you are sitting across from is no longer making your heart sing, or when you are at a restaurant with someone and you would rather be home eating ice cream with your cat, or when running away feels so much better than staying, listen to yourself. Don’t try and force it to be different. Don’t make the relationship into something it isn’t. Accept it and take space. If the relationship is meant for you, it will begin again down the road. But you can’t get there from here. Your emotions are your clearest indicator of what’s working and what isn’t.
Letting go of an unsatisfactory relationship is an acknowledgment that you want better. Staying in a unsatisfactory relationship is a death sentence. Something has to shift in order for better to come about. Be brave and make that change. By walking away, you’ll either get a better version of the relationship when your partner does the work, or you’ll get a better partner. Either way, you win by losing what wasn’t working for you. Anytime you are ready to walk, your new path awaits.
Based in New York City, Donnalynn is the Author of “Life Lessons, Everything You Ever Wished You Had Learned in Kindergarten.” She is also a Certified Intuitive Life Coach, Inspirational Blogger (etherealwellness.wordpress.com), writer and speaker. Her work has been featured in Glamour, the iHeart Radio Network and Princeton Television. Her website is ethereal-wellness.com. You can follower her on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.