“Pick your battles.”
“They mean well.”
“Focus on the good and less on the bad.”
These were my mantras for years. Mantras to keep me going in relationships that were wrong for me. There’s all this pressure to stay in relationships that no longer serve you because of the investment, as though you can purely quantify what a relationship means in your life. You’ve been with this person for years — maybe you have a home together. Perhaps you’ve planned your future together, you’ve met their friends and family, and you’re weaved into each other’s lives; sometimes it goes on long enough that you marry and welcome children into the world together.
You’re invested. You feel that you have already given so much, you fear you might not find someone else who accepts you and worry what your family will say. You tell yourself that you’re happy enough and that you can make it work this time around. And so you ask yourself, “How can I leave now?”
It wasn’t always bad. There were highs that made you feel as though you were the luckiest person in the world. You felt like you could accomplish anything with this person by your side. But the good times became fewer, the fights grew, you no longer saw eye to eye, and the open airs of communication and mutual appreciation were lost. You found new rhythms that kept the peace in your relationship, but it was no longer satisfying you. You said your mantras every morning and sometimes at night on the harder days.
You tried to calculate the investment and see what the sunk costs would be. Your world would be shocked, your living situations would change, lawyers might need to intervene, you’d possibly lose some friends and their family members. But how much of an investment is worth losing yourself? What cost is greater than having the love, respect, and partner you deserve?
When do you start investing in yourself?